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What is A/B testing? Why should I run A/B tests on my landing pages?

What is A/B testing?

A/B testing or split testing is as it sounds an experiment where you test two different versions of a Landing Page simultaneously. It’s basically nothing more than the application of a scientific method to your online marketing efforts.

A/B testing is the disciplined application of regular testing to ensure you’ll have the best version of your Landing Page optimized for conversions. So, as you’ve read, A/B testing or split-testing allows you to optimize your website or landing page for conversions, or in other words, the process of transforming a visitor into a customer.

Why should I run A/B tests on my landing pages?

A/B testing offers online marketers a host of potential benefits including a lower bounce rate, higher conversion rates, and most importantly, more sales. When you conduct A/B testing, your customers and page visitors are giving you a valuable gift; they are telling you what they like and also don’t like about your online marketing efforts.

The beauty of online marketing is that you can measure and improve every aspect of your strategy. It doesn’t matter if your results are “in the tank” or your campaigns are soaring sky high. You can improve them if you conduct A/B tests consistently and if you implement new changes accordingly.

How to do A/B testing

Guidelines for Effective A/B Testing

Run one test at a time –

Testing more than one thing at a time muddles up the results. If you A/B test an email campaign that directs to a landing page at the same time that you’re A/B testing that landing page, your results can get muddled pretty easily. How would you know which change caused the increase in leads?

Test one variable at a time

Same principle as above. In order to evaluate how effective an element on your page is, you need to isolate that variable in your A/B test. Test one element at a time.

You can A/B test the entire element

While you certainly can (and should) test a different button color or a background shade, you should also consider making your entire landing page, call-to-action or email a variable. Instead of testing single design elements, such as headlines and images, design two completely different pages and test them against each other. Now you’re working on a higher level. This type of testing yields the biggest improvements, so consider starting with it before you continue your optimization with smaller tweaks.

Test minor changes, too 

Although it’s common to think that big, sweeping changes can increase your lead generation numbers, the small details are often just as important. While creating your tests, remember that even a simple change like switching the image on your landing page or the color of a CTA can drive big improvements. In fact, these sorts of changes are usually much easier to measure than the bigger ones.

Measure as far down the funnel as possible

Sure, your A/B test might have a positive impact on your landing page conversion rate, but how about your sales numbers? A/B testing can have a significant effect on your bottom line. You may even see that a landing page that converted fewer prospects produced more sales. As you create your A/B test, consider how it affects metrics such as clickthrough rates, leads, traffic-to-lead conversion rates, and demo requests.

Set up control & treatment

In any experiment, you need to keep a version of the original element you’re testing. When conducting A/B tests, set up your unaltered version as your “control” — the landing page you would normally use. From there, build variations, or “treatments” — the landing page you’ll test against your control. For example, if you are wondering whether including a testimonial on a landing page would make a difference, set up your control page with no testimonials. Then create your variation with a testimonial.

Decide what you want to test

There are a number of variables you can decide to test. You don’t have to limit yourself to testing only images or text size. Look at the various elements on your marketing resources and their possible alternatives for design, wording, and layout. In fact, some of the areas you can test might not be instantly recognizable. For instance, you can test different target audiences, timing, alignment between an email and a landing page, and so on.

Split your sample group randomly

In order to achieve conclusive results, you need to test with two or more audiences that are equal. With HubSpot, we automatically split traffic to your variations so that each variation reaches a random sampling of visitors.

Test at the same time

Timing plays a significant role in your marketing campaign’s results, be it time of day, day of the week, or month of the year. If you were to run Test A during one month and Test B a month later, you wouldn’t know whether the changed response rate was a result of the different template or the different month. A/B testing requires you to run the two or more variations at the same time. Without simultaneous testing, you may be left second-guessing your results.

Decide on necessary significance before testing

Before you launch your test, think about how significant your results should be in order for you to decide that the change should be made to your website or email campaign. Set the statistical significance goal for your winning variation before you start testing. Not sure what to shoot for? Try somewhere in the 97-99% range.

Selecting landing pages after A/B testing

After running your test, consider why the winning variation performed better and use that information when running another test and building future landing pages. In addition, you can continue to run additional tests on other elements of the page which can lead to greater overall performance. With each additional test  you will learn more about your audience and be able to setup a high-performing landing page based on all of the lessons learned from testing.

Steps in leads nurturing

Lead nurturing focuses on educating qualified sales leads who are not yet ready to buy. The key to successful lead nurturing is to deliver content that’s valuable enough to keep your audience engaged. If you do it right, lead nurturing can help you build a strong brand and solution preference in your prospects long before they’re actively engaged in a buying process.”

5 Steps to Lead Nurturing Success 
  • Understand your buyer 

This is without a doubt the most crucial step of all. You know that prospects go through stages – what has traditionally been called the funnel.

What you also need to know is what those stages are and where your prospective buyers are in relation to them.

Interviewing your customers is a great way to get deep insights into the needs and processes at work when someone is considering whether or not to buy what you’re selling.

This will also help you to create buyer personas for better targeting of content.

  • Discover and decide on what motivates your buyers

Use data from previous campaigns to inform future activity. By analysing past marketing activity you can begin to establish which approaches, forms of content and messages had the greatest and the least resonance.

