How to Conduct Better Marketing Experiments - 4 minutes read
Most entrepreneurs wish they had a better grasp of marketing. With better marketing, you can get more visibility for your brand, more paying customers, and you can achieve growth at a faster rate.
But to an outsider with limited experience, marketing is a nebulous, complex, and intimidating field. The people who practice marketing seem like modern-day magicians, capable of seeing amazing results simply by following their intuitions.
In reality, this isn’t the case. The best-performing marketing strategies aren’t the result of magic or intuition. Instead, they’re the ultimate result of hard, scientific experiments, repeated over and over again.
How are marketing experiments so powerful? And what’s the right way to use them to fuel your marketing campaigns?
Let’s start by explaining why marketing experiments are so important. Done right, they can shape your business’s entire marketing future.
There are many ways to approach marketing experiments. Still, one of the most common is the typical “AB test,” in which you make two slightly different versions of a landing page, advertisement, or other pieces of marketing collateral.
These two different versions are labeled “A” and “B,” then tested in a live environment. Once you figure out which version gets more traffic, or more conversions, you can use these lessons to refine your approach – and run more AB tests to gather even more data.
Realistically, you shouldn’t feel limited by the AB test formula. Any test you conduct to learn more about your brand, your audience, and your potential impact can be valuable.
Here’s how to run even better marketing experiments.
Use the Right Tools
For starters, you should use the right tools. Good marketing experiment tools tend to share a handful of traits, such as:
Luckily, most major marketing and advertising platforms realize the importance of experimentation – and they offer built-in tools to help marketers run better tests. So, for example, if you’re running a PPC ad campaign, you’ll have access to tools that allow you to rotate ads, measure customer interactions, and ultimately learn enough to create better campaigns in the future.
Marketing experiments are a kind of small-scale science experiment, so if you want to see better results, you need to follow a loose kind of scientific method.
The sample size is one of the most important variables to get right in the realm of marketing experimentation. With too few people in your sample, you won’t be able to form meaningful conclusions about the larger population. But, on the other hand, with too many people, you’ll end up wasting time and money unnecessarily.
You may have ideas for exactly what your brand is and how it should be marketed, and in some ways, this solid consistency is a good thing. But if you want to get the best possible results from your marketing experiments, you need to keep a more open mind. Experiments are great for putting controversial new ideas to the test and challenging long-held assumptions; make the most of them by being willing to try interesting new things.
When conducting marketing experiments, you’ll need to compare apples to apples. In other words, you’ll need to make sure your experimental conditions don’t introduce secondary and tertiary variables that could confuse your causal link. For example, let’s say you’re testing a green button against a red button, but your green button is active in the morning, and your red button is active at night. Of course, your red button test wins – but is that because the button was red or because the test was at night?
Control your tests for the following variables, at minimum, and try to isolate a single variable for your test:
The closer you’re able to compare your different marketing experiments, the closer you’ll get to a “perfect” strategy.
Cognitive biases affect all of us, distorting our perceptions and making it hard to form neutral conclusions. These are just a few ways you can fight against bias:
With better marketing experiments in place, your marketing and advertising results will surely increase over time. You’ll have access to a more reliable stream of data, you’ll be freer to experiment with new techniques and approaches, and sooner or later, you’ll stumble upon the perfect formula to convert your target audience.
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