1. Did you know that 70% of your orders may come from the people who live in the wealthiest 30% of zip codes? Have you considered zip code deciles?
2. Are you avoiding compiled lists. All you want are the “hotline” names. People who have purchased a products in the last 30 – 90 days. Compiled lists are no better than mailing to the phone book.
3. Have you found any lists that people rented multiple times? This is a good sign.
4. Have you found lists that consist of people who have bought multiple times?
5. Did you ask for a totally random nth selection test?
6. Are you rolling out to at least 2 – 5,000 names? Anything less won’t give you an accurate test.
7. Do you know if there’s enough margin in your product to keep you alive? A common mistake is to undervalue the price of the product and your expertise. You need at least 8 to 1 price to costs ration to make direct mail work.
8. Have you optimized your postage costs? Postage is going to usually be your biggest expense so remember that every penny you shave off of postage turns up in straight profit. This does not mean mailing bulk. This does not mean writing less than enough copy to sell your product. It means if there’s a way to save money that doesn’t hurt your response use it.
9. What is your system for stuffing, folding, inserting, stamping, addressing and sending? If you don’t have one you might want to look in the phone book for lettershops or ask some other mailers what lettershops these use. These shops will save you lots of stress because for very cheap they can fold, stuff, address, and stamp tens of thousands of letters for you every day. Do yourself a favor though and tell them to get screwed if the ask you if you’d like them to stamp them and take them to the post office. As nice as this sounds, don’t do it. Mailhouses are notorious for charging you for full price of postage but not mailing all they charged you for. Mail every piece yourself.
10. Have you gotten several bids from different printers so you know what you’re lowest possible mailing cost could be?
11. Are the number of pages in your letter divisible by four?