ab-test-shutterstock_329772617Winning is great. But it’s not always easy, particularly if you’re working with creative freelancers or agencies with a limited number of clients or small mail quantities. We’re lucky. We’re able to run thousands of tests every year, so our winning percentage is high.

As a service to the community, we thought it would be helpful to share a few direct mail testing approaches that are winning for our clients — without giving away any special secrets we reserve for them.

So here goes. The winners are…

1. Digital Testing. Many NPOs are resistant to continuous testing, despite its benefits, because of cost and their low incidence of finding winners. Testing that uses digital print technology can help overcome these obstacles.

Leveraging digital print technology enables you to efficiently test more variables, with greater speed-to-market, while often securing deeper postal discounts. Beyond these benefits, if you’re testing packages that leverage smart, data-driven, digital print techniques (versus conventional offset), you’re likely to improve performance another 10-20%.

2. Mid-Level Donors Testing. In a world where new donors are hard to find and keep, many of our clients are having success by treating their mid-level donors differently, especially those donors who appear likely to become major donors (as shown in propensity modeling). The successful mid-level donor approaches range from personalized communication to building a special status tier with unique benefits for this class of donors. In this circumstance as well, leveraging digital print technology adds to the viability of this approach.

3. Personalized Premiums. We all know the power of premiums… how they pull on prospective donors’ heartstrings and compel them to give. But personalized premiums have proven to have significantly more pulling power. We’re seeing personalized tote bags, pens, note pads, calculators, and more (which are well sourced and competitively priced) all deliver significant improvement in net to NPOs.

4. Encouraging Engagement. Asking for a response to other efforts, besides donations, helps vest donors in your cause and lifts response. This might include asking them to sign a petition, fill out a prayer card, or send back a card of encouragement for a recipient of the NPO’s help.   

5. Gender Versions. Guess what? Men and women are different. Simple changes to the visuals you show, the copy you write, and the premiums you use can make an important difference. The copy for women may include more emotional stories and elements, while men may react to more data-driven appeals. Once again, using progressive digital printing technology makes gender versioning particularly efficient.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful. If you want to know more about proven testing methods, just let us know. We’re always happy to help.

Jill Querceto is VP of Creative Strategy & Innovation at Innovairre Communications, which supports more than 500 nonprofit organizations around the world. Contact us at Answers@Innovairre.comand follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.