11 Marketing Tests for Startup Founders

It’s difficult to figure out what to test when you’ve decided it’s time to start marketing your product. How much effort and money do you spend? What message will resonate with your audience? How do you increase sales? You can answer these questions by experimenting with quick and cheap marketing tests. 

If you’re feeling unsure about your first steps, I’ve come up with 11 different marketing tests you can apply to your marketing mix today. If you’re a savvy and motivated startup founder, you definitely could try these yourself rather than hiring an agency or freelancer. However, don't spend too much money or effort on each test. The goal is to gather data and learn what makes your business profitable. 

Your Website

1. Generate More Leads and Sales by A/B Testing Webpage Elements

I recommend using Google Optimize to create a/b tests. This platform duplicates a page to make edits. You can change messaging, images, or colors or the layout. As soon as you set your test live, Google will automatically split half your traffic to the newly edited page and the existing page. You can then determine which version of your page performed better through Google Analytics. You will want to compare some key metrics, like number of leads, number of sales, time on page, clicks, and other engagement metrics.

Learn more about Google Optimize from one of my favorite how-to vbloggers, Julian Juenemann.

2. Write Useful Blog Posts for Middle of the Funnel Folks & SEO

Blogging, if done correctly, has many benefits for your business. Blog content helps your website appear in search results pages, teaches your audience more about your business, and gives your website fresh evergreen content. Blogging unique quality content is encouraged by Google and should theoretically optimize your website to appear on detailed search result pages.

Try writing about what your clients or customers are asking. Answering customer questions that are currently most pertinent to your business or industry. Getting this right repeatedly can result in some considering you or your organization to be thought leader in your industry.

Blog posts can also be repurposed. You can distribute them as email marketing material, share them on social media, and submit them to other bloggers who may reference your article and link to your website. This builds up your Google PageRank — your website’s SEO ranking.

TIP: Enable comments on your blog posts to interact with customers, answer questions, and show off your company’s personality.

Digital Marketing

3. Drive Traffic and Leads with AdWords

AdWords and Bing are sure fire tactics to ensure your business appears as a top search result. Your business will be seen, but you have to make sure that your ads appear for the right keywords because this comes with a financial cost. 

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PPC ads can also retarget people who’ve already expressed interest in your website. You know when you look at a product page and then later see that same product as an ad on another website? Like it’s following you around? That’s retargeting. It’s one of the most effective and cost effective ways to remind your customers to come back to your online store. 

Retargeting does have some privacy concerns. The EU, in particular, has introduced new GDPR restrictions  that start on May 25th. I recommend following all of the required practices to be GDPR compliant. This includes, but is not limited to adding an “opt-in consent for collection and use of personal data” popup on your website. If your website isn’t compliant you can face hefty fines even if your market is primarily in the US. This is because your website is global and you can’t be certain any visitor is not an EU citizen. 

Learning Adwords is definitely something that takes time and practice, but very rewarding if you can do it. Here is a good place to start.

4. Increase Sales with Google Shopping Ads

If you run an e-commerce store, try taking advantage of shopping ads. I’ve noticed that Shopping ads tend to drive the most revenue for my e-commerce clients. They have all the right details: product image, price, and description to drive sales.

Shopping ads on Google


5. Increase Social Networks with Linkedin + Facebook + Instagram

Social platforms allow you to educate consumers, fans, and potential employees. These are fabulous and free ways to promote simple and digestible content while updating your fans on upcoming events, changes, and sales. 

Having a presence on Facebook and Instagram gives your brand more visibility, credibility, and promotional material. It is also an great way to genuinely connect with your customers. Linkedin is similar, but gives insight into company employees, job opportunities, and a way to announce company updates. 

TIP: Utilize social platforms to build an audience because, should you choose to pay for advertisements, you’ll have already have followers and possibly established yourself as a leader.

6. Find New Audiences with Instagram Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is when bloggers, or people who have a high number of followers, promote your product on their social media account. This is a way your brand can reach a new audience without giving folks the same type of initial impression that a direct advertisement right. It can seem more genuine and less intrusive.


To do this, try reaching out to folks on Instagram or bloggers who you think might be good fit. If that seems like too much work to take on you can hire an Influencer Marketing company who can source good influencers on your behalf.

Similar Influencer options:

• Buy ad space on a blogger’s website. These ads usually display on a side bar that appears on the right side of page.

• Sponsor blog content. Have your product featured in a blogger’s post.

• Bloggers write a testimonial or review of your product.

• Blogger can host a product giveaway. 

What I like about influencer marketing is that brands can gain exposure through someone else’s network and seem less intrusive than a promoted ad. Want to know more? Read this.

7. Connect with your Customers with Email Marketing


Email marketing is one of the most cost effective ways for companies to generates more sales and leads. It’s an essential way for your current and potential customers to engage with your business on a deeper level. Your homepage should ask users to subscribe to your company’s email newsletter. Be sure to let visitors know the benefits of subscribing. For example, “sign up for new products, and special discounts.” 

Not sure what kind of email newsletter should your write? Learn more about drip and nurture campaigns.

8. Increase Word of Mouth with Contests/Giveaways

Another good way to reach new customers is through your current followers and fans. Contests and giveaways let your current audience spread the word about how much they love your products. For example, you could ask your current followers to post a picture with your product and tag a friend with the hashtag like #tshirtlove. One person will be chosen to win a $1000. Get creative.


9. Meet and Learn About Your Customers at Networking Events

Networking makes great word of mouth marketing and enables you to get a better understanding of your audience. It’s also an important way to understand your customers problems and current solutions. To find networking events near you check out eventbrite.com, meetup.com, List of networking groups, Mac’sList (pdx only), Your Local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, OEN, Business Networking International, Young Entrepreneurs CouncilAmerican Marketing Association, or just search the web for networking groups.

10. Speak at Events and Gain Recognition

Speaking at events, conferences, or meet ups is good publicity with little cost or risk. Like networking, speaking in front of your audience provides an opportunity to show expertise. It gets people asking questions and lets your audience get to know you on a personal level. The goal is to tell memorable and useful stories, apply your expertise, and show some of your personality. This should authentic. It should not be a sales pitch.

11. Create Delightful Experiences for Happy Customers

Did you know that customers are more likely to remember their feelings than what you said or did? You know the quote, "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel" by Maya Angelou.  This is what Starbucks does, they not only make coffee, but people love the experience they have at each store.

For your business, you might write thank you notes, cleverly package your products, or just provide really great customer service. Make your customers happy and give them something they’ll have to talk about.  


By testing new and different marketing tactics, you’ll discover what generates leads or sales. My last tip is that not all marketing tactics work for everyone, and eventually your marketing may go stale after a while. This is why it's so important to always be test new marketing tactics.

Do you test other, more interesting, marketing tactics? If so, share below!