A Premium Symbol
A changing of the guard can be a good time to revamp your direct-mail packages. When Covenant House International brought a new president on board in fall 2003, it needed to change its acquisition packages, which contained a letter signed by the previous president.
The international childcare agency took this opportunity to test a few other ideas in its Spanish-language acqui-sition campaign — namely the premium it was using.
“We came up with five possibilities and mailed them out in roughly equal quantities,” says Joan H. Smyth Dengler, vice president of direct response at Covenant House.
And the winner is ...
The mailings were tested in November 2004 against an updated control. Mailed in a 4.75-inch-by-6.5-inch outer with President Patricia A. Cruise’s name above the return address, the control included a 6-inch-by-9-inch double-sided letter, a 4.25-inch-by-6-inch reply slip, a 3.5-inch-by-7-inch bounce-back on yellow paper, a BRE and a 3.5-inch-by-5.5-inch glossy insert on card stock that opens to reveal a silver cross and chain premium.
The two packages that performed best were identical to the prior control except for the premium. The winner garnered a 3.7 percent response in the test to the control’s 2.4 percent and included, instead of the silver cross and chain, a personalized key ring with the recipient’s first name and a picture of an angel.
The key ring package mailed as the control for about a year until it was unseated in fall 2005 by a new test, a mailing sent in a 4.5-inch-by-8.5-inch outer with a 6.5-inch-by-9.75-inch double-sided letter, a BRE and 3.5-inch-by-7.25-inch reply with a taped-on premium — this time a chain with a silver cross inlaid with red and clear jewels. Now the new control, the “red jeweled cross” mailing, as Dengler calls it, nets an average response rate greater than 5 percent.