Is this a good idea?

Marketing Experiments

You’ll know whether your marketing idea is a good one when you see the results. Before then, you can make an educated guess, based on expert advice, or your friends’ experiences, but you don’t really know.

What works for your friend or another professional in the field may not be a good choice for your business. Your people may have different needs and preferences. You may not have the same skills, or the same resources. Your business model and the ecosystem it is part of may be different. Or maybe things have simply changed.

I really like that thought. It’s empowering. It means that you don’t have to figure this out in your head. Instead, you get to experiment! You don’t need an MBA, or get someone’s permission, or take much of a risk. You just need to be curious, ready to let go of assumptions, and take action.

Here is a road map for a simple, small-scale marketing experiment:

1. Pick one idea you want to test.
For example, let’s say you want to know if it’s a good idea to write guest posts for a well known blog in your field.

2. Decide how much time – and, if required, money or other resources – you want to dedicate to the experiment.
Go with an amount that feels comfortable to you. In our example case, you might say you’ll take an hour and a half to write an awesome post, another hour to communicate and coordinate, and then another one to track and evaluate the results.

3. Take action!
Write and submit that post, launch that Facebook page, tweet away!

4. Track the results.
It’s amazing how much invaluable insight you can get here, especially when it comes to online marketing. There is a bit of a learning curve with those tracking tools, but it’s not rocket science. If nothing else, look into Google Analytics, so you can find out how people got to your website – and ask new clients how they heard about you, when you can.

5. Draw your conclusions.
If you spent three hours and get x new clients and y new subscribers to your newsletter, is it worth the effort?

If it works for you, do more of it. If not, move on.

{Photo by zhouxuan12345678 on Flickr.}

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