You Should Test That

paisley-prefers-silkTurns out, my dog prefers Silk Soy Yogurt (strawberry flavor), over Yoplait of any kind, but tuna beats out both.

How do we know? Because every morning she is presented with two choices: My empty yogurt container and my husband’s, and she always grabs the Silk first. But if she’s offered her choice of yogurt or an empty tuna can, she’ll take the tuna every time.

In short, we split tested it.

How Split Testing Works

The basic idea behind split testing is to present two very similar versions of the same thing to see which your audience prefers. You can split test:

  • Landing page headlines
  • Opt-in forms
  • Calls to action
  • Buy button colors
  • Anything that might make a difference in your conversion rates.

The key is to only test one small thing at a time. We can’t accurately determine if Paisley prefers steak and mashed potatoes with green bean casserole over a turkey sub with corn chips and cookies because there are too many variables. Maybe she really wants the steak but doesn’t care about the green beans. How will we know?

By systematically changing small items, you can accurately determine which combination appeals to your audience best.

The Mechanics of Split Testing

A variety of tools exist to help you test everything from sales pages to opt-in forms to newsletter templates. To test pages on your website, you can use Google’s Content Experiments. I have not used this tool, so don’t know how it works, but it’s definitely worth checking in to if you want to know exactly what’s working on your website.

For opt-in forms and email headlines, AWeber offers several options, as do many of the other mailing list providers. In this video, AWeber shows how to test which subject line gets a better response.

Whether you’re building your own mailing list, trying to generate more sales from your services page, or just need to help your clients make better choices in their marketing efforts, it pays to test things. I’m working with a client who’s trying to grow his mailing list, so we’re putting together a plan to split-test both his opt-in forms and his email broadcasts. I’ll also be doing some testing on my own sales pages over the coming weeks. I also just purchased “You Should Test That” by Christ Goward. Looks to be a great reference for finding out what appeals to your audience, no matter who that audience is.

What about you? Do you test your marketing tools? What results have you seen? Share in the comments.

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