The Basics of A/B Testing That Every Marketer Needs to Know
Since the dawn of time we’ve always contemplated the best of…
- Beyonce vs. Rihanna?
- Spiderman vs. Superman?
- Jazz vs. Rock?
- Coke vs. Pepsi
- In short, A vs. B?
And in every instance a winner usually surfaces. This is no different than when you are conducting A/B tests in your marketing.
If you’re a marketer who uses amazing landing pages and catchy email copies to rope in your clients, you may have something they call a marketer’s intuition. This is a rare superpower that only a few of us have. And, no I’m not one of them.
If you’ve got it, this intuition helps you get into the mind of your potential customers and think about what they’d like. But for the rest of us who want people engaging with our business through the ‘perfect’ website that we’ve spent days and nights to create. We know that everything can go wrong so we don’t leave anything to chance.
Let’s face it: Marketing isn’t the Billboard Hot 100 and you’re not Michael Jackson that you’re going to clinch the number one spot for 27 weeks. So, it’s better to put your killer instinct on the back seat and use some real marketing techniques, such as the A/B testing.
What exactly is A/B testing and do you really need it? Let’s find out.
What is A/B Testing?
A/B testing, or split testing, is as simple and basic as it sounds. It’s a marketing strategy that compares two versions of a landing page, website, ad, email, or any other form of content that you have created, to determine which one performs better.
So, you call them A and B, and put them in a boxing ring, just like Rocky Balboa versus Apollo Creed. If A turns out to be better, then it’s Rocky II all over again, but if B takes the upper hand, then you have the first installment of the wonderful franchise.
Suppose you have designed two landing pages. You want to find out which one is more impactful and compels people to sign up for your services, buy your product, sign up for an event, donate to your charity, or practically anything that involves customer engagement.
Let’s presume that on landing page A, you added a simple email box with a ‘Submit’ button. On the second landing page, you also add a ‘Buy Now’ button that redirects to the product page.
Now, you show both pages to users at random, and run statistical analysis to determine which variation performs better for a given conversion goal. This experiment is what we call A/B testing.
Do I Really Need A/B Testing?
Of course you do, especially when your number one priority is to explain to your boss or client why your landing page or email isn’t bringing in the desired number of leads that you promised.
If you do it right, A/B testing can prove to be quite beneficial for your business, and it can help you experience a higher return on investment (ROI).
Even if you know that option A will produce a tenfold increase in sales, it’d be an impulsive decision to roll it out without testing all of the available options first.
Plus, it’ll also help you explain to your manager or the entire team why you’re choosing to go with a specific copy or option, rather than putting your neck on the line and throwing all your chips in your first move.
Won’t it feel better when you have evidence and data to back up your claims, and you can wave them in front of the people who doubted you?
That’s not all. Some other benefits of A/B testing are:
Well-Defined Target Audience
By conducting A/B testing and weighing your options, you’ll have a better idea of the target audience, and you know which people will engage better with a certain landing page, email copy, or ad. Therefore, it’ll save you quite a lot of bucks when you know where you have to direct your efforts.
After all, effective marketing should bring in more leads for your company. Through A/B testing, you’ll be able to come to a conclusion about which option should turn those leads into surefire sales and boost your company’s revenue.
Easier Adaption to Change
By using A/B testing, you’ll have a clearer idea and relevant real-time data about people and their consumption behavior. This would enable you to ride the wave of change and tailor your content according to what’s most popular.
Lower Bounce Rate
For any marketer, the most frustrating thing is to see their customers going all “Run, Forrest! Run!” from their beautifully designed website. This won’t happen if you always perform A/B testing before laying down a marketing strategy.
How to Get Started with A/B Testing?
I’m glad you asked!
Firstly, you should know what you’re going to test, and you should also have at least two options that you have to choose between.
There are two types of A/B testing methods: on-site tests and off-site tests.
When you’re thinking of on-site testing, you have to consider all of the components of your website that a customer would engage with, such as the call-to-action (CTA) text or button, pop up messages, ad copy, how many fields you have in a contact form, eand more. Among these elements, you need to decide what you’ll be performing A/B testing on.
On the other hand, an off-site test involves components that aren’t present on your website, but are an integral part of your marketing campaign. These include emails, ad copies, or any off-page content.
Once you have zeroed in on the component, the next step is to isolate all of the variables involved with the component.
For instance, if you’re A/B testing a sales email, then you’ll list down variables like the subject line, content length, product placement, call-to-action location, etc. Then, you can carry the test further by altering these variables and creating variations that you may send to your customers.
Let’s say you send email A to 5,000 customers, and it has a casual and funky subject line. On the other hand, email B is also sent to the same number of customers but has a formal subject line. Then, you decide on a time period for the test, and since we’re considering emails, let’s keep it at 10 days.
If email A has 30% more signups or redirects to your website, then you have a clear indication that you should go with it. This conclusion is derived from the fact that the same amount of people saw both emails, and you changed only one variable.
So, you see, A/B testing helps you get clear data that helps you determine which marketing strategy is more effective for your brand or business. This way, you’ll be able to ascertain that not only will your landing page, web copy, email, or ad bear fruit, but it’ll also produce more revenue for the company. And who doesn’t like more revenue?
That’s all I have to say on A/B testing. Until next time, stay moxie my friends!
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