Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK office. You can view all the posts from our UK team here. Or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

I often speak to small business owners at events and have the same conversation over and over again. It goes like this:

Small biz owner:               What sort of thing should I say in my marketing?

Me:                                        How about this: [insert good idea]

Small biz owner:               But I wouldn’t find that appealing myself, so I won’t do that!

Me:                                        [Takes a deep breath] …You have to think about what your CUSTOMER would like, not what YOU like. It’s your customer that pays your wages after all!

Small biz owner:               [insert grumble/excuse that means they won’t even try it]

Your customers want what you do, because they don’t do it themselves.

The point I am trying to make is that most of us are NOT representative of our customer bases, but we feel like all of our marketing has to appeal to US in order for it to work.

For example, I recently spoke to a photographer and I suggested he should give away free desktop wallpapers using their images. He told me that he wouldn’t find that interesting. He was right – photographic wallpapers would not be attractive to HIM because he takes his own pictures. However, his customers are not professional photographers – that’s why they need him – and so they probably WOULD find it appealing.

Guess work doesn’t cut it.

The way to find out what your customers are really interested in getting from you is to try things out.

You can split test any offers, promotions, or content that you want to share in 3 easy steps:

  1. Separate out your list into as many sections as you have different offers (or if you have a GIANT list, create a number of test lists of 50+).
  2. Create a uniform email where the only thing different is the offer/content item.
  3. Assign one email to each segment and send them out.
  4. Have a look at the results. Pick the one that works the best, and send that out to your whole list.

This will allow you to see what works the best and you can do more in that vein in the future.

What next?

Of course, that offer won’t last forever, so you’ll need to refresh it at some point. When that will occur depends on what your business does, the content of your offer and your audiences’ attention span.

It’s okay though – because you can watch their behaviour and when interaction starts to drop off, you’ll know it’s time to do something new.

Take action now

So go to it! Stop focusing on what YOU like and start thinking about what your customer likes instead. They’ll thank you for it by engaging more and ultimately increasing your sales.

Try something different today. Log into your Constant Contact account today and try split testing your list. Don’t have a Constant Contact account? Sign up for your free 60 day trial here.