The difference between direct marketing success and direct marketing failure can often be incredibly small. Minor factors such as calls to action, headlines and other design elements can turn a campaign from a loser into a winner – or vice versa.

While it’s easy to test these elements online, testing design elements, copy and the other components that go into marketing materials is significantly more difficult in the world of print media.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. With the right strategy, it’s easy to split test your brochures, posters and other print marketing materials to find out if one version is more effective than another.

In this guide, we’ll share a simple strategy that you can use to test the response and conversion rate of your next marketing brochure. If you’d like to discover which of your marketing materials is best, try it out at your next trade show or event.

Split testing your brochures using different phone numbers

This strategy has been used effectively by radio, television and print advertisers for decades. Instead of sending all of your prospects to a single phone number, use two or more phone numbers to track which one receives the most calls.

It’s simple: for every variation of your brochure design, print a different number for prospects to call. If you’re split testing two designs, have two phone numbers ready for your campaign and print each one on a different variation.

Make sure that both phone numbers forward to your sales office, and that you can monitor each phone number to determine which receives the most calls. Tracking each number’s response rate is possible using Google Voice or other applications.

Split testing brochure performance using CRM software

While split testing brochures using two different phone numbers lets you find out which is the most effective at generating phone calls for your business, it doesn’t let you find out which is the most profitable from a marketing perspective.

This is where CRM software – software that lets you track leads and deals – comes in as part of the split testing plan. After you receive each phone call, track the source of the lead (using the brochure ID) in your CRM software.

This can be done using tags – applications like Salesforce feature tags for “source” or “referral” that are ideal for tracking brochure IDs. Assign each brochure you give out a unique ID and track its performance throughout the sales process.

Determining winning brochures and losing brochures

It can take several weeks for the sales process to complete, particularly in the B2B world in which large deals are the norm. Track each sale as it progresses with your CRM software and note the value of the deals each brochure ID produces.

After a month or two, you’ll be able to return to your CRM application to find out which of your brochures had not just the highest response rate, but the best sales results after it was handed out to prospects.

This approach lets you determine a brochure’s profitability and value using two different metrics: a short-term metric (its response rate) and a long-term metric (the amount of revenue it produces) for the greatest level of insight.

Are you ready to split test your brochures, posters and more?

Split testing might seem like something that’s exclusive to online marketing – after all, it’s far simpler online. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t also split test your offline campaigns.

In exchange for a small amount of your time and effort, you can gain insight into the way your brochures perform that can help you get far more – both in response and revenue – from your future brochure marketing campaigns.