Learn how to optimize your marketing campaigns with message testing. We explore different methods you can use and how to analyze and put your results into action.
Do you want your marketing campaign to have a big impact on your customers? Message testing can reveal your campaign’s strengths and weaknesses, helping you to optimize your efforts.
The feedback and data gathered from message testing make it possible to better tailor your marketing messaging. Whether you’re testing landing pages, websites, paid ads, email campaigns, or other types of marketing materials, message testing generates insights into what resonates with your customers.
If you want to find better ways to boost engagement, drive conversions, and build stronger connections with your customers, message testing is essential in helping you reach your marketing goals.
In this article, we explore the importance of message testing, show you the different methods you can use and how to run messaging testing, and look at ways to analyze your results and put them into action.
Why is message testing important?
A type of test marketing, message testing can show if an important marketing message like a sale catches people’s attention.
You may have questions about whether your messaging will lead to conversions and engagement. Message testing provides a process for collecting and measuring the effectiveness of your messaging, identifying what grabs people’s attention and what’s missing. By trying out different testing methods, you can see what type of messaging works best for your target audience.
There are several key benefits to running message testing, including:
- Learning if your messaging resonates with your customers: Effective brand messaging should show the value of what you do and provide visitors with something useful.
- Ensuring that your messaging makes sense: Visitors should be able to easily understand what’s being communicated and what steps they should take.
- Gaining insights into what people think about your brand: Message testing can show whether your messaging leaves a positive or negative impression.
- Identifying the most effective type of messaging: By trying out different variations and measuring the outcomes, you can gain important insights into what style of messaging works best for your customers.
What can message testing help to answer?
Message testing can provide answers to important questions, like:
- Does the main headline tell people exactly what your website or content is about, and in a way that’s easy to understand?
- Are calls to action clear and located prominently?
- After scrolling through your website, do people understand your brand and the products or services you specialize in?
- Does your copy effectively highlight the value and selling points of what you offer?
- Are you using the right tone and voice to communicate with your target audience?
- Do people recognize that your content or brand provides solutions to their problems?
What marketing messages can you test?
Message testing allows you to analyze marketing materials and other digital content. There are a variety of things you can test, including:
- Email campaigns: Test the subject line, the body copy, calls to action, and the overall layout and design.
- Paid ads: Test the messaging in your ad’s headline, body copy, and calls to action.
- Mobile applications: Test your app’s name and description, and the copy used throughout.
- Landing pages: Test the messaging on your website’s landing page, including headlines, subheadings, calls to action, icons, and buttons.
- Website copy: Test the messaging used throughout your website, including the home page, product and services page, about us page, recruitment page, and so on.
- Article headlines: Check how attention-grabbing, clear, and engaging your article headlines are, and whether they entice people to click through to read more.
- Social media campaigns: Test variations of social media posts to see what resonates best with your target audience.
- Marketing visuals: Test images, videos, infographics, and other visual elements to see if they effectively communicate the intended message to your target audience.
By collecting feedback from testing, you can better tailor your messaging to connect with your target audience.
Qualitative vs quantitative message testing: What’s the difference?
Message testing can provide qualitative data, quantitative data, or a combination of the two.
Qualitative message testing collects opinions and reactions from test participants. You can gather this through individual or group interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, and video recordings. Analyzing the results can reveal themes and patterns, and you can do this using manual or automated processes depending on the tools you’re using.
Quantitative message testing provides hard numbers showing the outcomes of different messages. Data like click-through rates show whether people are taking the actions you want them to take. Collecting data from quantitative message testing can take the form A/B testing, heatmaps, click tests, and other interactive testing formats.
What methods can you use for message testing?
Deciding on which message testing method to use depends on what you want to explore (your goals), the type of feedback or information you want to collect, the time frame, and who you’re testing. Knowing the focus and strengths of different testing methods can help you find the best fit for your goals. In this section, we explore some common testing methods.
There are often a variety of ways you can say something. A/B testing lets you compare different versions of your message to determine which one is most effective.
The process of A/B testing involves:
- Selecting what you want to test.
- Creating two different versions of the message.
- Predicting the outcome.
- Running your test.
- Evaluating the results to see if they support your hypothesis.
- Making changes and refining your messaging as needed.
Testing brand recall
Brand recall measures how well people remember and associate your brand with a message. You can conduct this type of through surveys, questionnaires, or interviews.
Testing the impact of your messaging
Testing the impact of your messaging determines whether your message motivates people to take action. You can do this type of testing through first click tests, questionnaires, or other user assessments.
