I had a boss once that used to say that there were only two mistakes you could make as a marketer: the first was not to test and the second was not to believe the results of the test. It’s as true today as it ever was; testing, and careful tracking of results is essential.
Let’s assume you have a 1000 member opt-in list to a business-oriented newsletter. How do you know how valuable it is and what you can do with it? All you know right now is that they want a newsletter. Other information will have to come from testing.
How do you test? The classic method is A-B testing. We want to test offers. We divide the list into two 500-name segments by selecting every other name for one list, and alternating names for the other. We mail Offer A to one segment and Offer B to the other. We compare results to determine which offer works better. Offer A gets 4 orders. Offer B gets none. We now know something more about the list. Using this type of split testing, you can test almost any attribute of a promotion. Want to test a price? Offer A and Offer B. Want to test a layout? Layout A and Layout B. Technically, you can test just about any attribute you want.
My old boss also used to say: “measure recency, frequency, and value. " Test often but make sure that you keep careful records of the results. What you’re looking for – overall – is to understand how recently someone acted in response to any offer, the frequency in which they are willing to act (how many times can you promote to them!) and their average order and lifetime values. All of your testing should contribute to your understanding of these three criteria.
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