A Guide to Direct Mail

Return to Top

(1) Is DM for you?

(2) Choosing your list

(3) The Offer

(4) Call to Action

(5) The Package

(6) The Copy

(7) Testing


(8) Tracking

History of DM

What can you test?
Interpreting test results.

One of the major benefits of direct mail is its testability; that you can test and thus improve the results of your mailing.

What can you test?
There are five main things you can test:
(1) The Package
(2) The List
(3) The copy
(4) The offer
(5) The price

Package testing - NEED TO WRITE

List testing - The most common type of testing is testing a list. To test a list, you need to mail to a representaive cross section of the list. How many names is that? Well, there is a bit of debate about that point, but in general you need to mail to 2000 names or 5% of your list, which ever is greater.

As I stated earlier, it is important to get every nth name, off the list for your test - every 10th or 12th or whatver. Plus, you need to mark the list for continuation, that is, mark the names you have mailed to so if the test is successful, you don't mail to them again.

Copy testing - Next thing you can do is test your copy. You take some part of your list and mail them one letter and at the same time, mail different copy to the rest of the lsit.

Offer testing - The next thing you can test is your offer. Do you offer 1 product in your mailing or several? Is there afree gift or bonus? And so on.

Price testing - Similarly, you can test the price. By doing this, you can plot a demand curve for your product - what happens to orders as price moves up and down.

Interpreting test results.
If you have a tried and true mailer, then use it for 90% of the mailing and use just 10% for the test.

Also, as important as the test is, don't go haywire over the results. An old trick in direct mail is to mail to a large list the same exact package, but code every other order form a and other one b. When comparing resutls from the A list to B list - remember, competely random, differences as much as 20% have been observed. So basically, as you test, you increase the knowlede of how to sell your product. You work good changes into the pieces and keep testing. If you do a mialing without testing something, you are wasting an opporunituy.