Testing. One, two, three, testing. This is a test. Everything is a test. At least it should be in the world of the Build-to-Rent market, where the only way to your renters' heart is through regular testing that helps you understand how they think.
Sometimes great ideas are born out of a moment of genius. But more often than not, they're the result of rigorous testing. "Always be testing" is the motto in marketing, and doing so can increase your chances of building a successful community. It can also help you make a case for changing tactics if specific outreach methods aren't working. If you're new to the world of testing, then you've landed in the right place. In this guide, we'll explain what testing is and how you can use it to your Build-to-Rent community's advantage.
What is testing in marketing?
Testing is looking at your outreach across different platforms and using data-led insights to make informed decisions. You'll likely already use data to better understand your metrics, including social media data, which can provide specific answers and compare different messaging architectures.
There are different types of testing (more on that later!), with each one designed to give you a better idea about what connects with your audience. It allows you to identify specific variables and understand the landscape where you're operating.
Why should you use testing?
The saying, "if you throw enough mud at a wall, something will finally stick", isn't best practice for any Build-to-Rent marketer who wants to generate engagement and get renters excited about their community. Testing means you're working off tangible information designed to improve processes. It yields better results and helps point focus on the most critical areas of your social media outreach.
Almost 50 percent of marketers say that identifying and understanding their target audience is their biggest challenge. Continuous testing helps you overcome one of the most challenging aspects of the job by providing real-time insights.
Different types of testing
A/B testing involves trying different methods for the same piece of content. For example, you could send two emails about the same topic using different subject lines and slightly modified copy. Then you'd test which one garnered the best response and use it as your primary email send.
Multivariable testing happens on a larger scale than A/B, which means it can produce vague results. However, it's still worth using as a tactic to garner insights into how your audience reacts when you change more than one element of a piece of content. For example, you might keep the copy for two social media posts the same but change the primary image and the headline tag. You may also post them at identical times during the day so that you're only testing the reaction to the title and imagery. The main goal is to see which one gets more clicks. This can work well for paid ads as you'll want to cross-reference large audiences who interact with the post. The results can help define your PPC strategy and reveal which ads work best for your target demographic.
How to test
Now that you have a better idea about the ins and outs of marketing testing, you'll want to put some of the theory into practice. Before you start testing, however, you'll need to have a few important aspects in place first.
- An understanding of what you want to achieve with testing (is the goal of achieving larger follower counts, increased likes, click-through rates, or getting renters in your home?)
- Ideas about what you want to test (does your audience respond more to images or videos, for example?)
- Your current marketing strategy, media and goals
Once you have the above in place, you can start testing to get a better understanding of renters' tastes.
Type of content
Decide on the type of content you want to test. Do you want to trial which imagery works best, or is copy your primary target? Perhaps you want to look at the best times during the day to share, or maybe you prefer to focus on longer and shorter form content to which one is more popular.
Choose between an A/B test or multivariable depending on the type of content you select as your guinea pig. Also, think about the platform you're testing on, as each one commands different audiences, and testing them against each other may muddle results.
Length of test
How long do you wish to test for? Do you plan to compare two posts directly, or is the goal to examine a series of posts over a few days?
Keep track of the results as they come in and then compare them to see which of your content pieces yield the most engagement. Analysing results can help you identify new opportunities or use it as a case study to present to the broader team.
This is a test
Marketing testing is the only way to be sure of your success. Without it, you're trying various approaches without really knowing how well they're working. With it, however, you're creating a watertight process that provides key information about what your audience's response to. Such insight can help shape and build your strategy while providing a strong social media marketing outreach.