Putting Direct Mail To The Test

Putting Direct Mail To The Test

When it comes to direct mail, testing is essential to ensure your campaign is going to perform well. There are several different factors that can be tested, including the offer, the format, the mailing list, and the creative. By testing different combinations of these elements, you can determine which ones work best for your audience and your goals.

One common direct mail testing strategy is to split your list in half and send each group a different offer. This allows you to see which offer is more effective in terms of getting people to respond. Another strategy is to test different formats, such as postcards versus letters or self-mailers. Again, this allows you to see which format is more likely to get a response and increase your return on investment.

Businesses waste tons of money on poorly designed, ineffective direct mail. Whether the mail piece is unattractive, or the message is ambiguous, sometimes a direct mail campaign flops. So, before you spend thousands on your next direct marketing campaign, test your ideas using these tips.

40/40/20 Rule

Following the 40/40/20 rule will help you create a direct mail campaign that will leave a big impression on the customer. This means 40% of your direct mail marketing success depends on your audience, another 40% relies on the offer and 20% of your success comes from the creative.

Test two formats

Direct mail is a powerful marketing tool, but it can be difficult to know which type of direct mail will work best for your business. Create two direct mail pieces with the same goal in mind but with different approaches.

Direct mail can come in many formats, each with its own advantages. Two of the most used in direct mail marketing are postcards and self-mailers.


Postcards are a great way to get your message across quickly and efficiently while also being cost-friendly. Since they are two-sided you have plenty of room for bold images and a message they can’t miss. Postcards can be used to promote sales, announce new products or services, or simply keep in touch with customers and clients.


Self-mailers are popular because they are colorful, affordable and easy to print and assemble. Self-mailers are folded and sealed – you don’t even need an envelope! Since they are multiple pages, these are great for sharing a larger narrative such as your brand values or your business backstory.

The design

Customizing the design for each customer based on their prior purchases or browsing history can have an impactful effect on getting them to buy again. You might want to test out generic versus personalized graphics or different color schemes; whichever one gets better conversion rates may be what you use going forward.

The copy

Make sure that the copy you use, particularly the heading, on your direct mail piece is impactful. You could test headings with questions against headings with statements to see which receives the highest response rate. Always focus on the customer and how you can solve their problem. Benefits, not features.

Call to action

Test different calls to action. There are many different options for your CTA, but you can narrow down which type gets the best response. A QR code versus text tracking is a good example. Are your customers more likely to scan a QR code and go to a landing page or will they just key in a phone number to text?

Test similar audiences

To be accurate, your test audience must be a considerable size. We recommend a total mailing of 5,000; mail 2,500 households test piece A and 2,500 test piece B.

Make sure your two test pieces go to audiences that are similar. Studies show that people who live in the same neighborhood tend to have similar habits, beliefs, and values. So, if you are testing two different postcards, don’t send postcard A to people in the suburbs and postcard B to people who live downtown. Send both of your test mail pieces to one geographic area, where you can be sure your recipients are similar in terms of income levels, education, and interests. Alternate addresses so that one person gets Postcard A while their next-door neighbor gets Postcard B.

Don’t stop testing

In order for your campaign results to be sustainable, you need to keep testing even after the initial experiment. Consumers’ habits and preferences change over time. Consequently, a previously successful direct mail piece will no longer get the same response if its contents no longer match up with the current needs or desires of potential customers.

Are you looking for a partner in your next direct mail marketing campaign? Give us a call or send an email and we will gladly guide you through the process.

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