With any advertising approach that involves a mailing strategy, campaign testing is a vital component in getting the best return results with the resources you have available. Direct mailing has been the foundation of companies’ marketing strategies for generations, and still remains a dependable and reliable source of getting your message sent straight to the mailboxes of your customers.  However with the expansion of the ever popular social media methods, DM is often the first thing to be eliminated.  Because of this, it is important to adapt and expand your methods and focus on email marketing and the right type of campaign testing to prove that the physical piece alongside online mailing is still bringing in returns.

Times are changing.  It is necessary to adapt to a rapidly changing landscape so that your email methods remain relevant.  What often helps is having a variety of response options included at the end of an email, such as QR Codes, simple toll-free numbers, in-person walk-ins or any method of social media communications and text messaging.  Maintaining a relationship with your customers will become quicker and easier this way, thus boosting your overall return rates.

Understand what you want to test before you test it.  It is important to recognize exactly what element you want to test.   With there being so many options available, there can be a lot of missed opportunities in regards to understanding your response rates.  There are many different testing options available beyond the basic A/B splits (several single variables are changed in each email), like multivariate (multiple design elements are changed at the same time),  and list segment testing and different template and design styles.  It is important to test all of them either all at once, or individually, and take note of the differences in response.   Remember it’s not just getting the results, but how you follow up on them after.  For example, a colorful promotional package may seem like the more popular consumer choice over a basic one step informational package, however in many cases the informational package will perform up to 3 times better.  In this case, this is because the overuse of information in the promotional package deters customers from reading your entire message.  It is important to find a balance between too much and too little information so that your customers will want to research your company more in depth.

Sequencing.  The order in which you send out your mail is also an important part of your campaign testing success.  You need to test your sequences and slightly change the content of your message depending on the order it is sent out.  For example you could first send out an email and then send out the direct mail piece.  However, if you’re going to do it vice versa you need to change your content slightly in order for your sequencing to make sense and test which channel and message is working best.

Common Mistakes.  A common mistake that often occurs in the process of testing is not getting caught up in the minute details of your strategy, but whether or not what you’re testing is actually going to make a large enough imprint on the foundation of your company.  Is it enough to actually “move the needle.”

Jumping to the wrong conclusions due to the improper set up of tests is just another mistake one can make.  When evaluating your results, it is a must that you take into consideration different elements of your testing process and what factors can affect the outcome.  Just because one strategy resulted in a higher rate of returns does not necessarily mean it was the better method.

Take Full Advantage of Testing Results.  There is still a ways to go in terms of elevating testing into a true feedback cycle.  Overall, emailing still remains the best method for ROI and because it works, we have to perform tests to make sure it works at its hardest.

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