Of all the mistakes a small business owner can make, possibly none will cost more than failing to test one aspect against another. In order words, testing one price against another. One headline against another. One ad against another.
There is an “A-B" test. That's the common terminology for testing your offer, headlines, pricing, ads, or services. We create two different ads, an A and a B, two different headlines, and two different mailings to determine which obtains the greater response or sales or referrals.
The key to an A-B test is to set it up so you can quantify and measure it properly and track those results with the goal to zero in on the one or two choices that are Preferable over the others.
Then you roll out a new untested product or marketing strategy in this manner, and by mailing to a small test area, say 500-1,000, you can save yourself in the event of a failure untold thousands of dollars.
Most of the time you can conduct multiple A-B tests simultaneously on the same product, ad, headline, price, etc.before selecting the final strategy. I recommend if your product or service is conducive to this type of approach, in other words, creating a modest direct mail campaign for conducting the A-B test to do it.
Direct mail is the method of choice because it can be put together relatively quickly and inexpensively.
The prospects to whom you direct your mailing to in a one-step approach will either respond or not respond with a purchase or inquiry. No intermediate steps, calls or visits. That way it involves a fairly standard set of steps or procedures to take.
Your two other major goals should be in using A-B tests to verify what people will actually buy and determine whether you are able to reach these individuals with the marketing campaign that you intend to launch so that they will buy from you.
You must be able to think of the purpose of an A -B test as a way to uncover the best and most profitable mix of products, services, price incentives and guarantees that will encourage your prospects to buy.
A word of caution: many organizations try to determine this information by sending out surveys. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. There are statistics that show that people rate the Bible as the highest read book and the National Inquirer as the least read. When you look at purchase statistics, they show that more people read the Inquirer in one week than all other books or pamphlets.
You don't necessarily want to determine. who will buy things just by a survey. You want them to vote with their dollars.
Copyright © 2005
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Abe Cherian is the founder of Multiple Stream Media, a leading performance-based Internet advertising company dedicated in helping small businesses create online presence, brand recognition and online automation. Main company web site: http://www.multiplestreammktg.com
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