How You Can Increase Sales with A/B Testing
Take a second to consider what these sites have in common: eBay, Amazon, Google, BBC, and Microsoft. Aside from the fact that they’re all huge names and brands, they also make use of a lesser known web marketing technique called A/B testing.
A/B testing is used for a lot of things. It’s a relatively simple test that can get you good results for the amount of work that you have to put into creating and conducting them in the first place. Aside from that, you can also build in-depth user profiles for your site visitors so you can understand their needs and preferences better. You can then use all of this information to optimize your site and tweak elements here and there to increase sales and improve your conversion rate.
The 411 on A/B Testing
A/B testing is a relatively simple method that will present your site visitors with two versions of your site, where only one element has been modified or varied between them. The versions are presented randomly and simultaneously during the course when the test is run.
If you’re going to be strict about it, only one element should be varied when you conduct your A/B test. However, it’s common practice to start out by modifying a number of elements on the variations for your first few tests. The advantage here is that you can test out more elements and come up with a better version of your site in a shorter span of time. The downside, however, is that you won’t be able to pinpoint the specific element which caused results that you were able to obtain.
How to Do an A/B Test
The first thing you should do is make a list of the elements to test out. For webmasters, this list contains specific parts of the website and content from each of these, such as images, text, and design of these elements. For email marketers, this usually involves the actual text content and call to action in the email copies.
After making the list, pick one element that you’d like to test out first and create two variations of it. You can have your server display the two variations of your site to your audience by installing a simple script. Make sure you also set it up to track the activity that each version gets, such as the time spent on each site as well as the number of clicks that each version was able to get. For email lists, you can simply split up your subscribers into two groups and send each group with one version of your email copy.
Tools for A/B Testing
Here several tools that are being widely used to conduct A/B tests:
Google Website Optimizer
This is a free tool provided by Google for webmasters to optimize their sites and improve conversion rates. The tool can be used to test any element that exists as HTML code on each web page.
Many firms have been offering A/B and multivariate testing services for years in a platform that makes it easy on the user’s end. All webmasters have to do is insert a single line of code into the HTML of the site so that it will be tested and analyzed.
Aside from these, there are actually a number of other providers that conduct A/B testing services for websites or email marketers. It might be helpful to do a quick search online or ask colleagues on what service or software they’re using to conduct their A/B tests.