Posts Tagged ‘test direct mail’

5 Direct Mail Inserts That Increase Response

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

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It’s said that the purpose of a direct mail letter is to sell, whereas the objective of a mailing’s brochure is to explain.

That said, many mailers seem to have a compulsion to include a brochure in their mailing. But before you join the rush, note that very few of us have mailings whose purpose is to “explain.”

For most of us, the objective is to increase the mailing’s net profit, and too often a brochure distracts the reader’s attention from responding.

Yet adding particular inserts to the mailing can increase response and – despite the added cost – increase the mailing’s net income.

Here are examples of 5 inserts that you should test.

As you’ll see, their purpose isn’t to explain but to enhance the value of the benefits offered and to reduce any reluctance the reader (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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For Direct Mail Success, Sweat the Details

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

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Too often, people and organizations put all their attention into getting the big things right, but ignore the details.

There’s a word to describe this. It’s “mediocrity.”
For direct mail success, sweat the details
Giving attention to the details can’t ensure your success, but ignoring the small stuff can quickly bring about your downfall.

Every detail has bottom-line repercussions and it’s irresponsible to think of any aspect of direct mail as trivial, unimportant or inconsequential.

Here are a few fine points often overlooked in a mailing. None will ensure your success, but collectively, they can make a huge difference in your (more…)

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How to Use a Pre-Event Routine for More Profitable Direct Mail Testing

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

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If you watch sports, you’ve seen a “pre-event routine” in action.

In baseball, major-league batters will go through their pre-event routines before every pitch. Watch them and you’ll see some batters come to the plate, take two swings and then tap the edge of the plate with their bat before each pitch. The routines vary with each batter, but practically every major leaguer has an established routine.

You’ll see the same thing in basketball. The next time you see a player taking a foul shot, watch what they do. The player may bounce the ball twice, hold the ball and then bounce it again before taking the shot. Whatever their routine, they will go through the same sequence of events each time they take a foul shot.

Athletes use pre-event routines to prepare for success. It gives them focus and purpose, and helps them achieve a higher level of performance. Now we need to develop our own pre-event routine to make our direct mail more profitable. (more…)

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How to Boost Your Direct Mail Profits by Spending More

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

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When times get tough, everyone wants to cut direct mail costs. After all, if we can bring in the same amount of money and spend less, our profits increase.

And there are ways to cut costs without necessarily hurting the effectiveness of your mailing.

Cutting Direct Mail Costs or Making Money

Cut Costs or Make Money?

You can, for example, trim your package format by ¼ inch or so to make it run better on your printer’s press, use a cheaper paper, test smaller formats, omit package inserts or eliminate the premium.

But don’t act too quickly.

Before getting caught up in the rush to cut expenses, we need to remember the objective (more…)

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A Copywriter’s Thoughts on Direct Mail Lists

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

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I still remember my first direct mail letter. I reworked it to perfection. Every word was just as I wanted it to be. The benefits to the reader were clear, the offer was strong and the call to action was unmistakable.

Then we mailed the letter, and I waited. And I waited some more. But nothing happened. Not even a single response. No one even bothered to complain about the letter.

About direct mail lists

Finding the right person to mail

Finally, after waiting a few more days, I went to see the agency’s owner and confessed my failure. I explained the letter’s objectives, my approach, the offer…how I had checked and rechecked every word but failed to get even one response.

Without even looking up, my boss said, “Check the lists.”

And I was ready for this. I’d already prepared a report on the mailing lists we were testing and started to go through the long list. But he said, “No, that’s not what I mean. (more…)

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How to Edit Direct Mail Copy for Greater Response

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

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Just about every direct mail copywriter can benefit from a good editor. Yet many decision makers who approve copy—clients, compliance officers, board members and managers—aren’t trained to edit the copywriter’s work. How to edit direct mail copy

Here’s a simple 3-step method and checklist that might help.

Step 1

When reviewing a direct mail letter for the first time, sit on your hands.

One of the biggest mistakes is to pick up your red pen before you’ve reviewed the complete mailing package. Checking for errors in grammar, spelling and sentence structure is essential. But when you proofread (more…)

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21 Basic Rules for Successful Direct Mail Testing

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

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We all know the importance of direct mail testing, but too often money is wasted on unproductive and unwise tests. Here are 21 basic rules worth reviewing to get the most from your marketing dollars:

1. Before you start production on any test, do the math first. How long will it take to recover your test costs, and what increase in results will you need to beat the control? Proceed with the test only after showing that there’s a reasonable chance that it can economically increase response.

2. Don’t test just because you’re curious to know “what if.” Have a solid plan of how you’ll turn the test results into a profit before you invest in the test.

3. Be sure you test a sufficient quantity to obtain reliable test results.

4. “Replicate” each test when possible—rather than mail one test cell of 10,000 names, split the names into two equal groups and mail the same test to two groups of 5,000. (more…)

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The What, When and How of Direct Mail Testing

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

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What to test

In his book, Secrets of Successful Direct Mail, Dick Benson states, “Any idea you honestly believe can economically increase response is worth testing.”

The key words are “economically increase response.” But what is economical? Typically, the more dramatic a change you make in a package, the more dramatic the difference in results.

For example, when you need a breakthrough, test the components that have the greatest influence on the mailing’s success—lists, offer, format and copy. Forget about testing minor changes on page three or the color of the return envelope. Test big things for big results.

However, for clients mailing larger volumes, “tweaking” the control for incremental gains often makes sense.

For example, Client A and Client B both have an average response rate of 1%, with a $25 average transaction. Both test a new package that lifts results by 10%. The only difference is that Client A has an annual (more…)

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