Direct Mail Control

March 27, 2012 by
Filed under: Direct Marketing Lists 

One of the greatest features of direct mail marketing is your ability to control and improve every aspect of the direct response medium.

As the creator, you are in total control and when starting out If you use direct mail, one of your biggest challenges is beating the control in a A/B split test. Your testing your control package, this is the direct mail piece that has been used in the past that has pulled for you. Now you are testing a new version of the control to increase the response rate.

When trying to improve your control package you may use random formats, offers or creative approaches, and the package that nets the most response becomes the new control package. The first step when launching any new direct mail marketing campaigns is to first write a plan on what problem your trying to resolve or what goals are you trying to achieve.

If your trying to cross sell or up-sell to your current customer base be clear in writing your objective and target segment and what response you hope to break-even on.


Look at the control and the history of it’s performance, has the response rate decreased steadily each year when you mail it at the same time? Have you tested different offers, is your copy compelling and does it ask for a call to action? Remember to define success is it break-even in costs, or breaking records in new subscribers, members or customers.

Then look at the numbers — response rates, conversions, ROI, cost per customer, etc. Arrange tests chronologically or by response. Do you see a pattern? What has worked and what has not? Why?

Try to define why the old control doesn’t perform as well and what tweaks did you make in the test that made it out perform your control. The acquisition package is getting a good response and has beat out all contenders, but the ROI could be better. The package must be made more cost efficient while maintaining the current response and conversion rate.

Analyze your new control or think you can do better, go back to creating for a while. When the deadline gets close or when you stop generating useful ideas, move on. Try to figure out exactly which change you made that improved the response level of the control This is the one you will develop.”


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More Articles on Direct Mail Control

  • Down with focus groups! – I’ve been at many a focus group (eating snacks and trying not to laugh out loud behind the one-way glass) where the group was shown a long-standing direct-mail control. The reaction: “I hate that! I’d never respond to that!

  • How to Beat Your Own Direct Mail Control | WildFire Performance … – Have you ever wondered if you could beat your own direct mail control? Here is an interesting way to think about it – I ran across this article from – they give you 7 ways to beat your own control… One of the most …

  • A 7-Step Method to Beat Your Direct Mail Control | Direct Mail Bulletin – A 7-Step Method to Beat Your Direct Mail Control. March 22, 2012. By DirectMarketingIQ Direct Mail News. by Dean Rieck If you use direct mail, one of your biggest challenges is beating a control in a head-to-head test. Most people use the …

  • 20 Year Direct Mail Control: Burn Disease Out Of Your Body – 20 Year Direct Mail Control: Burn Disease Out Of Your Body. How many direct mail packages in the alternative medicine market can boast two decades of mailing? This one, written by Eugene Schwartz and first mailed in …

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