Heatmaps visually represent what people are drawn to and can help you understand if calls to action, buttons, navigational options, text, or other types of messaging are getting noticed.
Five second tests
Five second tests provide users with a brief glimpse of your website, app, ad, or other type of digital content and gather qualitative and quantitative data about their reactions. This type of testing is quick and efficient.
Surveys are another simple and fast way to gather feedback and information from participants. You can use surveys to focus on specific messaging and learn what people think.
Card sorting involves presenting labeled cards representing your content to test participants, who then arrange them in a way that makes sense to them. Card sorting shows how people expect content to be organized, which can help you structure your information architecture in a way that makes sense to your audience.
First click testing
First click testing identifies where users click, allowing you to determine whether your messaging is being ignored or is leading to a desired action. You can then adjust the style, location, and wording of your message accordingly.
Navigation testing uses user flows to guide participants through a series of navigational options, helping you evaluate whether your navigation makes sense and is easy to follow.
Preference testing allows you to evaluate which type of messaging your audience prefers. This can help you determine the best way to communicate with your audience.
How to conduct message testing
Now that we’ve covered what message testing is, what it can help you answer, and the methods you can use, let’s run through the steps you can take to conduct message testing.
1. Identify your testing goals
First, figure out what messages you want to test, formulate hypotheses about potential outcomes, and decide what you hope to achieve. Next, come up with the questions you’ll ask your participants.
Some common message testing questions include:
- Do the directions or call to actions effectively communicate what you’re supposed to do?
- Is the tone and voice consistent with what you’d expect from our brand?
- Is the messaging or information being communicated obvious and easy to understand?
2. Understand your target audience
There are a few ways to find out about your audience. Google Analytics can show the age, gender, and location of your website visitors, which can give you some generalized information. Customer surveys, focus groups, and other forms of direct market research can also give you a better understanding of who your existing and prospective customers are and what they’re looking for.
3. Choose a testing format
Select a messaging testing method that’s effective and efficient in achieving your testing goals.
4. Conduct message testing
Test your messaging either remotely or in person, and collect the relevant data.
By following these steps, you can conduct message testing and gather valuable insights that will help you validate and optimize your marketing messaging and improve the overall communication with your audience.
How to use message testing results
After conducting message testing, you’ll have valuable data and insights that can help you improve your messaging.
Follow these steps to make the most of the results:
- Evaluate the data and feedback: Analyze the data and feedback you received from test participants and look for patterns. These recurring themes will highlight what’s working well and what needs improvement.
- Prioritize changes: Identify the most critical issues to address first. Focus on changes that will have the biggest impact on the user experience.
- Make changes incrementally: Address one issue at a time. Revise the messaging and then test it again to see if the changes have improved its effectiveness.
- Continue testing and gathering feedback: Even after making changes based on initial message testing, your work isn’t done. Keep testing and collecting data to monitor the impact of changes and identify areas for further improvement.
For effective message testing, try using UsabilityHub. We have a range of testing options available to help you collect valuable feedback from your target audience. Sign up for a free plan today to improve your messaging!
Frequently asked questions about message testing
How do you test marketing messages?
Message testing is the process of evaluating the effectiveness of marketing messages by gauging how well they resonate with your target audience. It involves gathering feedback and analyzing data to determine which messages are most compelling, relevant, and persuasive to existing and potential customers.
What is an example of message testing?
A/B testing is an example of message testing, where two variations of a message are tested against each other to determine which one performs better.
How do you test B2B messaging?
To test B2B messaging, identify your target audience and create messages that resonate with them. This can involve conducting surveys or interviews with your target audience to gather feedback on your messaging. Once the messages are developed, you can test them using a number of methods, such as A/B testing, five second tests, surveys, and first click tests. It's important to continually refine and test your messaging to ensure it’s effective in communicating the desired message and resonates with your target audience.
Why is message testing important?
Message testing is important because it helps to ensure that marketing messages are effective and resonate with your target audience. It can also help you identify potential messaging pitfalls and prevent costly mistakes. By testing messages, you can gain valuable insights into what works and what doesn't, and use this to refine your marketing strategies. This ultimately leads to better engagement with customers, increased sales, and a stronger brand reputation.
Jeff Cardello is a freelance writer who loves all things tech and design. Outside of being a word nerd, he enjoys playing bass guitar, riding his bike long distances, and recently started learning about data science and how to code with Python.