In the first part of this article we discussed the importance of data and how to collect and analyze it. In this article we discuss how to handle data once it has been collected.
Running A/B Tests to Find a Winning Variation
Once the data has been collected, you should prepare to test your hypotheses and assumptions to see whether they hold up. A/B tests can be conducted on the original webpage (the control) with some variations (the treatments).
Before you start running the tests, ensure that you have the right software to run them. The results may not be instantly available; it takes time to generate results that are statistically important.
A/B testing isn’t a one-time effort, it needs to be an ongoing process if you want to see greater improvement in conversions.
Before actually commencing the testing, you need to select the software that you’ll use to conduct your test. The three most popular applications for carrying out the tests are Visual Website Optimizer, Optimizely, and Google Content Experiments.
The main benefit of using these applications is that they can automatically calculate the conversion rate and also determine whether a new test is the version that will produce the desired results. It is true that you can measure all this by yourself, but testing software makes the whole process a lot easier.
Another thing to keep in mind is that testing one thing at a time can lead to incremental enhancements, but if you want to make a marked difference, you need to make big changes.
For example, testing several small elements may improve your conversions by, say, 25%, but making one big change could bump it up to 125%. So we encourage you to experiment and try to make big changes so as to enjoy more and bigger benefits.
In the beginning, it may be prudent to experiment with small tests so you can find your way around and familiarize yourself with the process of testing and measuring, before making bigger changes.
What Should You Test?
The question that you may now face is what you should test and in what order. Before you start testing landing pages, you need to do the following:
- Find the right keywords. This is essential; getting a lot of traffic doesn’t improve your bottom line, conversions are what bring in the sales and profit. So it is important that visitors to the website convert to customers.
- Organize your keywords. Strong keywords are important. With strong keywords you can create PPC advertisements that are targeted to the right audience, design specific landing pages, and organize your website to be more user-friendly.
Landing Page Tests
When testing the landing page, you have to keep the following in focus.
1. Headline and value proposition
You need to pay attention to your headline and determine that the headline message matches the message of the ad to which the page is linked. If there is a message mismatch, then test it to understand the importance of consistency.
One thing that you must get done right in the beginning is a headline that speaks about you and your business, rather than a headline that is clever but explains nothing about you.
It is best to keep the headline simple and clear, as clarity always trumps persuasion.
Next you should weigh the pros and cons of what kind of headline to use. There are three main types.
- This kind of headline poses a question that gets prospects involved.
- This kind of headline sells benefits to your prospects by defining what they will gain from associating with you and your business.
- Loss aversion. This kind of headline tells prospects what they will miss out on by not taking action.
2. Long vs short copy
How long your copy should be depends entirely on the product or service you are offering to your clients.
In certain cases, longer copy may be needed to persuade customers, deal with their doubts or objections, and explain the product or service. Longer copy is needed to sell high-value or complicated products, or to answer objections raised by customers.
In some other cases, you need short copy that is precise and to the point. Short copy may be better for products and services that don’t need too much persuasion. In such cases, long copy may be detrimental to the product.
People with experience in copywriting and CRO are aware that longer copy very often brings in more conversions. The point is that if people are interested in a product or service, they are willing to learn more about it and thus read longer copy.
Similarly, if they aren’t interested, they will have no desire to read any copy, and you have no interest in uninterested visitors.
3. Testimonials and reviews
These are a very important part of your webpage, since they provide authenticity to your product and business. You should use testimonials that talk about the way your product or service has benefited the client.
The more detailed the testimonials, the more believable they are, so visitors will be more inclined to convert. Ensure that the testimonials include the full names and addresses of the clients, details about the product or service they used and the results.
These are perhaps the easiest way to capture leads, and they can easily improve your conversions. But you have to be careful about what you include in your forms. A form that asks too many questions or has too many fields to fill in will be detrimental to your conversion rate.
Users don’t like filling in lengthy forms, so keep it short and sweet. Ask only what you need to know about your users. Use a progress bar to divide your form into sections so users aren’t overwhelmed by the information they have to supply.
