If You’re Not Testing, You’re Not Maximizing Results

In direct response marketing, the testing never really ends. You’ll always be reiterating your work on some level, testing the various components—and probably some of your assumptions—to improve on your efforts with better and better results.

Testing is an easy and affordable way to keep your campaigns fresh and productive, and the insights you generate can help spark new ideas. But the bottom line is testing is a tried-and-true way to boost campaign effectiveness—and that means attract more leads and sell more product over time.

You’ll Always “Pass” Direct Response Marketing Tests
We’re big proponents of testing—it’s core to our business and we run a lot of tests with our clients. So send out a mailing, deploy an email, manage a TV campaign or run a digital or traditional ad—and test it!  Putting you in greater control of your message, your message delivery, and message response-ability, testing enables you to:

  • Understand your customers better – what really appeals to them
  • Redefine success – what you thought was good could be even better
  • Figure out what works and what doesn’t work – and increase response rates and revenue

There are many things you can test, and what you test depends on your goals. You’ll want to test the “big things” that will make the biggest difference. All testing can be placed into three buckets, and we’ll help you sort them out:

  1. Media – Here, you’re testing the marketing channel (direct mail, email, print, digital advertising, broadcast, social media) or a campaign element associated with it. For instance, testing can help you uncover which external mailing list or segments of your own database drive the best results, which social media channel (e.g. Facebook vs. LinkedIn) yields the most effective response, or what day of the week or time of day is ideal for sending promotional emails.
  1. Offer/Value Proposition – Central to any campaign, testing your offer or value prop helps you identify what’s most likely to drive a target market to take action. For example, will prospects respond better to “25% off” or “$25 off” their next order? Does offering a free gift or exclusive access to educational content result in more sales? Will customers prefer “two months free” or a discount on their monthly subscription price?
  1. Creative – When testing creative, you’re finding out which copy, design, or format/size is most appealing to your audience and therefore performs better. You can test various envelope teasers, e-mail subject lines, or advertising headlines; you can see if your mailing recipients prefer illustrations or photographs; or find out if providing more (or less) detail on a promotional postcard influences the response rate.

When you test, you want to have a control piece—usually the most effective version of your message or marketing piece—and a test piece. The test version will differ in just one way; perhaps the control piece offers $10 off the customer’s next order while the test offers 20% off their next order. The performance of each version will show you which offer is more attractive to the audience.

How about we walk you through an example of direct response marketing tests to help you see why it’s such a powerful tool for boosting business results?

“The Traditional Direct Mail Package Goes Visual”
Challenge: One of our clients had been experiencing “ok” results with a standard, copy-driven insurance direct mail package. We recommended running a creative test to see if a more image-based approach to the content would increase response.

We cut out much of the copy and replaced it with images in an infographic-style treatment, carrying the look and feel across all of the mailing components. The creative style was the only variable changed—the offer, mailing list segments mailed were the same for both copy-driven control and the image-based test.

Results: The more visually oriented mailing generated 18% more applications. Moving forward, we will verify the results in a larger confirmation test before expanding to the entire database, and look at other products for a potential more visual approach.

Never Stop Testing
As our example illustrates, testing results in climbing ROI. Always, keep testing to improve upon current results.  As we like to say, “Testing adds dots to your learning curve of what works and doesn’t work.”

Testing requires a careful identification of statistically significant sample size so your results can be replicated with confidence to a larger audience. Contact us if you’d like to learn more!

For more insights into testing, don’t miss:
3 Benefits of Recruiting Sales Agents Through LinkedIn
5 Healthcare Marketing Assumptions That Could Cost You
Measuring the Success of an Omnichannel Direct Response Marketing Campaign