Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Karma & Doubling Your Results

"A black cat crosses your path once, bad luck. It crosses your path twice, really bad luck. But three times, well that's when karma's trying to tell you something."-- My Name Is Earl, U.S. TV-Series 2005
It's hotter than heck here in Baltimore. It feels like the middle of summer, and yet it's still May. I know why, and it's not global warming... sorry Al.

It's Karma.

You see I wanted to build a raised bed vegetable garden for my kids in the back yard this weekend. My wife, a garden designer by trade, drew up the plan and ordered the materials. As such, there was three pallets of stone and a front loader dump of gravel waiting for me in front of my house upon my return from Courtomer. It was my job to move it the 40 yards to the back yard this weekend, and then start building.

But then came Karma.

Karma... for leaving my wife, my 4 year old boy and not yet three month old baby girl... to spend a week in the French countryside talking marketing. AND what did Karma give me? A Memorial day holiday weekend with record high temperatures to do 8 hours of labor each day. Sigh...

Yes I deserved it.

Let's talk testing... testing I can do with sore muscles... testing is easy. The problem is most young marketers do it wrong... so I put together some important tips on testing, none of which is more important than to "Test one thing at a time."

Simply put you take one variable (such as the offer) and change it in a way that you believe will improve results, then conduct a small test mailing to see if you are right.

You keep all other variables (timing, design, list etc.) the same. This way if you get a bump you know exactly why. Conversely, if you changed 3 things and got a bump how would you prove what caused it? You couldn't.

Makes sense, eh?

Next, make your tests big.

I see this mistake everywhere when people tell me they are testing pages. Don't test tiny tweaks. Run bold tests that have the potential to change your business. Subtle tests will, at best, yield subtle results, often too small to detect. I want to double the result. Only something BIG will do that.

For example, offer a free sample versus no sample, or, if you are testing copy, test a four-page letter against a one-page letter. The bottom line: if the change you make is not different enough from the original, you cannot trust your test results.

Plus, I've see too many so-called tests that were not tests at all simply because the changes were not big enough to make any difference.

So don't waste your time and mine - TEST BIG!

More tips tomorrow...