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This is Only a Test

TEST

Quick question. Do you consider yourself a direct marketer?

We certainly do (after all, we put the word "direct" right in the name of our agency). Basically, if you're any sort of marketer today, you need to think of yourself as a direct marketer. You're building relationships with prospects and customers — no matter what media you use or what title is on your business card.

So, what does it mean to be a direct marketer? The words and phrases that come to mind include "targeted," "one-to-one," "responsive," "measurable," and "accountable."

Another important part of direct marketing is "continuous improvement." Because our programs and campaigns provide a means by which our audience can reply, we have result metrics and an objective way to measure success.

We also have the opportunity to test.

And, fortunately, testing can be economical. Aren't we lucky? Producing and running two different television spots is super costly. Testing two different email subject lines? Not so much.

Here is a list — by no means complete — of elements you should test whenever you have the opportunity:

• Creative concepts
• Offers
• Lists
• Envelopes with teaser copy and without — or two different teasers
• Email subject lines
• Adding a "lift note" to a direct mail package
• Creative personalization
• PURLs vs. URLs
• Color
• Photos or illustrations
• Copy versions
• Johnson boxes
• P.S. copy
• Self-mailers vs. envelope packages
• How many links (and their placement) in emails
• Stamps, meters, or indicias
• Finished size
• Mail format
• Length of copy — whether direct mail or email
• Time and day email is sent
• Calls to action
• Text-only or HTML or rich media
• Reading level
• And so much more

As you can see, some of these, like different concepts, are an investment in learning. Others are virtually free. So, to test or not to test isn't really the question. Commit to continuous improvement.

After all, no one should be an indirect marketer.

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