Testing 1, 2, 3…

Shea / 23 February / Comments Off on Testing 1, 2, 3… / 152

Always Be Testing

Testing 1, 2, 3 - Testing 1, 2, 3 - Testing 1, 2, 3As I have previously said, when you test one marketing variable against another, you will find that one always outperforms all the others, and usually by a significant margin.  A price of $199 may outpull $211 by 5 times.  A particular headline in a banner ad might out pull another one by as many as 50 times! That’s 50x the results with no increased expense.

You will find that as you test different aspects of your marketing, and carefully analyze your data, one combination of factors will out pull its nearest competitor.  When you find something that dramatically outperforms everything else, that version becomes your “control.”  Once you know what works best, you can test other variables in your marketing mix through never-ending A/B split testing.

For example, once you find a headline that works well in a Google PPC ad, you can then start to test it using different keywords, or different placements in the content network.  Just be sure not to test more than one variable at a time, though, because you won’t know which change made the difference.

A senior living center I worked with found that their business became increasingly profitable the more they tested their marketing.  Their main selling point had always been beautiful rooms.  The owners had successfully run ads in the local newspaper with the headline “Senior Living in Beautiful Apartments” for several months in a row.

I encouraged him to test three or four other headlines based on low prices, including this one: “If you’re planning on spending $1,500/month on retirement living, we’ll give you a home worth $2,500 – and you’ll still have a $1,000 in your pocket.” 

This simple re-articulation of their Unique Selling Proposition “low prices” graphically illustrated just how low the prices were.  It brought the ad to life for the readers.  Inquiries and sales immediately jumped by over 70%.

But the story doesn’t end there. The advertisement with the above headline became their “control”.  We then tested some other concepts against the low price one.  One of these concepts was based on the observation that people usually knew what a senior apartment was worth, but that they were skeptical of buying from a provider that wasn’t well known in the market.  Essentially, the customers’ confidence in senior living company was not very high.

The next newspaper ad to come out eliminated this concern head-on.  The headline read “Most seniors’ greatest fear about investing a retirement apartment is that they’ll be railroaded into paying too much for an inferior community.” 

The ad went on to explain how company never considered any sale binding until the customer had the apartment appraised by a certified appraiser of their choice.  It also described in detail the “better than money-back guarantee” that ensured total resident satisfaction.

Tomorrow, “How High Can You Go”