Direct Mail Campaigns: If You’re Not Testing, You’re Not Growing

New state laws, new federal regulations, new competition, new product bundles — the list of changes in the marketplace goes on and on. Every day there are changes that affect the audiences you’re targeting (or should be targeting). To keep ahead of these changes, you want to be continually analyzing, and then modifying, your portfolio of lists.

To analyze, you need data. And to get that data, you need to frequently test your lists — both your current lists and potential new ones. Testing usually means trying a campaign on a significant fraction of a list. Make sure you have keycoding built in to your response form so that you can accurately track results.

Here are three proven strategies for testing direct mail campaigns:

  • Test new campaigns on your current lists. Before you roll out a new offer, test it against your traditional offer on a fraction (called a random sample, or an Nth) of your current list. This can tell you if the new campaign is compelling.
  • Test both current campaigns and new ones on new lists. By testing to a fraction of each new list, you can quickly find out which new lists promise the greatest returns.
  • When an initial test on a particular list yields promising results, and time permits, consider testing a second time to a larger sample of that list. If the initial test was on a very small sample, the second test results will be more reliable. This two-tier testing is particularly useful for the early evaluation of new campaign ideas.
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