When you incorporate direct mail into your marketing strategies, you have a unique opportunity to learn more about your prospects and customers than ever before. Make the most of your direct mail pieces by including test elements. Whether you try out different offers, design pieces, or audience segments, use these 4 principles to create direct mail tests that will help you gather important insights and increase your return on investment.
1. Limit Test Elements
It is exciting to test different elements on a marketing piece and see what your audience responds to more. Whether you change marketing design aspects, offers, or layouts, each element you test will help you gain insights on what catches your audience’s eye and how you can create more effective marketing campaigns. Keep in mind that you need to limit your test elements; otherwise, it will be impossible to see which one is outperforming the others. The ideal number of test elements is 1-2 per campaign.
Begin the testing process by deciding what you want to learn and accomplish through the test. Next choose which element you want to use on your marketing piece to reach that goal. Does your audience respond more to a coupon that offers 20% off or $10 off a $50 purchase? Perhaps you want to see how different customer segments resonate with a new product, so you change the images to align with different demographic profiles. Do you want to see which marketing channels your audience interacts with more? You might try a direct mail + email vs. direct mail + social campaign. Choose your test elements strategically and clearly label each one, so you can see which household received which test group.
2. Decide Who Gets What
Once you have chosen the test elements, you need to select which individuals get Test A vs Test B. Some people prefer to take a random selection from their data list while others want to segment out their target audience such as Group A is families with kids under age 5 and Group B is families with kids ages 6-12.
How you choose the different test groups should align with what you are trying to learn. You might divide your list multiple times, but it’s important to make sure you have enough households in each group to get a good reading on responses. If you over divide your list, your findings will be skewed or watered down and could be useless in helping you create stronger campaigns.
3. Track Responses
No matter how great and well thought out your direct mail test elements may be, if you do not have a way to track results, your efforts will be wasted. Take time to set up multiple avenues to capture response data.
First, target a known audience, meaning you have a name and postal address for each record. An example of an unknown audience would be advertising on a social channel, selecting specific demographics to advertise to, but you do not know which households are being targeted. By using a known audience, you are able to identify individuals who made a purchase even if they do not use any of the ways you have set up to track responses.
Next, create opportunities to collect responses. Some marketers will add custom QR codes, PURLs, or redemption codes on the mail piece. You could set up a special landing page for them to reach through your social media ads or add a pixel to your website to capture and identify anonymous website visitors.
At every point of transaction, try to capture personal data. Ideally, you want to get a name and postal address, but you can also collect email and phone numbers. Note that you will not be able to match as many transactions to email and phone numbers, but you should be able to collect some data. It’s important to be aware of the customer’s purchasing circumstances and to only ask for what is absolutely necessary. If you require too many pieces of information, they will lose interest and abandon their cart. Customers are more willing to give information during online transactions than during in-person transactions.
4. Analyze & Apply Results
After you have collected response data, it’s important to match your transaction data to your marketing list. This shows you who was targeted with ads and made a purchase and which test element they received. Analyze your response data to discover key insights about who your customers are, where they are coming from, what they like, and what they responded to. Use the findings to hone in on better prospects and to create marketing materials that catch their eye.
Each direct mail test you send out can help you find wonderful new customers and strengthen your current customer relationships. Gather the information you need to make strategic decisions and help your business grow. Great marketers know the key to success is to never stop learning or adjusting.
If you want to learn more about your target audience and how to create strategic test elements, contact our team.