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The Small Business Online Marketing Handbook: Converting Online Conversations to Offline Sales by Annie Tsai

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Chapter 10

“I Brake for Testing”: Measuring Success and Tweaking Your Program over Time

In this chapter, we will focus on the basics of testing your online marketing program over the course of your 12-month marketing plan. Testing is a frequently underutilized marketing tool by small business owners because it takes time to test, it's often difficult to know what exactly you should be testing, and it can be difficult to interpret results to make changes to your programs. But even given all that, running some basic testing strategies to validate your marketing plan is extremely important, especially when you're working with a limited marketing budget.

Why Test?

Without some level of testing to validate the marketing spending and overall marketing mix, it's difficult as a small business owner to justify increasing your spending over time for more effective programs and taking away from less effective programs that you might be more attached to. Marketers have the tendency to stick to programs they know and that have proven effective in the past. However, the reality we're faced with today is that because the consumer–seller relationship has shifted so dramatically, the old programs may not work quite as well and for as long as they used to.

Testing also gives you the opportunity to validate some assumptions that you've made about your customer base. For instance, if you believe that your customers respond better to the “dollar off” discount as opposed to the “percent off” discount ...

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