a/b test direct mail with google


One of the most powerful tools in marketing today is the A/B test.

This is when you pit two separate pieces of your marketing against each other to see which prompts reactions in buyers. As you might imagine, technology makes this easier, but what does that mean for direct mail?

When participating in digital marketing, you can gain fairly immediate insight into the activities of consumers. This means you can test two separate headlines to see which garners more clicks. Then test two CTAs to see which prompts more conversions. Within a short time, you can tighten up your marketing copy and enjoy the results. Now, what happens when your marketing isn’t digital?

The Old A/B Test

Testing your headlines on direct mail pieces is nothing new. The results are never as immediate as those you’d receive from emails, though. How can you tell if recipients opened their mail or if they just threw it straight into the trash? What proof do you have that they followed up on the information you provided?

Well, if you receive a higher number of purchases from one letter or flier than you do from another, you can assume the higher performing copy is the better option. How long does it take to collect that information, though? When can you be certain you have all the data?

Improving Upon the Process

With the introduction of personalized URLs and phone numbers, tracking numbers became a little easier. With these, you can get faster insights into who’s opening and engaging with your direct mail marketing pieces. When half of your contact list receives a letter with one headline and the other half gets different copy, you get a pretty good idea of who’s involved with your company when they visit your website or call.

Still, sending out mail to your entire list of contacts costs quite a bit of money, especially when you’re testing your copy. How can you be sure anyone will react at all? What if you could know before you even send the letters which version will reach your buyers?

A/B Test with Google AdWords

We’ve discussed the many ways you can combine your digital and direct mail marketing efforts, but this is something on a whole new level. You can use your digital marketing skills to determine which headlines will get bigger results. All you need to do is set up a Google AdWords campaign.

Yes, you’ll probably need some help from someone who understands Google AdWords, at least for the first test you run. And you’ll also pay for the clicks your ads receive, so be prepared for that cost. Still, the money you spend perfecting your headlines with Google can’t compare to the money you’d spend on postage for your old-fashioned A/B tests.

All you need to do is set up two separate campaigns in AdWords. Let them run for equal time while targeting the same customers. The ad that receives the most engagement, well, that’s the clear winner, right? If the difference between the two ads isn’t enough to determine a clear winner, then make a few tweaks to each and then set them out there again.

The more you test, the better your results will be. You may want to test the same headlines against each other a few times with a change here and there every time. This will help you really polish the copy for a more powerful direct mail piece.

If you’d like to learn more about A/B testing for your direct mail efforts, reach out to us any time. We can walk you through all your options and help you develop campaigns that will convince and convert your buyers.