Everything you ever wanted to know about marketing tests but were afraid to ask
How do you make decisions about marketing for your business? You might be shocked if you knew how few companies ever test any aspect of their marketing. They bet their destiny on arbitrary, subjective decisions and conjecture instead of comparing approaches, then picking the best ones. Would you rather base your business growth on conjecture or evidence-based decisions? The way to do that is through marketing testing.
Marketing testing ensures you’re not dependent on a single approach to attract new clients and keep current ones. Think of it like fishing. If you have a single fishing pole and just one line, you’ll only catch a few fish. But set up five poles and five lines and you’ll catch more fish in the same amount of time. So what if you set up ten poles with ten lines, each with a different kind of bait attached, then kept track of which pole got the most fish? The next day you can set out all ten lines with the best bait and watch your fish catch exponentially grow for the same effort as it took just to use a single line. That’s the power of marketing testing.
Here you’ll learn what testing your marketing does and how to use small, inexpensive tests to generate invaluable information about your customers, products and business methods, leading to business gains across the board.
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Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3: What is marketing testing?
Our marketing testing definition: trying out different marketing methods and then use the most successful ones to grow your business. Marketing testing relies on understanding what it is that people want along with what attracts and keeps your clients coming back. You can use tests to understand what approaches lead to better sales, more referrals, increased purchases, or whatever your business growth looks like. It’s calibrating your message to find your market, then fine-tuning those approaches to create massive growth.
Why marketing testing is key for business improvement
The top marketing mistake Jay has found over his years of working with thousands of clients and businesses is that they don’t ever test their marketing ideas. But when they try out a few different approaches and then see which gets the best results, often one will outperform the others ten- or twenty-fold.
Marketing tests can help you see if the sales approach you currently use to sell your product or service is under-performing, delivering only a fraction of what an alternative approach or strategy might yield. Jay has helped people test different variables in their advertising, websites, live presentations, guarantees, unique selling propositions and pricing points. The results of these marketing tests can lead to increases of 500%, 1000%, even 2000% – and that’s just by changing some small variables. For example, marketing testing can be as simple as using two different subject lines, one each for half your client email list, and seeing what message gets not just the most opens, but the most completed sales (a.k.a. conversions).
Remember, you don’t have the power to predetermine what the marketplace wants or what the best price, package or approach will be. Your clients do. So test different CTAs, approaches, headlines, emphases, packages, rationales, pricing, bonuses, etc. See what gets the best response, then replicate that success. Regardless of the medium – print, television, or online – the principles remain the same.
To put it another way, you might be only getting 20% of the sales and profits you could be getting from the same (or even less) effort and costs as now. Test different responses and performance levels, otherwise you’re leaving massive potential on the table. If we did things the way we always did, you wouldn’t be reading this online right now.
What marketing you can test
Jay’s decades of experience mean he’s seen some staggering marketing testing results. The simplest marketing test is the A/B test – that’s where you try out option A and option B, then see what option results in more of what you want. For example, a company offered a four-week free examination of their product. They found that their advertisements and sales presentations with this offer increased results by 98.6% compared to approaches without the trial period offer.
So what else can marketing tests actually test? Here is a non-exhaustive list just to get you started:
- marketing copy
- email lists
- promotions and other offer types
In short, test every sales variable. Any positive or negative data can help you to dramatically manipulate the effectiveness of your sales efforts. Once you find the best combination that consistently performs well, that becomes your control. Remember: until you establish your control concepts, techniques and approaches, you can’t possibly maximize your marketing – or your profitability.
Failure to test, re-test and test again is tantamount to admitting that you aren’t the business person you could be. Why should you settle for staying in the minor leagues when you could head to the majors?
Marketing testing best practices
1. Make the results measurable
If you use an off-the-cuff sales pitch four times in a row, you have no way to know what elements worked better than others. But having a new, scripted introduction for each pitch (while the rest is the same) means you can link content to sales. Whatever your variable, without measurement your marketing testing is useless.
2. Know the source
Track which client comes from what source, whether it’s an advertisement or an email. For example, use a differently coded coupon code for each of your offers. The code that appears the most frequently will be tied to the most successful approach.
3. Gather information
Keep track of every piece of information you gather through your marketing tests. Be sure to differentiate in your record-keeping between responses (lead generation) and actual sales (conversions). Prospects and leads are fine, but sales are what you’re after. Start by carefully recording the cost and results of every marketing test you run as well as these elements:
- Which source brought in the sale
- How many orders a given source produces
- How much money a given source generates or loses
- How much the average order is worth from the source
- How much a client or order costs
- How much or how many times the client re-orders. Keeping repeat clients is often a better prospect that constantly seeking new ones. Would you rather have 10 single-purchase clients or 5 clients that have made three or more purchases?
4. Test small first
Sending out identical emails with different subject lines is a low stakes way to see what catches your clients’ attention enough to open the message. Instead of sending to your whole list, try a small sample size.
Once you’ve run an A/B test, take the winner and test it against another option. Just because you’ve gotten better results doesn’t mean you’ve maxed out your possible success. For example, the company with the four-week trial period could test different lengths of trials and see if one- or two-week trials increase sales even more.
Don’t forget price testing
Another vital type of marketing testing is price-testing. Jay knows that whatever you think your best selling price is… probably isn’t. Predicting price points is a tricky combination of psychology, product and market position, but Jay has always found that the difference between two price points is at least double digits. If selling for $19 instead of $17 increases your sales by 300%, what price point would you use?
Another example: years ago Jay sold a business course. He tested $295, $395, and $495 as its price. It turned out that $495 was three times more productive than $295 and out-produced $395 by 150%. That means that if he had arbitrarily stuck with $295, he would have had only half the orders at a fraction of the profit for his efforts. That’s what you’re doing to yourself if you don’t test.
So don’t restrict or limit your sales and profits – test. Small, inexpensive tests will result in valuable information that will lead to increased income. Why guess what the market will welcome, what price they’re willing to pay, or even what proposition they will respond to when the marketplace is willing and even eager to tell you the answer?
Jay Abraham is a proven business leader and top executive coach in the United States, and a close friend of Tony Robbins. Jay has spent his entire career solving complex problems and fixing underperforming businesses. He has significantly increased the bottom lines of over 10,000 clients in more than 1,000 industries, and over 7,200 sub industries, worldwide. Jay has dealt with virtually every type of business scenario and issue. He has studied, and solved, almost every type of business question, challenge and opportunity. His principles can be the difference between mediocrity and a business that generates millions of dollars in additional revenue.
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