Marketers have an opportunity to communicate with their audience on a one-on-one basis through direct mail. Direct mail campaign testing is a tool you can use to create continuous improvement and develop a deeper understanding of what motivates your audience to respond. You can use direct mail testing to run experiments to refine your marketing campaigns, identify new market segments, and customize communications and offers for those segments. Testing is a direct mail best practice, and when done well, it can give your campaigns a competitive edge.
How to Test Before Sending a Full Campaign
The first step in testing is developing a hypothesis. Then you will design a test to prove or disprove your chosen theory. Some examples of a hypothesis include:
- Seeing if a letter package will outperform a postcard
- If different age groups respond more or less frequently to a more specific offer
- Determining if a picture of a person using your product delivers more responses than just an image of the product
Direct mail campaign testing involves testing the audience, offers, messages, or creative elements. You should test your direct mail campaign in small batches before sending the full campaign because you want to know which selection offers the best response from your audience.
Sending Mail in Small Batches
Direct mail testing is best delivered in small batches to prospects as you are using a targeted marketing approach. You will pull an equal percentage of prospects from a list, around 1 to 5 percent, and use that smaller population as your test subjects. After sending the test mail, you will track your responses and then roll-out the better performing test.
Testing on a smaller batch is crucial because you don’t want to waste funds on a potentially failed marketing campaign. You can make the necessary tweaks before launching the full campaign. For instance, if a specific offer provides a better result, then you want to use that offer for the whole campaign.
A/B Split Tests
It’s more beneficial for you to test on a smaller audience, determine what works best, and then send out the full campaign to your entire audience. One of the best ways to choose a winner in through A/B split tests.
A/B testing involves the same direct mail piece except one element is different in the two versions – an A version and a B version. By keeping all the other details identical, you can determine the relative effectiveness of the two test versions. You can test two lists, two offers, two formats, and so on. Testing two aspects is the minimum, but you can opt to test three elements at the same time. If you test three lists, you would have an A/B/C split.
What to Look For When Testing
You want to validate your test results to determine if they prove your hypothesis, and they aren’t a random coincidence. In marketing terms, the higher your sample size, the more likely it is that the randomness is less of a factor in your responses. Some testing rules include:
- Making sure each test cell contains enough mailings to give you reliable results
- Gradually roll out test results, so you gain more confidence in your results
- Be careful with lower response rates. A minimal response rate may be profitable, but you need more data to be confident in a small difference
Make sure not to limit what you look for, but also, don’t try to use one test for too many different variables. You may also want to avoid falling into the over-testing trap. No campaign will ever be perfect. And while you may be able to achieve well above average for direct mail campaign, know that average response rates can vary by industry. What might seem like a low response rate could be average or better for among your peers.
Direct Mail Campaign Testing With Valtim
Your organization should never stop testing its direct mail campaigns. You will continuously reveal more opportunities. Valtim can help you construct testing strategies for all your campaigns and ensure you are sending the best option to your target audience. We offer small batch options that allow you to test your offers with A/B tests and more. When you feel confident in the results, we can help you send the full batch to your entire audience.
Testing will give your organization the confidence in knowing your marketing campaign will provide excellent results. Contact Valtim to get started on testing your next direct mail campaign.