Testing Direct Mail Offers


Direct Mail testing is an effective strategy to improve the response to existing or new campaigns. Testing allows for meaningful insights into ways to increase response to your mail campaigns and achieve a deeper understanding of what motivates your customers to respond or take action.


Testing should be done on a regular schedule, especially when it comes to testing offers. This process should be ongoing, rather than “one and done” testing, and if done efficiently, it will yield profitable results. Thus, every campaign you mail should include a test run prior to the launch or an embedded test panel placed within your control mailings.


As highlighted in last month’s article regarding list testing, you should form a ‘hypothesis’ about what you think your customer will be more likely to respond to before testing [1]. Example hypotheses could be:


  • Testing two or more offers against each other: Customers will be more likely to sign up for a program that offers a free one-month subscription rather than a discounted three-month subscription.


  • Guarantees and terms and conditions: Customers would buy this plan if they had a guarantee that they can cancel within 30 days of purchase.


  • List segment offers: Our college student audience will be more likely to take advantage of our low interest credit cards than our senior customers.


  • Urgency offers: My customers want overnight shipping rather than free shipping


Once you develop the offer hypothesis, you need to do a split test, or a/b testing, using the formats above [2]. An example regarding testing two offers is to take the total test records and split them equally by selecting every other record for the first test panel, then using the remaining records for the second test panel. Unless your hypothesis is about the audience itself and how each will respond to a certain offer, keep the audience segment the same (see our former blog on list testing for more information on the topic). 


The offers should be equal in value so that the results are not skewed by an obvious higher value offer tested against one of lower value. Your offers must be compelling with perceived value. Create test offers that strike a balance between being enticing enough for your audience to respond and profitable enough to launch to all prospects if the test results show a positive outcome.


Keep in mind that when you are testing an offer, you must keep everything else about the mail piece the same. For instance, you can’t test an offer for a free month subscription on a postcard and then send the other offer to another audience in a letter package. Change only one element, the offer, at a time, so that you will know it was the offer that drove/changed response, not other elements. (Stay tuned for next month’s blog in which we’ll cover creative testing.)


Once you have proven results of the winning offer, you can roll it out to the remainder of your audience.


How can Genesis Help?

Genesis Direct can help you build an effective test series for your direct mail marketing programs.  By using variable printing, expert data base management, and creative resources, we will help you craft your message, choose the right offer and format to deliver amazing results.


Our team has been partnering with clients for over 25 years to create effective direct mail marketing campaigns and we continue to be one of the leaders in direct mail marketing. To learn how Genesis Direct can help your business grow, call or email Mike McNally for a free consultation.


Mike McNally

Senior Account Executive


(813) 855-4274 x1265 | mobile: (813) 610-5931



  1. https://www.postalytics.com/blog/direct-mailing-list/

  2. https://www.inkit.com/2019/01/direct-mail-split-test-3-ways/


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