by Jimmy Marks
I'll go ahead and throw away the opening sentence of this article on an obvious statement: the internet has changed everything. We, as online creatives and marketers, are no longer confined to the constraints of the physical space (or "meatscape", as total weirdos call it). We can make our websites as big and bright as we like. We can publish our updates and releases at our leisure via blogs and online news services. We can change our minds and our products on a whim. We can animate, demonstrate, and, most importantly, split test.
What is split testing, you're wondering? If you're not already doing it, today's your official start date. Split testing involves two (or more) options for a marketing campaign, website, email - any intellectual property that is designed to command user's attention. Typically, you set up your "A" and "B" choices and test each to see which gets the most user response/return. You might think these two choices have to be completely disparate, but the differences might be as simple as:
- The placement of your "call to action" button
- A different subject line/title
- A different image in the body text
- Altered colors
- A different sender name (i.e., sending from "Member Solutions" instead of "Collections Department")
This involves a little work on your part. You're going to need to track conversions on these two website versions (that is, how many people take you up on your sales offer or click for more info). For traditional-mail marketing pieces, you can send both options in tandem and see which gets more response, then adjust from there. For email, you'll need to track opens, bounces, unsubscribes, etc. for each of your campaign choices.
"So you're just measuring ROI ?" you ask. In a sense, but you're also measuring the strengths of one campaign's layout and language. Who's to say that, by putting your seminar ads up under your headline in a sidebar, you won't get more people signing up? Maybe members aren't calling because they don't know where your phone number is on your email or contact page. You might think these are trifles, but when it comes to engaging members and getting them to take an interest in what you have to offer, can you afford NOT to make a campaign better over time? Pick your pet campaign, give the components some thought, and see how a split test might improve it.
I could go into extra detail, but I'm hoping this has spurred you to start thinking about this for your websites, email campaigns, newsletters and marketing pieces. Here are some resources to get you started:
- An article titled "10 Factors to Test that Could Increase the Conversion Rate of Your Landing Pages" (catchy title, no?). A good walkthrough, with some important points to keep in mind as you move forward.
- From DailyConversions.com - An article in which one of the website's marketing specialists does split testing on a local homeless man's "please give" sign. It seems a little weird at the start, but his work with the homeless man's sign placement and content changes the homeless man's luck and drives up donations. A really strange exercise, to be sure, and not one I'd recommend repeating, but still worth a look.
- Five Second Test is a great website that lets you test website layouts and the impact your current layout has on a random spray of audience members. Simple, fast, effective, and free, it's worth the time it takes to throw up a few potential layouts and examples.
And I wouldn't be much of an ad guy if I didn't take the time to tell you that DigitalMailer's Automatic Relationship Builder (ARB) has built-in split testing capabilities. Start marketing smart by visiting our website, or give us a call at 866.994.4900 ext 115.