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Updated: Mar 26
Which headline ultimately gets you sales? Which color truly matters?
While the difference in engagement may seem small, a few percentage points can be extremely meaningful to your bottom line. Across thousands of views, a few percentage points can land you dozens of more meetings and some meaningful deals.
A-B Testing draws on scientific principles to drive effective marketing. In a recent survey by, 74% of respondents who used a structured approach to conversion increased their sales. (The survey from Econsultancy and RedEye can be found here.)
How does this experiment break down?
The results of A-B Testing improve performance and your return on investment. Based on your findings, you may effectively allocate resources, determine budgets, and reinforce or update your overall marketing strategy.
A-B Testing can be applied to many forms of marketing, including email campaigns and newsletters, webpages, landing pages, social media posts, search engine marketing campaigns, and banner ads and other advertisements. During testing, you send variations of the same campaign, typically with only one difference between them, to determine which variation of the campaign garners better results.
Elements. Consider all the critical elements of your campaign: subject lines (words, their order, and length), content (wording and length, even emoji), graphics, colors, links, and call-to-action buttons. Campaigns based on timing (e.g. social media posts or emails) have another dimension to consider. Always test simultaneously to avoid differences of timing and reach as large a sample as possible for the best results.
Audience. While changes to the campaign may cause an impact on one audience, they may have a difference effect on another group. This applies to geography, native language, age, and other demographics.
Personalization. We like our names. According to one study, the subscriber’s name is the single most impactful word you can add to your subject line, increasing opens by over 14%. (The study from Campaign Monitor can be found here.)
Style. Aspects such as tone genuinely reflect your values while also understanding your audience. For instance, a snarky tone may work for a younger audience (looking at you, Wendy’s Twitter handle).
Visualization. Graphics can help you relate to the situation, explain functionality, and/or introduce an ideal place to be. In some cases, however, visuals distract from content and result in lower engagement.
Impact. There are so many elements, you need to strategically consider which experiment to run first. For instance, if your emails are not opening, start with your subject line. Your headline and call-to-action likely will have a greater impact on conversions than images or body text.
Process. When it comes to A/B testing:
1) Realize that a small change can make a big difference. While a 0.5% increase may not seem significant, across 10,000 views, the amount can lead to potentially 50 more meetings and 10 more clients (if one fifth of your meetings convert).
2) Start with a hypothesis to stay focused. The hypothesis should be objective, measurable, and provable.
3) Focus on one change to ensure you know exactly how to attribute any difference in performance.
4) Prioritize your testing based on impact and effort. Think of this decision as a matrix, where you look at impact on one axis and resource on another. You may prefer a big impact despite the effort or look to make a number of quick tests. Or you may have limited resources for now, so need to run those experiments first.
5) Choose your metrics. Distinguish between outputs (e.g. number of impressions, likes, or clicks) and outcomes (e.g. number of leads or meetings).
6) Analyze the results. Based on your hypothesis and metrics, what did you discover?
7) Learn and adapt. Apply your findings in one campaign across all domains to maximize your learning (e.g. a strong graphic can be used in case studies, email signatures, and the website). Utilize results to better understand your target audience overall. Finally, rely on findings to build the next test.
Apply your findings across various domains to maximize learning and impact.
Photo by RF._.studio which can be found here: https://bit.ly/3qyDSjt