A/B testing can become an afterthought when launch deadlines are looming. Even though A/B testing can seem like a daunting task, some of the smallest changes can make the biggest difference in your conversion rates and help you avoid costly marketing mistakes. And when your budget is on the line…A/B becomes that much more important!
Simply put, A/B testing compares two versions of a web page, email, or other marketing asset with just one varying element. The test will tell you which words, phrases, images, videos, testimonials, and other elements perform best. But to be effective, you should always keep your audience top of mind by asking the following questions:
- “Who are my prospects?”
- “Why are they visiting?”
- “What do they want from us?”
Once you’ve identified the key demographic and psychographic insights that will influence your target audience’s behavior and expectations, you’re ready to plan out your multivariate testing strategy.
Start by making a hypothesis about one or two changes you believe will improve a page’s or an email’s conversion rate. Then create a variation testing one change at a time and divide incoming traffic equally between each variation and the original page. In terms of timing, we always recommend running the test as long as it takes to acquire statistically significant findings. And if a page variation produces a statistically significant increase in page conversions, use it it to replace the original page.
What to Test
There are a ton of variations you can test throughout your marketing campaign, but if you’re just getting started consider your landing pages, emails, and digital ads.
Test your LPs:
Your landing pages contain many elements that can be tested to see what works for your audience. You’ll want to look at the layout of your page and how the items are arranged. Ask yourself: could the placement of different elements affect performance? You’ll see results in how your visitors navigate through pages and how they interact with a page’s layout and content. Here are a few variations to test for your LPs:
- Sub headlines
- Body copy
- Call-to-action text/button
Test your Emails:
Email marketing is a great way to nurture existing leads and bring in new ones too. Typically, you can test what works with your subscribers through trying different subject lines, send times, and content in each email blast. Ask yourself: will a clear and concise subject line or headline work better than a descriptive one? Is your CTA copy clear? Will changing the button CTA affect click-through rates? Here are a few variations to test:
- Subject line
- Body text
- Message layout
- Personalized To/From fields
Test your Digital Ads:
Digital ads can often be one of the most expensive items in a marketing campaign budget. Because of this, you’ll want to test your ads often. You’ll need to track how many click-throughs each ad gets; then how many conversions those clicks lead to. Since there are fewer elements to test with digital ads, the changes you make to your content during A/B testing could have a big impact on your conversion results. Here are a few variations to consider testing:
- Body text
- Keywords that will trigger the ad
Remember, you should only have one variable per test. Keep everything else in your email/landing page/ad versions exactly the same.
Ultimately, if you fail to utilize A/B tests throughout your marketing campaign, you’re really just taking a guess at what your audience might respond to. If you have the evidence to prove what’s working and what’s not, you’ll not only grow your business, but you’ll also have the confidence to make decisions when creating new marketing materials down the road (and deeper into the funnel).