A/B testing is a fantastic way to bring the scientific method to online marketing. When used correctly it is possible to objectively measure which of different elements, such as CTA, colors, font types and numerous other features, works better. Simply place two variations of your page online and randomly stream half of your audience to one and the other half to the other and your customers will do the rest.
The thing is, there are a huge number of things you can A/B test for (
That means any brute force approach, where you test each and every variation and possibility, just isn’t going to work. Instead, you need to look for warning signs that something might not be working as well as it could be and then focus your attention there.
Fortunately, that’s exactly what 60secondsMarketer focuses on. On this blog, the idea isn’t just to tell you about abstract, wooly future ideas. We know your time matters. So, instead, it’s to show you how to make your site work better and to make certain that after you’ve read an article you actually walk away with actionable content. That’s how we aim to be better than the competition.
So let’s get on with that, shall we?
The Funnel Report
The first step is to do a funnel report, where you get to see where and if you’ve got problems that need to deal with. They’ll tell you how many people arrive at your site, then went on to look at your product and so on, down to what percentage actually bought your product. This will give you an insight into how many go from one step to the next and where you might have a problem.
Now, you might be tempted to go ‘I’ve got a low percentage of people going on from originally hitting my site to actually buying my product’ and then decide to focus your attention there. I advise against that as this can lead you for focusing on the wrong area as on some steps you’re just more likely to lose people than on others.
A much better idea is to compare your percentages to the industrial averages. In that way, if you find that you’re far below those averages you’ll have an area where improvement should be easier as there is bound to be more low-hanging fruit for you to pick.
#1. Users are bouncing off your website
The bounce rate, or how many percents of visitors aren’t even getting past the first page, is the first place you might have a problem. And what a shame! After all, if you’ve got a high bounce rate then you’re looking at a situation where all your hard work to boost traffic to your blog or site is rendered largely pointless.
What to A/B test
The first places to look are the obvious locations like headlines and image choices, but that’s far from the only thing to consider. It’s equally possible that users are not finding what they’re looking for. For this reason, experiment with putting your search bar in a more accessible location and possibly making it longer so that people have any easier time looking at their search queries and correcting mistakes.
Also, if you do not post material quite as regularly as other people, or you have resources that you expect to be downloading for years, consider removing the date. People are often incredibly time sensitive, especially when the time date starts is a long time ago in relations to the present. In this case, it’s easy to experiment with removing it.
A final thing to look at is the time your page takes to load and if you can’t recode things to make it load faster, or at least make it look like it loading faster. That can seriously reduce your bounce rates and make people think your site is more trustworthy to boot.
#2. Users are not reading enough of your content
Your content marketing is a large part of your marketing. Therefore, if people are not sticking around to read it you’ve got a serious problem. Now obviously it’s important that you have good content that’s actually interesting to readers, but that is not enough. There are more and more tricks that make people stick around longer on your site and thereby raise the chance they’ll actually buy something. Let’s look at a few.
What to A/B test
Of course, you’ve got to make certain that you’ve got the right font which makes reading easy and content convincing. Also, you have to make certain that your headlines are well selected. Make sure that you read the research and use the right tools. This alone should already make a significant difference. The important thing to learn here is not just what works, but also why it works, as this is something that you can then apply over all of your content.
Realize that different social networks now have very different demographics, with Pinterest – for example – being used by women far more often by men, while Instagram has a much younger audience. This too should influence your A/B testing, your headlines and what articles you suggest and push on the different networks. In fact, testing your article suggestions is a good idea – both in terms of what articles are presented and when.
A final strategy is to figure out after which articles you’re best off pushing your actual product. Yes, you always want to have the buttons available, but after some articles are particularly convincing you might want to experiment with giving it an extra push.
As newsletters are a fantastic way to boost your customer appeal and to separate the browsers from actual potential customers, if you’ve got a low rate of people signing up for your newsletter that can be a real drag on your conversion rates. For that reason, if you’ve got a problem here it’s important to figure out what they are.
What to A/B test
Obviously, you can test such things as where the newsletter application is. Does it pop up or not? What color are the buttons? What information do you ask for? These might all increase the sign-up rate.
All of those have already been widely discussed, however, so let’s instead look at something else. A much-overlooked strategy is to craft the final motivator, the thing that’s supposed to pull your customer over the edge. Here what is important is that you don’t focus this on what you want, but rather on what the customer should want. To give you an example, on BettingExperts they tried two different tests, one where they said what they wanted, ‘join BettingExperts’ while the other said what the customer would want, namely ‘Get FREE betting tips’. How big was the difference between the two? 31.54% more signed up for the second variety. Now that’s a huge difference!
So make certain that you that last pull to get them over the edge well-crafted with what the customer wants in mind.
#4. Users are not buying your product
Ah! The final mile and in some ways the hardest one to boot. How do you convince people to buy your products? After all, even if millions are coming to your sites and almost all are sticking around to read your material and signing up for your newsletter, it’s all irrelevant if they aren’t buying what you’re selling! So what factors can influence buying?
What to A/B test
Again, what buttons you use are important, with different colors appealing to different types of buyers. For example, impulse buyers prefer red, black and royal blue, shoppers on a budget prefer navy blue and teal, while traditional buyers prefer pink, sky blue and rose. Similarly to the newsletter, how you pull them over the edge is vital. Remember to experiment with framing it in terms of what the customer wants (‘enjoy your purchase today’) rather than what you want (‘buy our product’).
Another thing to consider is shipping costs. Psychology has revealed that we take an initial price as a benchmark. If that price then changes, we experience that as either a gain or a loss. We don’t like losses and are willing to do a lot to avoid them. For that reason, consider giving away shipping for free or – if that’s just not manageable – including it from the start in the price, so that people are not suddenly hit at the end with a surcharge which might make them have second thoughts.
A/B testing is an incredibly powerful tool that you should certain use to enhance the different aspects or your site as it will give you objective ways to measure the different elements that you’re using. But, as I’ve hopefully shown here, there are so many things and areas that you can test that you have to use it carefully and precisely to gain the most benefits.
Rather than shooting into the dark or following on of the checklists offered by all those sites out there, take the time to analyze where a problem is and then apply A/B testing to actually solve that problem. In that way, you’ll advance more quickly and effectively towards your optimum and best page. Who would say no to that?
Images: ” A/B test optimization in website design vector illustration. Which one converts better. / Shutterstock.com“
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