test-marketThink about this. When you are making a large purchase do you ever sign on the dotted line before testing the product? Would you buy a luxury car before taking it for a drive? Would you buy a house before walking through the house checking for cracks or plumbing defects?

So why when you run a business would you invest time and money into an advertising campaign and roll it out without testing it? As a smart business person you wouldn’t, if you knew the value of testing that is. While you may have ideas as to what is a good headline or catch phrase, your customers may view it differently. What you thought would generate a great response may not, and you won’t know this until you test it.

How and what do you Test?

Possibly the most important aspect of any advertisement is your headline. Unless a headline grabs the reader’s attention and makes them want to read more, it has failed in its purpose. Many companies will place their company name or logo at the top of an advert, but unless customers are already familiar with your brand that is not going to draw them in to read your advertisement. To find the best possible headline you need to find out what will grab the interest of your target market. The best way to do this is to test various options on a sample of your target market. Say for example you plan to send out a mailing to 1000 potential customers. Take a sample of just 100 customers and send one headlined advert to one group of 50 customers and a second option to the other 50 customers. The feedback you receive should give you a positive indication as to which headline worked best.

Here are a few examples of headlines that were tested to see which one would work better. See if you can guess which headlines received the highest feedback:

Headline A: Every woman who would like a career in interior design.
Headline B: Can you spot these seven common decorating sins?

Headline A: Car insurance at lower rates if you are a careful driver.
Headline B: How to turn your careful driving into money.

Headline A: How to make chocolate pudding in six minutes.
Headline B: Tonight there’s this ready mix pudding.

In every case, and the headlines were not always placed in this specific order, headline B received a far better response rate. In some cases the response was as much as 300% higher. Now imagine if you had not tested this before rolling out your advertising campaign? You might have settled for a good headline that got you a 10% response, whereas a great headline that you tested could bring in a 30 or 40% response.

Why Testing is Important?

  • The primary reason for testing is that you never accurately know how your target market is going to respond to a headline or advert. The only way to establish this with a degree of certainty is to test the campaign.
  • Testing will ensure that the advert you run will give you the best possible results so you will know that your advertising budget will be well spent.
  • Testing on a small scale allows you to better predict what kind of response rate you will get from a campaign. If you received a 10% response rate with 100 customers, chances are you’ll get a similar response rate with a 1000 customers.
  • Testing provides you with insight into your target market and can save you money. If a campaign doesn’t get a good response you can change and work at improving it before you implement or spend too much money on it.

Testing is an essential part of any marketing efforts. Taking the time to test your campaigns on a small scale will ensure that you are connecting with your target market, getting the required response rate, and attracting customers to your business.