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How to Improve your Online Marketing Strategy with Split Testing

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When it comes to marketing strategy, the smallest tweaks in your messaging, imagery, and design can make a big difference in your conversion rates. The problem is that almost half of all companies never bother to test these variables. They just pick what they think looks good and go from there.

Big mistake. Roughly 75% of companies that adopt a more structured approach to analyzing conversion like “split testing” see their sales improve.

What is Split Testing?

Split testing involves comparing two versions of something and testing which one gets you the best results. Also called A/B testing or A/B split testing, this strategy fosters continuous improvement in your marketing message and design. Split testing can be used to test promotions, font, color, wording, CTAs, and more.

How Does Split Testing Work?

You can try split testing for yourself by preparing two versions of a webpage or ad and then monitoring the results. The initial version of the marketing piece is called the “control.” The “variation” should involve a single change from the control, like choosing blue for the color of the CTA button instead of red. You would publish both versions and monitor their performance to see which one does better.

If the variation does better, you would make that difference part of your marketing and it would become the new control if you opt to continue split testing. Over time, you can refine your marketing to be the most effective it can be.

What are the Benefits of Split Testing?

When you take the time to A/B test your marketing messages, you will see a few important benefits. Obviously, your conversion rate will improve – that’s what you are testing and modifying your marketing message to see. However, a higher conversion rate is not the only improvement. Split testing can also result in more traffic, lower bounce, and a reduction in the number of abandoned carts.

Picking Variables to Test

Picking variables to test may seem straight forward, but split testing takes time. If you try to test everything and give each variable ample time to test, it would take years to figure out your perfect marketing message – and your market could change by then. Instead, put some effort into figuring out which variables need the most testing.

Funnel analysis can help you determine any hitches in your sales or conversion funnel. You may also want to look at a heatmap of user actions. It will help you see any distracting or otherwise ineffective elements. Alternatively, you could try asking your target customers what they think about your marketing message or design.

Tips for Better Split Testing

Split testing can be a very effective tool, but it can also go haywire if you aren’t careful about how you are testing and analyzing different variables. Here are some tips for better A/B testing.

Focus

Start by being very focused in your efforts. Only test one variable at a time. If you include too many differences in your variation, you won’t know which one is responsible for the boost. In addition, one variable may improve your conversion while another works against you, so your results could appear flat.

Timing

Also, remember that you need to test the variation against the control simultaneously. If you try to test one this week and another next week, you won’t know whether your performance is impacted by timing or the variable you changed.

Duration

Duration matters too. Make sure you run your A/B test for a long enough period to produce significant results. A single day isn’t going to cut it. Expect to spend days, if not weeks, in split testing before you will get actionable results.

Split testing is a powerful tool to help you test and refine your marketing strategy. Take the time to select the right variables to test. Also, give those variations the time and focus to produce statistically significant results. With a little patience, you can improve your marketing in a meaningful way.

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