If you’re like most owners, CEOs and service professionals I know, the answer is either, “No!” or, “I don’t know!” Why? Because very few businesses actually test and track the results of their marketing efforts.
If you don’t believe me think through how many ads in your local paper have you noticed that look the same week in and week out, year after year? Or how many radio spots sound the same? Or how many yellow pages ads? Or how many direct mail pieces in whatever value pack you receive? It’s amazing, isn’t it?
Small businesses, in particular, are guilty of this. And that’s a big problem (especially when it concerns how much money you could be putting in your bank account). Why? Because, unless you’re testing, you’re probably leaving money on the table.
For example, let’s say you have a direct mail piece you send out and you’re getting a 1% response rate (e.g. you send out 10,000 direct mail pieces and 100 people respond). For a lot of people in the direct mail space, they’d be happy with that. However, you might be able to get a 1.5% or 2.0% or 4% or more response rate if you just made some tweaks to your direct mail piece or campaign or offer.
However, if you’re not testing, you’ll never know. The only way to know if you’re getting the optimal response from anything you’re doing is to make sure you’re constantly testing.
So, here’s what I’d recommend. Start doing A/B testing (or make sure whoever is leading your marketing efforts is doing A/B testing). And start with small runs. For example.
1. Rent a list of mail addresses (Note: I’m going to use a direct mail example, but testing applies to any marketing tactic including tactics like referrals)
2. Craft an “A” and “B” option
3. Send 1,000 people option A (“Want to Minimize Your Taxes”)
4. Send 1,000 people option B (“Want to Maximize Your Tax Return”)
5. Compare the results (A receives a .9% response rate and B a 1.5% response rate—meaning that more people were moved by “Maximize Your Tax Return,” than “Minimize Your Taxes.”)
6. B1 now becomes your new control (A2) and then you test something else (your new B2).
7. You continue this a few times until you see a consistent winner (let’s say B4 which gets a 2.5% response rate).
8. Once you have a clear winner then you do a larger mailing (let’s say to 20,000 households).
Now, if you ran with your first option, you would have received 180 responses/leads. And maybe you would have been fine with that. But, and this is a big but, by testing a few different parts of your offer so that you received a 2.5 % response rate, you were able to generate 500 responses/leads (i.e. 320 more than you would have received if you just went with your first option). That’s real money, isn’t it? Just short of three times the results.
So, how are you doing with this? Are you regularly testing? If not, make a commitment today to start testing and to doing it on a regular basis. Why? Because if you’re not, you’re leaving money on the table every day/week/month/quarter/year—money that could either be in your bank account or your business’.
To your accelerated success!
P.S. If you struggle with what to test, let me give you a quick list of things to test for a direct mail piece to help stimulate your brain (note: this isn’t meant to be exhaustive, just illustrative)
- The day sent
- The size of direct mail piece
- The number of components in the direct mail piece (if it’s in an envelope)
- The general color scheme of the direct mail piece
- The headline (which is usually credited with 80% of the effectiveness of a direct mail campaign)
- The sub-headline
- The testimonials (written, audio, video, with name and company, with picture, etc.)
- The copy itself
- The bullet points
- The bolding of certain key points
- The use of color
- The images and pictures used
- Any graphical elements used
- The price
- The guarantee
- The P.S. (and the number of P.S.s)
- The bonuses (and the number of bonuses)
- The payment terms
- The scarcity tactic used, etc.
You get the idea. There really is a lot you can test with any marketing tactic.