Does anybody have any experiences in testing copy?

by pauloadaoag Administrator
11 replies
My questions are as follows:
  • When do you decide that testing copy is a good idea
  • Do you just test CTA copy or even sales copy
  • How do you test sales copy? Is the tone completely different or is it subtle wording differences
#copy #experiences
  • Profile picture of the author helisell
    Don't test subtle differences as you will learn very little about what 'tone' you should be using.

    Make your tests [at first anyway] very different in look/tone/message.

    Then work on the one that gets the better result and then test different elements of that one.

    Subtlety only takes place after you've optimised the big chunky elements...now you can test small tweaks.

    There's no point in being subtle when you first start testing Good Luck
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    • Profile picture of the author pauloadaoag
      Administrator
      You have a good point about refining look and tone first before fine tuning.

      How about testing CTAs?
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  • Profile picture of the author SARubin
    Originally Posted by pauloadaoag View Post

    My questions are as follows:
    • When do you decide that testing copy is a good idea
    Honestly, before the copy ever goes live I've already decided that testing is a good idea.


    If the initial response rate is brilliant, then I may hold off on any changes, for a while. But if you never stop testing, your advertising will never stop improving.



    Originally Posted by pauloadaoag View Post

    • Do you just test CTA copy or even sales copy
    You can test pretty much anything. CTA is one. The headline is a BIG one to test. The offer, price, the P.S. etc.



    Originally Posted by pauloadaoag View Post

    • How do you test sales copy? Is the tone completely different or is it subtle wording differences
    I rarely ever change the overall tone of piece, unless the original piece is a total dog with negligible response.

    But sometimes it can be as simple as changing a few words. An ancient example of this, for a language course, was...

    "Do you make mistakes in English?" ...It didn't sell crap.

    But a single word added...

    "Do you make these mistakes in English?" ...Turned it into a control piece that made millions.

    .
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    • Profile picture of the author pauloadaoag
      Administrator
      Is it a wise idea to test multiple copy changes simultaneously? Im concerned about isolating the effects of different changes.
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      • Profile picture of the author SARubin
        Originally Posted by pauloadaoag View Post

        Is it a wise idea to test multiple copy changes simultaneously? Im concerned about isolating the effects of different changes.
        If the piece is getting any kind of a decent response, then I usually only test one (maybe two) changes at a time. Otherwise, I can't be sure which change(s) had the biggest impact.

        Also, if the original piece doesn't do anything, or gets a negligible response (usually means we're not connecting with our audience) then eventually it's time to go back to the research phase. And try to figure out where the disconnect is coming from.

        At which time we might need to scrap the whole piece and start over? Or we might need to see if we're even talking to the right audience? At the right time? Through the right medium?

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  • tbh, I see testin' copy all the time.

    Hurts my brain.
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  • Profile picture of the author Carl Galletti
    The 3 best things to test are:
    Price
    Offer
    Headline

    It's good to know how much your market is willing to pay. Of course, where to start can be a daunting question. I find that a good place to start is above the competition, at the competition and below the competition. Then, figure out the overall sales that would be generated and resulting profits and determine which is best. You may also find that even though the "at" or "below" version gives you a little more overall profit, the "above" option gives you a good profit at fewer sales and therefore much easier to reach, especially with a small list. Of course, there are many factors in this such as type of product, list, etc.

    The offer is different from but includes the price. It consists of bonuses and perhaps, payment plans. I once generated $26,000+ in commissions in an 18 hours launch by giving a good bonus package then came back a couple months later and did over 50K in a day with another launch. So, bonuses can make a big difference in sales.

    David Ogilvy says that "On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy." So, the headline can make a BIG difference. If you are only willing to test one thing, I'd say test the headline. Most really good copywriters spend the most time coming up with the headlines to test.
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  • Profile picture of the author 55sadhikar
    when testing copy test long form vs short form. Test the sales copy with the competitor in your niche vs yours.
    Marketing is testing period.
    Its finding out what works and what doesn't and finally scaling the winners..
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by helisell View Post

    Don't test subtle differences as you will learn very little about what 'tone' you should be using.

    Make your tests [at first anyway] very different in look/tone/message.

    Then work on the one that gets the better result and then test different elements of that one.

    Subtlety only takes place after you've optimised the big chunky elements...now you can test small tweaks.

    There's no point in being subtle when you first start testing Good Luck
    My thoughts exactly.

    Once you have your initial control, test one thing at a time lest you have no clue about which change made a difference. Or if multiple, possibly positive changes were cancelled out by another change.

    Last, be aware of the point of diminishing returns. At some point, the improvements you may see from further testing aren't worth the effort/expense of the test. When you reach that point, take a portion of your traffic and start over testing something completely different.

    You're always playing 'beat the control'.
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  • Profile picture of the author Oziboomer
    Originally Posted by pauloadaoag View Post

    My questions are as follows:
    • When do you decide that testing copy is a good idea
    • Do you just test CTA copy or even sales copy
    • How do you test sales copy? Is the tone completely different or is it subtle wording differences
    The first thing is having an absolutely amazing offer.

    There is little point in testing anything without having a great offer.

    Second thing would be traffic.

    Need qualified traffic who want the thing.

    Then once you have figured out the traffic and the offer you can test things.

    I'm assuming you would have at least some decent copy before you started testing anything.

    So.

    Good copy + Outstanding offer + Qualified traffic

    Then test.

    If you can split traffic into more defined segments. Male, female, key splits.

    Match language to traffic.

    Test different benefits in headlines to match traffic segments.

    Look at heat maps and traffic flows.

    Listen for feedback from purchasers and non-purchasers.

    Adjust structure based on analytical data.

    Retarget vistors and test new hooks.

    Make sure there is enough significant traffic and data to indicate a definite trend towards one variant before discarding a loser.

    Testing copy when the offer and traffic match is poor is pointless.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by Oziboomer View Post

      The first thing is having an absolutely amazing offer.

      There is little point in testing anything without having a great offer.
      You don't wait until you have a great offer. You test different offers until one of them proves to be great.

      Originally Posted by Oziboomer View Post

      Second thing would be traffic.

      Need qualified traffic who want the thing.
      Again, you don't know if you have qualified traffic who want the thing without testing different sources.

      And different sources will likely respond differently to each offer variation. So, it's a matter of finding a satisfactory match of offer and traffic source.

      If you do that, then the following makes sense...

      Originally Posted by Oziboomer View Post

      Then once you have figured out the traffic and the offer you can test things.

      I'm assuming you would have at least some decent copy before you started testing anything.
      Agreed, once you have a satisfactory match between offer and prospects, you can begin the process of optimization.

      As for assuming decent copy, one can only take their best guess and expose it to the world. The world will decide if it's decent. You always want to play "beat the control."
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