Five Direct Mail Tests to Run in 2008
The major reason why direct mail works? Because direct mail can be tested. Go into the mailstream with a poorly executed idea, and you’ll know it flopped within a short amount of time, especially with today’s mail technology. And now that it’s finally being revealed—including by our esteemed colleague Denny Hatch in his online column “Business Common Sense” (http://www.businesscommonsense.com/story/story_singlepg.bsp?sid=80907&var=story)—that online advertising is not as trackable as it had been made out to be, old-fashioned direct marketing and newly emphasized “measurable ROI” appear to be perfect mates.
“The primary reason direct mail is, and has been, one of the most successful forms of marketing is our ability to test and measure everything from envelopes, post cards and messages,” says Grant Johnson, CEO and founder of direct marketing agency Johnson Direct in Brookfield, Wis. He says that these five tests, in particular, will pay dividends in 2008.
1. Get Official
Official-looking formats work especially well for financial services marketers, who want to treat their customers with the highest level of respect.
2. Snap-Packs Surge
Don’t laugh: the snap-pack is back. It gets the prospect physically involved with the mailing and that means more reading, more responses.
3. Better List Segmentation Means Better Personalization
Because list segmentation is used more wisely today so is personalization to customers and prospects. Personalization may be the key factor in getting the message read.
4. Sell the Story Before the Product
Johnson calls it “story-selling,” or producing copy that tells stories and gives customers an emotional reason to respond. This tried-and-true technique cannot be overemphasized.
5. Bigger in Cost, But Way Better in Response?
Higher postage rates have made many mailers abandon larger formats, but Johnson thinks this is a big mistake, pun intended. Formats sizes must be tested before prematurely deciding to play small ball.