Website Testing: What you need to know about A/B Testing
by Katelyn Fogarty
The concept of A/B testing is nothing new. It has been used in marketing, as well as many other industries to ensure that the right product or process is put in place. Once you start looking into A/B testing, you may begin to get excited about the fact that you can test just about any marketing process you put in place. After such a discovery, the question then becomes about the types of processes you should be testing. Where do you start? What marketing processes benefit the most from A/B testing? Let’s dig into this a little bit.
What is A/B Testing?
Before we get to the “what” and “why” behind A/B testing, we need to define it clearly. To put it as simply as possible, A/B testing involves a randomized test of two versions of a marketing process. In most marketing cases, this is a web page or a marketing strategy. This allows you to really hone in on specific processes that work and improve them as you reach out to your target audience.
Where to Start: Strategy
When it comes to A/B testing in web marketing, you need to start with a strategy for your website. What are your site goals? Do you have big picture goals (lead generation)? Or are your needs more related to the smaller picture (CTR improvement)? The big idea here is to find a site element that is crucial to your marketing strategy and further develop an A/B test surrounding that element.
What to Test: Owning Your Strategy
The challenging part of testing site elements is that, going into it, you do not know how users will respond to your site. If you’re totally married to a site element and are inflexible to change, this will work against you. This happens often when stubborn marketers come up with a brilliant idea. Remember, it’s not that your idea is not brilliant, it’s just that your users are not responding the way you need them to respond. This process is all about finding out what works and what doesn’t. Approach it with humility and flexibility, and keep in mind that metrics never lie. Read my blog all about owning your own testing strategy.
- Buttons: Buttons are always a good place to start. Whether this is a “Submit” or a “Sign Up” or a “Download Now” button, there may be a bit of room for adjustment to ensure you’re getting the dream click-through rates. Start with colors. Are the colors you’re using for your buttons in line with your site’s color schemes? Are they engaging in a non-intrusive way? Is the button text snappy enough? These are all elements of your button configuration that can and should be tested.
- Content: Your content is not always going to be bulletproof. What you may think is genius, may translate differently to your audience. As a general rule, you should test any web page that results in a Call to Action (CTA). Do this by creating multiple versions of the web page’s content and test with your users.
- Forms: Forms can be and are essential tools for lead generation. If engaging enough, and placed properly in your site’s hierarchy, a form can collect valuable data that can help streamline sales and marketing processes. Test the placement of forms. Test different wordings within the forms. Don’t be afraid to be creative or silly if that’s what your target audience wants and needs to move them through your conversion funnel.
So, You Have Gone Through the Testing Process, Now What?
Keep testing. This is not a set-it-and-forget-it approach. It’s a process you’ll have to perfect over time. As you perfect your A/B testing process, your sites can become robust marketing machines that result in higher CTR’s and conversions.