What worked well for your company yesterday may not be the best today. Make sure you're getting the best results by putting various parts of your business to the test.
You go into a dressing room with 10 pairs of jeans to try on, even though you just need one. You take off the ones you're wearing – your beloved pair that fits so well. You try all 10 pairs and luckily one of them fits as well, if not better, than the pair you thought you could never replace. You feel that after pulling on all those jeans, you know what works for you. You have a winner.
It's the same in business. You should be constantly trying new things in all parts of your business to get better results and, in the long run, grow. Here are a few ideas you might try to test:
Messaging - Test messaging on your search engine marketing campaigns. "Free Trial" might work better than "Try it Free!" We've even used search engine marketing to test pricing for a new product. Another idea is to split your e-mail marketing list and test subject lines in your campaigns to see which one has the better open and click rates. Finally, include separate opt-in forms all over your website to see which page works best for getting newsletter sign-ups.
Sales - If you have a retail store and you've got a window display, test which ones bring in more people on a week-to-week basis. If you've got a daily sandwich board, test your messaging on a day-to-day basis. If your company takes a lot of phone calls, end it with a "would you like fries with that?" type of messaging and change it up to see which ones pull the best.
Shipping - Test new shipping companies for your products. Split shipping down the middle and see which one gets the packages to your customers in a more timely and efficient way, UPS or FedEx? You might find you have happier customers with one versus the other.
Website - There are plenty of tools that let you test your home page to see how many more people are converting. My company, VerticalResponse, uses Visual Website Optimizer to handle this.
Social Media - Test offers on Twitter and Facebook to see which brings more visitors to your website or traffic to your location.
Events - Try hosting an event and see if that draws new customers or drives existing customers to talk about you.
Throwing a bunch of new ideas against the wall to see if they stick is more important than ever if you want to grow your business. And doing it often is important, so that you're not stagnant. So, what are you testing today?
JANINE POPICK is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and event marketing, online surveys, social media, and direct mail solutions. The company was ranked No. 2,802 on the 2012 Inc. 5000. @janinepopick