Message & Media: 19 Creative Tests to Schedule Right NOW!
Creative testing may sound like an oxymoron, but it's not when you're a direct marketing writer or designer. Testing creative elements, such as headlines, subject lines and format, is an effective strategy for improving results—both B-to-B and B-to-C. And the results of testing aren't boring or scary. They're the big payoff for doing what we do.
During a recent in-house copy workshop, I reminded the 10 writers in the room that we are all entitled to our personal opinions, but an opinion is a sample of one. It is not statistically sound. Only testing provides an accurate reading of what motivates a customer to click, call or come through the door.
In today's world of digital direct marketing, creative testing is faster, easier and more effective than ever. We can test in the morning and rollout in the afternoon—no waiting!
"But what should I test?" is the big question. Common sense says to test creative elements with the most potential to make the biggest difference.
Here are some ideas to put on your creative testing radar as cross-channel direct marketers.
1. Headlines: It's easy to do an A/B split test of headlines on postcards, card deck offers, space ads, emails, landing pages, letters and more.
2. Benefit-Focused vs. Emotional Headlines: Test a pure benefit headline vs. a pure emotion headline, or a combined version of a benefit/emotion headline. Different approaches may work for different audiences.
3. Subject Lines: Pre-test subject lines before rolling out. Higher open rates translate into more people to click on your email's call to action.
4. Outer Envelope Teasers: Direct mail OE teaser copy and email subject lines are first cousins. Both are important to test, because they both are gatekeepers of your marketing message. Even though you can't easily pre-test OE teasers, they are worth testing head-to-head when you have a flagging control.