Pick up on how many leads moved through the stages and what it was that prompted them to take the next step. Feed these insights into your content strategy and you will be on the road to creating an optimal lead nurturing pathway.

  • Decide, what is the ideal customer experience?

Once you have created a lead nurturing pathway that you believe best fits your prospects’ buying process, you’ll need to test and troubleshoot to identify potential pitfalls and sources of friction.

Can you better personalise the experience using information you have about individual prospects?

Their interactions and behaviours should influence and shape the flow of communications delivered.

Eventually, you should emerge with an optimised lead nurturing structure built through a series of rational, insight-based decisions.

Don’t forget to document and share the reasoning behind it all, so your team and others can have the benefit of your good work.

  • Plan your lead nurturing process 

Timing is of the essence in any lead nurturing pathway. Marketing activities and interactions need to be well-timed.

Too frequent and you risk overloading prospects – too sparse and you risk losing their attention.

It’s also essential to be clear about what happens next. If they get through the lead nurturing pathway without becoming a qualified lead, do you have a backup plan?

Or are they simply consigned to the dead leads pile?

  • Automate your communications 

Begin with an automated welcome campaign sent out to each prospect as they enter your database.

You can start delivering educational information right from the off, and commence building that all-important relationship.

Communicate the most crucial things you want them to know, and also think about getting some information from them as well.

Speed your way to lead nurturing success

Segmenting your prospects by attributes such as job role, industry or sales stage will help you tailor your content for maximum resonance and engagement. And nurturing is useful when applied to customers, as well as prospects, to help streamline their experiences.

Personalisation is another key strategy, and you can build your knowledge of the customer to help you do this by progressive profiling.

This involves asking for incremental pieces of information at different stages, in exchange for useful content.

The more you build a more defined picture of who your customer is, the better you will be able to nurture them.

Converting leads into sales

The majority of your leads won’t automatically convert into sales by simply being sent through your conversion funnel. It will often require additional help to produce the conversion. Here are eight tips to help your business convert more leads into sales.

  1. Offer an incentive

Name one person that doesn’t like free stuff. Offering a free gift or providing a special time sensitive discount is a great way to push leads to convert. The discount doesn’t have to be something outrageous and the free gift doesn’t have to have a high monetary value. The average consumer simply can’t pass up a free offer or a limited-time discount.

  1. Ask for the sale

How is asking for the sale ground breaking marketing advice? It’s not — it’s actually common sense, but something that many businesses just don’t do. Ask your leads if they are ready to purchase and watch how many reply “yes.” They became a lead because they were interested in what your business offers. Food for thought: if your business doesn’t ask for the sale your competitor will.

  1. Dangle the potential ROI carrot

If your product or service has the potential to increase your lead’s return on investment, then make sure you remind them. This is asking them, “So, when are you ready to increase your revenue?” Reminding them that you are offering a solution that will help them make more money will often push them to convert.

  1. Develop a great FAQ page on your website

Many leads won’t convert because they have questions that they need answered before they pull the trigger. Answer common questions that your leads might have and make it prominent on your website. Talk to your sales team and customer service reps to put together a list of common frequently asked questions.

  1. Set a time limit

Establish a “no communication” deadline to remove unresponsive leads from your marketing funnel. Example: “We have not heard from you in 30 days. Even though this will be our final communication, please feel free to reach out to us in the future if you have any questions.” This will often cause a reaction — and if it doesn’t then it prevents your sales team from wasting valuable time and energy on a dead lead.

  1. Simple follow-up

A quick follow-up email or phone call asking your leads if they have any additional questions will often get them back into purchase mode. This is an effective way of quickly converting leads into sales before a lot of time passes. My company immediately contacts all of the leads that are generated through our website and then we also follow-up with them a few days later, offering to answer any questions that they might have. The simple follow-up will close a large percentage of leads for virtually every industry.

  1. Make sure your email marketing stands out

There is a good chance that your leads are being marketed to by competitors as well, so you need to make sure that your emails stand out from the overly promotional emails that are likely to be flooding their inboxes. Include things like fun facts about your company or your local area — and make sure that your emails don’t read like overly aggressive and pushy sales letters. Clever emails really grab the attention of your leads and make your company stand out.

  1. Ask your leads questions

If you ask your leads a question they will often reply. Something such as, “It has been over a week since we have heard from you. Have you had a chance to go over the materials and make a decision?” is a great way to apply the pressure while also opening up the dialogue to discover additional questions or concerns the lead might have.

Creating lead nurturing strategy

Lead nurturing is all about sharing relevant, personalized and targeted information to ensure that you stay on top of the buyer’s mind. In order to do this, you need to get a good overview of what types of buyers you have and what kind of information they need in each phase of the buying process.

You can do this by:

  • Interviewing prospects and/or customers
  • Interviewing sales team
  • Mining in-house database to identify characteristics of best and/or worst customers
  • Interviewing customer service
  • Using keyword research to identify topics of interest
  • Monitoring activity on social media sites

Once you’ve gathered this information, you can create personas which mirror your prospective customers.

Personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers based on data about demographics & online behavior, along with educated speculation about their histories, motivations & concerns.

They help us to understand our prospective customers better, and make it easier for us to tailor content to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups.

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