As a business owner, it’s natural to have lots of ideas about getting the word out about your offerings and to want to test out new ways. You’ve tried different marketing techniques, some of which you liked more, some that worked better, and some you’re convinced will work eventually. The question is, what’s really working, and how long should you test something to know?

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Testing requires two things: curiosity and measuring. Curiosity to try something new, and measuring so you’ll know how well it’s working and whether it’s worth continuing to do. Here are several things to keep in mind when you’re testing different marketing strategies:

Do you like it, and are you good at it?
Even the best marketing strategies on the planet won’t work if you don’t like them or aren’t good at doing them. Be realistic with yourself about what you can and like to do.

Does your ideal client hang out there?
Again, you can be using an incredible marketing strategy, yet if your ideal clients don’t hang out there it’s the equivalent of making really good time while heading in the wrong direction.

Is it effective?
If you’re meeting the right people and making genuine connections, and people aren’t buying, you have to ask yourself it the marketing strategy you’re using is the right one for your clients or your offering.

When I first started my business, I was convinced that networking at the Chamber of Commerce was going to be my main, possibly only, way to get clients and referrals. Yet after showing up to a handful of networking events and getting no business love, I had to tell myself the truth, which was this: live networking events were not working for me. This was a difficult revelation to swallow, as this was the only marketing strategy I’d considered. I didn’t like networking and it wasn’t effective. Was it not effective because I didn’t like it, or vice versa? Did that really matter (chicken / egg)? Also, since my ideal clients weren’t the majority of the people in the room, no matter how much I enjoyed networking or how good at it I was, it still wouldn’t have been an effective strategy for me.

My real-work experience of testing networking as a marketing strategy didn’t match the picture in my head of how effective it would be, and I had to let go of that idea and find another strategy that worked better — one I liked, I was good at, and that my ideal clients migrated toward. What I eventually found, again through testing, is that speaking, writing, and referral partners were my best sources of clients, and my marketing life has been simpler and more effective ever since.

Take a look at the marketing strategies you’re using and tell yourself the truth. Do you like them, are you good at them, and are they effective in attracting your ideal client? Be curious about what marketing strategies work and measure your success rate at attracting new business. Before long you’ll be in the groove of using the most effective strategies for your business, ones that you love and that are good for getting your ideal clients, too.

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