A/B testing is one of the best ways of improving the conversion rate of a website (when done correctly) but often times the number of successful A/B tests is low. It’s not that you’re expecting a winner every time but you should really be creating a winner at least 25% of the time.
So how do you improve the effectiveness of every A/B test you run? By running tests that have the greatest possible impact on the conversion rate.
With that in mind, here are 10 ways to improve the effectiveness of every A/B test you run…
1. Check Google Analytics for Top Conversion Paths
How are prospects navigating through your site? What pages are they visiting to get enough information before converting? Visit each of these pages and put yourself into the shoes of your prospect to see what information they need before they’re ready to convert.
2. See how users interact with your site
For this, I use Crazy Egg since it not only tracks where your visitors are clicking on your web pages, but also how far down the page they’re scrolling. Find out where people are clicking the most and you’ll see what they find most important. And if you find they’re clicking where there isn’t a link then make sure to adjust your web page to give them what they want.
3. See how visitors are browsing your site
While I make use of Crazy Egg to track where prospects are clicking, I use Inspectlet to track the mouse as it moves around my clients’ site. It’s different to see how your prospects are moving around your site – how they’re scrolling, which parts they’re skipping, which parts they’re delving into, and how they jump around. With Inspectlet you’ll get some great insights into what your prospects really find important.
4. Run unobtrusive surveys to find out what your site is missing
Sometimes just asking the right questions at the right time can give you insight into what information is missing from your site. Qualaroo is a tool you can use to run unobtrusive surveys to prospects while they’re browsing your site. You’ll need to experiment with how you ask questions (e.g. open ended vs multiple choice) to get the best response. Just keep in mind that nobody has time to answer questions, so making it easy to answer is everything.
5. Create target market personas
Understanding the likes, dislikes, fears and aspirations of each target market segment will allow you to customize your message to hit their hot buttons. This is an often overlooked step but it’s one that will achieve the biggest boost in your conversion rate. The alternative (which occurs most of the time) is that you craft your message to your product or service, rather than to your prospect’s hot buttons.
6. Check your competitors and counter their offer
Visit each of your competitors’ websites and ad campaigns and find out what they’re saying, and how they’re positioning themselves, and then craft your message to counter their argument. Always remember that your prospects are looking at all of your competitors’ sites at the same time as yours, which means you really want to offer a good reason for them to take action with you.
7. See where your visitors are coming from
Every traffic source converts differently because of the psychology of the prospect at the time they’re visiting your site. Someone who visits from Facebook is in a very different headspace than someone who visits from Google. With Facebook, you need to draw them in with a compelling offer and lead them along a journey. With Google, just say what you do and why you’re different – there’s a lot less selling required when a prospect is actively searching. If you have different traffic sources, use different landing pages.
8. Read forums in your industry to see what the pain points are
This is a goldmine of A/B testing ideas. Visit the top consumer forums in your industry and find out what questions they’re asking, what they’re afraid of, and what their frustrations are. You’ll be surprised with how much great information you’ll find.
9. Create a list of assumptions you’re making
When you built your website or landing page you made a set of assumptions on what would convert best based on your experience and the input of the various stakeholders. Before you can start improving what you’ve done you need to create a list of assumptions you’ve made during the build. It’s everything from the color scheme, to the layout, to the messaging, to the form fields. Create the list of all website factors and then write the assumption you made (e.g. the color scheme used best matches the messaging of the site because…).
10. Prioritize your testing ideas
This should almost be at the top of the list but we needed to go through the other points first before getting to this one. Once you’ve identified all of the possible factors that could be affecting your conversion rate, you need to put them in order of priority from greatest impact to lowest impact. Some key categories you could use include Core Message, Headline, Offer, Call-To-Action, Layout, Design, Copy Length, and Testimonials. Put them all into one big list, and then rate them from 1 to 10 and test the ones with the greatest impact first.
A/B Testing is NOT conversion rate optimization
A/B testing is an easy thing to do – you just setup a split-test in Optimizely or Google Content Experiments and wait for the results – but running a successful conversion rate optimization campaign is very different.
Anybody can setup an A/B test but only a few people can confidently say they can beat an already high-converting landing page. And that’s what conversion rate optimization is about – beating an already high-converting landing page. If you can do that, then the rest is easy.
At the end of the day you’re rewarded on improving the conversion rate of a website, not failing along the way. So if you can rollout successful split-test after successful split-test, you’ll be one of the most sought after marketers in your industry. By following the recommendations in this article you’ll dramatically improve your A/B test success rate, plus you’ll be miles ahead of your competition.