How testing your marketing messages can impact your small business

Find what resonates

As you’ll no doubt be aware, the testing phase of a project is crucial. While a bug or two can be excusable, the same can’t be said if you make a mistake with your marketing messages. In fact, it can drive traffic away — permanently. You can reduce that risk, though, by learning how to test marketing messages.

Testing your message usually only involves asking a few simple questions. The information you gather will enable you to make changes for the better, so your marketing is less likely to fall on deaf ears.

In this piece, we’ll talk about how to test your marketing message with strategies that work, and why it’s a sound plan.

Related: 5 tools for product marketing testing on a budget

What constitutes a marketing message test

If you’re unfamiliar with testing your marketing messages, let’s start there. In a nutshell, testing your messages is only one part of a bigger area known as concept testing. This is a method by which you can ascertain whether your specific branding element is fit and proper.

It essentially lets you refine the initial concept based on the feedback you receive from your target market. As a result, you can produce laser-focused marketing messages that speak directly to your intended audience. We’ll discuss this in more detail later.

To drill down a little further, a test usually looks at whether the overall message you’re trying to convey is coming across. For example, you might ask, Does this campaign suggest that we’re a fun brand? Of course, this is obviously an overly simplistic test. However, you could essentially create complex and sophisticated tests that leave no stone unturned when it comes to how your message is received.

We’ll get onto how to do this later. However, let’s first look at the benefits of testing your marketing messages.

Related: Conduct a survey to find out what your customers are really thinking 

Why you should be testing your marketing messages

Test Marketing Messages Chalkboard

We’ve touched on this briefly, so let’s take a deeper dive into why you should start testing your marketing messages.

Firstly, let’s discuss the tangible, objective elements, such as the time and money you’ll save by testing your marketing messages. It might seem counter-intuitive, especially as you’re effectively adding a step to the process, but the end results are worth it.

In a nutshell, you’ll spend longer developing your messages, but claw that time back by skipping over the refining stage once your campaign goes live. Similarly, you may spend more money initially, but you’ll actually stand to earn more in return because you’ve refined your message to convert customers.

However, there are also other reasons that are just as beneficial:

You can refine away bad ideas. Given that poor ads are factually more expensive, the testing phase gives you the opportunity to scrap unnecessary elements and turn a solid idea to a great one.

Testing can help garner internal support for your ideas. Getting a marketing idea past decision-makers is always tough. However, having solid statistical evidence of success makes their decision about whether to greenlight a particular message much easier.

Both bad ideas and a noncommittal team can hamper any advertising campaign — especially one where you need the overall message to be on point. As such, it’s vital to make sure you conduct tests that hit the mark. Let’s discuss how to do it!

How to conduct a marketing message test

For this, we’re going to assume that you’ve already got a marketing message you’d like to test out, and that you’ve already tweaked it before letting it loose. Fortunately, getting from here to a pinsharp and focused message is simply a case of asking questions.

Test Marketing Messages Writing

For instance, questions on messages relating to products could cover the following:

  • Have we clearly stated the need for this product?
  • Is the message focused on the aspects we’d like to promote?
  • Does the message offer consistency compared to our other messages?

You’ll notice they’re simple, to the point, and can be answered without long-winded replies that would take time to parse.

Once you’ve discussed your marketing message internally, it’s time to curate opinion from your target audience. How you do this is up to you, but sending out a newsletter is a good start.

To gather feedback from your target audience, you could use a simple survey or poll. This is probably going to be suitable for the majority of small businesses. However, depending on your message, you could even conduct some split testing. This is basically a way of comparing two messages by showing them to a partitioned group of users at random to find which works better. It’s a method common among web developers, but can also be used for marketing messages through a tool such as PickFu.

Once you have answers from your target audience, you’ll then go through a process of refining and iteration in order to make your marketing message the very best it can be.

Related: How to do customer research without using surveys

Conclusion

Much like other areas relating to your small business, making sure you’re having an impact takes work behind the scenes. In other words, testing the various elements that make up your brand is key for success.

For starters, you’ll save money and time by creating a campaign that will actually hit home. However, you’ll also have vital information on what your target audience wants, which is going to be invaluable for shaping your future advertising.