Posts Tagged ‘direct mail testing’

Personalizing Direct Mail Copy

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

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You have probably seen how personalizing a direct mail letter can lift response and increase profits.

Personalizing our letter often means having a computer extract information from our database – the recipient’s name, address, past purchases, contribution history, names of elected officials, etc. – and inserting it into the letter copy.

We know this works. It’s been tested countless times and we regularly see the added cost of computer personalization justified by increased profits.

But when used incorrectly, attempts to personalize the letter can actually depersonalize it.

For example, my pet peeve are letters that begin (more…)

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Rethinking Direct Mail Premiums

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

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I’m a strong proponent of testing direct mail premiums. Why? Because they typically increase the mailing’s response rate and its net profit!

Take, for instance, those personalized address labels you receive in mailings. Practically all of us have a use for them. And as soon as we run out, we go looking for more.

Yes, they add to the mailing’s cost. But typically, they also spike the number of people responding, raise the average gift and increase the mailing’s net income.

Rethinking direct mail premiums

Premiums work because of (more…)

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5 Things You’ll Want to Know When Planning a Direct Mail Test

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

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Whether you’re a direct mail copywriter, an account executive, or a group manager, here are 5 things you’ll want to know when planning — or approving — a test mailing.

 

1. The mailing’s objective

 Not every direct mailer has the same needs so what makes sense for another mailer may not be advisable for you.Direct mail testing. Making the right choices

For example, some mailers may be content with tweaking the control with hopes for a 10% – 15% lift in results. Others need breakthrough results.

When you mail millions of pieces per year, beating the control by a few percentage points — or even by half of 1% — can mean big money. But a smaller mailer may need breakthrough results to justify the test costs.

Before you spend a dime to produce a test mailing, everyone needs to agree on what (more…)

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10 Easy Ways to Strengthen Your Direct Mail Offer and Beat the Control

Friday, August 24th, 2012

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When attempting to beat the control, the temptation is to focus on new copy. But testing new copy alone has far less potential to influence results than does making changes to the mailing’s offer.

Here are 10 easy ways you can increase direct mail response by revising your offer.

  1. Offer something free. Your mailing can include an offer for free shipping, free financing, 3 months’ free membership, address labels, a bookmark, a decal, etc. On the back end, you can fulfill a nearly endless list of gifts – in all price ranges – for those who respond.

10 Easy Ways to Strengthen Direct Mail Offer
If you already offer a premium, test a new one. It doesn’t need to be expensive – or even relate to the organization’s mission – as long as it has a perceived value.

Unfortunately, many groups – and especially boards of directors – hate premiums, believing they cheapen the organization. But most donors and customers respond to (more…)

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Understanding how people read your direct mail can increase response

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

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The purpose of a direct mail letter is to motivate the recipient to take a specific course of action. But to persuade the reader to take action, we must first get him or her to read our letter—or at least its key parts.

Readers typically start at the top of a direct mail letter by reading their name in the address and salutation. From here, they go to the end of the letter to see who signed the letter. After the signature, readers typically go to the P.S.Direct mail in mail box

Let’s see how we can use this reading pattern to increase response.

 

Addressing your letter

Your direct mail letter is a one-to-one conversation between the letter’s signer and the recipient, and nothing assures the recipient that your message is intended for him better than seeing his name at the beginning of the letter.

People love to see their name, and today’s technology makes it cost-effective to personalize your mailing. But when you do personalize, use title codes—Mr., Mrs., Rev., etc.—in the salutation. There’s nothing less personal than a letter beginning with “Dear Hugh Chewning.” Without a title code, the attempt to personalize seems insincere and (more…)

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5 Common Direct Mail Mistakes to Avoid

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

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We all make mistakes, but years ago a teacher told me, “If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not doing enough.”

Mistakes can be learning experiences, but as valuable as it is to learn from our own mistakes, it can be more profitable to learn from the mistakes of others.5 Common Direct Mail Mistakes

Throughout my 30-plus years of direct marketing, here are five of the most common mistakes I see mailers make. And regardless of our own experience, we can always profit from the lessons others had to learn the hard way.

 

1. Refusing to make a long-term commitment to direct mail

Successful direct mail is methodical. It requires a plan and the discipline to follow the plan. It is not a get-rich-quick scheme.

Not everything will go right on every mailing. Whether you are a startup or a mature mailer, some tests (more…)

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Fundamentals of Direct Mail Testing

Monday, November 21st, 2011

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Once during my younger years, I was presenting test results to a client along with recommendations on what we should mail next.

The client acknowledged that the test results supported my recommendation but said, “Our president doesn’t like that particular copy.”

My immediate response was “So?”

Admittedly, it wasn’t my most tactful hour. But when it comes to successful direct mail, it really doesn’t matter what we think is the best offer, copy or package design.

What matters is what our customers and/or donors respond to.

Fortunately, direct mail gives us a reliable method for measuring what motivates our customers to respond. And when we know how new elements of a mailing—lists, offer, copy, format and timing—affect response, we can drive our direct mail campaign toward (more…)

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21 Steps to Direct Mail Success (Part 2)

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

This is the second of a two-part series.

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21 Steps to Direct Mail Success, Part 2

Getting the basics right goes a long way toward achieving direct mail success. In my last post, we discussed 11 strategies that you’ll want to include when planning your next campaign.

You can see these here.

To complete 21 Steps to Direct Mail Success, here are ten more often overlooked strategies that you’ll want to include in your next (more…)

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21 Steps to Direct Mail Success

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

This is the first of a two-part series.

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The key to success is to avoid making mistakes. And with direct mail, getting the basics right accounts for 95% of all successes.

21 Steps to Direct Mail Success

21 Steps to Direct Mail Success

You can find many articles about effective direct mail testing, copy and design in my other posts, but here I focus on key–but often overlooked–elements of a successful direct mail campaign.

Below are 11 essential elements of a successful direct response campaign. In my next post, I’ll follow up with an additional ten steps that you’ll want to (more…)

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How to Make Your Direct Mail More Readable and Achieve Greater Response

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

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Too often, we receive direct mail that’s offensive to the eye.

Big blocks of text crowd the page. Narrow left and right margins choke the life from the words. And small sans serif type makes the copy difficult to read.

Visually, these letters are uninviting.

Tips to Increase Readership

Tips to Increase Readership

Graphic designers may love the look of grey-colored type, but readers need text printed with high contrast. Illustrations and graphics can enhance a mailing, but when overused they pull the reader’s eye in so many directions that it’s virtually impossible

What might appeal to someone’s sense of design doesn’t necessarily help the reader. And with only a few seconds to capture the reader’s attention, any distraction to the eye flow can doom the mailing.

Even when you mail award-winning copy with an offer that meets the recipient’s every need, few people—even those who respond to your mailing—will read the entire direct mail letter. But when you follow a few proven techniques, you can lead more readers to the letter’s most (more…)

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