Have you ever sat down with your marketing team to brainstorm ad copy, design a new website page, or select what questions you should be asking your website visitors to encourage them to convert on your forms? Typically, during these brainstorming sessions your team comes up with more than one good idea. So now what? How do you know which idea to run with? How do you know what your target consumer will respond to the best? What if you make the wrong choice?
This is where A/B testing comes into play.
What is A/B Testing?
A/B testing (otherwise known as split testing) is a method used to compare the performance of two separate variants so that you can determine which variant performs best for your brand. If you just read that and still have no idea what A/B testing is, imagine this scenario:
You are trying to get visitors to your franchise sales page to give you their contact information so that you can set up an appointment with them. The customer profile you have created indicates that your prospective customer should relate to two different images you want to use for your landing page. So how do you decide which image to use? A/B test them! You run a test of both images for a set period of time, analyze all the data from your test at the end of that time period, and declare a winner!
What Can I A/B Test On My Franchise Website?
You can test almost any part of your website with an A/B test. Some of the items we most often A/B test for our franchise clients are:
- Visual elements
- Video vs. static image
- Landing page copy
- Email subject line
- Email copy
- Ad copy
- Calls-to-action (CTAs) and forms
- Form length
- CTA copy
- CTA color
- Single vs. multiple CTAs per page
- Above-the-fold vs. mid-page CTA
How to Do an A/B Test
Now you know what A/B testing is and you know what types of things you can run an A/B test on, so where do you start? First, if there isn’t already a specific portion of your marketing campaigns or website that you want to A/B test, you need to select one. That seems obvious, right? But it is really how you select an element to test that isn’t always as obvious. Here are some things to consider to help you decide what to test:
- What are your goals for the page?
- What are the lowest performing elements of your marketing strategy?
- Are resources (like time) an issue? If so, you may need to pick something that is quick and easy to A/B test. For example, form length is much easier to test than ad creative.
Once you select what you want to test, it is time to set your test up. Many marketing platforms and tools have A/B testing functionality built into them. You can easily A/B test ad copy within the Facebook Ads Manager. HubSpot has tools that allow you to test which landing pages and forms perform best. Virtually all email marketing platforms include A/B testing features.
However, you don’t need a tool for a proper A/B test. If you are running the test on your own without a tool to guide you, make sure you are only changing ONE element in each test, or you won’t be able to accurately determine what change in your test affected the outcome.
A/B Test Example: Email
For the sake of this blog, let’s look at how to A/B test an email subject line.
- Write two different subject lines for the same exact email copy.
- Select a small segment of your email list to use as your test group.
- Split this group into an A group and a B group for the test. The A group will receive subject line A, while the B group will receive subject line B.
- Now send the email!
Give recipients a few days to open the emails and then review the reports. You will want to compare metrics relevant to your test to see who the winner is. For an email campaign, this would include metrics like open rate and click-through-rate.
Sometimes you will find that one segment greatly outperformed the other, making the winner of the test an easy call. Other times, if there isn’t a clear winner, you may want to run a new test and possibly try completely new subject lines. Once you determine the winner, all you need to do now is use that subject line to send the same email to the rest of your list.
Now that you have completed your first A/B test, the sky is the limit. You will find yourself wanting to test every element of your marketing campaigns. If you have the time and resources to do it, then great! However, if you, like many marketers, are struggling with a lack of time and resources, feel free to reach out to the team at Oneupweb. We’re happy to help.