Do you challenge the status quo or do you avoid change? Many of us make the same decisions every day and somehow expect our lives to get better. How can we expect the same inputs to yield different outputs? I’ll tell you a secret: we can’t.
If you want to make a change in your business or personal life, it might be difficult to decide where to start. There’s a mountain of information out there. Much of it is conflicting. Eat fewer carbs. Eat more carbs. Everyone has an opinion. What do you do?
The solution is to experiment. Test everything and see what actually works. Every business and every human is unique. The only way to know for sure is to try it yourself.
How do you know what to build? Perhaps you’ve been struck by divine inspiration. Maybe you’ve conducted customer interviews. But you won’t really know what customers want until the moment when they make the decision to buy.
In The Lean Startup, Eric Reis suggests that you start with a bare-bones minimum viable product (MVP). Instead of spending months or years developing an offering, just release something into the wild and see what happens. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Once the MVP is on the market, you can see how customers actually respond. Are they buying it? What’s their feedback? If they consistently ask for a certain feature, add it. If nobody mentions a potential feature that you were planning to add, perhaps you don’t have to build it after all. You just saved time and money.
As you build out your product, try offering different versions to different people. For example, if you are a travel company, offer some people the ability to communicate directly with their accommodations through the website. For other people, don’t offer this functionality. Then, you can see whether offering the messaging system actually made more people want to book a trip.
You can repeat these tests over and over to see what customers actually care about. If it turns out the customers don’t respond positively to certain features, you can save resources by not developing similar ideas in the future. If certain types of offerings get a positive response, you can work on doubling down.
So you have a new product and now it’s time to start marketing. What do you say?
Similarly to testing products, you can test messaging to see what works best. Try sending out two different messages-each to 5% of your customers. After waiting a day or two, you can see which message produced the best response.
Who bought more? If one message clearly outperformed the other, then you can send that message to the rest of your customers. This sort of experimentation is called A/B testing or split testing and can be very efficient when trying to see what customers will respond to.
You can use split testing for all your customer-facing materials. For example, you can split test facebook advertisements, landing pages, and home pages. It’s often helpful to split test isolated variables so you know the exact change that is making the difference.
There are lots of tools you can use to help you measure results. You can use your email client to track things like open rate and click-through rate. Try Google Analytics to measure page views and events like button clicks.
Why only test in the business world? So many variables contribute to our happiness and well-being. Shouldn’t we figure out what works best for us?
It’s easy to get lulled into a routine. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. But by being chained to our habits, we often miss out on a lot of opportunities.
Diet, exercise, and schedule are all great areas to experiment with. See what works for you.
After years of trying out different diets, I’m now vegan. It works for me and I feel fantastic. But guess what? You’re not me. Maybe it won’t work for you. The only way to be completely sure is to try many different things and see what resonates with you. What makes you happy?
The opportunities to test are limitless. You can test out bedtimes, vacation lengths, and even careers. I would, however, limit yourself to one or two tests at any given time. If everything is always in flux, things might get a little chaotic and you probably won’t be able to tell what’s making the difference.
Everyone is different. With so much conflicting information out there, it can often be difficult to decide what to do. Luckily, you can use experiments to test what works best for you. It can also be lots of fun to try new things and experience different ways of life. Eventually, you’ll figure out what is most effective.
Test with enthusiasm. Be sure to actually measure what’s most effective. Trying a bunch of things without evaluating the results isn’t going to help. Use a system to track how you perform, react, and feel. No two people are the same, so it’s your job to see what’s best for you. Get out there and start testing!
Originally published at https://bjorn2write.com on August 9, 2019.