Failing to test a direct mail campaign before sending it out on a massive scale can be a costly marketing mistake. Depending on the reason for the campaign and the type of mailing, you may be looking between $50 and $100 in terms of cost per lead. By testing your campaign first, you’ll know if the projected ROI is worth the cost of continuing the campaign.
The A/B Test
Test a direct mail campaign by completing an A/B Test. In an A/B test, you will come up with two different formats for your mailing. The same content will be presented in both versions but color, fonts, substrates, and wording may differ between the two tests. Mark all the differences between the two mailings, using one as your control and one as the variant. For instance, you may want to see if personalization makes a difference. Then, choose a sampling from your larger audience to send to the test campaigns. Measure any feedback received and choose the option that received more positive feedback for your larger campaign.
Another way to do an A/B test is to use a control group and a variant of people. For this type of test, you will want to send a mailing that is typical for your company to the control group. The variant group would get new material in a different format or with different benefits. Then, you will be able to measure the difference in reactions and have a gauge for how well your new material will be received across the board.
For comprehensive marketing campaigns, you can use two demographically equal control groups and send one group a mailing and only use alternative marketing forms to the other group. Measuring the response rates of each group is a way to understand the impact of direct mail compared with other marketing efforts.
Treat Every Campaign as a Test
Sometimes, it may be difficult to measure the results of a full-scale campaign, especially if it is being run in conjunction with other forms of marketing. Try to find ways to measure the direct impact of a mailing by including a promotional offer that is unique to the mailing or use a differentiated URL that you can monitor the backend of your website. Measuring metrics in a test or full direct mail campaign provides information regarding the impact of direct mail in and of itself.
Benefits of Testing
A benefit from this form of testing is that you now have information about what will work for future campaigns. This form of testing takes longer on the front end to complete than a normal sampling. However, understanding which marketing tactics work better for your company in a particular market can be vital in achieving success in the overall campaign.
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to keep track of too many metrics at once. By changing or monitoring too many factors, you may lose sight of the true test results and measuring will be more difficult.
Having an ineffective direct mail campaign does not mean that your company should abandon direct mail as a marketing strategy. Instead, reevaluating your content, presentation, and demographics can help your company refocus on the kind of mail that will produce results.