1. Use the same quantity of names for every list you test. Often this means 5,000 names, since many list owners will not rent smaller quantities for a test.
2. The quantity of sample names you need to test is completely independent of the size of the total list. Some mailers mistakenly believe that the bigger the list, the larger the sample size needed to generate a statistically valid result. Not true. File size has nothing to do with sample size.
3. If a list is so small that it has little potential for rollout, then just mail the entire list. For instance, it doesn’t make sense to test 5,000 names from a 7,500-name list. Just mail the whole thing.
4. Don’t pass over a list in your test just because it is small. A small but potent list of 7,500 names that produces a 5 percent response is far better than a large list of 75,000 names that produces a 1 percent response. If a list seems perfect for your offer, test it regardless of size.
5. However, if your budget limits you to testing only one or two similar lists, select the larger lists — because they have the most rollout potential.
6. Always test the “hotline” names — the most recent segments of any list — first. If they don’t work, no other segment will.
7. Test new lists early. New lists tend to deliver the highest response rates when they are first placed on the market.
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