a/b testing for direct mail

Most marketers are already aware of how A/B testing can improve lead generation and conversions. When planning direct mail marketing campaigns, however, A/B testing is often set aside in favor of one message that reaches all recipients. The stated reason for this is often an attempt to save money, but most really just don’t understand how they could possibly track the results.

What Is A/B Testing?

If you’re not sure what A/B testing is, that’s okay. This technique involves sending out two variations of your direct mail pieces, whether postcards, fliers, or letters. The variations should only affect one aspect of your mail piece, such as the headline or the call to action. If the second mail piece varies wildly, then you won’t know which aspect of the postcard or flier actually reached people.

After sending the two variations, track your results. You can do this through QR codes, coupon codes, PURLs, and even sales numbers. The piece with higher conversions is the clear winner.

Why A/B Testing Is Valuable

If you’re not challenging yourself to get better with each piece of direct mail you send, then you’ll rarely see increased performance. Don’t you want to know for sure that each campaign you sent out is better than the last? Your results from A/B testing can be used with each new campaign or mail piece to improve upon performance.

With each marketing campaign, you can A/B test different parts of your mail pieces. Images, headings, copy, and CTAs all beg to be improved upon. When you discover a headline formula that works, then focus on reaching more people with your CTAs. Change colors, fonts, action words… The possibilities are endless. Each change you make puts you one step closer to perfection.

Why A/B Testing Will Never Bring Perfection

There is always a way to improve, right? Even when you’re certain you’ve discovered the messaging that reaches the largest part of your target audience, you can still A/B test different variations. What you thought was perfect might actually benefit from more improvement.

In other words, there’s no such thing as perfect. There is a chance that you could improve your brand messaging, grow your audience, and increase your conversions, though. That’s definitely worth going through the trouble of A/B testing, right?

Measuring Your Success

You will see a difference in results when you use A/B testing. Knowing where to look is key. First, you could experience an immediate bump in sales, which will let you know you definitely did something right. Next, you could see an increase in engagement through online sources, such as more traffic to your website or more followers on your social media accounts.

Even if you don’t see these things, it doesn’t mean your A/B testing isn’t working, though. You need to put some things in place to track those silent recipients. A coupon code will help you determine who’s taking advantage of your special offers. Just make sure the codes are different for each variation you send out. A PURL will help you track any users that go straight to your website after receiving your direct mail. Again, as long as the Personal URL you use for each variation is different, you’re set to track your results. A different phone number tracks those who prefer to conduct their business away from the internet.

Remember that you’ll need pretty large audiences in order to get the best results. A test group of 100 people won’t give you as much information as a group of 100,000. If your mailing lists aren’t that large, use what you have but feel free to test the same variations more than once. The more information you have, the more you can trust your results.

AMi specializes in variable data printing, which means we’re uniquely qualified to help you with your A/B testing goals. If you’d like to learn more about how you can improve your campaigns through variable data printing, give us a call. We’re always here to help.