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Mail Order's Secret Weapon: Testing!
MAIL ORDERS' SECRET WEAPON! TESTING!! TESTING!! TESTING!!
The purpose of mail order is to sell a product, and the only way
to sell that product is through the use of advertising. That's
when testing becomes the most important part of your endeavors
The FIRST and MOST IMPORTANT part of your ad, your mailer,
letter or whatever is the headline.
Five times more people will read your headline that ever get
into the meat of your ad.
If you have a letter you are sending out then the headline will
be the opening sentence. If you are mailing a piece of
literature then it's the headline that will grab the customer
and get him interested in what you are selling in the copy.
In effect a headline is the "ad" for your ad! It is what
customers will use to decide whether or not they are interested
in what you have to sell. The headline needs to reach right off
the page, grab the customer by the throat and scream at him that
he "must" read your ad!
The only way you'll know if your headline is working by testing
out different headlines. And the way you test is to write the
headline first .. use ten different headlines in ten different
ads and keep track of the results of each headline and ad. Only
by testing and keeping the results of those tests will you know
what works, and what doesn't work for you product.
The way this is done is simple. Take the same ad, word for word,
and by changing just the headline you multiply the effectiveness
of your ad by a factor of ten. If you are getting 4 repsonses
everytime you run the ad and you increase your effectiveness by
a factor of ten you increase your response to a total of 40 by
simply changing the headline.
The best way to do this is write ten separate headlines for your
product. Use the same ad copy for each headline and send them
out. Keep accurate records of the response of each ad sent out
to prospective customers. If you receive 9 responses from ad "A"
and only 3 responses from ad "B" you know that your headline for
ad "A" is much better suited to get responses than the headline
for ad "B", and so on. But you MUST keep accurate records on
your responses and on the return of each of your ads. This is
the ONLY way to test a headline.
You can't possibly know what headline will work best. The only
way to find out is to test, test, test. For some reason one of
your headlines will hit the mark dead-on and the others will
fail miserably. You must test it in the marketplace first.
One person tried to test his headlines by hiring a high-powered
marketing company to judge the five headlines he had written.
The "experts" picked out what they said would be the absolute
killer headline for his product. They told him that he didn't
even need to try the others because this headline would work
without fail. He had paid for the results of this judgement and
so he sent out his mailing piece with the headline the "experts"
had judged best and you can already imagine the results .. the
one the "experts" had judged best was actually the worst
headline of the five. The headline this firm had judged to be
the worst actually pulled seven times better than their
The lesson here is simple. Don't listen to anyone who tells you
they know the marketplace better than the customer you're trying
to reach. Always, always test your headline for your product.
You will invariably find that one headline that will out pull
another by a factor of five, meaning that you get five times the
results from your best headline, compared to the worst. It also
means taking a marginal success and making a killing with the
To test any advertising you must key your ads. This means that
you make each one a little different so that you can find which
ad generated an order or a lead for a sale. Remember, the only
purpose of mail-order is to sell a product or service.
Different ways to key ads: A slightly different address,
replying to a different department number; Ask for a different
person in replying to the department or phone; Assign a key word
to the advertisement for replying. There a myriad of ways to
create different keys so you can keep track of where your
responses are coming from.
You can test the positioning of your product in the same way.
Create headlines and ads that key to different audiences so that
you reach the widest possible market share.
Testing for pricing is done in the same way that you test for
Set your prices at arbitrarily fixed sums. You may actually WANT
to sell the product for $69.95 so key your pricing to $49.95,
$69.95 and $99.95.
The $49.95 price will certainly have less profit than $69.95 but
it may sell five times as many products as the $69.95 price. If
you profit at $69.95 is $35.00 and your profit at $49.95 is
$20.00 you can readily see that a factor of five raises your
gross profit considerably. Lets say you sell 100 units at
$69.95 with a profit of $35.00 per unit. That's a total of
$3,500.00 gross profit for 100 units. If you raise that by a
factor of five selling the product at $49.95 your gross profit
has just increased to $10,000.00. Which makes more sense to
$99.95 may pleasantly surprise you by outselling both of the
other prices. And that's the reason you MUST test your products'
pricing structure. You could wind up with a product that
produces an unbelieveable gross profit and will make people feel
it is more valuable and desirable to own.
Getting a perfect name for your product isn't even mentioned
above, probably because by now you already know the answer to
any situation that will come up.
The answer to any question you may have regarding a mail order
product is the same ... TEST!! TEST!! TEST!!
In every case you should test five headlines for the product.
Five prices for the product. Five names for the product.
The results from your testing will amaze you with results you
never dreamed possible.
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