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Testing and Tracking Your Online Marketing Efforts

Posted on January 9, 2001

by Marty Foley

Most advertisers and marketers, because they don't test and track the response of various marketing activities, are flying blindly, with little or no idea of what's working - and what isn't.

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Proper testing and tracking can give you the most accurate and reliable answers to virtually any marketing question that arises. You can then make important marketing decisions based on facts, instead of theory or guesswork.

Online Testing Strategies

In a nutshell, online testing involves keying each different test variable with a unique identifying code (so each desired response can be tracked to its source), running the test campaign, keeping records, and tabulating and comparing the results. The winning variable then becomes the control, or bench mark, which future ones are measured against. Let's look at testing in more detail...

Scientific testing involves the following steps:

1) Determining which element(s) of an ad or marketing communication that you want to test. (Tip: It's usually best to test only one variable at a time.)

2) Creating the test ad(s).

3) Keying each ad with a unique tracking code.

4) Keeping good, accurate test records.

5) Running the test campaign.

6) Tracking and comparing results to determine which test variable is the winner.

7) Repeating the cycle, constantly attempting to beat your existing control.

Keying ads and tracking responses online can be done in a variety of ways. For accuracy, be sure to use a unique tracking code for each different test variable and keep accurate records. The tracking method used will vary based on your circumstances and the type of response you want.

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Tracking Email Responses

If you have unlimited email aliases available through your web host and want your test ads to generate responses via email, you can use a unique email address as the tracking code for each one.

Note: A potential drawback to this method is that the more email addresses you make publicly available, the more spam you're likely to receive.

Another option for tracking email responses is to ask respondents to place something unique in the subject line, which serves as the tracking code.

In a pinch you can use the following trick to help automatically place what you want in the subject line of a new email message when it's clicked on in an email program: (Replace in the above example with the email address you want to use.)

When the above link is clicked on in an email message, the text immediately following ?subject= will automatically appear in the subject line of a new email message in most email programs. (In the example above, Send-Info would appear.)

Attempting to Beat Your Control

Your main objective in testing is always to try to come up with a better pulling variable (headline, offer, guarantee, price, etc.) than your existing control. Whenever tests prove that another variable pulls better than your existing control, it replaces it until a future test reveals an even better one.

Make Testing a Habit

Remember that the most successful direct response marketers (Internet marketing being just another form of direct response marketing) tend to do lots of testing.

Instead of viewing the testing process as too much bother, you should view it as a wise investment in crucial information that reveals how to progressively improve the profitability of your marketing. Considering all the advantages that testing offers, the reasons for making it a habit are obvious.

You don't have to be content with the same mediocre level of response to your marketing campaigns, unaware of what's really working and what isn't.

If you aren't already, start taking advantage of scientific testing to constantly improve your marketing results, avoid making the same wasteful mistakes, and earn more profits. And if you're already profiting from it, consider taking advantage of it more fully.

The above article by Marty Foley is a basic introduction to scientific online testing. For the most comprehensive collection of tools, strategies and tactics for boosting your web site's response through testing, click over now to: ==> Add proven income streams to your web site with Marty's directory of proven money-making affiliate programs: ==>


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