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Are You Building Your Business By Guessing Or Testing?

Posted on March 19, 2003

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Are You Building Your Business By Guessing Or Testing?
By Bob Leduc

A distributor for a network marketing company called me this week for help in promoting her business. Julie places ads in ezines (email newsletters) to generate traffic to the free website provided by her company. She also sends postcards to several targeted mailing lists to generate inquiries and traffic to her website. I asked her what was producing the most profitable results. She answered, "I don't know."

It's amazing how much money some business owners spend on an ad, sales letter or other business promotion without evaluating how much profit it produces. Your advertising decision is only a guess if you don't know how much profit it's likely to produce. Advertising based on guessing is gambling with the future of your business.

Increase Profits And Reduce Risk

Effective testing increases your profits and reduces your risk. Decisions based on the results of continual testing put you in control of your business profits. I once increased the response to a postcard promotion from 3 percent to over 20 percent by constantly making changes based on results revealed by repeated testing.

Testing may be fun for engineers but it's boring for most entrepreneurs. That's why many business owners avoid it. If you're one of them, you're making an expensive mistake. The benefits you gain and risks you avoid by testing make it a valuable function you can't afford to ignore.

You may want to copy the 80/20 guideline I use if you find it difficult to test your marketing efforts on a regular basis. I simply invest 80 percent of my advertising budget in proven promotions and 20 percent in testing new variations. This formula generates a constant stream of profitable business from proven promotions while forcing me to continually test for better results.

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Continually Test Everything

Continually test and evaluate everything you use or do to promote business. A partial list of things you should test includes:

* Different offers
* Different ad copy
* Different webpage layouts
* Different sales letters
* Different media (where you place ads)
* Mailing lists
* Different guarantees
... and some less obvious things like:
* Timing of your advertising (day of week, week of month)
* Products and/or services offered (or combinations of them)
* Networking activity (time and money allocated)
* Affiliate programs (time and resources to promote)

TIP: Test the headline for an ad, sales letter or webpage before testing what follows it. Find the headline that attracts the most readers before testing what the headline attracts them to read.

Test only one change at a time or you won't know what variable produced the new result. Code each variation you test and track the results. Every time a change produces better results, make it your new standard and continue testing. There is no such thing as the perfect promotion. But continual testing gradually gets you closer to it.

Testing is boring work for most business owners. But it pays off in higher profits and reduced risk. Start testing today if you've been avoiding it. Implement a program to continually test and evaluate everything you do to promote your business. The steady increase in your profits will surprise you.

About the Author

Bob Leduc spent 20 years helping businesses just like yours find new customers and increase sales. He just released a New Edition of his manual, How To Build Your Small Business Fast With Simple Postcards and several other publications to help small businesses grow and prosper. For information: or visit: or call: 702-658-1707 After 10 AM Pacific Time/Las Vegas, NV


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