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Five things you need to know about message testing

1. What is message testing?

You could have the absolute best product, service or campaign idea to have ever existed, but if the right people don’t know the right things about it, then it’s as good as useless.

Message testing is designed to evaluate the effectiveness of a message before you more widely release it. Doing this allows you to ensure your marketing and communication efforts are cutting through the noise, resonating with the right people, and creating a positive lasting impression.

2. Measuring success – objectives and key metrics

In order to understand how successful your messages are, you must have defined objectives and key metrics to measure them against. These could include clarity, relevance, impact, appeal and a whole host of other metrics. Whatever is important to your business and brand should be what you are measuring success against so its crucial to understand this before you embark on message testing exercises.

3. Audience targeting

Those who tell you if they like your messaging should be those who would normally read your messaging… who’d have thought! Therefore, it’s important that you reach the relevant target audience. Yet, nuances in demographic and psychographic segments will impact the effectiveness of your messages and so it is also necessary to test across these to either ensure widespread success, or to determine specific refinement for specific groups.

4. Developing your messages

Defining your initial messages is an obvious stage of the message testing process – you need something to test, of course – but it isn’t a stage that should be taken lightly. You should do your best to align your original messages to your initial objectives and ensure that any core elements you hope to resonate (in language, tone, imagery or call-to-action) are present. You can choose to test (and refine) one message for different markets, or to test multiple messages against each other, but all original messages should lead back to the objectives you’re hoping to hit.

5. Iterative process

Message testing works best when the insights are used to tweak and tailor messages iteratively. By identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your messages, you can understand what is resonating and what is falling short. It is not a one-time activity, and the cycle of testing, learning and refining can continue until the message has the impact you desire.


“Message Testing is…the difference between talking at your audience, or talking with them”

Ann Handley, Content Marketing Expert and best-selling author


If you’re looking to elevate your communication strategy and ensure your messages resonate and stick in the minds of your audience, then get in touch with us to discuss how message testing can help you achieve your objectives.