What would happen if we changed a simple element of our landing page? How about adding more text or changing our prices? What’s going to happen? These are hypothetical situations that partners and spouses who run businesses together will argue over and over again and there is absolutely no reason for that. In internet marketing, you can have your cake and eat it too. There are very easy ways to find out what works and what doesn’t. The question is which method to use to get the most useful results.
Enter the world of A / B testing. It’s a concept that’s been around longer than the internet. It has been used with direct mail to test different offers and designs. It has been tried in newspapers, magazines and even on billboards in the past to measure response rates. On the Internet, it’s more technologically advanced, but the goal is still the same. Measure two similar products or offers against each other and see which one will make you the most money.
The pros and cons of A / B testing are also the same as always. For the test to produce a true result, you can only edit one item. Offering two entirely different homepages to the world may tell you which converts the best, but it won’t tell you why. The answer you really want to get with A / B testing is which element of the design change produces the result. A simple color change, additional content, or a price change is a good factor to test in an A / B setup, but all three at once won’t let you know which of these makes a difference.
Another downside to A / B testing is that it doesn’t give you any behavioral data. You can run two homepages with a different price and track the number of product units sold for each amount, but you still won’t know why. What is the reason why visitors will buy a product for $ 40 but not pay $ 50 for it? What if the result is the opposite and more units sell for a higher price? Are these data sufficient to make the decision to increase your prices at all levels? If you don’t know why the higher price was more successful, that increase could cost you dearly in the long run.
On the professional side, A / B tests are most useful when used with other tests that measure things like behavior, demographics, and business climate. What works today may not work tomorrow when everyone’s financial situation is a little better (or worse). Knowing why people do what they do is the most valuable information you can have as an Internet marketer. Set up a series of tests and aggregate your results to get a feel for what your market is doing. Call it A to Z testing. It’s much more efficient than just A / B.