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13 Helpful Guidelines for A/B Testing

May 4th, 2012 ::


A/B Tests, or Split Tests, can help you optimize your landing pages, email marketing campaigns and calls-to-action. But isn’t testing something only big marketing research firms do?  The answers is a definitive “no.”

In this article, I’ll share some tips for using A/B testing in your own marketing strategies, regardless of the size of your staff or budget.

Are your marketing efforts making the grade?

A/B testing can help you determine which marketing variables are giving you the best response rate. An example of a variable is the call-to-action in an email message or the landing page a Facebook post directs people to.

By conducting A/B tests, you can tweak your marketing performance to drive more traffic to your website and generate more leads for your business. The marketing pros at Hubspot have lots of suggestions for conducting A/B testing, but I’m going to break down the strategies for you in a quick and painless way.

Your A/B Testing Cheat Sheet

  • Conduct one test at a time to be sure your results don’t get mixed up. In other words, don’t launch a test for your email and your landing page simultaneously. Along that same line, only test one variable at a time so you can be sure you know exactly what to change or improve.
  • Test among two or more audiences and be sure these samples are similar. For example, if you’re testing an email message, pull names that have been on your list for similar amounts of time.
  • Just like in science experiments, you’ll need to have both a control group and a treatment group. In your A/B tests, the control group will be your original email or landing page, and the treatment group will be the variations of these tools you want to test. You may want to test whether including an image will enhance a landing page, so your original landing page would be the control element, and the landing page with an image would be the treatment element.
  • Conduct your A/B tests during the same timeframe. What this does is remove timing as a variable because conducting marketing tests a month or two apart can yield very different results. If you’re testing several elements for one particular campaign, test them simultaneously. Just be sure to test only one variable on each of your tests, as I mentioned above.

Deciding which variables to test

Now that you have some guidelines to get you started, which variables should you test? When you were creating a call-to-action for the company’s latest product launch, you may have wondered which copy or graphic elements would get the best results. Those elements are perfect for A/B testing. Here are some variables you may want to test:

  • Offers that convert the most prospects into leads
  • Structure for your copy (bullet lists, paragraphs, etc.)
  • Size or placement of the call-to-action
  • Color scheme or other design element
  • Photo or logo to use on a landing page
  • Format of email (newsletter, digest, etc.)
  • Time of day to send email
  • Subject line of email

A/B testing is an effective way to learn why your marketing campaigns or working – or why they aren’t. By testing elements in their campaigns, marketers can easily tweak their strategies to get the most bang for their buck- something every small business owner can surely appreciate.

Image courtesy of spamula.net

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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