We've mentioned A/B testing before, but we haven't really discussed how it can become part of your overall content strategy – so let's talk! It is a simple concept: Create two different versions of something, hold a testing period where you try each version, and then pick which version does best! Whether you want to test out a new ad or are trying to see if your new website is really performing better than your old one, testing two versions can help out. Here are the top ways you can use it.
1. Web Design
This is one the most popular – and powerful – uses for A/B testing. Since you really want your website design to appeal to your target audience, it's valuable to get some actual input from those viewers! So, in this type of testing, there are two different web designs shown.
This does not mean that you have to submit two totally different web designs to a program (although you can if necessary). Typically, this means you are testing a very specific part of your website. For example, is the Call to Action button better here, or over here? Are the social media share buttons more effective down there, or right there? Testing your options is great for these specific questions about placement, color, and shape where you have two good ideas but can't decide between them.
We're not talking so much about switching between different tools, but rather upgrading or changing tools. It's always useful to use A/B testing when you are changing the way a feature works on your site or software. For example, if you've changed the way that your shopping cart works, wouldn't you want to know which version actually helps you get more sales? Testing each out can come to the rescue with useful data on this exact point. The same is true for pretty much every other feature you may want to test.
At first glance, we know this sounds weird. "What, charge two customers two different prices for the same thing, to see which they like better?". But here's how it works: Create two different sales pages, with two different prices. Use those pages for testing. When a customer actually puts a product in the cart (or your equivalent), the real price will be shown. This allows you to see which price point gets more conversions. Of course, you also want to avoid angering customers or pushing a product into an entirely different price classification, so this testing should be handled carefully.
All right, ads aren't quite "inbound," but they certainly can be, especially when it comes to native advertising, so we're going to include this category anyway. If you have a really great ad idea, it's smart to do a period of A/B testing to see which version – out of your two favorite versions – that people respond to. It's hard to predict exactly what viewers will think of ads, but this gives you a glimpse into what works. There's also a lot of long-term value for this type of testing, since you can use what you learned on future marketing.
5. Message Practices
When is the best time to send emails? Try sending one group of emails at one time, and another at a different time – then carefully compare the results! This is even possible, in a more limited way, on social media. You can use it to narrow down the best times to use social media to post or contact clients if you aren't quite sure what works right.
This is an easy one – there are even Wordpress plugins to help out. Create two different titles, and see which one works better, then go with that one. Because titles and headers are what people see first, they are key to conversion decisions. The right title can help you win a lot more traffic than the wrong option. A/B testing allows you to see which is which.