When you consider testing ways to improve your direct mail’s response rate, you probably think first about experimenting with a different headline or a more compelling offer. But while it may not be top-of-mind, testing your data hygiene decisions can be every bit as important as testing your creative.
Data hygiene decisions can have a surprising impact on a mailing’s return on investment. For example, someone may have decided years ago never to mail to records which were flagged as deceased. While that might seem to make sense, the surprising reality is that mailings to deceased individuals on a house list often have a solid response rate. Perhaps the surviving spouse wants to continue to contribute to the organizations the couple used to support together, or perhaps the record was incorrectly flagged as deceased. Regardless, if you never revisit that decision, you could be missing out on a substantial source of donations.
Or perhaps your mailing list has grown organically over the years without much thought being given to deliverability. It might be possible to improve the ROI of your mailings by 10% or more by eliminating records that are addressed to military bases, prisons, nursing homes, trailer parks and university addresses. Then again, not mailing to one of these types of addresses could be a terrible mistake; you really don’t know until you run a test.
Fortunately, testing your data hygiene options is easy to do. For step-by-step instructions about how to set up a test and analyze your results, please download our free eBook, How to Use Data Hygiene to Maximize Your Direct Mail’s ROI.