Internet marketers need to know how their campaigns are performing at any given moment. They do this by studying their website’s analytics, gauging traffic, views, bounce rates and so on. Why do marketers do this? The expert marketers, the ones who actually succeed at this game, know that studying analytics is the key to creating the most effective online marketing campaigns. There’s one key element that’s left out of that equation, however. You must study your site’s analytics and you must also split test your campaigns if you hope to improve your conversion rates and find success in the world of Internet marketing.
Split testing is the easiest and fastest way to determine how your audience will react to certain marketing media. As an example, let’s say that you have two identical squeeze pages. You put those on two different domains and you begin driving the same type of traffic to both. You might write fifty link bait articles, twenty five linking back to each individual squeeze page. By splitting your traffic to two identical squeeze pages, we are now ready to begin our split testing campaign.
To begin, change just one element of one of your squeeze pages. You might change the headline, the background color, the sales copy, individual paragraphs of your sales copy and so on. Then, measure your conversion rates. If one headline performs better than the other, and you know it’s all from the same type of traffic, you can deduce that the better headline will lead to improvement of your conversion rates. That’s split testing in a nutshell and it should be performed on all of your current online marketing campaigns.
Split testing is not something that can be completed overnight. It takes time to measure the results accurately. You should give each element change at least two weeks and possibly more to allow your audience time to react. Eventually you should get to a point where you’ve tested every element of your online marketing campaigns, you’ve achieved higher conversion rates and now you know exactly what your audience will respond to. That’s a powerful thing to understand and it’s something that all online marketers strive for. We live in a microwave society where everyone wants what they want right now, not later. With split testing, you must be patient or else you could mismanage the entire testing process and any data you glean from your split testing campaign will be worthless. It is far better to change elements and then wait three or four weeks before changing another one, just so you can gauge the results accurately in order to get the most improvement on conversion rates.
Testing All Elements
Split testing may seem like a tedious process and in some cases it can be. No matter how tedious it may be, split testing must be performed if you hope to achieve higher conversion rates. To find out what elements to test, track your prospects’ movements through your online marketing chain. You might start at one of your PPC ads, which then leads to your squeeze page offer, then a Thank You Page and so on. Your ads should be tested, including copy, images, colors and all other aspects, your squeeze page needs to be tested, like we already discussed and even your offer should be split tested to gauge which changes will give you the highest conversion rates.
Split testing isn’t something you do one time and it’s certainly not something you do once every ten years. It must be conducted on a regular basis if you hope to reach out to your audience in the most effective way and you hope to beat out your competitors who will undoubtedly be split testing their own online marketing campaigns.
Follow The Experts
If you want to be the best at what you do, you should always keep one eye on the experts. Well, the experts are split testing and you should be, too. The experts know that creating the ultimate online marketing campaigns takes lots of planning and effort, but even then those campaigns aren’t perfect. You never know how a campaign will perform until the audience sees it and reacts to it. Once the audience reacts, that’s when you should start paying attention.
Remember to study the analytics of your website, ads and all other campaign elements and never stop split testing. If you want to improve your conversion rates and you want to start succeeding and earning like one of the online marketing masters, you’ll need to become familiar with the process of split testing and you’ll need to do it on a regular basis. That’s the only way to achieve maximum conversion rates for your brand, products and/or services.
This is an interesting article. Does google not punish duplicate content though? I.e. you have two squeeze pages that are identical (except for the font of background colour) wouldn’t these pages on your site both suffer lost traffic?
You’ve got the idea there Andre, testing even down to font. What works in one case doesn’t in another. Test everything, each time! 🙂
Just to confirm Bill’ point on the importance of testing every element. I testes even changes to the font, and Arial performed a 14% better than Times New Roman. Or you would think that that call to action buttons perform better than text links, but this depends a lot on the context. I had cases where buttons dropped my conversion rate by almost a 50% ,when asking for more information on a sign-up-form, but when selling the combination of both worked best. By adding a text link just below the button the conversion rate increased another 6%.
Excellent post, Bill. There’s no question that without split testing, a marketer is leaving potential income on the table.
This would be a good post to mention various split testing options. Like “changing hover-over buttons can improve result by 40%”. And a few other examples from your experience.
How do you split test?
Absolutely man, Split Testing is HUGE. Well written and I would love to have you on when we bring together experts around the different elements of having your own Perfect Funnel System. The system for turning leads into buyers and converting buyers into raving fans who LOVE you and viralize (share) your products and services with the world. I’ll hit you up on Facebook!
Bill, as always great information! My favorite quote and I think one of the top takeaways from this blog post is: Split testing isn’t something you do one time and it’s certainly not something you do once every ten years.
Too many marketers try something once and then walk away and say it didn’t work. In any business, especially online marketing the key is constant and never ending improvement.