(This is a guest post authored by Ohad Rozen from Toonimo.com)
Most websites don’t have a massive traffic problem, however every website in the world has a conversion problem. – Bryan Eisenberg
So you’ve just stepped into the world of Conversion Rate Optimization. Everyone seems to be advocating A/B testing. But you are still a little disoriented and would appreciate some direction to get started.
You are in the right place.
Internet is littered with posts that simply ask you to go ahead and test this CTA or that headline. It’s important to bear in mind that the best performing A/B tests are ones that are planned and executed well — using the scientific method.
A/B testing comes at the experiment stage of the scientific method. Without such a process, testing becomes a spray-and-pray tactic that yields little dividend.
If you have ever burned your hands doing random tests, you should be reading this –The Complete Guide to A/B Testing.
Without further ado, here are 5 easy A/B test ideas to give you direction and a glimpse of the many possibilities.
Test #1: A/B Test Headline Copy
Let’s start off with this element (some say the most important) that you should consider testing. This should be your launching pad in the A/B testing realm, as headlines act as a doorway, a welcome mat, that all visitors must cross.
Only 2 out of 10 readers ever make it past the headline, on average. This means that 80% of readers never make it past the headline. If you suffer from lack of conversions on your homepage, it should be an indicator to test your headline. As the first message displayed to visitors, the headline holds the greatest (and easiest) opportunity to optimize your landing pages. The saying “you only have one chance to make a first impression” looms large over grabbing that first time visitor, and you only have a few milliseconds according to Carleton University, Canada, before the visitor moves on or bails.
For instance, a company called Monthly 1K wanted to increase the amount of visitors purchasing their online courses. They decided to test if they simply changed how the headline was presented, it would lead to better conversions. The original headline they presented was “How to Make a $1000 a Month Business”. The second headline excluded the dollar sign. The results were crystal clear, providing an actual dollar amount resulted in a higher conversion rate. Visitors were able to visualize themselves making a dollar amount rather than just the number value. Showcase the value of your products, that’s the only thing visitors will every pay for.
Here’s how VWO tested their homepage headline to increase click-throughs to the pricing page by 9.6%.
Test #2: A/B Test Your Colors
The color of your words, calls to action and the purchase buttons are examples of how simple changes can have a huge effect on conversion rates. Say, you have a scenario where your call to action prompts visitors to click through to a “make an appointment” form. You test your calls to actions with a red button in the control version and a green button in the variation. You discover that more visitors were clicking through to the appointment form with the green CTA. By changing your CTA to green your appointment bookings surge. Changing your CTA to a different color won’t work in every situation, but since you’re testing it with your live visitors, you can see firsthand what makes them click.
Take a look at the case study below on how a color change can have a positive effect on conversion rate. Here the color change was done in conjunction with a button design change. The combination of the two led to a nice conversion increase. This particular online seller realized a gain of over 35% in cart additions.
Test #3: A/B Test Call to Action
This is where all the magic happens. You’ve gotten visitors to this point. You want them to click and your team have come up with 12 different CTA buttons with different combinations of wording, colors and fonts.
Sometimes, all those things do not play much of a role. Often, it’s just the wording on a call to action, not a time-consuming redesign or color change. A key takeaway from the example below is offering the user value. You are offering them something in return for a click on the button.
Your landing pages should inspire users to take action, whether it be signing up for your blog, booking an appointment, downloading content or buying a product. There are a number of sub-elements you should take into consideration when testing variations of your CTA.
- Switch the wording on your CTA button to one that you feel would grab your target. Just one phrase often does the trick and translates to higher conversion. Buy, Click to Purchase, Checkout are just a few.
- Test a page with a few CTAs against a variation with a single button.
- Consider switching the location of the CTA on your landing page.
One of VWO’s clients A/B tested the copy on their CTA button from “Go Further” to “More Information” and obtained a 14.41% increase in click-throughs to the sign-up page. Read about it here.
Test #4: A/B Test The Form
Your website might be a five pager or it could be 20 plus. The more entry points your website has the more chance for friction with the visitor. Forms are just such examples for potential friction. Anytime you request visitor-information, just know that the lesser amount you request the better, the simpler the content and image the better. How you ask it can also make a huge difference.
A site called Huffduffer tested our two different types of form styles. They defeated conventional wisdom and found out that a paragraph-styled form with inline input fields worked much better than a traditional form layout. This type of form style is called “Mad Libs“, and it ultimately increased their conversion rate by 25-40%. This may not work for everyone, so before adopting this or any other fad (or good suggestion, for that matter): do your own form A/B tests.
There are plenty of variables to try out. Here are some format ideas to get you started:
- Test forms with images/video on them versus none.
- Test 5 field forms against 3 field forms
- Test a form that includes a special offer or discount to one that does not
- Test a form with an assurance that the signer will not receive spam or other messages unless they opt in
- Test a form with larger fields rather than letter sized fields
Test #5: Social Widgets A/B Testing
While Social proof is a big part of increasing user confidence, it can also have a negative effect. Let’s take a look at why:
- Social sharing buttons are a distraction as they take away from the true call to action
- Many times, the social numbers are so minute that it actually diminishes social proof
For example, did you know that the addition of social sharing buttons can even actually lead to a decrease in conversions. There are a number of reasons for this. To highlight this fact, I suggest reading this great post highlighting a case study on how one eCommerce site increased their conversions by removing social sharing buttons.
However, each case differs and sometimes social widgets will increase the conversions on your page. Marcus Taylor of Venture Harbour, found that a floating sidebar outperforms share buttons located above or below a blog post. He ran this experiment on this blog post and found that using a floating sidebar with sharing buttons increased the rate of sharing by 52%. The moral of the story is not to follow random suggestions on the best placement for your social sharing buttons. By adding and removing the widgets and testing those versions you’ll be able to decide the better option always.
Testing all these elements to determine which one converts better on your landing page is a learning experience. Tracking email click-through rates may prove to show you which headlines work better. Twitter is also a great way to gauge headline effectiveness.
Go ahead and do your first A/B test. Conduct tests with your users in mind and with a definite idea of what you are trying to accomplish.
Let us know how it goes. We are always here to help 🙂