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September 11, 2010


What Works Best?

by fnbrinc

Maximize Your Profits by Test Marketing

The ultimate goal of direct mail marketing is to drive traffic to your business and ultimately create sales. In today’s business environment more than ever, businesses must fine tune their direct mail advertising to drive sales and save money.

As a marketing company, FNBR designs and prints thousands of mailers every year. These mailers are designed based on the concepts of what our clients feel will best sell their product or service. Many times, a mail piece is designed based on a “hunch” of what our clients feel are most important to their audience. Relying on your instincts is a great way to begin your advertising process, but wouldn’t you like to know that those instincts are giving you the greatest possible return on your investment?

The Key to Maximizing Your Returns
Scientifically test and monitor your results. In most cases, this can be done for little or no cost — and the benefits are considerable.

Case Study #1
For many years now, one of our clients (a financial planner) has successfully used FNBR and direct mail to get people to attend their seminars. Their existing mailer had always worked well, but they felt that by updating the text on their next mailing to issues that had recently been in the news, they would increase their response rate. We suggested that they send out a test mailing where half of the mailing list used their new mailer, and the other half of the list used their current mailer. FNBR designed a scientific method to split the mailing list and monitor the results. When all of the responses were tallied, only 23% of the RSVP’s came from the new mailer, while the original mailer brought in 77% of the RSVP’s. Without the test, there would have been no way of knowing if it was the new text or some other factor that had influenced the response rate. Guess which mailer they used on their next mailing?

Case Study #2
Test marketing is also a great way to fine tune your demographics. Another FNBR client had been mailing to adults between the ages of 30 and 65. By tracking the ages of the people who respond to their mailings, we can determine the ages of the people most likely to respond. By test marketing their mailings, we were able to determine that 86% of the responses were coming from people between the ages of 46 and 53. By using the refined age range of 46-53 on their subsequent mailings, we were able to maximize their returns and increase profitability. 

It is very important to compare apples to apples when testing your mailing campaigns. Mailing one mailer this month and a different mailer next month to compare results does not offer accurate results. For example, let’s say that you are sending out mailer “A” on May 1st and mailer “B” on June 1st. The goal for both of the mailings is to bring customers into your retail store for a three day sales event. The May sales event occurs on a beautiful spring weekend and does quite well. The June sales event occurs on a summer weekend when the temperature averaged 95 degrees with high humidity all three days and did rather poorly. So, what caused the poor turnout at the June event? Was it because the recipients did not like the design of mailer “B” or that they did not want to go out in the hot summer weather?

Testing’s Golden Rule
The golden rule of testing is to test only one element at a time on a single mailing. The three most important variables to test are the Mailing List, the Offer and the Creative Design. If you are trying a new Mailing List, don’t change the Creative or Offer. If you are trying a new Offer, don’t fool with the Mailing List or the Creative, etc… The data needs a scientifically controlled random selection process to assign the names to the different test mailers, and the mailers need to have been set up with unique tracking information to distinguish between the results. Tracking and testing are absolutely essential to getting the best results from your marketing. Without them, you are flying blind.

Continue the Conversation
If you’d like to discuss ways to implement tracking and testing on your next direct mail campaign, call FNBR Inc. at 888-988-8148 or send us an email at

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