testing beakers Marketers should always be testing , analyzing, and adjusting their marketing programs. In particular, testing helps you determine the best methods for the individual marketing tactics you're utilizing.

One of the most common tactics marketers test is email. True, email is one of those marketing tools that offers a lot of testing options . You can test subject lines, messaging, targeting, offers, formatting -- the possibilities are endless! But email isn't the only thing you can test. Nor is it the only thing you should test.

To get you in the marketing testing mindset, here is a list of other marketing techniques you can test, what about them you can test, and which metrics to use to measure their results.

What to Test in Marketing

1. Email Marketing

I'd be remiss if I didn't include email in this list. Although it's probably the most commonly tested internet marketing tool, there are probably many of you out there who don't do any email testing . Maybe you don't know what you should be testing or don't know how to start...

What to Test:

  • Subject Lines: Choose a couple of subject line variations and run a simple A/B test on a small segment of your audience to see which performs better. Then use the winning subject line for the majority of the send.
  • Messaging: Test your messaging! Does one tone or message work better than another?
  • Targeting : Slice and dice your database and test different messages, offers, etc. on various segments and demographics of your target audience.
  • Offers: The offer in your email is very important. Test different offers across different segments to see which performs better for different members of your target audience.
  • Formatting and Layout: Sometimes the look and feel of an email influences its success. Play around with different formatting and layouts.

Metrics to Use: Open Rate, Click-Through Rate, Conversion Rate, Email Leads

2. Search Engine Optimization

What to Test:

  • Keywords: Which keywords are your prospects using to find you in search engines? Test keyword variations to pinpoint the best terms to use when optimizing your website and your content. 
  • Geotargeting: If you're a local business, test the performance of different keyword variations that include the geographic region you're targeting.
  • PPC: Similarly, if you're utilizing pay-per-click advertising, test keyword variations and the landing pages you associate with them, too. 

Metrics to Use: Keyword Rank, Number of Monthly Searches for Specific Keywords, Organic Traffic, Inbound Links, (For PPC: Paid Traffic, Cost-per-Click)

3. Business Blogging

What to Test:

  • Headlines: Try different types of headlines and, over time, see which attract the most views. Do numbers in your headlines work well? What other trends do you notice?
  • Calls-to-Action: Each blog post you publish should include a call-to-action (CTA). You can also include CTA buttons in your blog's sidebar or top banner. Test the look, feel, and wording of CTAs to determine which generates the most clicks and conversions.
  • Offers: Also test the offers for which you're creating CTAs. Do certain offers work better for particular blog topics? Do ebook offers convert better than webinar offers?
Metrics to Use: Page Views, Clicks, Conversion Rates, Blog Leads

4. Website Pages and Landing Pages

What to Test:

  • Targeting: Are you using the right messaging on your homepage and throughout your website? Use A/B testing methods to test different messaging targeted at your key marketing personas.
  • Calls-to-Action: Every page on your website should have a call-to-action. Test the look and feel of different CTAs on various web pages.
  • Offers: Offer type is important, too. Test the performance of different offers on your pages. A middle-of-the-funnel offer like a free trial or consultation might not work well on your blog, but it might work wonders on a product page!
  • Form Fields/Length: For landing pages , test all of the above as well as the length of your forms and the fields they include.
  • Formatting & Layout: Test different formatting (e.g. headers, bullets, etc.) and your landing pages' layouts overall. Perhaps your website visitors convert better on pages where the form is on the left. Or maybe on the right!
Metrics to Use: Traffic, Clicks, Conversion Rates, Leads

5. Social Media

What to Test:

  • Types of Posts: Test various types of social media posts. Do you experience more engagement when you post questions? Links to content? Polls? Discussion topics?
  • Offers: Do you notice that certain types of lead gen offers perform better on one social media site compared to another? Perhaps your Facebook fan base is more interested in one topic and your Twitter followers are partial to a different topic. Pay attention to these patterns and tailor your social media posts accordingly.
  • Timing: Play around with the timing of your posts. Do you notice more engagement with your posts in the morning, the afternoon, or the evening? What about on weekends?
  • Frequency: Test different posting frequencies. Does your audience enjoy a whole slew of posts, or are they tapped out at one or two per day?
Metrics to Use: Social Media Traffic to Your Blog/Website, Facebook Insights Tools, Social Media Leads

The Bottom Line

Testing isn't one-size-fits-all. Because all audiences are different, it's important that every company does its own testing to determine the best tactics for its specific marketing strategy.

Learning lessons from others' tests and marketing campaigns can help alert you to what you can test, but other companies' specific results may not be applicable to your business or audience. Incorporate more ongoing testing into your marketing to optimize your processes and make your marketing even more effective.

What other tactics do you test in your internet marketing strategy ?

Image Credit: Amy

Originally published Aug 5, 2011 1:20:00 PM, updated June 28 2019