Why Testing Is The Key To Successful Direct Mail
There are three things you need to do to run a great direct mail campaign; test, test and test again. So what elements of your direct mail campaign should you test and how should you do it, in order to benefit from more successful mailings?
There are just three things you’ve got to do in order to have a really successful direct mail campaign: test, test and test.
By the time you’ve factored in the cost of postage, list rental, and printing, direct mail can be a costly business: if you get it wrong. So the best way to avoid an expensive mistake is to test every aspect of your direct mail campaign well before your mailing letter even hits the postal system.
You should test these key elements of your direct mail campaign:
1. Test Your Offer
Make sure your product or service is appropriate to the list you are mailing, by testing your offer. Your offer can be meant in a literal sense: what product or service are you offering the recipient; but it can also be interpreted as a special offer or incentive you might be providing, such as a price discount, free gift, or free shipping.
To test which promotional offer will work best, look at what established competitors in the same industry usually offer in their direct mail (if these don’t work, they are unlikely to keep using them). Speak to some friendly existing customers and your sales staff to ask their opinion of what offer they think would attract the most responses from your target audience.
2. Test Your Letter
Your direct mail letter needs to be clear, catchy and persuasive: not woolly, inaccurate or boring. You can follow some simple guidelines to write a good direct mail letter such as including a catchy heading, a benefit of your offer to tease the reader, bullet points and a strong call to action.
But the only true way of testing the power of your letter is to send it to a smaller sample of your list. If you have more than one version of letter you’d like to test, send it to two small list samples, but each with a different response code recipients can use: or even register different national rate phone numbers and use them on different letters, then measure the calls you receive.
3. Test Your List
A direct mailshot is only as good as the list it is sent to. So it’s really important that you get your data in the best possible state before you send a mailing. If it’s your own internal customer database, then use data cleansing and profiling tools and services to make sure addresses are up to date. This is particularly important for consumer lists, where you’ll also need to screen recipients for people who may have deceased recently to avoid unnecessary upset for their relatives.
If you are renting or purchasing a list, you have to make sure it’s from a reputable source, and has been fully screened against all the main suppression files when you buy it. Only ever deal with established and preferably independent list providers who can give you objective and impartial advice on the best list for your needs, and ensure your list provider is a member of the UK’s Direct Marketing Association.
4. Test Your Timings
Mailings sent at different times can achieve very different results. For example and b2c consumer mailing could be sent early in the month, just after the time when most people have just been paid their salary. (On the other hand if your mailing is selling loans or credit cards, it may be better to wait until the end of the month when money is tight).
For b2b mailings to other businesses, find out if there is a purchasing cycle for your product or service, If you are selling consumables such as office stationery or raw materials, plan your mailing to be sent a fixed period after the previous or initial purchase. Target mailings to coincide with when annual or quarterly budget and purchasing decisions may be made, or for key seasonal peak periods such as Christmas.
Testing Your Direct Mail
With such a simple approach to achieving successful direct mail, there’s nothing to hold you back from getting the same results in your own business, and your own direct marketing campaigns.
For further information call us on 01304 383838 or visit www.selectabase.co.uk