This article first appeared August 28, 2007 in the Tatum Marketing blog
A/B testing has long been a staple of direct marketing. This is where one version of an ad or mailer is tested against a second version to see which one pulls the most responses. With online advertising or email, A/B testing has expanded to multivariate testing where you can compare a variety of elements to truly optimize your results.
Testing is one of the best ways to maximize your lead or traffic generation program. It’s really impossible to know without testing which offer, headline, image, text, or layout is going to entice the most people to take your desired action. Believe me. I’ve proved this to myself over and over again. I’m nearly always surprised at some change that makes a substantial difference in results.
If you’re running any kind of pay-per-click ad campaign (Google AdWords, Microsoft adCenter, Yahoo! Search Marketing, for example), you’re probably already testing multiple versions of your ad. Now Google has made it possible to easily – and at no cost – test various versions of your landing page to get the highest conversions.
For those of you who don’t live and breathe marketing, the “landing page” is the web page where you send prospects to do whatever it is you want them to do – buy something, download information, whatever.
This is a critical point in any marketing campaign because it’s where the prospect connects with you and either buys or gives you their contact information. It’s the point at which you are able to identify your visitors. If they leave your landing page without taking the desired action, you have no way to follow up. You’ve lost them.
So, you can see how important it is that your landing page delivers the highest possible conversion rate – the percentage of people who take the desired action.
We use this type of testing at Clicks ‘n Conversions with our own marketing program and those of our clients, and with it we’ve been able to achieve conversion rates as high as 40% in a market where 20% would be considered a great response. Although our testing capabilities are a little more sophisticated than that which is provided by Google, this is still a great start.
Google’s Website Optimizer lets you test headlines, images, & content. Google will let you test as many as 8 variables on a page; but the more variables you test, the more traffic you need to get statistically significant results. Even if you only test two versions of your landing page, you’ve doubled your ability to maximize your conversions rates.
You can learn more about the concept of testing and Google’s Website Optimizer by watching a quick demo here: http://services.google.com/websiteoptimizer/. Note: you need an Adwords account to access this.