Test to Make Sure Your Marketing Messages Are Served Hot Not Cold

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October 18, 2011

Are your marketing messages hot, cold, lukewarm, or 86’d upon receipt? If you don’t know, you probably haven’t been testing.

When in doubt that your marketing messages are truly authentic or well received by your customers, do the trusted A/B split. People who A/B test their email or web campaigns get 11% better open rates and 17% more clicks.

Don’t forget to test your offers as well as your headlines, subject lines, and other copy.

The concept is simple. Take the first approved version of the email or web copy– called the champion — and send it to part of your list. Then take the second variable version – the challenger – and send it to the other portion of your list. The version with the most responses or clickthroughs, wins.

The math of A/B split testing is relatively straightforward. You simply pick a confidence level (how sure you want to be that one version is really better than another, and then wait to collect enough data. The length of the data collection depends on two factors: the traffic data rate to your pages and the size of the conversion rate differences found in your test. Clearly superior versions of your site will “separate out” much more quickly than two versions with almost identical performance. Tracking you’re A/B test can be done with simple spreadsheet formulas or through reports in most A/B split testing tools.

With the winner of the A/B split test in hand, put it to the “So What?” test.

The “So What?” test isn’t scientific, but a great tool for your marketing staff to do prior to starting any campaign.  It will save money in the end and increase response.

Read the piece out loud and ask is it possible that your intended audience could respond with… “So What?”… “Why do I care?”… or “What’s in it for me?”

If your message doesn’t tell your intended audience what solutions you are providing to address their issues/problems/challenges, and how it relates to the benefits they’ll receive from your services, then a “So What?” response is going to put the skids on your results.

Finally, do the X’s and O’s test (especially with the last letter you wrote). Mark an X every time your marketing piece mentions your name, company name, or the words “I” or “me”. Mark an O every time it mentions the prospects name, company name, or the word “you” or “your”. If the X’s out number the O’s, rewrite it before using it again.

In Summary:

  • Do an A/B split test to pick the strongest response generator.
  • Improve your marketing message or incentive by putting the piece through a “So What?” test so it will get a higher return. To make this work most effectively gather a group of people you can trust to give you very honest feedback. You’re not looking for proof readers, but individuals who will give you honest, frank feedback.
  • Do the X and O test to make sure your marketing message is focused on them (your customers) not you.

As marketers, we tend to be creative and intuitive. Don’t let these attributes get ahead of testing your messages. Just because it’s creative doesn’t mean your customers are going to buy into the sizzle unless you’ve asked them, tested, and tweaked accordingly.


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