There’s a theory in marketing that a prospect needs to see or hear your message several times before they will act upon it. However, reaching out to prospective customers multiple times with the same message could end up not just costing you money, but also annoy potential respondents as well. So how do you figure out what parts of your direct mail piece are working and which aren’t? The answer is simply, by testing.

A split test, (or A/B test) is a test that marketers do to compare two different versions of their direct mail piece, to find out which version generates the best response rate. There are a few choices available for split testing:

  1. The Simple test, where everything about the offer is exactly the same except for the one element you are trying to test. The mailing list is split in half with one half receiving version A of the offer and the other half receives version B of the offer. After you receive your responses, it should be easy to tell which version worked better.
  2. The Control Group test is where a control piece with a proven record of success is chosen. Then, a variation piece is chosen. The variation could have a different offer, colour, layout etc, however I would encourage you to limit testing to just one variable at a time so you get a true picture of what does or doesn’t work. Your list is again split in half to measure the response for each variation.
  3. The Complex test is where multiple strategies can be applied. You can break your list into groups using demographics or response methods and create multiple versions for each group to see which offer works best for each one. This type of split testing usually requires a lot more planning and analysis.

The benefit to split testing is that you learn something new each time, but it’s imperative to plan ahead by including all information you need to track your tests. You could track the results by using a special code, or phone number, or a special URL landing page. Once you have the response information you can then analyze it and allocate the costs involved. You may need to spend more to get more, but either way, without testing and tracking you could just be wasting money.

For more information about split testing as well as all other aspects of direct mail planning, contact JR Direct.