How To Use A/B Testing To Explode Conversion
Install Simple Page Tester
Simple Page Tester is a basic A/B Testing plugin for your website. It allows you to make small changes to pages and compare them against each other to see which one visitors prefer and with one converts the best. There are other more advanced options available too that have cool tools like heat-maps that that you see how people look at and navigate your pages, but it’s best to start simple.
Set up google analytics
A/B testing on it’s own tells you nothing. You need to be able to collect the data and observe how people are using your website to make a judgement call as to which iteration that you test is performing best. That’s where Google analytics comes in to play. If you haven’t already, go here and set up a Google Analytics account. They will walk you through how to install the code. If you want to be able to look at the basics from the back-end of your website you may want to install a plugin like Google Analytics Dashboard.
Test. Test. Test.
Once you have set up your system, it’s time to test. And test and test!!! If you already have a home page or a landing page to test, make a duplicate of that page and change ONE element. Then click on the button “Setup New Split Test” and after a few days look at your analytics and see which page performs better. Throw away the page that performed poorly and create a new test! After many rounds of testing you should start to see a clear improvement of the pages performance.
The key is to change only ONE element at a time. That way when you see the results of your test, you will know exactly what made the difference. The big mistake we see people make is they test multiple elements at a time. Sure they will see which page performs better, but they will not know the all important WHY.
If you are at a loss as where to start or what to change, click here and learn about the different elements to a successful landing page and what works best.
Fail Fast and Often
Fail Fast and Often. This is the mantra of Silicon Valley. And I think there is a lot to be learned from that for the rest of us.
We are in the golden age of entrepreneurship. With tools like LegalZoom, KickStarter and WordPress, never has it been so easy to have an idea, set up a business and start selling products and services.
But this also means that there is more competition and more failure.
So… how does this relate to A/B testing?
The Bureau of Small Project’s value proposition is to make the tools that Fortune 500 companies and major brands available to non-profits and small businesses that are making a difference. Before founding the Bureau of Small. With that in mind, the one significant thing these companies do that small businesses generally don’t is: Test, Test, Test.
This is the mentality gave rise to the big Madison Avenue Ad Agencies that inspired AMC’s Mad Men.
You don’t think these Agencies create one ad campaign using some secret formula that generates millions of dollars in sales for their clients do you? If that were the case, what would they need skyscrapers full of people for?
These agencies Fail Fast and Often. Or in less scary terms they do a LOT of testing. See failure is not bad. Failure is how we learn. Thomas John Watson, CEO at IBM famously said when asked if he was going to fire an employee who made a $600,000 mistake “Why would I do that? I just spent $600,000 training him”.
Back to A/B testing.
Something I notice time and time again with small businesses is that they build a website and let it sit. Often they seem to have the expectations that it will last forever.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
A website is a powerful business tool that can bring in sales, leads, customer insights and much much more.
And like all tools it must be used properly.
This is where Fail Fast comes into play. Never before has there been a tool that can help you Fail Faster and more often than a website.
Having been in design and marketing my whole career the one thing I KNOW is that NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING.
I’ve worked with the best of the best and with small time snake oil salesmen. And I would venture to say that the difference between them is that the best of the best embrace the fact that nobody knows anything and aren’t afraid of the unknown.
As a result the best of the best are ALWAYS TESTING and MEASURING the results. They don’t stop when the results are positive and persevere when they aren’t.
The wonderful thing about websites is that the powerful marketing tools like analytics A/B testing and targeted advertising that used to be the provenance of the big companies are now available to everyone. Provided you know how to use them.
So embrace failure. For A/B testing to work one of your experiments must fail. The faster you fail the faster you improve!