Testing copy is crucial to improving your response. Often, what you assume will generate the highest response is not always the case.

I have tested hundreds of headlines in search of the highest return. Time and time again, when I speak at conferences and show examples of what I have personally tested and then ask my audience of attendees to pick the winner, they choose the one that generated the lower response. Interesting, right?

The Test: We tested two magalog covers for our clients — click HERE for a video briefing on magalogs. Both covers targeted men and women aged 60 years and older, and both covers promised prevention methods and remedies for arthritis, back pain, strokes and heart attacks. The pictures were recognizable Hollywood personalities.

Cover A: “Do you have any of the illnesses that these stars had?”

Cover B: “Discover the amazing health secrets of today’s ‘over 60’ Hollywood stars…”

Take a minute to guess which cover generated the highest response.

The Result: If you guessed Cover A, you are right! It was the winner by 39%.

This is unusual because typically questions within the headline copy do not perform well. But in this case, the question was very powerful and created a great deal of curiosity. The other cover, which specifically called to people aged 60 and older — the target audience — was comprehensive, but not compelling enough to beat Cover A.

If you have any questions or would like help creating and/or testing any of your direct mail pieces, call me at 615-814-6633 or email at craig@cdmgin.com.