Tim Brown October 3rd, 2016

How to Use A/B Tests to Increase Customer Conversions

You’ve got your website and marketing well underway. With well researched keywords, an active social media base and a constant supply of fresh content, you’re drawing in new traffic unlike ever before. But simply reaching a potential audience isn’t enough. You need to convert your visitors into customers. With enough time and practice, you’ll almost always be able to increase traffic. The secret is learning how to convert. Fortunately, finding the right conversion methods is easy using A/B Tests. Here’s what you need to know: What are A/B Tests? This is a way to better understand the needs and preferences of your audience. You run two different types of content and see which performs better. This content could be a web page, a blog post, a sales email or any other way you connect with your target audiences. A/B testing works for companies of practically any type and size. In 2011, Google ran over 7,000 A/B tests on all sorts of subjects. They even tested over 50 different shades of blue on their call-to-action button. How Effective are A/B Tests? Over time, they’re very effective. But using A/B comparisons is an ongoing process. You’re always aiming for improvement. Each A/B test will typically show about a 5% gain. That’s alright. You still have a direction to move towards. You’ll probably need to conduct about eight A/B tests before you’ll see significant change. What Can You Test Using the A/B System? Call-to-Action Buttons There’s a lot of “experts” out there who insist there’s only one color you should use for your CTA buttons. The problem is, nobody agrees on what color that is. “Red creates a sense of emergency.” “Blue creates a soothing feeling.” “Gray adds a professional touch.” None of this is really true. The right color depends on:
  • 1) Your overall website design
  • 2) Whatever color is preferred by the majority of your target audience
There’s no magic way to predict what color this will be. But you can split test and find the color your audience prefers. Images on the Landing Page You always want to add images to your content to create landing pages that convert. Add a photo, illustration, cartoon or other image into your text every two or three paragraphs, or roughly every 300 words. Images break up the text into easy-to-read sections. Some images, such as infographics, can add supplementary information to your text. Use A/B testing to see what images your customer base responds to best. The two major image types are Person Based and Information Based. A Person Based image shows someone using your product or just generally living their life. There’s more of an emotional connection than a fact-based one. An Information Based image is an illustration with facts and figures, like an Infographic. If you’re selling a physical product, include images of people actually using it. If your product is a service, especially a virtual B2B service, you should probably use Information Based images which explain how your product works and what customers can expect. Headlines A/B testing is a great way to craft headlines which will resonate with your audience. You can experiment with different phrases in order to find the ultimate eye-catching headlines. This is important because you only have about five seconds to grab a reader’s interest. Show your audience that you understand their needs. You identify with their “pain point,” the problem they currently have. Then explain how your brand is the perfect solution. Here’s an okay headline: “The Power of Images in an SEO Campaign” Here’s a great headline: “Using Images to Increase Customer Conversion.” The last headline identifies the problem, which is a lack of conversions. The headline also promises a solution. Finally, the headline has an active voice. Email Subject Lines A well-written subject line can make the difference between an email being opened or moved directly to the junk folder. Split testing is a big help while also being easy to implement, too. Using a similar customer base, send emails with one subject line to one half and send emails with another subject line to the other. Compare the response rate and refine over time. Generally, shorter subject lines will get more responses. I keep my character limit to between 28 and 39. Also, follow the same rules as headlines. Identify the pain point and promise a solution. Don’t describe the solution is too much detail. After all, we want to give the reader a reason to open the email. At the same time, don’t be overly vague or generic. Increasing customer engagement is a journey, not a destination. A/B split testing is an easy and effective way to gauge the response levels of your potential customers. I highly recommend this technique for any website. Photo by Jason Dent on Unsplash

Tim Brown

Tim Brown is a Minneapolis web designer focused on conversion rate optimization, persuasion through web design, and making beautiful and effective design, as well as creating resources for the web design and digital marketing community.

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