A/B testing, or split testing as it is sometimes called, is a simple test conducted between two different versions of the same webpage (or email), to find out which is better. The cost to get people to your website or click an email can often be high, but the cost to convert them once they are onsite is relatively low. In fact, research suggests that companies typically spend $92 to bring customers to their site, but only $1 to convert them. If you have an optimized landing page that reaches a conversion goal – A/B testing can help you do this. Fortunately, you don’t need to understand the algorithms behind how the testing works – this is all automated. You do need to understand how to best run these tests in order to implement the results. So, here’s how.
1. Pick one variable
The key to A/B testing is to pick one variable to test at one time. Changing out multiple items on a webpage means that you won’t know which one is affecting change.
2. Don’t just test the obvious
It can be tempting to only test the obvious variables on the webpage such as large hero images, or CTA buttons, but also think about layout and things such as content near the fold, the UX experience, and social proof or testimonials.
3. Expand beyond just your website
Align marketing and sales and test whether your sales headlines are working over email. Direct email is a captive audience who have already shown they have some level of interest in your service by signing up. A/B testing email subject lines and content can help give you a better understanding of what works at different stages of the buyer’s journey.
4. Get ahead of the pack
Approximately 61 percent of companies carry out less than five tests every month. That essentially means that more than half of all companies you are likely competing with are not effectively assessing what works and what doesn’t in their digital marketing mix. By creating a plan where A/B tests are being conducted at all times on different pages on your website, you can not only increase your conversion rate but also boost your search rankings.
5. Get specific
The sky is the limit in terms of what you can test on your webpage, so be methodical and create a plan of action to test what is important. B2B businesses whose landing page goal is lead generation should be testing anything that could directly affect this, in all its forms. Try changing the location, color, or font size of the CTA button as a start and see what effect this has.
6. Take your time
Creating a test and running it for 24 hours isn’t going to work, even if your site gathers a lot of traffic. More time brings more diversity to your test, and therefore more accurate results. You might want to look at running your test anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the level of traffic to your site.
As American merchant and pioneer of marketing, John Wanamker, once said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half.” These days, with powerful marketing automation software and a decent strategy sitting behind A/B testing, inbound marketers can now find out where, why, and how their resource is being used. Best practice A/B testing gives companies the ability to effectively align marketing and sales and narrow down what needs to change in order to convert B2B leads.