3 New Direct Mail Tricks for Old Testing Rules
My take: "Bill me" may apply more specifically to a low-cost, multiple-unit impulse sale, such as a periodical subscription, but it also appears likely that the particular form of credit, debit or deferred payment that tests strongest against cash, especially in this economic climate, will validate Benson's rule.
RULE No. 2: Adding to a package is more likely to pay out than cutting.
Benson preferred to test whole packages to make a breakthrough, rather than testing increments; and he generally tested the packages exactly as written. Following a successful package test, he tested additions to strengthen results.
Bryan Judge, president of a home-study school, has had notable successes in adding full color, inserts, testimonials and other elements in Standard mail; he also has made successful additions to First Class packages while staying within the "winning" postage level, or lightening the package to get it under the next level.
Kelly would add rather than subtract, although he cites two winning jumbos, one consumer and one business, that lost to 6˝ x 9˝ versions.
My take: Benson's rule still holds. Test additions before you test subtractions.
RULE No. 3: Dollar for dollar, premiums work far better than cash discounts.
Most direct mailers have a preference for premiums over cash discounts. Greenawalt says "cash discounts cheapen perceived value"; fellow copywriter Mark E. Johnson points out that "a $5 cash discount always costs you $5," while a premium with a perceived value well above $5 often can be produced for $1. Judge likes premiums because "you can sell harder against them." Consultant Grant Johnson says premiums work because "people prefer tangibles."
My take: Keep on looking for and testing new premiums.