I came across a very interesting blogging contest today, with a deadline of March 13th (wow, that’s today.) It sounded like a lot of fun and has a great prize (8GB iPod Nano!), so I decided to contribute. The task? Write a post inspired by this cartoon:
I started my career in e-marketing as a researcher / curriculum writer for the Comprehensive Guide to Successful Email Marketing one day course, teaching myself every aspect of marketing via promotional and newsletter-based emails. One major thing I took away from the creation of this course was to always, always test your message, and then test it again! And then, when you think you have it right, and still have a little time left before your deadline, TEST it again! Why? Because you’re way too close to the material to accurately determine what your audience’s response will be.
As in this cartoon…the individual may have spent hours trying to come up with the most effective way to get his point across in as little words as possible. What he didn’t do was test his message to see how people would read it.
The following are four, out of thousands, of reasons to TEST your message before pressing that SEND or PUBLISH button, or before sending the final product to your employer!
- Your message may offend others: this is especially important if you are marketing internationally. Certain words or phrases that mean nothing offensive in your language may have an entirely different meaning when translated.
- A similar, but different message may be more effective: switching two words may make a huge difference. “Free Car Wash with Purchase of Gas,” instead of “Free Car Was with Gas.” Be sure to use A/B testing to find your ideal headline, subject line, or promotional message.
- It may be interpreted into a different context (see the cartoon above): I just dealt with this a few days ago when writing some copy for a technical topic that I wasn’t extremely familiar with.
- You may have typos: Always have at least two sets of eyes, other than yours, check your copy for simple grammar or spelling changes. When you’re looking at copy over and over again in its development stage, the errors start looking like they belong.