How to A/B Test Your Direct Mail Marketing Campaigns

By: Andrew Glover
January 31, 2020

A/B testing allows you to try out different direct mail offers to see which one works best. You can improve your return on investment when you learn what strategies work best to increase response rates. Many organizations choose not to A/B test because they assume it’s a complicated process. A/B testing is not complicated, and every organization can benefit from its results. Even a simple test allows you to gather valuable insights you can then apply to future direct mail projects.

Let’s take a more detailed look at what A/B testing is and how you can use it to enhance your direct mail campaigns.

What Is A/B Testing?

A/B testing is a method of comparing two versions of a mailer or web page against each other to see which one performs better. It’s an experiment where two or more variants are shown to a random selection of users, and you use statistical analysis to determine which variation performs better for a given conversion goal. A/B testing allows you to make data-informed decisions that shift marketing conversations from “we think” to “we know.”

Why You Should A/B Test

For those who are committed to direct mail marketing, A/B testing needs to be a high priority. Sometimes testing confirms what you already knew, but other times it can surprise you with results that may have gone against your intuition and judgment. A/B testing allows teams and organizations to make careful changes to their member experiences while collecting data on the results. You can construct a hypothesis and learn better why certain elements of member experiences impact their behavior. Always look for ways to improve. Let the numbers do the talking.

How to Use A/B Testing with Direct Mail

Determine the goal of your mailer and how you will track it. There are three A/B tests to choose from, depending on what you want to learn from your direct mail campaign. Here’s a look at each test and what they have to offer.

Simple Test

In a simple test, everything about the mail pieces is the same except for one element. The different feature is usually the offer, but you can test anything you want. Then you take your mail list and split it in half. Half your list receives one version, and the other half gets the second version. After you get all your responses back, it is easy to tell which version had a better response.

Control Group Test

A control group test uses a piece that you have mailed before and one test piece. You can use different pieces, too. Decide what it is you want to test like design, color, and images. You will test in a controlled setting. You split your list in half and see which one receives the better response. This is a great test if you are considering a new format and want to see how well it’s received.

Complex Test

Complex tests involve testing at multiple levels. This takes much more planning and strategy compared to a simple test or control group test. You can break down your list of people into groups based on purchase history or demographics, and then create multiple versions for each group to see what works best with each one. You can also test types of response methods like mobile texts, phone numbers, QR codes, and more.

Use Variable Data Printing for A/B Tests

You can increase the effectiveness of your direct mail by using variable data printing during A/B testing. VDP offers a personalized feel, unique design, and targeted content. It allows you to choose a different design or offer for each audience. VDP makes it easy for you to analyze many A/B tests throughout the year.

A/B Testing with Valtim

A/B testing uncovers significant opportunities to enhance future direct mail campaigns. Valtim helps clients with A/B testing. We can assist your organization with a simple test, control group test, or complex test. We will help you judge the return on investment for different mail pieces over time and across similar demographics. We offer VDP services, which help our clients create slightly different variations of the same mail piece. Using VDP is an affordable option that allows you the ability to generate different samples for your testing audiences.

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