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How to Test Your Marketing


Marketing can be costly but it does not have to be. We have spent the last 15 years discussing cost effective ways to promote your business.  Regardless of how much we spend on marketing we all want to optimize our marketing campaigns. How do we do test a specific campaign and stay within our budget?

A/B testing or split testing has been used successfully for years to test the performance of marketing contacts. The concept is simple, use two (or sometimes more) marketing methods and track each method to determine which one performs at a higher level. In many situations it is necessary to test multiple options until a desired result or return on investment is achieved.

Your Mom probably used A/B testing on you as a child. It didn't take her long to determine that telling you to "eat your vegetables because they would help you to grow up and be big and strong" worked better than "eat your vegetables because they are good for you".  Mom achieved the same result but it may have taken a little testing to determine which method was the most effective.

We have all seen television ads that tell us to enter a certain code when we arrive at their website so we can take advantage of a special offer. You may notice that the code is often different on competing channels or during different programming. The code tells the advertiser what show you were watching and on what channel when you made the decision to visit their website. This not only tells the advertiser when their ad is most successful but if they are using varied ads it can help them decide which commercial is more effective.

In the television example used above it is also possible for the advertiser to determine the most receptive market for their product. Demographic information is available regarding the breakdown of viewers for almost every television program. Using the demographic information and the success rate of an ad on a given channel it would be easy to determine which (age, income, etc) group is most receptive to your advertising.

Most of us are not running multiple ads on several different television networks so how do we split test our promotions? We can run one ad on our medium of choice (radio, newspaper, etc.) asking people to respond to the ad in specific ways (visit a specific web page, call a certain number, mention a code when you purchase, etc) then run a different ad or the same ad on a different medium while changing the response method. The time of year, weather, current economic factors, mood and many other factors can also affect the response to your ad so remember this is not an exact science. Be patient, it should not take long and you should be able to determine the most effective ad or medium for your campaign.

Email marketing and promotions that lead someone to a website can be easy to track. If the email is set up properly you can record open rates and click throughs with ease. A website can offer different pages for different ads then visit counts can be recorded to determine which ad brings more people to your site.

There are many ways to track and test the effectiveness of your advertising. With a little effort you should be able to determine the best ad for your marketing campaign without breaking the bank.

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