Small details can make a tremendous difference when it comes to conversion rates. From the color of your "buy now" button to the length of your landing page, these little decisions could cost you thousands of dollars in missed opportunities each year.
They could also earn you thousands of dollars if you use A/B testing to create a landing page design that helps convert visitors into buyers. After all, what looks good to you may not be what convinces someone to make a purchase or to sign up for your newsletter, especially if they just came across your website through Google and aren't familiar with your brand.
What is A/B Testing?
It's no secret that consumers compare products online before they make purchases. They analyze each product to determine which one will best suit their needs, and that's exactly what you should do with features on your landing pages.
Rather than going with whatever design you like or guessing what your target market wants to see, you can put the behavior of your visitors to the test. This allows you to design every feature on your landing page from concrete data rather than from assumptions.
There are different ways to complete this type of testing, but the basic process is always the same:
- Identify one feature of your landing page that you could change to improve conversions. If you're planning on adding a new feature, you may want to test your initial design before fully implementing it into your overall site design. This is option A.
- Design an alternative version of the feature that you want to test. You can adjust the color, size, shape, wording, font, or location of a call to action on the page. Page length and images are other elements of your landing page that you may want to test. Only change the element of the feature that you want to test, leaving everything else the same. This is option B.
- Allow some visitors on your site to see option A while others see option B. Record how each visitor responds to the feature that they're displayed.
- After analyzing the data for a given period of time, fully implement the most effective design into your website for all future visitors to see.
You will know that it's time to implement this testing process when you see a high rate of drop-off at a certain stage of the buying process or notice that one section or page of your website produces fewer conversions than other sections or pages.
Whenever you see an under-performing element of your website, it's to your advantage to figure out why it isn't living up to its full potential. If you do enough testing on the right elements of your landing pages, you will maximize performance across the board.
How to Implement A/B Testing
Always start this type of testing with a goal or hypothesis. You must clearly identify what feature you're testing and what results you expect that feature to deliver. You should then run the test long enough to collect enough data to make a solid determination on the effectiveness of each option.
It also helps if you already have traffic coming into your landing pages and have secured some conversions, as it's difficult to do this testing when you don't have people clicking into your site to participate in the first place.
If your site is built on WordPress, the easiest way to set up an A/B test is to use a plugin that will control which version of the page or feature each visitor will see. On the other hand, if your site is custom-built, there are plenty of 3rd party tools that can be implemented.
Either way, your tool should count the conversions from each version and report the data to you in an easy-to-understand manner.
You still have some work to do to get the test going:
- Create both versions of your test feature. Some testing tools will allow you to have three or more variations, but don't add more just for the fun of it. Remember, you have a clear goal and you only want to consider solid designs. If you're testing an entire landing page, then you should create two versions of it. If you're testing a button, link, image, or other call to action, then you only need to create multiple versions of that feature.
- Determine what will signal a successful conversion for the test. If you're testing your "sign up now" button for your newsletter, then you may determine that success is marked when a viewer gets to the thank-you message after signing up. In this case, your testing tool will report a successful conversion each time one of your button options leads to the display of that message.
- Load your design variations into your testing tool. In most cases, you'll need to add code to your site to initiate the count of successful conversions.
There are many tools that you can use to establish A/B testing, and some are more complicated than others. If you have concerns about the effectiveness of your landing pages, start by contacting us. We can help you determine whether this process will benefit you at this time, and we can make sure that you set the test up properly and receive insightful results.