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5 Direct Mail Tests You Can Run
June 14, 2022

5 Direct Mail Tests You Can Run

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We recently published a blog post on making your direct mail campaigns work smarter that covered how to optimize your direct mail marketing campaigns but one optimization topic we didn't dive deep into was direct mail tests. That's what we're going to talk about today: 5 direct mail marketing tests every marketer needs to run at least once.

There’s a saying that goes “if at first, you don’t succeed, try again.” In the marketing world, it’s more like “if you aren’t getting great results, conduct tests.” When it comes to direct mail, just like any marketing tactic, it’s almost impossible to predict the exact combination of creative variables that will hit that optimization sweet spot for your specific customer base. Wondering how to find it? Here are a few direct mail tests you can run using Lob’s simple intelligent direct mail service, which enables you to produce individually personalized direct mail pieces at scale.

Direct mail marketing tests every marketer needs to implement

5 Direct Mail Tests You Can Run image 2
Source: Who's Mailing What!

1. Personalization

It’s no secret that customers love personalization on marketing pieces. In fact, In fact, consumers are twice as likely to view personalized messages as important compared to more standard messages. The question is, how much is too much? Where should you use it, and at what point does the consumer shift from appreciating the personalized message to feeling like a privacy line has been crossed? That’s why it is so important to conduct effective direct mail testing on personalization for your brand.

Lob allows you to automate the deployment of personalized direct mail based on programmatic campaign triggers — meaning that a customer will only receive a personalized message from your brand after certain interaction points. Within these deployments, you have the option to personalize a number of variables to the customer:

  • Images (see the Stitch Fix example above that personalizes the postcard with something the customer received previously)
  • Names, greetings, and other text
  • QR codes
  • URLs
  • Referral or promo codes

When using personalization effectively, real Lob customer ThredUp was able to increase their response rate and overall orders by more than 15%.

2. Call-to-action

As with any marketing piece, your direct mail campaign needs to include a strong call-to-action or CTA. The prospect shouldn’t just receive a postcard with a pretty picture — that postcard needs to inspire them to continue interacting with your brand and, eventually, become a loyal customer.

You’re probably already using multiple CTA statements across your marketing campaigns, like “learn more,” “schedule a demo,” and, of course, “buy now.” It’s up to you to conduct the appropriate direct mail test to determine if your pieces are more effective with a single CTA or multiple, and which CTAs are most effective at specific points in the customer journey.

Take a closer look at this creative from Ashley Home Stores. Same image, same copy but the offer and essential CTA is different. One is asking customers to use their exclusive offer of 20% off and the other is telling them to finance their next Ashley purchase. We'd love to know which version of this campaign drove more conversions for Ashley.

5 Direct Mail Tests You Can Run image 3
Source: Who's Mailing What!
5 Direct Mail Tests You Can Run image 4
Source: Who's Mailing What!

3. QR code vs. personalized URL

Unlike other digital tactics, a prospect can’t simply click “learn more” on a direct mail piece in order to act on that carefully selected CTA. You need a vehicle to get them to your website or app so they can continue their journey toward conversion. In this case, you have two equally viable options: QR codes and personalized URLs.

QR codes are easily scanned from mobile devices, making them an excellent option if your product is within an app, you’re asking them to download something specific, and your overall customer journey is best suited to smartphone and tablet devices. However, if you want your customers to view something on a desktop or aren’t sure what device they’ll prefer, you will need to provide a URL that can be easily typed in from anywhere.

There is also a consideration about your target audience’s demographics when it comes to choosing between a QR code and a personalized URL as part of this direct mail test. If your customer base skews older, or on the lower end of the household income spectrum, they are less likely to be smartphone users and will likely have an easier time using a personalized URL.

4. Format

One of the most unique direct mail tests you can run is actually on the format of the pieces you deploy. In some cases, you might find that a letter in an envelope performs better than a postcard, or that a self-mailer drives more action than a letter. These types of tests are specific to the direct mail medium, and directly impact how your customer physically interacts with and responds to your brand and the content you are trying to communicate.

Lob has a library of direct mail templates that you can use as a starting point for your direct mail test pieces when exploring new formats. Each of these formats has multiple points of personalization, meaning every piece of direct mail can be specifically tailored to your customers' specific needs.

When creating direct mail at scale, it's highly beneficial to be able to test multiple formats and create variable campaigns for various products. For example, Lob customer Realeflow offers real estate investors a number of marketing and lead generation tools as they try to explore properties. By partnering with Lob to include personalized direct mail in multiple formats, Realeflow saw over a 300% increase in the number of direct mail campaigns that were successfully created, with over 200% increase in the number of unique accounts that used the direct mail tool on the platform.

5. Size

It's not just the size of a postcard you can test when it comes to direct mail! The CEO and Founder of iExit, one of our early adopters, talked at length during the webinar on how to Retain Customers and Boost Revenue with Personalized Direct Mail about how he tested both format and size to find the winning combination for increasing his advertising revenue. By sending a letter instead of a postcard, he found better conversions, and then by extending the size of his letter from one page to two, he found even more success.

Direct mail tests lead to better results

When you’re conducting a direct mail test, Lob gives you the insights you need for tracking, reporting, and attribution to determine exactly how each variable impacts your overall campaign performance. Ready to see how Lob can work for your brand? Request a demo to learn how direct mail can increase your ROI potential by as much as 300%.

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