What’s The Point of A/B Testing?

By August 16, 2013Inbound Marketing

One of the great things about the Internet is nothing is set in stone. Anything can be changed at the drop of a hat. If something isn’t working, you can change it instantly. It’s not like your college English papers, with your boring introduction or vague character analysis set in stone the moment you hand it to your professor. If a page isn’t working for your online readers, you can change it to make it work.

And for landing pages, change is an imperative tool to use to gather as many leads as possible. This is where A/B testing comes in hand.

A/B testing is the online process of competing two variations of the same webpage against each other to discover which variation attracts more visitors.

A/B testing is the online process of competing two variations of the same webpage against each other to discover which variation attracts more visitors. It tells you what key factors are more likely to convert visitors. Each test usually lasts a week and splits your entire visitor base in half. Half of visitors will find one variation of the page, while the other half will view another variation. These visitors are “cookied” or tracked by the website to always view the same landing page each time they visit it, so even if they refresh the webpage, they’re seeing the same page layout.  Whichever half converts more, the landing page they view is the victor.

Once you discover which landing page is working better, you drop the losing page. But this does not mean your landing page is perfect in every single way. The purpose is to constantly test your landing pages to discover what works and what doesn’t work.

Here’s what you can test:

1. Copy

The language you use on your landing page must convert your visitors. It needs to be persuasive, informative and interesting. To find out what works best, write two different copy variations for your landing pages and test them against each other. Have one body copy variation be quick, direct and touch on only a few points, while your other variation is long, detailed and covers every point about your offer. You can also test navigation tab language, headlines, links, descriptions and calls to action.

2. Visuals

Some visitors like a clean, minimalistic look to landing pages, while some are persuaded by large images of your product. Try both. Insert an image of what you’re selling into the body copy with arrows directing the visitor toward the form. Or have smaller images that show more of your products to give the visitor a better idea of what you sell.  It doesn’t even have to be images, but can also include certain colors, graphics or videos. There really is no right answer until you test it.

3. Forms

The form is the most important piece of your landing page. It is where you gather the visitor’s information and direct them to your offer. Without the form, the visitor doesn’t get anything and you don’t get anything. It’s important to test different fields in your form to see just what kind of information your visitors will give. Typically, forms include name and email address. But other fields might include home address, company name, job title, phone number, etc. Some visitors may be completely turned off by a barrage of questions, while some might feel pleased your company is interested in learning so much about them. Don’t forget to test your submit button as well. Rarely do you want it to just say “Submit.” For example your button might say, “Download Your Ebook Now” or “Place Your Order!” If you have a quick, direct but persuasive button that lets them know what happens when they click the button, they’re more likely to interact. But again, you won’t know till you test it.

“You won’t know until you test it” is the mantra of A/B testing. It’s what you should ask yourself and your team when you come across the dilemma of whether or not to write long-winded copy, include a picture of the product or ask for name, street address and favorite color. A/B testing helps you build the best landing page possible to convert visitors.

Have you used A/B testing already? If so, what landing page techniques have really worked for you?

Author Thoma Thoma

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