An Easy Way to Split Test

You’ve been hammering away on your marketing and think it is time to change things up a bit. Should you change the color, size, a headline, try a new picture, send letters instead of postcards, try a different sized envelope for your letter, or maybe an invitation style with a card? How do you decide? You don’t want to change the whole piece. It is important to have some connectivity between your pieces so your audience remembers who you arre. Where do you start?

I like to look at and learn marketing from the biggest names in the marketing world. No, not the gurus. They don’t amount to peanuts. I’m talking about the companies that have been in business for decades, and make their money by constantly pushing their products in your face. Companies whose marketing budgets are higher than many small countries GDP. One of the biggest of them all is McDonald’s – $988 Million spent on marketing in 2013! Of course, that isn’t even 1/3 of what Coke spends, but since they are only selling Coke, they utilize more logo recognition by plastering it everywhere and hiring high profile spokespeople.

McDonald’s knows exactly who their target market is, how to best reach them, and what to show them to make them want their product. Although the commercials and menus have changed over the years, they utilize mascots to reinforce their brand recognition. They really have their marketing dialed in and you can learn a lot by paying attention to them.

Since we’re not dealing with McD’s marketing budget, but want to conduct a split test we need to figure out something easier than running a commercial with the Hamburglar in Texas and one with Grimace in California to see which sells more cheeseburgers before going nationwide. So, what do we do?

 Most likely you don’t have two phone numbers or two extensions you can use. And, asking “Exactly which mailer did you receive?” can really put a damper on your negotiation, especially when dealing with older people who don’t always understand complex questions, never mind the address of the property they own.

Let’s say you are mailing postcards and want to try a new headline. What do you mean you don’t use a headline? Some examples from the many mailers I receive on my rentals and have sitting here on my desk include, “Urgent Notice,” “Attention Homeowner,” “Houses Wanted.” By the way, these all suck, but I bet they still get houses in escrow. So, you put pencil to paper and come up with a few dozen new headlines. You show them to a few trusted advisers (could be your kids, spouse, dog) and narrow the field down to just two. Problem is, you can’t decide between these two remaining contenders. You’re sure they are both going to make sellers hand you deeds and keys faster than you can write checks.

An easy way to split test your two new headlines is to send a batch of cards out with your new headline and use your first name at the end of your call to action. “Call me now! Thanks, Aaron” What do you mean you’re not using a call to action? On your other card, you use your middle name, “Call me now! Thanks, Michael”

Just by answer the phone and listening for whomever the caller wants to talk to, then keeping a simple record on a Post It note somewhere convenient, you’ll quickly learn which headline is more effective.

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