A/B testing or split testing

If you are not doing A/B testing or split testing. as it’s also called, you are leaving money on the table. It’s one of the greatest tools available to internet marketers, after the internet itself. It’s a shame if businesses and marketers don’t use A/B testing the way it’s meant to be used.

A/B testing is the method of comparing two versions of the same web page (mostly landing pages, in our case), to figure out which version performs better, given that everything is the same, except for one single element that’s being tested.

According to Optimizely,

A/B testing allows individuals, teams, and companies to make careful changes to their user experiences while collecting data on the results. This allows them to construct hypotheses, and to learn better why certain elements of their experiences impact user behavior.

In another way, they can be proven wrong — their opinion about the best experience for a given goal can be proven wrong through an A/B test.

Split testing is at the very core of data-driven marketing, and it essentially makes sure that you inch towards a more positive ROI, while making precise decisions leading to lesser spending for more results.

A/B testing is awesome, but there’s an issue: How do you determine what to test?

A/B testing or split testing

Before we get there, here are a few things you shouldn’t even waste your budget testing:

  • Background color: If you are not using white as your background color, and if you got around to testing the background colors of your pages, there’s something wrong. Get on a strategy call with us if this is the case (we need to talk).
  • Hero section: Image or no image, visuals are important for us humans to process information. You can either use a background image on your landing page, keep the hero section plain, use gradients, or colors. There’s no need to test this.
  • Video vs. No Video: Video just works. If you have a sales letter or a landing page with a video on it, that page is bound to work better than a page without a video.

Now with that out of the way, here’s what you should split test on — from traffic sources to your sales funnels.

Start with testing headlines

At least 8 out of 10 people who arrive on your landing page will read the headline. The headlines you use are the heavyweights of your funnel, they have the capacity to either make that conversion happen or not.

In fact, if there’s only one thing you’d bother A/B testing start and end with headlines and leave everything else alone. Pick the first variant of your landing page and use one type of a headline while you can use another variant of the same headline on your other variant.

Test your offer type

You might think that the offer you are making is out of this world, but you never know if it’s the best offer. The only way to find out what kinds of offers work and what doesn’t is to test them out.

If you are giving away coupon codes for your eCommerce store as one kind of offer, try to see if a non-discount offer, such as a tip sheet or a cheat sheet, works better.

Customers in different niches respond to offers differently. While some prefer discounts, others prefer videos. A few others might demand a lot more than just a little “free something.” Offers for other verticals such as SaaS products are almost always like a “free trial.”

Test call to action buttons

First, never ever use “submit” on your call to action buttons. You are better off without any call to action than to use “submit.”

Don’t write off the power of a button. According to Wingify, more than 30% of all A/B tests done are for CTA buttons. About 1 in 7 A/B test campaigns produce results that are statistically significant. When that happens, the conversion rates go up by 49%.

Flow with the context of your copy and use a call to action text on your button that’s more contextual and colloquial.

Now, how exactly do you determine what copy is appropriate for your CTA button? Michael Aaagard has been doing CTA button tests for years, and Peep Laja of Conversion XL points out that Michael only has two questions to help you arrive at the right copy for your CTA buttons:

  1. What is my prospect’s motivation for clicking this button?
  2. What is my prospect going to get when (s)he clicks this button?

Answers to these two questions are going to be the basis for the button copy and for the copy surrounding it.

A/B testing tips wrap up

That’s it. You only have three different elements on which to do your A/B testing. If your budget permits and if you have the time and resources, you can fine-tune your testing and go deeper if you like. Or you could choose to do A/B testing for several other elements.

If you’re looking to dig in even further, check out this A/B Testing Guide by our friends over at CXL.

But if you are like most businesses strapped for time and resources, we only recommend that you start with the big three elements (headlines, CTA buttons, and offers) and take it from there.

If you need help building custom funnels and layout specific A/B testing strategies relevant to your business, get on a call with us now.