Small Business Marketing: Failure IS an Option

Failure can be a blessing, we usually learn more from failure than we can from success. In marketing ad campaigns, there are bound to be a few hiccups along the way before it can skyrocket. Think of it like a new dish that you want to cook, you may not get the result the first time but little tweaks here and there on repeated efforts and you will perfect the dish. Back to marketing, A/B testing is something you may or may not be aware of, it is a way of testing out which campaign works better with your audience by making minor tweaks. The differences between A and B campaigns may be a switch in layout, use of words, different pictures etc. Usually the there wont be more than one change. This allows you to track down whether or not the specified difference has had any effect on you marketing efforts. By measuring what works and what doesn’t, you are one step closer to creating better ads that yield more engagement with your target market.

Is A/B testing for my small business?

A/B testing is for any type business. We live in the information age, how to make sense of all that data is whats going to give you the edge over your competitors. What is fantastic for you at the moment is the amount of information you can get from running A/B test in your ad campaigns. The data can be sorted out into what your audiences responds to and what they don’t. A lot of businesses, try to go for the ‘one shot. one kill’ approach, and it can be a hit or miss affair, a hit will be great, a miss can be disastrous, but if you don’t know why you are hitting or why you are failing then both results won’t work for you in the long run.

Netflix used A/B testing back in 2011 to come out with their new format for their user interface. The original interface showed just four titles with a star rating. and tested it against another variation, which showed near-endless rows of thumbnails with pictures and titles users could scroll through. The second variation proved to be hugely popular and improved retention and they had an increase in engagement.

Can I Afford A/B testing on my Small Business Budget?

The great thing about A/B testing is that you can run a FB campaign on an affordable budget, social media is a fantastic and cheap way to run campaigns and get a slew of informative results back. this is a fantastic cheap way of getting results, what usually takes a lot of money can be done on a smaller more effective scale. However, proper planning and goal setting must be established to get the best results.

So how do you Conduct an A/B test.

Firstly you need a hypothesis and a definition of success, in the book A/B testing, it stresses that you need a clear hypothesis and also defining quatifiable success metrics. A hypothesis is important as you need to be able to come up with a theory to prove, much like a scientist trying to answer a specific type of question, the second part is looking more into empirical data and finding out if it supports or disapproves the theory.

Clicks, Comments, Shares, or Likes?

The next important step is that you need to decide which counters (Likes, comments, shares, information) are more essential for the ad campaign that you intend to run. Clicks to a website might be great, but are they what you are looking for? If you are intending to distribute content you should be looking to get more shares or comments.This will give you a better indication on how the audience is interacting on your content. If you are trying to get more people to sign up to the newsletter on your website, you should be looking into number of new email subscribers per visitors. Being clear in the objective of the ad campaign will bring you closer to success. Just like setting up goals in real life need to be specific, so do your marketing goals.

Where do you Start?

Here are a few areas where you can immediately improve your image on the web.

  • Get rid of any unnecessary fields — people are generally lazy to type in a lot of information about themselves, while the information is great for you it does not do much for the user experience. If you need the information spread it over a couple of webpages so as it doesn’t seem like there is a lot to type in.
  • Summarise main points — Have a long article? Include a short summary of the main points, this will allow visitors to quickly glance and keep their attention for the article, if they decide not to read it at least they have been able to get this gist of what you were trying to make clear.
  • Different words have different reactions — Try out different words on your ‘Click’ button. Some users get turned off the “Buy it Now” button as opposed to “Learn More” button. There are different variations of this so look to find out which one works best for you.

Scientists often say that there’s nothing more exciting than discovering something that doesn’t work, because you can learn so much from failure. Even if you have not been able to prove your initial theory, you may have been able to find out something else that was interesting. Behind every failure there lies a valuable lesson. Through A/B Marketing you are able to fine tune and tweak your marketing efforts into something much more effective. The valuable lessons that you learn along the way will help you create effective marketing campaigns in the future with a lot less effort. Don’t be afraid to experiment, remember every failure brings you closer to your goal.

Thanks for reading! I hope this article helps you in some way, if you have any more tips please add a comment. If you wish to connect with me please visit me on my LinkedIn profile, I’d love to help you out with any marketing problems that you may have.

This article was inspired by the book “ A/B Testing” written by Dan Siroker and Pete Kooman