Why A/B Testing is Super-Crucial
A/B testing is not a new-fangled phenomenon invented by Internet nerds with too much time on their hands and a background in Computer Science. The concept actually originated way back when the ROI of postcard direct mail drops was higher than $75.32 a pop. By emailing two distinct mailings to a demographically similar area, marketers could determine which drove a better response rate. It’s a simple way to collect real data on what your prospects find compelling. Fast forward to today—if you care about lead generation, A/B testing is a pretty good idea.
There’s a few ways to run A/B testing on your website, and fortunately HubSpot and MailChimp make it easy enough that even the technology-shy can dominate a plan to improve. Kissmetrics recommends the four following best practices as a baseline for any A/B test you choose to run:
Ensure visitors are randomly assigned to either variation A or B.
Make sure that visitor only see either variation A or B.
Track which version was seen by each visitor to have clear results.
Have a goal in mind. Are you trying to improve Call-to-Action click-throughs? Are you hoping to generate leads? Do you want to minimize your bounce rate? Know what you’re trying to do before you begin to test.
Whether you’re a non-believer in the concept or an A/B testing junkie looking for some pretty exciting evidence about just why the testing is a good idea, we’ve compiled 5 real-life examples of split-testing in action:
1. Best Practices are Stagnant
In the words of PPC and conversion expert Aaron Levy, many of the best A/B testing results have come from “testing things that don’t necessary fit into best practices.” While good landing page design dictates you should keep content above the fold and place your form to the right, there’s no telling what designs and concepts will be most compelling to get a group of visitors to your landing page. Levy once increased conversion rates by 50% by moving a landing page form to the center of the page. He shunned the standard, right-aligned placement—practically a taboo in the marketing world!
2. Small Changes Can Have Big Effects
Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had the budget for a full-time experimental marketer on staff? Even if you don’t have the time or resources for building duplicate landing pages, you could find that simply adding a new call-to-action (CTA) button to the bottom of your blog content makes an enormous difference. Francis Shovlin of Seer Interactive once increased conversions 11% over a 7 week period simply by changing the background color and font of a CTA.
3. There’s Aggressive and Not-Aggressive-Enough
Inbound marketers aren’t always the most aggressive group. Too often, we stifle our chances of success by taking the whole “permission-based” concept a little too far. Include experiments on CTA placement—while you may think that putting a CTA button in the middle of blog content is too aggressive, your leads could disagree entirely. Ken Lyons of MeasuredSEM has achieved a 400% increase in leads simply by adopting a bolder CTA placement.
4. You Never Know What’s Off-Putting
No one likes a sketchy landing page. If people feel you’re about to run off and sell their personal information, that’s a problem that most likely shows in your conversion rates. Digital Marketing Expert James Gardner cites an example where removing an email seal increased conversions by 12.6%. Why? Your guess is as good as his or ours, but if the landing page looks like it’s about to ask a visitor to pay for something, your prospects will be driven away.
5. Aesthetically Pleasing isn’t Always Effective
Call-to-action buttons shouldn’t be pretty, unless they’re also really bold. Even if you’ve just designed the most gorgeous CTA button, it probably won’t be effective unless it really stands out against your background. Changing the font and background colors of CTAs to uglier colors that stood out a little more has contributed to a 14.5% increase in leads in some tests. If your beautiful CTAs aren't driving results, it's likely time for a redesign and some testing.Have you achieved remarkable or surprising results with A/B testing? image credit: adamr/freedigitalphotos.net