B2B Marketing Blog

How Simple A/B Testing Can Quickly Increase Conversion Rates

By Lauren Hylbak
Oct 7, 2013

Guest Post by Ron M. Weber, VP Marketing, Ninthlink, Inc.        

Often, the easiest path to success is clear and uncomplicated. However, in the Internet Marketing world where there is a high demand for fast results now we often overlook the obvious and never get to that place. For one of the top US Hot Tub manufacturers that we manage, the savior came in the form of simple A/B split URL testing. In just 4 short months, we reached metrics that we once never dreamed were possible; and the overall results have been truly astonishing. 

 

Background

Advertising campaign management can get complacent. A company sets a goal; you achieve it; and everyone lives happily ever after. That is, of course, how it used to be. With thousands of Internet Marketing companies today just like you competing for your clients, the status quo is no longer good enough. That’s what happened to us until we decided to get aggressive.

Our firm manages the Internet marketing campaigns for one of the top US hot tub manufacturers. They are an extremely important client and we literally move mountains to keep their business. For many years they have had one goal for us, give us a 3% or higher conversion rate and we’ll retain you. Within the first month, we obtained it; and doubled it within the first year. We have kept their business every since but starting feeling some increased pressure to turn up the volume as other Internet Marketing firms have been aggressively vying for their business. That’s when we decided to step it up.

 

Historical Conversion Rate Improvements

increase conversion rates

For the first part of the fiscal year, the status quo was in full effect. Reviewing the results from October 2012 through April 2013 (to the right), you can see that we averaged about 5.5% conversion rate but bounced between a 5% (low) and a 6.16% (high) during those months.

In May, we started our first A/B test and increased to our best conversion rate ever. Each successive month thereafter, conversion rates have improved and each month we’ve managed to hit historical highs. We have literally more than doubled our conversion rate in only a few short months. 

 

How’d we do THAT?

Again, often the easiest answers are the ones right in front of your face. In our case, we wanted to test out a new theory. We already knew we had an effective landing page and an effective offer (free brochure!). But our landing page was built entirely on a “brand” experience. What if we actually told the customer what was in the brochure? Would that make a difference?

Our test was, in fact, called “the selling of the offer” and we built a landing page that did just that.

Instead of complicating matters and getting into the multivariate testing of buttons and offers, we just wanted to test a very basic theory.  With A/B split testing, we were able to determine very quickly that customers were indeed motivated more by the “selling of the offer” than they were by the “brand lifestyle” experience. We created a new landing page, tested it against our control page with a 50-50 split of all traffic and we quickly found a winner. A simple theory, a simple test – amazing results

 

Learnings

What we learned:

1/ Conversion optimization does NOT have to be overly complicated. Test a theory, use A/B split URL testing, and split traffic evenly.

2/ Move quickly. You don’t have to wait months on end to make a decision. You may not be statistically relevant but you can often prove out your theories in a shorter period of time and move to the next split URL test.

3/ Multivariate testing should come only AFTER you do simple split testing. Most firms make the mistake of testing too many ingredients all at once and not testing or asking the right questions. Multivariate is advanced and should come once you’ve milked all you can out of your basic test hypotheses.

4/ The quick wins are likely right in front of you. What are your current landing pages not answering for your customers? What theories can you test quickly to obtain double digit growth?

Sometimes you get into a hot tub and the water is lukewarm. Other times, the temperature is just right.  For us, it turned out that simple A/B testing (not multivariate) was the methodology needed to turn up the right marketing jets for this major US Hot Tub manufacturer. 

Ron Weber is a highly qualified Internet Marketing professional with over 13 years of online experience. Ron is currently the VP of Online Marketing at Ninthlink, Inc. Ron's passion is to learn the latest & greatest in Internet Marketing Strategy, and then educate everyone around him. Ron is often seen at Industry trade shows, on blogs, and on Social Media sites spreading his love for digital marketing. Check him out at: https://plus.google.com/108786159450494461914/about.

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Topics: tips, small business marketing, inbound marketing

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