Diving into the world of online marketing can be confusing. Those who claim to be experts on the subject often throw around a laundry list of terms like “conversion,” “split testing,” or something about “bouncing.” (Bouncing is less fun than the term might imply.) These terms all have important meanings, but they’re useless to everyone who’s unsure of their importance when creating marketing campaigns.
Split testing is a particularly valuable tactic for marketers of all pedigrees, whether you’re a fledgling entrepreneur with a lot of enamel pins and a laptop, or a hip branding professional in Silicon Valley with a man bun and two phones (one for tweeting, one for calling your boss about the tweets.) With that in mind, let’s dive into the basics of split testing, including what it is, and how you can harness its power to supercharge your marketing plans.
Mind your A’s and B’s
Using the scientific method
Split testing gets its name from the practice of separating, or “splitting,” your current audience into two or more groups. These groups can be created out of just about any audience you have, whether it’s mailing list subscribers, social media followers, or even people you meet on the street. These groups are created through random selection; generally speaking, good software will handle the creation of your split test groups. You don’t have to sit down and draw names out of a hat, but you’re welcome to do that if it’s your thing!
These groups are usually named by letters of the alphabet, like A for the control group, and B for the test group. By creating two groups of audiences, you can test the results of a change in variables to see whether it changes outcomes in one group, or if a change in behavior in both groups suggests it was due to other factors.
A good split test takes three things: A large enough audience to break into groups, an easily changed variable, and tools to measure how well the experiment went. Good variables to tweak during split tests include the frequency an audience receives emails, the subject line of these emails, the kinds of offers they receive, what kind of targeted ads they see, or even what kind of page they see after following a link.
When running your first split test, stick to some very basic changes. A split test will only provide you with valuable insights if you change just one variable at a time; changing more variables means you won’t be certain which change in your site or marketing impacted your audience’s perception of your site. Try tweaking things like subject lines, images used on a page, or the language on your call to action. And always make sure one of your groups is a “control”, or a group that sees an unchanged version of your site.
Split testing doesn’t have to be difficult
You might be thinking that a good split test will require you to carefully divide your audience into two, open up a bunch of spreadsheets, and make several different kinds of site links in order to lead people to the variation in question. Fortunately, we got just as tired of traditional split testing methodology as everyone else did, so we made it easier!
Kartra includes the option to split test just about everything under the digital marketing sun, whether it’s email, a landing page, imagery, or anything else on your page or funnel that could use a little experimental dynamism. The data gleaned from your split test is automatically analyzed, too, letting you see right away what the results of the test were and a recommendation on which approach to choose for better results. These split test results are also part of Kartra’s big data ecosystem, informing other aspects of your business about how they can work better. Everything you need to split test is included in Kartra, and everything you need to take action based on your test’s results is in Kartra as well.
Split tests give your marketing an edge
Low cost market research
A good split test is one of the cheapest forms of audience research available. Rather than spending valuable money, time, and resources asking people what they would like to see, you can simply test which aspect of your site or business they like more. Your audience will tell you what works best for your site on a continuous basis, basically for free.
A robust regiment of split testing also ensures your site is constantly up to snuff in an environment where tastes, trends, and expectations can change rapidly. A website without split testing is a site that stagnates and doesn’t respond to the needs of your visitors, and stands no chance in the ever-crashing tidal wave of the information age.
Learn more about your audiences
Split testing doesn’t just inform you about changes you should make to your site or funnels. Split testing can also be craftily applied to help you learn more about other aspects of your business that your customers value, like new products or offers. You can split test different products in your marketing, feature different products on your landing pages, or offer different deals to determine what your customers value the most. If they go head-over-heels over a featured pair of heels, then you can safely guess they want to see more shoes on your site.
The digital ecosystem is a confusing one that changes fast, requiring you to be adaptable and creative in your approaches. Split testing makes this process easy and continuous; you can run split tests for the entire lifetime of your site and business, making widespread changes where appropriate.