The Importance of TestingOur new digital world has sped up all forms of communication.  This increase in speed has made it all the more important to be right about the creative you choose; the first time and every time.  All successful entrepreneurs and business owners can tell you that this age of rapid communication in a harsh business environment no longer leaves room for error.  Get it right or go home.  Because this is only going to continue, it is essential to adopt a policy of testing every campaign before it goes out the door. No exceptions.

The goal of testing is that instead of trying to figure out what your audience will respond to the most, you let them tell you directly.  That\’s the power of split, or a/b testing and every marketer should have a strategy in place to test different elements of their campaigns to optimize for success before they go out the door to the full audience.  By testing varying elements to a smaller sample audience and analyzing the resulting metrics, marketers can gain a clearer understanding of how their audience will interact with their full campaigns and what works best overall, every time.

Split testing involves sending different versions of a campaign, whether via email, social media, SMS or any other medium, to a small segment of your list or to a test group and then measuring the performance of each version to determine what\’s most successful.  By only changing one variable of your campaign during the test, such as the color or subject line, you can easily identify its direct impact in a scientific and statistically significant way.  Once you\’ve tested different versions with a small segment or test group, you can then use the best performing version for the rest of your list.

Changing the simplest of elements can often times have a profound effect on the overall success of your campaign.  Changing one line of text in an email or changing the call-to-action placed in an SMS message can sometimes make or break a campaign.  Until you test different elements with your audience, it\’s hard to estimate the impact on your own.  All campaigns have variables that you should thoroughly test, but the four most important are the content, the offer, the call-to-action and the timing.  These four variables should be tested and re-tested until you\’re sure you\’ve made the right decision.

Split testing lowers the risk of executing an under-performing campaign and will increase ROI by eliminating the resources necessary to send out a campaign that was doomed to fail simply because it wasn\’t tested properly with its intended audience.  Though it may take time and patience during testing, your audience will thank you in the form of increased click-through, conversion and subsequent return on investment.

As savvy marketers become even more proficient in testing, the need to master this process becomes that much more necessary. With the online competitive landscape reaching new levels, there is no following; it\’s only lead or get out of the way.