Test. Retest. Then Do It Again.

Test TubeInteresting conversation going on over at Copyblogger where Brian Clark is talking about calls to action.

He points to a MarketingSherpa test that suggests that using the word “click” — as in “click here” or “click to continue” — can boost response.

You can make a lot of arguments for or against using that specific wording (and people appear to be doing so in the comments).

But what stood out to me as the real lesson is…

Prioritize Test Results Over Your Opinion

Intuition and “gut feelings” are helpful.

After all, you have to start somewhere, and just sitting down and creating what you feel should be an effective landing page or email campaign is a great way to get something out there, which you then can improve over time.

But in marketing, hunches and personal opinion are no substitute for real-world proof.

Testing shows us what really works — what colors, headlines, calls to action and other elements make our email marketing more effective. It helps us better target our audience by teaching us what makes them subscribe, read messages and order products.

Start Testing Today

Testing is why you track opens and clickthroughs. It’s why you track track where subscribers come from. It’s why you can split test webforms and broadcasts.

Some things you can test:

  • Different text on your form’s “submit” button.
  • Personalization in your broadcast subject lines.
  • The order of fields in your signup form (should you put the name box first? or the email one? or some other field that you’re collecting?)

These are just a few elements of your email marketing campaigns that you can optimize through simple testing.

So get out there and start testing! You just may be surprised at what you learn.


  1. Sue Melin

    9/19/2007 7:58 pm

    I read the comments, and found Jay Thomspon’s trick to be the cutest by far. It’s true, tell someone not to look (or click)and they will everytime. Thanks for the tip, Jay

  2. Simon

    9/20/2007 7:07 am

    A good thing to remember when testing is to never try one headline on one list and another headline on another list and try to compare results.

    The difference in results between lists can be astronomical, like in this recent mailing I did.

    I sent out an email about Blog Rush, the new blog traffic exchange that John Reese is launching, two three of my lists.

    List 1: 14% clickthrough
    List 2: 15% clickthrough
    List 3: 0.6% clickthrough (with 1 unsubscriber and one spam complaint)

    I should have expected it as the two first lists are from free giveaway signups where I suspect a large number of the people are marketers. The third list is for a newsletter on a shopping site I have, probably very few marketers.

    Always good to remember when you start testing to have the right product for the right list.

  3. Ambrose Duperon

    9/20/2007 6:36 pm

    Good solid points Simon.

  4. Goerge

    9/21/2007 3:03 pm

    Well, I think most of net marketers out there do not test.

    I strongly believe that success in net marketing is hidden in bringing the right traffic to your site and then driving it correctly where you want.

    In order to do this you have to test and then retest the best results from the first test. Then again retest and so on… until you achieve optimization for your web pages based on your desired course of action.

    I use Kaizentrack software for my tests. I would suggest it to everyone you gets serious about testing.

    See also the Crazy Egg service (type crazy egg in google). You could get thermographs of the higher clickthrough rates in your site with this service.

    I prefer taguchi testing for my tests. Search out for taguchi testing and you want lose.

    Thank you.

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