From our days as neophyte direct response marketers, we have heard the mantra: “Test, test, test. And when you’ve done that, test some more.” The reality is there’s no substitute for well-planned and carefully executed testing to move your brand’s direct results to the next level.
The complications of multichannel marketing add to the complexity of marketing programs and, as a result, testing plans. But the Web offers opportunities as well. Everything on the Internet happens quickly. And it offers significantly lower testing expense—without incurring major production costs.
So why not take advantage of the benefits available online to improve your entire direct response program? By integrating your testing program into a cohesive multichannel plan, you can do exactly that and maximize the learning gained from testing dollars.
Note: I’m suggesting a multichannel testing program. I’m not suggesting you abandon direct mail or other offline testing and do all your testing on the Web. A multichannel testing program means we learn from one channel to the next, but still remember what is unique about each individual channel or medium.
Built for Speed
So, how do you maximize the benefits the Web brings to your testing program? The Web is particularly adept at getting answers fast, inexpensively. What it often isn’t good at is targeting specific prospect niches. You don’t control who arrives at your Web site, and e-mail is primarily aimed at customers, with few prospect lists available; neither channel allows you to test prospect reaction specifically.
Paid search marketing targets prospects, but not segment niches. If you need to determine if the nurses who comprise 50 percent of your audience will respond to the lower or higher price for an item, it can be challenging to identify keywords that attract only nurses interested in your products. So, if you need to test a concept or price to a specific prospect audience, the Web isn’t the best place to do it. On the other hand, if you want to get a quick read on which benefit to push in a headline or which price gets greater responses, (regardless of prospect or customer status), or if you want to focus testing solely on customers, the Web is an ideal place to start your testing process and improve overall testing efficiency.