Even The Best Test

Here are some tips from Lois Geller telling marketers how to be better at direct mail. For some of us testing is like practicing the piano was growing up. It isn’t always what we want to do…but it the best way to get results:

As a marketing expert, I have had the following conversation hundreds of times over the years.
Company: “We’ve tried direct mail and it doesn’t work.”
Me: [As gently as I can] “Have you run any tests?”
Company: [Blank stare] “Tests?”
Me: “Yep, tests. They’re what make direct mail work. We test all the time.”
Company: “But you’re the experts. You shouldn’t have to test.”
And therein lies the counter-intuitive reality: Even experts have to run test. Amateurs think they can pull it off in one shot. And when that one shot misses, they decide direct mail doesn’t work.
At its most basic, testing involves the three big things: lists, offer and creative. Creative is about half as important as lists or offer; however, most small-business owners spend too much of their time on creative. I suggest spending more time on lists and offer. Here’s a quick to-do list in these categories.
    Find a list broker who will help you get small segments of lists of exactly your right target market.
    Test at least two 0ffers so half of the list gets offer A and the other half gets offer B.
    Track every response and where it came from.
    Based on your responses, roll out the best combination of list and offer.
    Create a mailing piece that appeals to your best prospects, and make sure it appears to come from a real human being.

(via OPEN Forum)

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