Test Small Marketing

By Angelika Ilina

Last week we met with a business owner whose niche market is dying a slow but sure death. She considered targeting new markets by creating a new e-commerce website, in addition to her existing e-commerce site. The prospect of creating an additional website seemed daunting to her, in light of declining sales, so her eyes lit up when we introduced her to the concept of “testing small.”

“Test small marketing” is the cure for spending gobs of marketing dollars on an unproven marketing initiative only to find out that no one cares or wants to buy.

What Exactly Is “Test Small Marketing?”

The idea is to test an initiative on a small scale, track its performance, and if successful, roll out on a large scale. Why? Intuition and experience insufficiently predict whether a marketing initiative will be successful, or a product or service will be profitable.

You can test ideas on a small scale before launching on a large scale for many marketing activities. A quick and inexpensive way is to use Pay Per Click (PPC). If prospects click on your ads and convert on your landing page, and you generate a positive ROI, you know your idea is viable. You can test demand, offers and pricing, to name a few. Once you are confident people will buy, you can launch a full website based not on your intuition, but on actual data.

Another way is to send a direct mail piece with a trackable call to action to a small mailing list. If the response is producing a favorable ROI, you can confidently send that same piece of mail to a large mailing list.

The idea here is to spend your precious time, resources and money on a large-scale launch once you’ve proven there is strong interest or demand.


You can even test ideas on a much smaller “micro” scale. The fastest and most inexpensive way is to test online. In fact, your website is a great resource for micro-testing.

Will a segment of your customers buy a new product or service you’re introducing? Test it on your website. Will more people sign up for your email list if you offer a promotion? You get the point.

How can you apply “test small marketing” in your business?

Digital Marketing, Marketing

2 Responses to Test Small Marketing

  1. Ron Bruggemab says:

    When I was a novice in direct marketing we had a consultant named Dick Benson. Dick was brilliant and a bit eccentric. We had to visit him on Amelia Island. His advice was profound. He used to frequently say, “We test to lose money in small batches.” Essentially he was making a similar point to your point. If tests fail you don’t lose much money. If they succeed, you back test. If you still like the results, you roll out. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Angelika Ilina says:

    Thank you, Ron! I like “We test to lose money in small batches.”

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