A/B testing: Things you should know before and during

Posted: September 30, 2010 in customers/buyers, marketing, sales, surveys
Tags: , ,

Relax, fella.  We’re just testing you.

If you’re like me (and I feel for you if your are), you like to test and measure stuff.  Web pages for example.  Which headline will draw a bigger response?  Which approach will visitors prefer?  Which offer?  Which tone?  Consider some tips:

1.  Don’t test a page you already think is a dog.  Test something you believe is doing the job OK for now.

2.  Use an overlay page (one that shows up when a respondent does something) when the visitor chooses the leave an “offer” page.  The overlay should remind the visitor of something that will entice them not to leave and get them to think “What the hell, I’ll fill out the form”.

3.  Get up and stand away from your screen. Take a look at your page(s) from five or six feet away.  What jumps out?  What attracts the eye?

4.  Make the “Download Now” words big and clear.

5.  Use separate buttons for different demographics or different categories of customer.

6.  The word “enterprise” is stronger than “corporate”.  People don’t think of themselves as corporate.  They identify with working in an enterprise.  Don’t you?

7.  Begin your order forms right on the page.  Don’t make visitors go somewhere else.

8.  Use images of people, not products.

9.  Test all images of people for positive responses.

10. Don’t spend money on testing.  There are loads of free tools out there.

11.  A good vendor will guarantee results.

12. Your test should run 21 days (15 business days).

13. Measure all ongoing traffic simultaneously.

14. Start by testing something small.  A page, a portion of a page, a few lines, a small campaign.

15. Seek to drive down your cost-per-visitor and your cost-per-conversion.

16. Determine your most important metrics as dictated by your business model, business plan, sales and marketing objectives.  Your particular business mission.

17. Be politically correct!  Test pages that are politically “neutral”, at least at first, before you test your boss’s pet page to show how lame it actually is.

18. Work closely with your IT people.  Make sure that something you set up to test doesn’t bring down your site or cause a sudden, prolonged downturn in traffic.  Make sure there is a quick fix at hand.

19. Test early and often.  Google does.

20. Test one or two things at a time.

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