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March 22, 2022

6 Strategies for A/B Testing Your Direct Mail

by 
Guest Author

A/B testing helps identify which elements of your campaigns are more effective at garnering a response from your targeted audience. It may be a no-brainer for digital marketing, but A/B split-testing should be an essential part of direct mail marketing, as well.

Testing can help you determine which elements of your direct mail are working to acquire, convert, and retain customers and help you optimize future direct mailpieces.

A/B testing your direct mail marketing works pretty much the same as it does for digital marketing. Your direct mailpieces will be designed identically except for a single element. The element that you vary might be the format, size, call-to-action (CTA), images, or the way consumers access a promotion.

Here are 6 actionable A/B tests for your direct mail that you can try today:

1. Custom image vs. generic image

There are many graphic elements you can customize in your direct mail. Personalizing the images for each customer based on prior purchases or browsing history can have a direct impact on their likelihood to buy again. Try testing a generic image against a personalized image and see which image gets a better conversion rate.

Wayfair does an excellent job of using imagery in its customer acquisition campaigns. Check out the example below for inspiration.

2. Copy

The text you use in your direct mail can have an impact on your audience, particularly wording in the headings that they’ll notice first. If you’ve been grappling with making your headline in the form of a question versus a statement, split testing can help you see which one’s more effective. You can test any of the copy on your direct mailer so use it as an opportunity to see what works and what doesn't.

3. Size and format

One of the frequent things that come up when designing direct mailpieces is the following question, “Is bigger better?” Postcards come in a range of sizes, with 4” x 6” and 6” x 9” being the most common standard formats. Large format postcards may be better at grabbing the attention of recipients. You can even test an 11x9 bifold self-mailer and see what kind of response you get. Rather than taking a wild guess, conduct an A/B test to find out.

4. One CTA vs. multiple CTAs

Your call-to-action (CTA) is one of the most important features of your direct mail. The CTA is usually the main purpose for sending a mailpiece. You can test whether it’s better to include only one CTA or provide multiple options for your customers to choose from. For example, you could compare the number of responses you get when you use a “buy now” CTA versus a “buy now” or “free trial” CTA.

Recommended read: Best practices for direct mail CTAs

5. QR code vs. promo code

When done right, QR codes are a unique way to engage audiences and provide digital offers. The QR code could simply display a promo code when scanned, or it could take users to an app or website with the special offer. You can test a QR code vs a promo code and see what performs better. You can also test including both on a mailer vs using only one tactic.

See how Discover uses QR codes in its customer acquisition letters.

6. Personalized URL vs. generic URL

Direct mail marketing materials often provide a general link to a web page. Personalized URLs (also called PURLs) are custom URLs. PURLs can include a consumers name, or a product name, or even lead to personalized landing pages set up with user information, such as their name. PURLs make it easier to track the behavior of individuals. However, different people respond to different URLs. So, you could run a split test to find out if it’s more effective to have a personalized URL or a generic URL.

Final thoughts

As you plan your A/B testing experiments, be mindful of the advantages of personalization and customization as part of your strategy. Also, consider retargeting opportunities from digital marketing channels.

The ideas from this list of A/B testing strategies are only the tip of the iceberg. There are many other elements you can experiment with, including colors, forms, messages, seals, offers, text placements, etc. But once implemented and measured, you’ll be well on your way to improving the effectiveness of your direct mail campaigns. If you’re not already leveraging technology for your direct mail campaigns, Lob offers the ability to split test almost all elements using automated direct mail services.

Get our eBook, Running a Tactical Direct Mail Campaign for more useful tips.

To learn more, schedule a demo with a Lob pro today. Don't send it. Lob it.

This blog provides general information and discussion about direct mail marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.

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