Split Testing - Letter vs. Postcards

15 replies
I'm a huge fan of split testing both in my own mailings and in those of clients and I know some of you marketers here also adopt this sensible approach.

I've long subscribed to the view that much of the post doesn't get delivered anyway for the following reasons:

1 - Mail staff simply discard it
2 - Recipients sort their mail over the wastebasket (as Gary Halbert famously described)

For this reason I always understood the hand written envelope, spit-licked stamp (even skewed) would be more likely to get delivered and opened - Half of the battle.

So why do so many marketers including Dan Kennedy and their students prefer to send postcards?

I am interested to know your experiences from split testing, any sources/references you've found online with regard to this subject etc

I'll be testing both as the answer in my market may be unique but before I spend the clients money on postcards or letters I'd be keen to know if there's a common consensus.

Postcards must be getting delivered if respected, testing-savvy marketers continue to use them?

What are your experiences and thoughts?

SkyeFWP
#letter #postcards #split
  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    SkyeFWP;
    Having your mail (mostly 3rd class bulk) discarded before delivery used to be a problem, but it really isn't now. it's been years sinse I've seen that happen, to myself or anyone I know.

    Having your mail thrown away by the prospect before opening is a problem.

    Kennedy and other mailers like postcards because they are cheaper to mail, and cheaper to print. Also, it's impossible for the recipient to not see the offer. There is nothing to open. They are used almost exclusively for lead generation.

    Letters are used to sell. This isn't a hard rule, but it's what I see, and do.
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    • Profile picture of the author SkyeFWP
      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      SkyeFWP;
      Having your mail (mostly 3rd class bulk) discarded before delivery used to be a problem, but it really isn't now. it's been years sinse I've seen that happen, to myself or anyone I know.

      Having your mail thrown away by the prospect before opening is a problem.

      Kennedy and other mailers like postcards because they are cheaper to mail, and cheaper to print. Also, it's impossible for the recipient to not see the offer. There is nothing to open. They are used almost exclusively for lead generation.

      Letters are used to sell. This isn't a hard rule, but it's what I see, and do.
      Good feedback Claude.

      I suppose the split test results would likely be influenced by the content of the communication as thats what ultimately drives response though I thought I'd ask all the same to see if there's any insight I can glean from those more experienced in these matters.
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by SkyeFWP View Post

        Good feedback Claude.

        I suppose the split test results would likely be influenced by the content of the communication as thats what ultimately drives response though I thought I'd ask all the same to see if there's any insight I can glean from those more experienced in these matters.

        Thank you. The most profitable approach I've used and seen...is to use postcards to have prospects raise their hand showing a little interest, and then mailing them longer letters to sell, usually a series of letters, and maybe a phone call (always the most profitable step).

        Yeah, it would really help, it we knew more about your market or offer. I'm kind of shooting in the dark here.

        And there are more experienced direct mailers than me here. Good luck.
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      • Profile picture of the author Irish Intuition
        Kennedy usually only uses postcards to warm lists.

        In my opinion a letter has a much greater survival and
        success rate than any postcard, with B2B. Mostly
        due to the fact very few will reach the intended target.

        B2C on the other hand, postcards are great!

        Dependent upon what a client is worth, I'm not sure why
        everyone tries to 'cheap it out'. If I'm after a client who
        is worth $1000+ per month, I go all in.
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  • Profile picture of the author SkyeFWP
    Again awesome feedback guys!

    The client is already mine and is a restaurant - We're about to run the "Birthday offer" and I've noticed Rory Fatt (Who DK consults) is using postcards -

    I intended to create a custom card too but more like a traditional handwritten greetings card from the owner to the customer and envelope it (hand written of course).

    The most successful people doing this use postcards and maybe that's the answer (because the prospect value is low) - I'll test both approaches I think - print 50% greetings cards and 50% postcards - the worry is if one proves to be better thant he other I may have wasted some of his money

    Hence trying to understand what's most likely to be the best approach before committing someone elses money.
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    • Profile picture of the author Irish Intuition
      Originally Posted by SkyeFWP View Post

      Again awesome feedback guys!

      The client is already mine and is a restaurant - We're about to run the "Birthday offer" and I've noticed Rory Fatt (Who DK consults) is using postcards -

      I intended to create a custom card too but more like a traditional handwritten greetings card from the owner to the customer and envelope it (hand written of course). .
      I would not hand write the whole card, sometimes the readability can cause issues.

