By Carrie-ann | May 10, 2017 | How Marketing Works

Do you understand how important test marketing is?

Running a successful business requires vision and making decisions that will pay off in the long term in terms of maximising resources and generating a market for your product or service.

Marketing is a vital component of getting your message out there; however, it can be expensive. You would not make an expensive purchase or invest in a scheme without through research and testing, and it is the same with a marketing strategy. A smart business operator would not set a pricey marketing or advertising campaign into motion without knowing exactly the kind of response the campaign will generate.

Thinking that an advertisement will affect people in a certain way does not guarantee that this will be the case, which is why is it so important to do some tests.

How do you start?
Remember that the most important element of an advertisement is probably the headline at the top. An effective headline has work to do: it must catch the attention of readers and make them want to find out more. If it does not do this, it has failed.

The headline needs to entice readers. Although many companies want to put their logo most prominently at the top, this is not likely to engage readers’ attention in the same way as a subject that sparks their interest.

How to do a simple test
Discovering what kind of headline will grab interest means trying out options. Use a sample of your target market to do this and narrow your choices down to say two headlines you believe could be effective. Taking a sample of around 100 clients or customers, send the advertisement with one headline to half the group and the same advertisement with the alternative headline to the other half of the group.

What do you do next?
The next step is to gather feedback from the entire sample; the responses you receive should give a clear indication of which headline has been more effective. You may be surprised how people react to the material and this should provide valuable insights into what really resonates with your customers.

Don’t forget that taking an opportunity to reach out to customers will always pay off, as the information you gather can help you to avoid wasting money on pointless campaigns that do not interest your customers.

Important: remember that feedback is valuable

The only way to know for sure how marketing material will affect your customers is to ask them. They will probably be more than happy to share their views and appreciate that you care what they think.

Testing your marketing material will make it more effective; in addition, you will feel confident knowing that your advertising money is being put to best possible use and will deliver optimal results.
The responses from your small sample are a reasonably reliable indicator of the response you will get from wider distribution; for example, if around 15 per cent of your sample responds favourably to your material, it is likely that this will be repeated with a larger group.