There is psychology behind the shape, color, size, and location of buttons on your website. Since buttons are the most important element on your website that you want your visitors to click on, you need to pay attention to them and ensure that they are performing as they should.
- SHAPE: It is important that the shape of your buttons correspond to the psychology. It has been observed that buttons with sharp corners convert less than buttons with rounded corners.
- COLOR: The color of the button should stand out from the rest of your website; the best way to do that is to have buttons that are of a color that contrasts with the rest of your website.
- SIZE: You should play around with the size of the buttons on your website to discover which size gives you the best conversion. A bigger button is better for conversion than a smaller one.
- LOCATION: A lot of webmasters position the CTA above the fold. This may work for some, but not for all. You have to try to find the ideal position for the CTA by moving it around. In some cases, it’s good to have the CTA above the fold, but for others it isn’t.
6. Call-to-action button
The best way to determine the message on your CTA button is to pay attention to the relevance and value of the message to users. The message should clearly say what users are getting by clicking on the button. Vagueness or ambiguity puts users off, and conversions are affected.
It is best to be creative about your CTA and use copy that is specifically developed for your business, rather than generic copy that everyone else is using. You should be able to decipher what users want from you at a particular point in the process, whether they are interested in more information, making a purchase, or a free trial.
You need to intuit what your users desire and give it to them.
7. Directional cues
These help draw the attention of users to certain parts of the website. They are like a laser pointer directing attention to a specific element. Directional cues are of two types, explicit and implicit.
Explicit directional cues, as their name suggests, are very obvious cues that are trying to shift attention to a specific element, like a form or a button within the website.
Implicit directional cues employ subtlety. They use indirect tactics to draw attention to a desired action or element.
8. Live chat, explainer videos and sliders
Having live chat on your website helps visitors interact with you without the fear of being pursued for conversions. The plugin is easy to add to your website. It provides a great opportunity for you to learn about the objections that your visitors may come up with while they are on your website. It also provides an opportunity for you to overcome objections right from the outset.
Explainer videos describe the nature and scope of your business. Done right, they help push up your conversion rate. These videos are typically between one and one-and-a-half minutes long and are used to explain complex products and procedures or to evoke an emotional response from visitors. They usually consist of images, audio and text.
Sometimes using image sliders works better than explainer videos.
9. Trust symbols
Using seals of trust, badges, rewards or mentions in the media helps build the trust factor and build confidence in you and your product. These trust symbols should be linked to mentions and open in a new tab.
Interpreting A/B Test Results
Begin your A/B testing by intimately understanding the software you’re using. Keep running tests until you get a 95% result that beats the control. You may be tempted to finish testing early, but resist that temptation if you want to be sure that the conversion rate enhancement is statistically relevant.
You will also need to run the test longer if the improvement is smaller. Any test should be run over a number of days to provide a relevant result. We recommend that you run it for at least a week.
This is to ensure that the test includes the variations in traffic over weekdays and weekends to provide you with an accurate result.
You need to pay attention to the following:
- Visitor engagement
- Visits to different pages
- Where visitors focus and click on your website. Use software to generate heat maps and click maps.
- Analyzing landing pages
- Testing significance and relevance
Tips for Better Conversion Rate Optimization
You need to keep certain things in mind when testing for conversion rate optimization.
- Test one thing at a time, especially if it is a major item.
- Conversion optimization doesn’t happen in an instant; it can take several weeks or even months before you observe a change in conversions.
- The length of the testing period is related to the traffic on your website. If there isn’t enough traffic, you may need to run the test for a longer period in order to get statistically relevant results. Similarly, if your site gets a lot of traffic, you’ll get results faster.
- You may need to run the test for a longer period if the difference in conversion rate is small. If the variations are small and your site doesn’t have much traffic, you’ll need to run the test for a very long time to get a relevant result.
- Clocking a purchase doesn’t end at the landing page. Even if you have very high lead generation conversion on your landing page, it doesn’t necessarily mean a high real conversion rate at the point of sale; it could actually be much lower.