Testing. Remember the glory days when direct mail testing was as normal as a mailbox full of mail? Nowadays, of course, testing is down and so is mail volume. But the latter didn't create the former and, if anything, makes 2010 the perfect opportunity to roll out tests, both big and small.
Next Tuesday, April 13, I'll be hosting a DirectMarketingIQ webinar called "Direct Mail Testing in 2010 — Copy, Offer, Lists, Formats, Personalization and More." Click here to sign up. (As an added bonus, all registrants will receive a free copy of our how-to guide: "The Secrets of Direct Mail Testing.")
In fact, with reduced competition in the mailbox and prospects growing increasingly tired of email solicitations, 2010 can be the year of record response rates in direct mail, especially if you TEST and do it right.
We're going to turn to two prominent direct marketers — Grant Johnson, president of Johnson Direct, and Steve Cuno, chairman of Response Agency — who both have rosters of big and small clients that still test.
I've had a sneak peak at Grant's slideshow, and it's a presentation that you don't want to miss. He begins with the words of famous direct marketer Drayton Bird: "Testing is your first duty as a direct marketer. Apart from anything else, it will ensure you don't lose money — and that is what you have to concern yourself about first."
Grant believes, strongly, that you must test today, more than ever. And he will give numerous examples of tests that are effective.
So why test? Grant says it allows you to know, not guess. It's what differentiates DM from all other media. It keeps you ahead of your competitors. It allows you to be more efficient. It helps you keep your fingers on public pulse and help you sense trends in advance.
Of course, everyone seems to test differently. Some marketers make up their own rules. Some test the wrong things. Others misunderstand testing.
But testing is about learning and growing. There's not a silver bullet. It's a process, but one with a certain logic.
Grant will explain why starting, after the control is established, with an A/B Split Test is the smartest move. And why big things — like lists, offer, creative format and copy — should be tested first.
He (and Steve) will delve into the data, the offer/messaging, the creative, the timing … and show you where to begin (your current customers!).
They will present and explain successful tests, including a grand control that's generated over $1 billion.
Investing in this webinar may prove to be one of your best moves of 2010, as you'll walk away with a handful of actionable testing strategies for your direct mail program. And you'll see that testing doesn't have to cost a bundle, but can certainly make you one. Hope to see you there.
Ethan Boldt is the Chief Content Officer of DirectMarketingIQ and Editor-in-Chief of Inside Direct Mail Weekly, as well as host of all dmIQ's webinars. He can reached at email@example.com or 215-238-5223.