      Eliminate as many obstacles as possible

      Instead I would have hand written elements on the card (like Copydoodles). I
      would also design the back of the card (non addressed side) to look like a gift
      certificate.

      Sometimes if it looks more valuable, it may avoid the dumpster
      Signature




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      • Profile picture of the author SkyeFWP
        Originally Posted by Irish Intuition View Post

        I would not hand write the whole card, sometimes the readability can cause issues.

        Eliminate as many obstacles as possible

        Instead I would have hand written elements on the card (like Copydoodles). I
        would also design the back of the card (non addressed side) to look like a gift
        certificate.

        Sometimes if it looks more valuable, it may avoid the dumpster
        So if I understand you - it's a postcard with a gift certificate back and the front typed with copydoodles?

        Now you got me thinking - may test multiple versions as I have copydoodles
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  • Profile picture of the author BeauJustin
    Postcards still work great. The problem is too many people see use them incorrectly.

    Don't get flashy, full-colored postcards printed, as they are instantly recognized as junk mail, even if they have real value in the message.

    Use black text on white, canary, or salmon card stock, as this has a feel of formality (this is how many types of bills arrive), and will most likely get your message read.

    Finally, Don't try to close the sale with a postcard. Focus on creating a strong value proposition in your headline and subheadlines - focus on problem solving, and use strong, supporting body text. You're not trying to sell the whole farm, just hit enough buying triggers to get them to take the call to action, which is a phone call, a text message, or visiting a landing page.

    If you don't have a list, Every Door Direct Mail is a fantastic way to saturate certain markets for what amounts to chump change.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rearden
    I'll throw this in to add value:

    If you lead generate, DEFINITELY use Business Reply Mail.

    The ENTIRE Mortgage Protection and Final Expense Industry is built upon this model, which is:

    1) Send a postcard/letter/snap pack with a detachable, postage-paid reply card for recipients to request more information about.
    2) Depending on your strategy, begin following up with the prospect either belly-to-belly (just show up at the door like I do), set an appointment, or begin a sales-letter selling campaign, like Claude described.

    What works best? No one can tell you -- you gotta test the variables.

    For example, I have found that snap pack mailers work better than letters or postcards for final expense mailings. We literally get a 50% to 100% increase in response, without degradation of response quality.

    Why? Snap pack mailers look like official documentation from a collector or from the government -- sometimes they even look like checks. However, because they are sent out 3rd class, the postage rate is significantly less, and open rate is much better than 3rd class letter mail.

    However, I "mass mail" my direct mail with little targeting beyond age and basic income strata. You may need more customization if you're targeting your audience with a laser beam.
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    Final Expense Agent Mentor -- Providing On-Going, Personalized Mentorship And Training From A Real Final Expense Producer To Agents New To The Final Expense Life Insurance Business.
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    • Profile picture of the author SkyeFWP
      Originally Posted by Rearden View Post

      I'll throw this in to add value:

      If you lead generate, DEFINITELY use Business Reply Mail.

      The ENTIRE Mortgage Protection and Final Expense Industry is built upon this model, which is:

      1) Send a postcard/letter/snap pack with a detachable, postage-paid reply card for recipients to request more information about.
      2) Depending on your strategy, begin following up with the prospect either belly-to-belly (just show up at the door like I do), set an appointment, or begin a sales-letter selling campaign, like Claude described.

      What works best? No one can tell you -- you gotta test the variables.

      For example, I have found that snap pack mailers work better than letters or postcards for final expense mailings. We literally get a 50% to 100% increase in response, without degradation of response quality.

      Why? Snap pack mailers look like official documentation from a collector or from the government -- sometimes they even look like checks. However, because they are sent out 3rd class, the postage rate is significantly less, and open rate is much better than 3rd class letter mail.

      However, I "mass mail" my direct mail with little targeting beyond age and basic income strata. You may need more customization if you're targeting your audience with a laser beam.
      This is good advice Rearden.

      The prospect data is good - they're existing customers so we know how to attract them and I'll consider testing a snap pack also in order to establish a winner.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ellen C Braun
    Have any of you tried these massive mailings from Outrageous Marketing?

    Outrageous Marketing Products While You Were 0ut Blank
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    HelpEllen.com - the zaniest affiliate blog in cyberspace.
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