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Split Testing Your Way to Success

By 123 Reg - December 11, 2013

Let’s start with a simple question…

How many visitors does your website have each month?

Now how many of those visitors become customers?

If the answer is anything less than 100% then you can optimise your website.

Optimisation means improving your website by making changes designed to increase your revenue either directly, through online sales, or indirectly, by generating more leads if your sales are made offline.

Now, imagine you are looking at a page on your website that might help convince a prospect to become a customer.  The question in your mind should be “What can I do to increase the conversions from this single page?”.  How you go about doing this is by asking yourself another question, “What happens if I change something on that webpage?”.

So, let’s take a look at one of the most powerful technique for optimising web pages on your website namely an advertising technique called Split Testing.

Split-testing has been used by businesses for a long time.  In fact advertising copywriters who wanted to improve the effectiveness of their adverts were using this technique more than a hundred years ago.  What they recognised was that it was very unlikely that they had written the perfect advert the first time round.  So they would run two different adverts and see which one yielded the better result.  Then they would drop the failed advert and write another to try and beat the winner.  The great thing about this approach is that because you’re always aiming to beat the winner you end up creating a perpetual cycle of improvement.

You can split-test almost every type of marketing.  Let’s imagine that you’ve written a free report that you want to give away on your website.  So, you ask yourself a question: Do I get more downloads if it’s a written report or if it’s podcast?  What you are doing is testing to find the most effective way of getting your message over to your reader.  Here you are split-testing the report in both formats to see which gets downloaded the most.

Or you might want to test to see if one version of your homepage works better than another.  You run one homepage for a few weeks and then run the other for the same length of time.  You compare the results and see which one was more effective.

Here’s another idea. Let’s say you have 5000 subscribers to your email list.  You are about to send all 5000 an email inviting them to immediately purchase your latest product.  Let’s imagine that your first email offers 10% off but you also want to test whether offering £10 off yields a better response.  All you need to do is send your first offer to one group of 500 and your second offer to another group of 500.  Whichever email performs better is the one you then send to the remaining 4000.

If you fancy taking this to a really advanced level you can continue to do your split-testing by writing another email which tries to outperform the winner of your last test but still only testing 500 at a time.  It will certainly take you longer to do but it could easily double your profits.  The other great advantage of this technique is that because you know which offer works best you can now apply that knowledge to all of your other forms of marketing.

Jed Wylie is the author of Make Your Website Sell and works for Morgan Wylie a web design and digital marketing agency in the Midlands.