Split testing is the best way to make a good campaign great. With the use of small, relatively unnoticeable changes, campaign managers can evaluate what consumers respond well to and then maximize conversion rates by driving traffic to their newly optimized webpage.
Below are five simple yet effective ways to manipulate the different aspects of a digital marketing campaign in an effort to gauge consumer responsiveness and maximize sales revenue.
1 – Visuals
The overall appearance of a site has a significant impact on a user’s likelihood of purchasing a product or submitting a lead form. If the site looks unappealing or unprofessional, users will navigate away to another site that fits their needs in a more visually pleasing manner. There are several ways to split test a website’s visuals including changing the accent color, the call-to-action button color, or swapping out an image.
A website that has predominantly white gray accents can be adjusted to have blue accents instead. A site with a green “Click Here” button can be tested with a red button instead. In the case of images, a website that sells pet supplies could substitute an image of puppies with one that has cats and dogs playing together. Another option is to put a brief video presentation or advertisement in place of the image to see if the media type affects conversions. After all, 44% of US email marketers reported an increase in engagement with the use of video. Each of these slight changes tells the site owner which colors and imagery maximize user responsiveness.
2 – Verbiage
Adjustments to text, whether in bulk descriptions or in headlines and menu titles, affect conversions because consumers react positively to certain words more than others. For example, if a site is offering a complimentary, month-long software subscription, they can test both “Start Free Trial” and “Try Now” to see which phrase causes more customers to partake in the offer. Similarly, the headlines and drop down menu titles on a site can be tweaked to see if they have any effect on viewer behavior. A consumer might be more apt to click across the pages of a site or on one of the link in a sidebar if the wording entices them.
Punctuation also makes a difference. The simple inclusion of a question mark or exclamation mark might have a stronger impact on viewers than verbiage without any punctuation at all. This theory can be reversed, though; sometimes eliminating words and punctuation has a positive effect on customers because they’re less overwhelmed with content and more focused on the site as a whole.
3 – Layout
The layout of both websites and advertisements that drive traffic to them are instrumental to the way consumers react. If the site or ad looks too cluttered, users will get confused or lose interest and close out. If the call to action or overall goal of the site is unclear, users are also likely to exit or browse for a better looking page. The content of a website and its coordinating advertisements should have a cohesive message with a clear offer for consumers.
It varies across verticals, but some products sell better on an image-heavy site while others do well on sites that include a lot of written detail. Also, the location of the call-to-action button or lead submission form can be moved around to see if conversions are significantly affect by its position on the page and, ultimately, which spot generates the most engagement.
4 – Delivery
Considering the ROI of email marketing is up to 4300%, email campaigns have become an absolute necessity for anyone participating in digital advertising. In terms of split testing, campaign managers can adjust delivery strategies through deployment times, subject lines and from lines to maximize their results. A pool of consumers might be more responsive if an email campaign hits their inbox first thing in the morning or midday during their lunch breaks.
Subject lines and from lines affect a viewer’s likeliness to open the email and read its content. Sometimes using a known brand name as the sender works better than using a list or affiliate name. Likewise, the subject lines need to pique enough interest to motivate readers to open the message and engage with its content. Both from and subject lines can be rotated to see which combination gets the most email opens, ad clicks, and successful conversions on a site.
5 – Conversion Flow
A final option for split testing entails making slight changes to the flow of a conversion. Typically, the less steps required, the more likely a customer is to complete a sale or submission. A campaign manager needs to decide what start-to-finish experience best suits a consumer and generates the most leads. Specifically, they need to decide what happens after a user sees an email or banner ad. Do they click on the ad and go straight to the order completion page? In a scenario where the consumer clicks on a shoe advertisement, should they be directed to the home page or to one dedicated to a shoe style?
For non-sales situations where a user needs to complete an application or lead form that asks for personal information, how many fields should be required? How many pages or steps will the user go through until their submission is complete? The answer to each of these questions will have a critical impact on the effectiveness of a campaign and the options can be alternated to decide on the best possible choice.
The options for split testing are boundless, giving online marketers a lot of freedom to make changes as they go. While it may take an investment of resources to continually test new versions of an active campaign, the long-term results of a highly optimized site make the time and effort worthwhile. It’s important for campaign managers to keep their control a constant for comparison until a new variation performs better. The new variation then becomes the control and allows for the exploration of different manipulations. As long as the call to action remains clear and the effects of the changes made are evaluated to meet consumer needs, split testing is a highly effective way of generating higher revenue on any digital marketing campaign.