We know user testing is important
Most tech company owners understand the vital importance of user testing for feature validation. As one of my developer friends once said, "I don't care what the client wants, I care what their customers need." So, the only solution is actively going and asking our audience. Enter user tests.
Asking people at all is a good start, but as great books like the Mom Test and Rocket Surgery Made Easy will tell you, you also need to ask in the right way. The unfortunate truth is that most people in a testing environment will fabricate answers to help validate your idea. That's because fundamentally, most of us don't want to hurt someone's feelings.
This is the user testing trap; people will lie to make you feel better. But, if you can find tactics around this to get to the real, sometimes uncomfortable, answers, you'll progress in the fastest and smartest way possible.
Why don't we test marketing materials too?
So if we know the importance of real validation for our product, why is it that often other parts of our business are overlooked when it comes to this crucial practice?
Your marketing activity is, like your product, solely targeted at your audience, and yet it's not being treated in the same way. Given that marketing messages are the first impression your users will have of you, this is a huge mistake. Luckily, it's also easy to fix. Testing can be done in a myriad of ways, to gain both qualitative (opinion-based, subjective long form) and quantitative (fact and figures based) data, out of which you can draw useful insights.
When I first started conducting homepage critiques, every single client was surprised in the session that I had gone and found real prospective customers to speak with about their homepage. What I discovered was that almost no one had thought to test this critical conversion tool in a meaningful way.
By not doing this, teams had spent weeks or months reiterating what they thought would work, only to find their conversion rates still weren't where they needed to be. So the cycle would repeat; another iteration, wait and track, and again, and again. But all of this was based on their own opinion, not the real-life behaviour of their users.
Build for your audience, go and ask them, and repeat
It can be scary to build something and ask for genuine feedback in case what you've done isn't right. But remember that it's always better to ask and find out now that it needs tweaking than to spend precious time and money chasing a dead end. A few hours of good, constructive testing can save you literally months of guesswork.
And, given that most of us hate marketing anyway, wouldn't it be great to spend less time on it?
If you think you need user testing for your homepage or any other marketing assets, or you're not sure where to begin - lets' chat!