A or B? Put your statement promotions to the test.

vinatageAd223shoppedYou’re not sure which offer will resonate better with your customers. Or, you’re wondering if you can target your prospects more effectively. While often overlooked, A/B split testing can be a critical component of your statement or other direct-mail strategy by supplying valuable information about your message, format, audience, and promotions.

Case in point: a small credit union wanted an insert that featured a “skip a payment” offer. Their conundrum was whether to pay a few cents more per piece for color or go with black and white. They opted for a simple A/B split of color vs. black only that included promo codes for tracking. The results overwhelmingly supported the use of color as both an attention-getter and lead-generator. Unfortunately, many companies don’t take advantage of split testing due to the misplaced belief that it may cost more. In fact, it’s mere pennies when you consider the payoff of a more effective and targeted campaign based on hard data.

How it works.

A/B split testing essentially boils down to dividing up your mailing between variations of one element (in the above-mentioned case, full color vs. one color), thus creating two versions, an A version and a B version. But there are two cardinal rules of testing: test only one element at a time, and test regularly. You can test different list segments (by demographics or geographic location, for example), offers, formats (size and color), envelope snipes, etc. Just don’t try comparing more than one thing at a time; you’ll muddy the waters. And testing is not a one-time activity; it’s an ongoing process. Think of it as direct mail maintenance.

A word about the singular test element: you can have more than two options within an element. For instance, if you want to break down your mailing list into three segments, you’d have an A/B/C split. Three variations on a promotion? You get the idea.

Fast, simple, and cost effective.

Digital printing and data manipulation offer the greatest return on investment because of the personalization opportunities. Let’s say you have an audience spread out among various zip codes. Or, you want to test different headlines for effectiveness. Unlike traditional offset printing, which requires expensive film and plate changes per run, digital printing is programmed so that personalization happens “in-line,” and mailing lists can be segmented by specific data fields.

Remember that you can start small by dipping your toe in the water. You don’t have to commit to a huge run. Test a small quantity first; say, one or two thousand. Experiment with different messages and headlines. Dabble with your list.

In any event, Bacompt can advise you along the way. What the heck? Put us to the test.

A word about the image.

The image above was taken from a 1952 edition of The Study of Color, by Jerry Hudson de León and published by Art Instruction, Inc.

The body copy reads, “This lively ad is equally successful in calling attention to sportswear of high quality. The color scheme is most pleasing—red, red violet, green and orange yellow… In each ad, through the use of suggestive color, we are prepared to consider favorably the qualities of the advertised product.”

Some things never change.