How healthcare marketers can use virtual direct mail testing

September 9, 2019

When it comes to direct mail, healthcare marketers know the key to success is testing. But current testing methodology is a financial disaster. A small fraction of the testing budget goes to creative and analysis. About 30% of the budget goes to print production. Then a full 65-70% of the testing budget is devoured by the post office.

Healthcare marketers are turning to virtual testing: a new method of testing that is not only cheaper—it can reduce testing costs by 90%—but also takes less time and provides better results. Better, faster, less expensive: who says you can’t have all three?

Because of the demand for more effective marketing and shrinking healthcare budgets, faster, smarter and cheaper campaigns are ideal. But what should you look for in virtual testing technology?

Virtual testing is delivering results in far less time and lifting healthcare direct mail success rates by anywhere from 18-27%.

Best practices for virtual testing

If virtual testing is intriguing, there are a few best practices to consider. As with most aspects of modern marketing, success here is all about data.

Target your target

Chances are, the audience you want to target doesn’t necessarily match the audience on your mailing list. For example, let’s say you’re targeting buyers of health insurance. As you build your mailing list through opt-ins and augment with third-party data, your list may creep away from your ideal target . So, check your list’s base demographics. Are they really the influencer and/or the decision-makers who will buy your products? To take the analysis a step further, if you have response data, combine that with your demographic data. Find out what makes your responders unique. Then, you can determine whether you need to adjust your message to the audience currently paying attention to you or reset your mailing list.

Add preference to your personas

Once you’ve established your target, it’s time to apply personas. Your personas should be based on the behavioral components of what drives a specific segment to purchase. It’s more than just who they are and what they generally like. It’s specific information that will help you build a campaign. How does an insurance purchaser like to see information laid out? What kind of images does a Medicare beneficiary find attractive? What information does a mother need to choose a pediatrician?

Use persona data to craft challengers

Demographic data combined with personas gives you a good idea about how your audience generally behaves. The next step is to craft challenger packages. Be strategic. Carefully build and analyze your packages based on the personas.

Test multiple components

Virtual testing opens direct mail programs to more data, more quickly. No need to wait for printing, mailing and responses. And using multi-variant analysis eliminates the grind of testing one element at a time.

The best programs allow you to test up to 20 different elements and up to 1,300 combinations of those elements. Multivariant analysis of these combinations will yield the subcomponents that produce the best response. As a result, you get a hybrid recommendation that accounts for every element as it relates to the other.

Healthcare providers are seeing incremental response rate improvements translating into greater success, and greater success translating into better return on investment. Every virtual test they run using this ground-breaking approach improves the performance of the previous test.

When you shift direct mail creative to align with healthcare audience behaviors, your mailings will be more successful.

Be ready to move fast

Shifting direct mail creative to align with audience behaviors has caused lifts in response rates of anywhere between 18% and 27%. So, once you have your results, you’re going to want to update your standard mailer and get it in the hands of the right audience.

Your prospects are waiting.