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Inbound Marketing Blog

    A/B Test Your Way To Success

    Posted by Jessica Hartman

    A/B Testing & Why It Should Be Part Of Every Digital Marketing Strateg


    Perhaps the biggest challenge with digital marketing efforts is identifying what is resonating with your potential clients and what elements in your digital marketing strategy are leading to the most conversions.

    But in the ever-changing digital world, there is a lot of “learning on the job” and a lot of (sometimes costly) trial and error. So what can you do to ensure that your business makes the right decisions in your digital marketing strategy without wasting time and resources?

    Whether you’re focused on your website traffic, the success of your email campaigns, or the effectiveness of your social media efforts, A/B testing is an easy and effective way to determine what is working for your business.

    With careful study and some simple testing, you can get to know your potential customers better and optimize your site, campaign and everything else related to your brand or business to better appeal to your audience.

    What Is A/B Testing?

    Put quite simply by Optimizely:

    A/B testing allows you to show visitors two versions of the same page and let them determine the winner… [It’s] a simple way to test changes to your page against the current design and determine which ones produce positive results.

    When conducting an A/B test, you’re simply creating multiple packages or versions of content and design, and looking to see which is the preferred version of your potential customers. You can utilize this formula for web pages, email subject lines or lead generation campaigns.

    Take The Challenge

    In a lot of ways, A/B testing is like the Pepsi Challenge taste tests that began in the mid 1970s. But for our intents and purposes, instead of thinking of A/B testing as pitting Coke against Pepsi, think of it as a study of whether people find their choice beverage more appealing in a can, a bottle or a glass.

    Presentation Is Everything

    Think about it: what is it about a home-cooked meal that is so much more appealing than a drive-thru dinner? Presentation! Take those biscuits and breasts out of the Colonel’s box and put them on your best china, and you may find that KFC has never tasted so good.

    It’s the same thing with your digital marketing efforts. You want to use A/B testing to determine how you should package or present your business (from your emails to your blog posts to you landing pages) to better appeal to your potential customers.

    Use A/B Testing To Determine:

    Language or Tone When writing a blog post or headline, conducting A/B testing can give you valuable insight into what language or tone speaks to your target audience. Try presenting a blog post with two different headlines. Did the informal, self-focused headline get more clicks, retweets, likes, shares, etc. than the formal one? You can use these findings to create more impactful content going forward.

    Design Layout or Color Scheme A/B testing can even be used to evaluate seemingly small changes to big things. By making small changes to your website’s design or switching color schemes or photo and text layouts, you can determine which is more visually appealing to your potential customer and which is a visual nightmare. You can even conduct an A/B test to determine whether your logo performs better with the words on the left side or the right side of the image.

    Form Response Is your potential customer more likely to fill out a “mad-libs” style form over a traditional information form? Sometimes it’s not just length that can dissuade your potential customers from filling out the form on a landing page – sometimes it’s the format. Perhaps your target audience is more apt to fill out a form that is more narrative-based. There are tons of A/B tests you can perform to create a more effective landing page.

    Is A/B Testing Really That Important?

    You don’t want your potential customers to leave your website or delete your email before they even get to the good stuff. A/B testing can help you make sure that you’re creating the best possible user experience for your potential customers so that you can close the sale and build lasting, loyal relationships.

    In reality, you can’t successfully market the inbound way without conducting A/B tests. Inbound marketing is all about knowing what your target customer wants or needs, where they are in the buying process, and where to place yourself so that they’ll come to you. And successfully doing so can be the difference between a thriving business and a failing business.

    So, yes, A/B testing really is that important.

    We’re with Optimizely on this one:

    Constantly testing and optimizing your page can increase revenue, donations, leads, registrations, downloads, and user generated content, while providing teams with valuable insight about their visitors.

    All business moves can be risky, but isn’t it better to take educated and calculated risks?

    Are You Ready To A/B Test Your Way To Success?

    Now that you understand the importance of A/B testing, it’s time to conduct those tests. Most email service providers include an A/B test feature, sending two or more different subjects to a small percentage of your audience, then sending the winning email (that is, the one receiving the most opens) to the remainder of your audience.

    Marketing automation tools like HubSpot and Marketo offer built-in A/B testing features as well, so that you can analyze everything from email content to landing page layouts before publishing your campaign.

    You may opt instead to purchase a software program like Optimizely, that allows you to perform A/B tests on your text, images and content without needing to be fluent in code.

    A/B testing can take your marketing team from guessing games to focused strategies with proven positive results. So, revive that inquisitive and youthful spirit and put it to work in your marketing analytics department. Your business will thank you!


    We’re conducting our own A/B test. Which h2 tag did you like best? Let us know in the comments section!

    Topics: Design