Today I will be talking about an absolutely critical method for increasing your conversions (online and offline), which in turn leads to more revenue. It’s something that all the pros do, and I am surprised that, to this day, there are still many companies, big and small, that don’t use this common sense practice to sell their stuff.
The topic of today is called: Split Testing
Now what does that mean, and why should you care? Split testing means that you test ads, landing pages, checkout pages etc. against other pages that are slightly (or extremely) different. Sometimes people also call it A/B testing, and it simply means that you have a Version A, and a Version B of an ad/landing page/checkout page etc.
Last year, I was asked to come in and help a health and beauty company that had just launched, and they were ready to drop some serious money on traffic. They weren’t too happy with their current results, so they had all kinds of suggestions on new (untested) traffic sources, PR campaigns and other things I would never recommend. One of my first questions was: What’s your conversion rate, and how many split tests are you doing?
You should have seen the empty stares in their eyes. Split test? What is that?
Here is a company spending a good $100,000 per month on traffic, ready to drop way more, and they don’t know what split testing is.
They had their current landing page, so I had 5 versions of that created. We split the traffic between 3 pages to start with, found the one that converted the best, scrapped the other two, and put up two new ones. Now one of the new ones converted better, so we scrapped the other two. When we ran ads, we always ran 10+ ads that we tested, so we could weed out the bad ones, and keep the good ones.
There are several tools out there to help you with split testing if you don’t know how to do it manually, such as Visual Website Optimizer, and Optimizely, who also has a great guide on what split testing is and how it works.
So what do you split test on the pages/in the ads? Big things like headlines, photos, graphic interface/design, and positioning, and also small things like color, font, font size, changing words or flow.
Of course, make sure your traffic source is good, because if you target people searching for clothes, but you’re selling digital cameras, your conversion rates are going to suck either way.
Long story short, after we were done, the company almost doubled the conversions on the same spend, meaning, when they opened the gates and dropped their serious money, they made twice as much as they would have if they had just continued with what they were doing. Let’s just say that their end of year revenue showed double digit millions, as opposed to their projected single digit millions.
TL;DR Split testing means testing 2 or more different ads or pages against each other. You keep the one that converts the best, and create another one to split test against. Rinse and repeat.