Direct Response sales effort
Testing is the single most important aspect of any Direct Response sales effort. Only thru testing are you able to team up all of the positive factors into a satisfactory mode of operation
Testing makes it possible to be continually improving your performance. Through testing you can increase response while holding the line on cost. This improvement could be due to refinements of proposition, copy graphics, or selection of more responsive media or mailing lists. Testing can also show you how to cut costs on all these titans, without losing response, thus making each dollar spent produce more revenue.
Testing a totally new and different product for sales appeal at different prices is another very important function. In the Direct Response industry, the consumer actually dictates the maximum sales price. There is no other way to arrive at a realistic selling price.
The other side of the coin is perhaps even more important. By always testing before you plunge, you can cut-your losses early. The old timers in this business still come up with losing ideas; but since they test, they don't lose their shirts on then.
You can have the same "disaster insurance" that they do, if you will just adhere to the principle of "test first, then go ahead."
You may have the idea that professionals or large corporations plan out and predict each move. If so, you're only partially right. They plan, but then they test. Regardless of how long a person has been at this business or how knowledgeable he is, he cannot predict with any real accuracy. You must test, retest, and then test again.
There is no right or wrong time to test. There will be fluctuations in your testing according to season. June, July and August are slack seasons when you obtain less response to any form of advertising. Knowing this in advance and adjusting your
test result figures to allow for it means that you can test any time of the year.
In actual practice, a good testing program is a continuing operation all year around. Since there are so many variables, there are also hundreds of opportunities to increase the effectiveness of your operation. Any month that goes by without your testing something is a lost opportunity you can never retrieve.
Even assuming that you operation is highly satisfactory and has an enviable ratio of dollars out to dollars in, there is always a possibility for improvement.
Another eventuality that indicates continual testing is the fact that 90% of the offers will suffer from "appeal fade." Response gradually slackens. New copy or graphics or a new incentive can revitalize a fading offer.
If you want to learn to write ads that produce results’, study ads that have run for months. Analyze them. What basic appeal do they make? Why is the lead line a "stopper"? You will learn more about writing winning ads this way than in any books or courses you might ever take.
So the answer to "when should I test?" must realistically be: Continually!