Companies often decide what content to publish based on intuition or what they think sounds good. This includes anything from the micro-copy on the buttons, to blog articles, and general descriptions for products or services.
However, it is hard to have a fair idea of how everything looks to your prospects. As a company, you have spent months or years developing your product or service. You have a thorough understanding of the advantages and benefits.
This might not be the case for your audience. Simple choices, such as micro-content to place on your call-to-action (CTA), can be the difference between a click or someone leaving your website.
There are multiple examples of now hugely successful companies that became leaders in their industries because they minded the content details on the website.
A famous example is a computer game company, Wargaming. They observed that by simply moving the button and changing the CTA, they saw thousands of more clicks per day. They also played with the colors and other aspects of their page.
The turning point for them was the popular ‘Red Button.’ While our instinct might think that red means’ stop’, therefore, it might be best to use a less aggressive color; in their case, red brought them in thousands of daily clicks.
A/B testing multiple aspects of your website is extremely critical, especially if a new product or service is being launched. A/B testing, or split-testing, is using evidence versus assumptions, which creates an environment where you know why decisions are made.
What is A/B Testing?
A/B testing is the process of testing various versions of a particular thing to see which one has the best performance. It is also known as split-testing. This process applies to all elements found on a webpage. Companies can A/B test elements such as the location of CTAs, color combinations., content, design, and many other details.
Now let’s take a look at the benefits of establishing an A/B testing procedure for your content.
The Benefits of A/B Testing?
Let’s take a small to medium company (SME) that spends $40,000 on content yearly. In this example, the $40,000 is the basic salary of a content writer. If your content strategy includes one blog post daily, it means that each article (if you publish 365 days a year) costs you $110.
Let’s assume that a single post can generate five leads; therefore, each lead costs your SME $22. This is quite a hefty chunk of change to spend per lead.
The best way to increase your overall margins is to lower the cost of acquisition (COA), right?
So now imagine finding a way that each blog post can generate 20 leads. Your COA is instantly at $5.50. Therefore, for the same amount of money, you quadrupled your leads, which also increases your conversion.
A/B testing requires some trial and error. However, each time you run a test, you learn about customer behavior and preferences. Even if your company has to run a lot of A/B testing, the final result always outweighs the costs of A/B testing.
This is why it has now become a standard practice for online companies.
Now let’s examine some practical ways to A/B test your content.
What Are The Most Common Goals For A/B Testing?
When you start the process, it is overwhelming because many elements need to be tested. To help you focus and begin split testing, first decide what the reason behind your test is.
There are a few common goal types of A/B testing:
Increase Online Traffic
To increase the website traffic, you need to understand what kind of titles and descriptions work best for your audience. This type of goal would require launching two, even three, landing pages with different titles and descriptions. Place the same amount of advertising budget on all campaigns and see which one gets the most clicks.
Increase The Conversion Rate
This goal is a bit more complicated as you have to test multiple elements on your page—features such as colors, placement of buttons, design, and content.
Let’s focus on content. Where does content matter for conversion?
CTAs are a popular element for testing. There is a variety of different CTAs to guide visitors further in the sales funnel. The best way to test which CTA converts the most is to use a few landing pages, and on each landing page, use a different CTA.
As an example you can test the following:
Add to Cart
Start Your Free Trial
Gain Access Now
The CTA micro-copy highly depends on the type of service or product you are selling. In most cases, there are many options. You can research and find the most popular CTAs for your industry and A/B test those. Your audience will naturally gravitate to one more than the rest. At that point, you can take that CTA as your educated choice.
Then you can begin testing other types of content. These include product descriptions, testimonials, blog articles, and different kinds of content that appear on your page. Using the same method of landing pages, you can begin the elimination process.
Find out more about testing content in the next section.
Decrease The Bounce Rate
The bounce rate of your website is how fast visitors leave after they land on it. If you have a lot of web traffic, but visitors leave quickly, you might want to start your A/B testing to reduce your bounce rate. The lower the bounce rate, the more time visitors are spending on your website. With more time available, you have more opportunities to make a sale.
To decrease your bounce rate, you can experiment with your home page’s initial message, primary CTA, visual content, and other content elements that create the ‘first impression’ for the visitor. Remember to test for one thing at a time, so you have a clearer understanding of what works and what doesn’t.
This means you launch identical landing pages with only one content element that differs. Once you see which element your audience prefers, you keep it and move on to testing the next element.
Decrease Cart Abandonment
The content on your check-out page can confirm a buyer’s decision or spook them to abandon the cart.
If your company is at a stage where your web-traffic is good, your bounce rate is low, but your cart abandonment rate is high, then it is time to test various elements on that page.
Again, focusing on content, consider testing language, testimonials, visual content, and various CTAs to isolate the best combination of content elements and help more people make the purchase.
What Elements You Need to A/B Test in Your Content Strategy
Once you pick a goal, it will be immensely easier to come up with an A/B testing strategy.
Here are various elements to consider testing during the process:
Test Your Posting Frequency
You might be under the impression that posting daily results to more leads; however, it might not be the case. Perhaps your audience likes to hear from you once or twice a week. Another assumption is that people consume more content during the week; however, many studies indicate that people consume more on the weekends.
Knowing this information, you might end up having a mixed strategy that includes weekdays and weekends.
Picking the right content type highly depends on your industry and product or service. The best way to choose the type of content is to know more about your audience and your testing goals (as seen above).
Every piece of content your company publishes has an intention. The intention might be initially to build brand awareness, increase your sales, engage people for more extended periods, entertain or educate, or simply stay in touch.
Knowing the intent will help you begin testing a particular type of content.
Increase your sales by creating content that is rich in customer success stories, educational videos about the benefits of your products, or even offering free ebooks in exchange for email addresses.
To increase your engagement rate, you need to focus on your existing clientele. This means publishing content that helps your clients do more with your products or services. If we take IKEA as an example, when looking to increase engagement, they can publish content showing various furniture formations or ‘hacks’ their clients can create with their products.
If we are looking at content from the bigger picture, your objectives will help you decide what content to begin testing. On a granular level, you will have to check various lengths and styling.
Is your audience more likely to click on emotional headlines?
Perhaps they prefer a more ‘How-to’ type of material.
The only way to find out is by publishing a variety of articles at the start and then checking out your analytic tools to see which articles and headlines get more clicks.
Once you know, you can place more resources into creating more of that content.
A/B testing is tedious, but it is also a lot of fun. You will begin to understand how to use your content marketing budget better and get more clients.
Keep the following general tips in mind:
Pick one element to test at a time
Identify your goal before starting
Whenever possible use samples groups equally
Try to keep your sample testing sizes the same if possible
Test one element at a time
Check out various A/B testing tools online to optimize your testing
Ideal A/B testing time is minimum one to two weeks
When possible include user feedback in your results
Are you ready to begin testing?
For assistance in creating your content strategy, contact us.