Dean Rieck

You might think that you will get through your entire career without doing any direct mail. You’re sort of right, in the sense that you’ll probably never have to do the kind of direct mail packages that your parents got back in the day. ... Today, the direct marketer’s sales story can be told much more easily and affordably online. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore the lessons of direct mail. Many of the tricks of direct mail can work to build the most successful possible website, at least in terms of response rates.

When a sports team has a bad season, you will eventually see an interview in which the coach gives his "Duh" speech. You know the one I mean. The interviewer shoves a microphone in the coach's face and asks what he plans to do differently next season. Fortunately, when things aren't going right in direct marketing, we don't …

If you use direct mail, one of your biggest challenges is beating a control in a head-to-head test. Here's my 7-step procedure, based on proven problem-solving methods. It works for any medium, including direct mail, prints ads and broadcast spots.

I've seen some pretty weird tests in my time, but nothing as over-the-top strange as the one reported in the Annals of Improbable Research (Volume 6, Issue 4). Researchers wanted to test the delivery limits of the USPS. So they mailed a bunch of outlandish items to see what would happen.

In an ideal world, you would always have an adequate budget and plenty of time for all your direct mail tests. But here in the real world, things don't always work out that way. To survive in direct mail, you need a few tricks up your sleeve for improving results when time is short and the budget is lean. Here are 12 quick, easy and cheap testing ideas.

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