Last week we met with a small retail business whose direct sales dollars depends heavily on direct marketing efforts. We were on the topic of email marketing and I learned that they had never done any testing. I described the concept of A/B testing, and while they understood the potential value, they perceived it as “too complicated”.
Trust me on this one. Over the course of a 20+ year career, I’ve tested pricing, lists, subject lines, offer copy, packages, creative, engagement devices, premiums, even stamps! Here’s what I learned:
- Slight variances in performance can easily add up to tens of thousands of dollars. Over the course of time, a better performing effort can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- There is psychology involved in motivating a customer or prospect to buy. Testing enables you to learn about what works and what doesn’t, which can lead you to develop your own theories that guide you moving forward.
Where should you test? Every channel where you are delivering marketing messages should be considered fertile testing grounds. Despite popular fallacies, you can measure ROI on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Tips for testing:
- Keep your laboratory as clean as possible. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples with regards to list and delivery times. Any variances between the two samples will fuzzy your results.
- Create test panels of equal size in channels which allow for list segmentation.
- Think in terms of having a “control” and “test panels”, with your goal always to beat your control to increase your sales.
Let me close now by passing on my mantra: Always be testing!