A/B tests are a great way for businesses to squeeze more profits from their site. Small tweaks here and there can improve the customer experience and optimize messaging in a way that has a big impact.
This post covers two easy A/B tests every business should run, and both are perfect for beginners and veterans alike.
Test #1: Headlines
The first test you can consider are headlines.
Headlines, as you may have noticed, are the first piece of copy your customers will see when they visit your site. This means that a good headline can make or break your conversion funnel.
Headlines are also really easy to A/B test. You can use a “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) editor from software tools like Optimizely or Visual Website Optimizer to run a test without changing any code on your website. After you do, you’ll know which headline variation gets the most people to sign up or complete an order.
At this point, you may be asking, “Can headlines really make that much of a difference?” The answer is yes. Here’s some proof.
If you chose the second, you’re correct. Mentioning the free trial in the headline increased sign ups by 30%. That’s a big difference, and all from just changing four words for seven different words.
How to implement
In order to test your headlines, write down a list of variations that includes some kind of benefit for visitors. The first headline mentioned above, for example, doesn’t include a benefit. It merely directs people to sign up for an account. But why? What’s in it for the visitor? Why should they sign up for an account?
The winning headline is better because it tells people they can get a free trial. That’s something valuable that makes continuing to read more interesting.
So consider two things as you write your headlines:
- How can I mention a benefit of using our product or service that’s enticing
- How can I write something that will make people want to continue reading
Mull over those two guidelines, write several headline options down on paper, choose the best three or four, and then run a conversion test to see which one is the most effective.
Test #2: Calls to Action
The next A/B test you can consider are for your call to action buttons (CTAs).
CTAs may seem like they’re not that big of a deal since they’re usually only three to four words long, but they actually are. They’re important because it’s the last piece of text customers read before deciding whether or not to move on to the next step.
If you’re offering a free trial, the last piece of copy visitors read is your CTA. The same goes for the end of the sales funnel right when customers are about to make a purchase. Before they do, they’re going to consider the CTA copy prior to clicking and buying your product.
One example comes from the Visual Website Optimizer blog. Soocial, a previous startup client of theirs, tested CTA copy to see if they could raise conversions.
One of the buttons they tested said “Free up to 50 contacts” and another simply said “It’s Free!” The winning variation, however, increased conversions by 28% (from 14.5% to 18.6%) and said “Sign up now!” with “It’s free!” written just to the right of the button.
These may seem like very small changes, but moving “It’s free” from being the main button copy to sitting next to the button led to a significant conversion lift. These types of results show that even small changes can have a big impact.
How to Implement
In order to test your CTA copy, do the same as you did for the headline variations. Brainstorm several different new options, doing your best to come up with new variations that you think will improve conversion rates. You can try “Sign up now!” “Start Your Free Trial!” etc.
While you’re doing this, make sure you use a verb at the beginning and not just a noun or pronoun. Since it’s a “call to action,” after all, you want to direct people to take action by including a verb at the beginning of the button copy. You can use “get,” “sign up,” “start,” or any other number of verbs that will direct people to take action.
Next, consider what other changes you can make. Would a bigger button help the CTA to stand out more? What about a different color or placement? Each of these kinds of changes can make a difference, in addition to the copy that you use.
There are many other A/B test options you can consider that may lead to bigger results, such as completely redesigning your homepage, but these two tests are great for getting started.
They’re also great for testing your messaging and making sure you have key pieces of your website optimized. The other copy you write along with the testimonials you choose can impact conversions, but headlines and CTA copy are definitely two pieces of your site you want to optimize early on since they’re easy test and can provide a significant lift.
What did you learn from these examples? Do you have any questions? Leave a comment to let us know. We’re happy to answer and all questions you might have.
Joe Putnam is the blog editor at iSpionage. You can discuss this article with him on Twitter at @josephputnam.