If you’re going to take the time to build a campaign, you should take it a step further with A/B testing. It’s the perfect method to grow subscribers and improve your lead generation. Marketing automation is about making informed decisions based on data, rather than taking a guess at what your audience wants to see. You never have to wonder why a campaign isn’t working, because the proof is in the pudding.
On average, 51% of companies currently use some form of marketing automation, and of those that don’t, 58% plan to adopt the technology. Companies that avoid A/B testing often feel it is too complex or they don’t have the time, but it can be as simple as changing a headline or swapping an image. Here are some ways that this form of marketing automation can work wonders for your business:
Avoiding the case study
Don’t fall into the trap! That is…reading a case study and thinking you can do the exact same thing. No two businesses are exactly alike, and it doesn’t ensure your success. Copying the tactics from a case study with no form of testing is simply putting your money into guesswork. What works for some might not work for others, so why not get the numbers to back your decisions?
A/B testing forces you to constantly evaluate your content and adjust accordingly. If you have a campaign that is sluggish, try changing the picture and headline. Then post it on another platform.
As you are considering the different variables for your test, it also forces you to contemplate solutions more frequently. This consistently has a positive impact on customer engagement. The more you are revisiting content, the higher the engagement will go.
Multi-channel A/B testing
If you’re going to be running multi-channel campaigns, you need a method to test your audience for success. A/B testing is the key to multi-channel marketing because content can be interchangeable. If a campaign is not working through one channel, send it down another. You can split test a variety of factors, like:
- The call to action
- The headline
- Form design
Don’t limit yourself to this list. Anything you can think of to tweak and retry will work with A/B testing. The process is more about experimenting than it is about following rules.
Split testing is one of the fastest ways to convert visitors into buyers. That’s because you are consistently working toward conversion when you change things. This method will tell you when you have an opt-in campaign, landing page, or social post that is starting to crash and burn. Then you can address it quicker.
Once you find something that is successful, you can put your efforts into that campaign and watch your conversion rates take off. The guesswork is gone. When people are into the customer journey, they tend to want to continue heading down that path.
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to perform A/B testing. Most marketing automation solutions provide intuitive metrics and reporting that make it a breeze. If you have two campaigns you are analyzing, there’s always going to be an evident “winner” and “loser.” Simple metrics like conversions, page visits, and click-through rates can guide you. It’s like going to the horse race; you’re always going to bet on the favorite.
Making changes to any marketing material is costly. Revisions to your site could put your business on hold for weeks. A/B testing helps reduce risk because it gives you the ability to answer the tough questions with changes that are easily reversible. Consider some of these major business questions:
- Price points: What resonates with customers? Should there be pricing tiers or subscriptions?
- Design: Do they love or hate the new site design? Is it increasing or decreasing conversion rates?
- Packaging: How should you offer the product/service?
- Promotions: Would people prefer free shipping or 10% off? What about a member’s club?
The previous way of testing these types of questions was a lengthy process of surveying and setting up focus groups. Results were typically produced at six-month or one-year intervals, and by then, the data was outdated. A/B testing provides significant advantages over the trial and error testing of the past. For example:
- Timing: Surveys and focus groups not only fail to reach users at the right time, they also produce outdated results. A/B testing can be instant. You can run a query on live traffic and have answers within minutes.
- Data: A/B testing allows you to easily quantify the effects of a change you made. The old way was a guessing game of making changes, then surveying, then making more. There’s no more waiting a year to know you made a mistake. You can know in minutes.
The ability to effectively assess risk ultimately saves a company time and money. The faster you can see the obstacles ahead, the quicker you can address them.
A/B testing allows a company to compete with stiff competition using agility. Thoroughly informed decisions from A/B testing data can be made thousands of times faster than decisions made via focus groups and surveys. Why survey your customers about a price point when you can make a poll on your social channels? You can have the answers instantly. Agility always gives you a competitive advantage, and A/B testing creates an agile mindset.
For e-commerce vendors, a major issue they face is cart abandonment. Many estimates indicate the rates of abandonment range between 40% and 75%. People are placing things in their cart online but never check out, and it’s a big problem for small businesses. Although there are many reasons for cart abandonment, if it is happening to you, A/B testing can help.
If you are trying to figure out why no one if checking out of your online store, use A/B testing to tweak some of the following:
- Shipping costs
- The page on which shipping costs are displayed
- The text and images on your checkout page
- The design and format of the page
- Your social and marketing campaigns
A/B testing is a great way to find out what is wrong, without even asking. If you test another design on the page and your see checkout rates increase, then A/B testing has done its job. The new design will decrease cart abandonment and increase revenue, leaving you more time to focus on lead generation for your e-commerce site. Plus, with the rise of artificial intelligence in digital marketing, now you can also use exit intent software to identify shoppers preparing to leave and bring them back with special offers, discounts, or other messages
Perhaps the most important aspect of A/B testing is the ability to increase sales and generate more revenue. Not to mention it’s a much easier process than focus groups. According to a recent survey, 91% of the most successful users agree that marketing automation is “very important” to the overall success of their marketing across all channels. Using A/B testing can result in some of the following:
- Fewer bounce rates
- More sign ups
- Increased customer engagement
- Higher conversion rates
- Higher click-through rates
- Greater return on investment
With A/B testing, it is critical that you track the entire funnel to get the best results. There’s very little ambiguity about the path your visitors will take to sign up for the product or service. This allows you to run a variety of experiments throughout the funnel to improve conversion. Marketing automation is the path to driving sales and increasing revenue.
The bottom line
A/B testing is for every business in every industry. If you have a website, or even a social media page, you should be utilizing the process to take the guesswork out of major decisions. The method allows you to optimize your channels and make informed choices with agility.
These experiments are run on a subset of visitors to your site, and the changes are easily reversible. That’s the whole idea. You’re taking very little risk yet getting answers to major questions. If you have a live audience available online, why not take advantage of it? A/B testing is about quick thinking, resourcefulness, and customer engagement. It’s about actively listening to your audience and thanking them by providing changes that improve the customer experience.
A/B testing is one of the reasons you need marketing automation. Have you had any major successes using A/B testing? If so, let us know about it in the comments section below!