Beat Your Control
Look at the Competition
In addition to beating the control, you also have to beat the competition. That’s why it’s a good idea to invest time in reviewing competitive mailings. Look for points of product or offer differentiation that the existing control doesn’t address effectively. Here’s an example of what I mean.
Let’s say your widget’s battery life is five times longer than the competitors’, and the current control doesn’t highlight this fact. This is noteworthy. In fact, this may be a major benefit that saves your customer money and time. If so, it may deserve a testimonial lift letter or an insert featuring third-party research. Anything you can add to make your product stand out and make comparison shopping easier for the customer has the potential to dramatically increase response.
More Tips for Generating More Response
Here are some additional suggestions I’ve learned from experience and from great writers such as Bob Stone, Joan Throckmorton, Herschell Gordon Lewis and Denny Hatch.
• Is your assignment to create an entirely new test package or to beat the control? If it’s the latter, a completely new package may not be necessary. Maybe all you need is to change the color or size of the control outer envelope. Or enclose a free product sample. Free samples create lumps that generate intrigue and increase response.
• What about adding an insert to emphasize a valuable benefit? An insurance company had a solo mailing that had outperformed test mailings for over two decades. The offer was one month’s coverage for a quarter. Buried in small type was the added benefit that a spouse could also get one month’s coverage for 25 cents. By adding a simple two-color insert that promoted the spouse’s coverage, the number of lives insured per mail piece increased more than enough to pay for the insert. Plus, the overall number of applications generated per thousand increased by 45 percent.