Five ways to test your marketing messages

Last week was interesting for lots of reasons – but one of the most common themes which came up was how often marketing and sales organisations are brilliant at devising strategies for their clients, yet struggle to do it for themselves.

I’m sure many of you can relate to this issue – you spend so much time working on your business, you can’t see the wood from the trees when it comes to devising the right words for describing what you do.

There’s no hard and fast rules about how to come up with the right words when it comes to marketing your own organisation, although getting a basic understanding of what value propositions are all about will help you along the way. Once you think you have something – here are five good ways to check you are on the money…

  1. Give your materials to an ‘average’ 13 year old and let them unprompted tell you what they think. They will be an excellent barometer of the language you are using.
  2. Even if you messages make sense – it’s always worth a back of an envelope test to see whether people are actually searching for the phrases you use. Use the planet’s best market research tool to test out your keyphrases. If no one’s searching for what you’ve written, rewrite it or you will always be running uphill.
  3. For every 10 people you discuss branding/marketing with, you will always get at least 11 opinions, so bearing that in mind, send your materials to 5 people you are close to and respect and then to 5 acquaintances for feedback. Ask each group three specific questions about your materials – DON’T just ask for feedback – that’s too hard.
  4. Get brave – head off to a local networking group and make a real effort to meet 10 people in the room. This is the perfect place to test your elevator pitch, which forms part of these messages. Get good at refining it in front of people. A great test for success is whether you get a follow up question after the initial “So what do you do?” one. When people start to offer you names of people you should talk to – you know you’re onto a winner.
  5. Finally, whilst it’s not scientific, NEVER ignore your gut feelings (or your team’s gut feelings) about what it is you’ve produced. If you aren’t comfortable and proud to be using the materials and messaging you’ve produced, then make changes immediately. The best marketing won’t work, without the belief of a team behind it. Confidence and passion definitely breeds success.

Now – go and test!
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