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You have a terrific idea for a marketing campaign for your new business, but are a little stuck with the particulars. Mainly, you worry how the wording of your new slogan is a little off-putting. You’re not sure how people will react so you don’t want to print out a thousand flyers and business cards with the slogan on it just yet. What to do?
In this scenario you’ll want to use what’s called A/B testing. It’s a method commonly used by marketers and web developers to determine the best option for various marketing and messaging quandaries. Eventually you’ll whittle down the results to pinpoint what people like the most.
Confused? Let’s take a closer look at A/B testing and how it can help your business.
Sometimes you just can’t decide between two or three great options for your business. You want to focus on selling your homemade trinkets but you also know a great source for brooms you know will sell like hotcakes. You can’t afford to concentrate on both – so which one do you go for?
This is the perfect kind of thing for A/B testing. It’s simply a way to feel out what the public will respond to so you don’t spend too much time going down the wrong path. It’s the true test of the free market – you let customers decide your fate by showing them what you’ve got. The better choice (to them) wins.
So for (a simplistic) example, you can create two versions of ads. One says “Come check out our new store! Coming soon: fabulous homemade trinkets!” and the other says “Come check out our new store! Coming soon: super handy brooms!”
All you have to do now is sit back and look at how much more traffic you get with one option or the other (in other words, A or B). The result? You know what to focus your store on because the public told you. Sites like usertesting.com, fivesecondtest.com, or even Adwords allow you to cheaply try new concepts and test your ideas with people online.
Other Ways to Use A/B Testing
Of course you may already know what you want to sell, so how does this affect you at all? There are a ton of ways to use A/B testing to improve your business. Testing can be used in almost every aspect of your company.
For instance, you may be redesigning your website. You want to try a radical new way of organizing your “Sales” section but aren’t sure people will like it. The best way to test this is to put up the redesign and monitor your traffic. Afterwards, put up the old design and see if there’s any change. You’ve no doubt seen this a lot in a website you probably use all the time: Facebook.
Another great way to use A/B testing is in email marketing. If you’re trying to get the word out about your business you want the fastest route possible. You have no idea what the best result is unless you try them all and view the results. Which subject line got more opens? Which version of the article about your brand new product got more click-throughs? Try Optimizely for website testing and Mailchimp for email marketing tests.
Make sure you give your testing enough time to make a difference. If you don’t, you won’t get real results that mean anything. It’ll look like nothing’s changed and you’ll be left at the starting line. This helpful tool allows you to see if your results are statistically significant.
Also, if you’re going to test two options, make them different enough to matter. Changing one word of a phrase in an email subject line probably won’t bring about a huge result – try to make them two entirely different phrases based on a hypothesis of what you think will make a big change. You never know what the results will be as the public will always surprise you with they like. Be prepared to use the results appropriately, no matter what they are!