Two Ways to Absolutely Guarantee Your Direct Mail Won’t Work

There is an old adage that says, “speed kills.” It is certainly true of driving, but it’s also true with respect to direct mail. When you’re in a hurry, bad things can happen.

To ensure your direct mail works, you need to follow the three Ts: test, test, test. However, there are two big reasons testing doesn’t get done; 1). time and 2). money.

“I don’t have time to test,” is often code for, “I really need to make something happen right now.”

One of the things we battle is the temptation to commit to specific results. On a regular basis, we are asked this question: “If we do this, what kind of results can we expect to see?” I would be a bazillionaire if I could answer that question accurately. I keep asking for a crystal ball for Christmas, and no one has given me one yet. I must confess I have been backed into a corner and forced to answer that question a few times in my career. However, I always regret it later.

The fact that I am bald and gray sometimes creates the impression that I am wise. So, I am going to take full advantage of that perception to issue sagely advice. The two keys to direct marketing success are:

  1. Budget time for testing
  2. Budget money for testing

If you will allocate about six months to testing various approaches and variants — which should include segmentation and different packages, lists, offers, landing pages, and messages — and you measure everything very well, you will probably develop a profitable approach. That doesn’t mean that every test was profitable. It means that a solid, multi-variant testing process will yield insights that will show you what is profitable.

How much mail do you have to send to reach statistically valid results? Well, that depends on what your typical response rate is and what you want it to be. There are formulas that can answer that question definitively.

As someone who has spent his life hawking print, I can tell you that if I sell you stuff that doesn’t work, and you stop doing it because it doesn’t work, we both lose. However, if I can help you do stuff that makes you lots of money or helps generate leads, we both win.

If you want help figuring out how to make the stuff work, give me a yell. I love talking about direct marketing.

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