Thanksgiving and Direct Mail – Test Your Way to Success!

It’s the week after Thanksgiving and I’m just now coming out of the food coma. But in retrospect, I had a strange thought about direct mail pop into my head as I looked over the table filled with too many side dishes to count!

Let me explain. Every year we gather at my in-law’s house for what we lovingly call ‘Food Day’. We fully grasp the concept and emotion behind Thanksgiving, yes. But we are eaters. And we love nothing more than experimenting with a recipe and polling each other after dinner to see if the new item or twist on an old favorite will be a keeper – or if it will hit the proverbial garbage disposal, never to be consumed again.

Just like our Food Day ritual of trying new things, you need to have the same approach when it comes to testing your Direct Mail campaigns. Some things will work and be extremely popular (more, please!).  And some things need to be put back on the shelf never to be experimented with again (trash).

THAT is the essence of testing your Direct Mail message. Your goal isn’t to serve the same message over and over. You want to shake things up a bit and see what hits your audience successfully. What not-so-successful things do you want to avoid in the future?

This week, I’m going to share with you 6 Rules for Direct Mail Testing. I know that’s a lot, but they’re all key to your success, and can work wonders on your overall ROI. Let’s get started!

1.) Don’t assume you know what will work. If it were that easy, you’d have already raked in your retirement and you’d be reading this from the back of your yacht.

2.) Remember to be consistent. Keep track of the ‘alterations’ so you know instantly what made a mailing work and what didn’t work so well. Change one thing at a time (two at the extreme) and see how a design change or phrasing impacts the results. If you change too much at once, you won’t have a confident idea of what made the difference one way or the other.

3.) Determine goals for each test. Don’t generically say you want ‘as many sales as possible’ because that isn’t specific enough.

4.) Break up lists…even small ones. Especially in a budget-conscious scenario, splitting up mailings into an A and B grouping can be a great way to see what message or design works with your prospects, and you can keep the costs manageable.

5.) Use testing to answer internal questions. Whether you are going back and forth on strategy, formatting, copy, or even design, let testing give you the answers. They say that a theory’s best friend is a successful application. Okay, nobody says that. But let a successful postcard campaign be the best answer to whether you think something you want to try will work or it won’t.

6.) Consider every mailing to be a test. You might think that should have been the first rule, and maybe you’re right. But truth be told, it doesn’t matter where you see it on the list. First or last, it is absolutely the most important idea you should take from this article. EVERY mailing you send out has consequences – both good and bad.  You want to learn from every interaction you create with your prospects and clients to understand how to help your business prosper.  Every time you send out a mailing, understand everything you can about it. And use what you gain to make each and every subsequent mailing as impactful as it can be.

Each time we taste a ‘variation on a theme’ on Food Day, my wife and mother-in-law (the Food Day chefs) are faced with understanding the gains and losses, and how they can make a better dish, faster, tastier, and with better results. For the last 22 years, it has proven both entertaining and very enlightening. They continually test their audience. Just like you need to continually test yours.

Direct Mail coaches are ready and waiting to answer your questions. We want to get you hooked on great results, and to show you some delicious ways to put testing…um to the test. Let’s go after that fabulous dish together. Set up a free coaching call today!