Have you ever tried A/B testing or segmenting your visitors based on their behavior or conversion rate?
If so, you know how painful it can be to find a marketing metric that reliably leads to insight and action. You’re juggling so many variables, and it’s hard to tell which one made the difference. That’s why so few businesses have successfully implemented A/B testing.
Today, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide to running an A/B testing campaign so you can find out precisely how testing works and how to use it to your advantage.
1. Decide Why You Need An A/B Testing Campaign
The first step in any data-driven marketing campaign is understanding why you’re doing it. Do you want to optimize your website for a higher conversion rate? Are you looking to refine your marketing approach, and do you want to experiment with different styles of content or offers?
You might want to try a new pricing plan or offer a free product sample. Or, you might want to explore the performance of one of your existing content types or the effect different copy has on website visitors. You’ll need to have a clear objective for each test you run. Don’t rush this step. Take your time to decide what you’re going to test and why.
2. Identify The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
No matter what industry you’re in, chances are you’re tracking at least a few metrics that you think are important. You might track the number of website visitors, interactions with your social media accounts, or conversions (i.e., sales, sign-ups, or some other measurable event).
The trick to an A/B testing campaign is isolating the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’ll use to judge the success of your experiment. Incoming traffic, social media engagement, and conversions are all great metrics to measure, but there are other metrics you should exclude. For example, consider the total number of website views or how much content your visitors consumed, as opposed to how many purchases they made.
3. Set Up Some Objective Secondary Metrics That You’ll Use To Gauge Success
Once you’ve got your key indicators in place, you can start to set up some secondary metrics that you’ll use to check on the success of your A/B testing campaign. Proper objective measurement is one of the best things that can help you gauge the effectiveness of your tests and the power of your results.
For example, if you’re running an A/B test to determine the effectiveness of a certain pricing scheme, consider measuring the amount of revenue you earn from that pricing scheme and how much your average customer values your service once they’re on your site. This way, you’ll know which pricing plan performs the best based on how much your customers value your service.
4. Plan Your Budget For The Testing Campaign
If you’re looking towards A/B testing to reduce costs and increase revenue, you need to consider how much you’re willing to spend on the campaign. This is especially important if you’re using paid traffic instead of getting organic search engine results for your website. Organic search engine results are free and require no budgeting.
To start with, you’ll typically want to set aside a reasonable budget for the setup costs of your A/B testing campaign. This includes designing different versions of your website or developing and deploying landing pages for your campaign. From there, you can determine how much you need to spend on Ad campaigns, social media, and paid traffic to achieve your goals.
5. Pick A/B Testing Software To Measure The Performance Of Your Website
If you’re looking to implement A/B testing, you need to pick a platform that allows you to create and administer the tests from the ground up. Several companies, like Google Optimize, have sprung up to provide A/B testing software as a service (SaaS). With these products, you can create tests very quickly and then monitor the performance of your website without having to log into your account every time you want to check on the results of a test.
6. Create Multiple Tests
If you’ve ever worked with marketing teams in your organization, you might know that they often get attached to a single idea and refuse to budge until they’ve tried it out completely. This is one of the main reasons few businesses have been able to implement A/B testing successfully.
You must create separate tests to avoid this and help your marketing team explore different ideas. For example, suppose your initial A/B testing reveals that video sales pages perform the best at driving traffic and conversions. In that case, you might want to try out a different kind of page, without video, for a while to see how that affects your overall conversion rate.
7. Keep Your Tests Short-Lived & Measurable
One of the biggest challenges of A/B testing is sticking to short-lived tests. It’s tempting to want to run a test, see how it performs, and then run another test based on the results of the first. This is great if you’re simply looking to improve upon a marketing strategy that didn’t work out well. But, as we’ve established, you need to be objective in your approach and only test ideas that you can quantify. The more complex or intertwined a strategy is, the more difficult it is to isolate the exact cause of a problem if there is one.
8. Use Your Results To Improve Your Approach
Regardless of whether you’ve tried running an A/B testing campaign or are looking to begin your journey with segmented marketing, your campaign results should form a part of your decision-making process as you refine your approach and identify areas for improvement. For example, if you’re trying out a new pricing scheme that drops your conversion rate by 5%, you can safely assume that your product or marketing copy was at fault, and you should fix it.
A data-driven marketing campaign that works
The power of A/B testing is that it allows you to test different facets of your marketing strategy and separate the variables that could lead to increased conversions. Identifying these variables, and being able to test them efficiently, leads to a more data-driven approach and a better understanding of how effective your strategy is. This, in turn, leads to better results and a stronger marketing plan. This is how you get from A to B to C and beyond!