What is key coding?

What is a keycode and why is it so important?

Key coding is a very important component of every serious marketing project! We could go so far as to say that key coding is the single most important part of your list. Key coding is a simple, powerful way to track the response produced by a particular list. The key code is a set of unique letters or numbers that you put on your sales letter or order form so that its return tells the marketer which list produced the response. Each individual list (or parts of a list) is assigned a unique key code. Sometimes there are more than one key code on a list, such as F for female and M for male. Or A for sales revenues below $1 million and B for sales revenues above $1 million. As responses are received, (or sales come in), the key codes are recorded and the lists from which they are received are tracked. This lets the marketer track responses precisely for each list. If you don’t track responses, this sabotages the ability to tell where your best customers are coming from. Sometimes a mailer will order 5,000 records from five or six lists to test them. They will split each list in two and send salesletter A to 2500 people and a different version (salesletter B) to the other 2500 records. At the same time, they will test both of those same sales letters to the 4 or 5 other lists they are renting (also split in half). This may seem complicated, but it’s not. When the responses come in and they are tracked, the mailer can easily see which list performed better and which sales letter performed better. They can fairly accurately predict how much their ROI will be on their next mailout. This example clearly demonstrates why key coding is so important in testing your lists and your sales letters.

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