Whatever marketing tools you use, testing the variables you control is an important and often overlooked part of the process. Testing allows you to build a strong understanding of what works for your audience – and what doesn’t – so you can stay one step ahead of the competition.
These days, your target audience is being marketed to almost constantly. Your brand needs to stand out from the crowd and continue to do so. The CBD marketplace is thriving, so there’s no room for complacency! One way to ensure that you’re consistently improving is to test, test, test. Sure, choose the best designer and a hot-shot copywriter, but remember that continuous, data-driven improvement is a valuable addition to their skills.
So, how do you use testing to ensure you are consistently getting the most bang for your marketing bucks?
If you haven’t already heard of A/B testing (or split testing), you’ll be amazed at the simplicity of it. You simply choose two iterations of whatever facet of your marketing you want to test, serve them up to a small portion of your audience, then use the one that performs best for the remainder.
For example, you may wish to test two or more versions of your new banner ad design. Try using two versions of an element in the ad for a short-term campaign, then whichever version gets the best click-through or conversion rates is employed for a longer/bigger campaign. Some aspects you can try experimenting with include:
- Colour: does your primary or secondary brand colour perform better?
- CTA: does a simple call to action get more clicks than a more complicated one?
- Headline/tagline/slogan – which version gets the most clicks?
- Layout – is less really more?
- Images and fonts: what type of image or font works best for this type of advertising?
It’s worth noting that this only works if you keep everything else the same. Otherwise, you won’t know which factor has had an impact on the success of each version. Testing variations of your assets can be hugely interesting, particularly if you and a colleague have conflicting opinions about which is best, but you have to be patient and make sure you’re doing it right so that you can trust the results.
You can also use this approach for newsletter/email marketing. For example, you may wish to see if using a person’s name or your company name as the ‘sender’ leads to a higher open rate for your monthly newsletter. Simply send your newsletter to 5% of your audience (or 10% if you have fewer than 1,000 total subscribers) with a person’s name in the ‘sender’ field, 5% with your business name and wait 24-48 hours. At the end of that time period, whichever sender name has the highest number of opens is the one you use when you send the newsletter to the entire rest of your subscriber base.
Other areas where you can employ A/B methods include: landing page/webpage copy, call to action button wording/colours/placement, ad wording, the use of video/audio/animation on social media posts and more.
It’s also worth looking at industry-standard advice about wording. For example, the following rules have been extensively tested and often hold true, though it’s always worth checking for your audience:
- Active voice is often more effective than passive voice. For example, use “Choose your favourite flavour today” instead of “A range of flavours to choose from”. It inspires action, and is usually punchier (and takes up less of your word count).
- Use first person instead of third person when talking about your product. “This product is designed to make you feel more confident about…” is better than “Designed to make customers feel more confident about…”.
- Sell the benefit to the person, rather than the features of the product. Size, flavour, colour etc – they don’t matter as much as your customers’ desire to achieve status, happiness, better health or whatever it is you can promise them.
- Easy-to-read fonts are more effective, whereas cursive fonts can be difficult to read and off putting.
- Positive words hold attention for longer than negative words, even if they are both used in the same context. For example, “Remember, the offer ends at midnight tonight” should perform better than “Don’t forget, the offer ends at midnight tonight”, because ‘don’t’ is a negative word.
- Some colours are more appealing than others; green is a subconscious signal to proceed, while red can make us feel wary. Other colour associations are worth learning, too, such as avoiding blue for food-based products.
- Avoid words that imply uncertainty or create ambiguity, such as ‘might’, ‘may’ and ‘can’ when making claims about your product. If your main text sounds too much like small print then it isn’t going to sell.
So if you’re not sure what to test, try testing out a few of these rules to see what works for you. With the regulations around what you can and can’t say about CBD products, you may find that A/B testing is what gives you the edge over your competitors, allowing you to incrementally improve your marketing on a never-ending basis.