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Why You Don't Want to Fail This Direct-Mail Test

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The following excerpt is from Robert W. Bly’s book The Direct Mail Revolution: How to Create Profitable Direct Mail Campaigns in a Digital World. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | IndieBound

In direct mail (DM), testing is the process of putting a letter or package in the mail, counting the replies, and coming to a conclusion based on the results.

Testing is a huge advantage that direct marketers have over branding and general advertisers: We first do a small test to determine whether our direct-mail package works. If it does, we can gradually expand the campaign. On the other hand, if the test bombs, we know early on that the package doesn’t work. The test costs only a few hundred or a few thousand dollars, and it saves us many more thousands of dollars by not continuing to mail a DM package that consistently loses money.

Testing is one of the central ideas of direct-mail marketing: Test small, then roll out in larger quantities once the tests show you which is the winning package.

Related: The 5-Step Plan for Turning Prospects Into Customers

What are the three most significant factors you can test -- the ones that can have the greatest influence on response?

Number one is the mailing list. There could be a half-dozen mailing lists suitable for your offer -- or even more. You can’t assume you know which one is best based on your personal biases. The only way to........

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