In an ideal world, you would always have an adequate budget and plenty of time for all your direct mail tests. But here in the real world, things don't always work out that way.
To survive in direct mail, you need a few tricks up your sleeve for improving results when time is short and the budget is lean. Here are 12 quick, easy and cheap testing ideas:
1. Change your outer envelope.
A new color or a different size may be all it takes to get people to take a second look at a package they've seen too many times. You can also try switching from a teaser envelope to a plain one or vice versa. And faux express envelopes are often worth a test.
2. Test a new letter.
It can be an all-new letter from scratch. Or a longer version of your current letter with more detail. Or a shorter version with less detail. Or a modified version with a new spin on the headlines and opening paragraphs.
3. Remove your brochure.
Believe it or not, response often picks up without that elaborate brochure. It may be that removing the brochure simply gets people to read the letter more thoroughly. This doesn't always work, but as tests go, you can't get any simpler.
4. Include a stand-alone reply form.
You should be doing this anyway, but if not, try it. It doesn't matter if another piece already has a reply form. This is just a test. And if it works, you can make further modifications later.
5. Insert a lift note.
This is an easy way to overcome a major objection or highlight a key benefit. Just remember to keep it short and have it signed by someone other than the person who signs the main letter. If you have a celebrity or authority who can sign it, all the better.
6. Strengthen your offer.
This is where you can usually make the most difference. All things being equal, the best offer you can make is a free trial. The second best is a money-back guarantee. If you don't want to change your offer completely, try turning it into a yes/no offer, or a yes/maybe offer where "yes" is a purchase and "maybe" is a request for more information. Of course, sweepstakes can always add a lift, but your customer quality will usually go downhill.