Direct Mail: Chumpion to Champion
Being good at designing direct mail requires having the discerning eye of a visual artist and the insatiable curiosity of a scientist. From font size and colors, to the position of the call to action (CTA), to the images on the page, there are hundreds of factors in the design of a direct mail piece that can have a measurable impact on the success or failure of a campaign. One small change can take the ROI of a design concept from indifferent to incredible! Or as we like to say, from challenger to champion.
While data seems to be in the spotlight today when talking about testing, we've seen mail get double- and even triple-digit lift in response that was attributed to the format of the mail piece. For years, the magic formula for tabulating response had been 40/40/20—40 percent of response was attributed to the list, another 40 percent came from the offer, and the remaining 20 percent was everything else, including format, design and copy.
Fortunately, there are a number of tools and techniques for testing design concepts to determine how various elements impact response and conversion. The following are some of the best practices you can implement before your next campaign hits the mailbox:
Test Adding, or Eliminating
Components like plastic cards or heavy inserts are proven to increase open rates because of the tactility factor. Simply put, the package feels unusual, piquing the curiosity of the recipient. Using the card or heavy insert to showcase your CTA puts that tactility to work. Testing the same package with and without the tactility factor will help you justify—or eliminate—the additional cost.
Test How Content Is Emphasized
According to the New York Times, in 1962 Japanese inventor Yukio Horie created a felt-tip pen that used water-based ink. The following year, Massachusetts print-media giant Carter's Ink developed a similar water-based marker that emitted an eye-catching translucent ink, calling it the Hi-Liter. More than 50 years later, highlighting the key benefits in a direct mail letter is a simple and effective way to test copy points.