Have you ever done an A/B test for your direct mail campaigns? If you haven’t, now is the time to start. To help you get started, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about A/B testing.
What is A/B Testing and Why Do Marketers Do It?
Harvard Business Review has the most straightforward definition for A/B testing: “A/B testing, at its most basic, is a way to compare two versions of something to figure out which performs better.” Smart marketers use A/B tests to identify the best marketing strategy that will bring them the best results, which can lead to more engagement, leads, sales, and higher ROIs for each campaign. A/B testing can be used for practically every type of marketing campaign: promotional emails, print ads, display ads, and of course, direct mail pieces. Innovation and change are vital for success, which is why A/B testing is so necessary. It pushes you to rethink your direct mail campaign strategies and take smart risks. Without any type of experimentation, it’s nearly impossible to know how effective your mailers truly are.
How To A/B Test Your Direct Mail Campaign
If you’re a beginner, it’s best to keep your testing simple. Pick one variable to test, such as the offer, color scheme, graphics, etc. Send one version of your mailer to half of your mailing list, and mail the second version to the other half. It’s also essential that you make sure that you have a foolproof way to track the campaign results easily. For example, if your response method is to call, use different phone numbers for both mailers; if it’s a landing page, use different URLs. If you use the same phone number, URL, email address, etc., it’ll be impossible to distinguish which mailer generates the most responses.
You also need to monitor how much money you spend on each version of your mailer. Don’t assume that both versions will cost the same amount. Sometimes there are hidden or overlooked costs when you create a direct mail piece, which is why it’s so crucial that you record every single expense. Without knowing how much you spent on each version of your mailer, you won’t be able to determine which produced a higher ROI accurately.
Your business can’t grow and flourish without taking some risks and making changes. We know it can be scary to change your direct mail strategy, but A/B testing allows you to take a risk in a safe way. Remember, A/B testing is just that – a test. It gives you the chance to try something new at low stakes. If you keep doing the same thing over and over again without challenging it, you’ll never know if a better strategy exists. Maybe the way you plan your direct mail campaigns is the best way, but you can’t prove it without testing it.