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June 27, 2012

Dramatically Improve your Marketing with A-B Testing… it’s Easy and Free!

There’s an old saying that I really like… “That which is easy to do is also easy not to do!”  Evidently, that sentiment applies to A-B testing in marketing, because almost no one does it.

For those of you unfamiliar with it, A-B testing is the process of analyzing just one element of a marketing campaign across a split audience.  For example… let’s say you want to send out an email to invite people in your database to an upcoming webinar.  It might work like this…

  1. You send half the recipients an email with Subject Line A and half get Subject Line B (the message is the same in both).
  2. Measure the webinar registrations from each group.
  3. The email that results in more webinar registrations is the ‘winner.’  If the groups were of suitable and equal size and suitably randomized, then the only conclusion that can be drawn is that the subject line was the one factor that had an impact on response rates.  That’s why you only test one element at a time.  More than one – and you won’t know which was the real cause of the difference.
  4. The ‘winner’ now becomes the Control for future emails that you’ll compare against.
  5. As you do this again and again, you’re results keep getting better and better!

Not bad, huh?

You can do this with most any marketing initiative…

  • For emails, you can test the subject line, a subhead in the text, image vs. no image, etc.
  • For online banner ads, it could be the headline, the image, the call to action, etc.
  • You can also test ad placement… run the same print ad in two different publications and see which one results in more calls.
  • The A-B testing idea also applies to sales.  You can test your elevator speech, voice mail message you leave with prospects, emails from your sales reps and so on.

You get the idea.  It’s easy… it’s free… and only requires a little of your time to execute and measure.  So if you want to create a distinct competitive advantage, remember this other old saying, “What gets measured gets done… but what get tested gets better!”

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