Well Benjamin Franklin said it first. The wise folks took it on from there and ever since every kid and adolescent on the planet has been fed the advice as age-old wisdom. ‘Time is money’ could easily go down in the hall of fame of ‘all-time epic phrases’. And now we have an A/B test to prove that time is indeed money (read: more subscriptions).
This is about one of our Russian clients, imsider.ru. They help people start their own online stores and have a no-frills attached landing page for getting an e-book on eCommerce. The landing page has a contact form which asks visitors to subscribe to a mailing list. After you fill the details, you get a download link for a free e-book on your mail. As there was no other high-impact element above the fold, Imsider decided to do a headline test.
Their original headline, when translated in English, meant ‘Step-by-step plan for opening your internet store’. This is how it looked.
Imsider used Visual Website Optimizer to quickly setup an A/B test in which the variation headline translated to ‘Open your internet store in one evening’. Here’s the variation.
A/B test results
Well no prizes for guessing that the variation won. Just by rewording the headline on the landing page, the leads generated increased by 9.52%. The variation had a 99.9% chance to beat the original and Imsider happily implemented the change.
When asked why he thought the variation headline worked better, Andrey Kryukov of Imsider said:
“We thought that the phrase ‘in one evening’ will be more attractive to customers who want to open their first internet store than just ‘step-by-step plan’. People usually think that opening an internet store and starting your internet business is hard and long work.”
Imsider gets it bang on. The variation headline does three things brilliantly.
1) Promises time-specific benefit
The headline makes a promise and a rather eye-popping one at that. It promises that you will receive a benefit and that too in no time – in one freaking evening! An evening that could have very well idly passed by (as most of them do) or wasted (read: not really) in a rundown bar.
To come back to the earlier analogy of time is money, the reason why the headline works so beautifully is that it puts a value to time. The perceived value of one evening suddenly rises in the mind of the customer. Something behavioral economist Dan Ariely also touches upon when he talks about the relationship between time saved and money spent.
2) Conveys ease of task
Opening an internet store suddenly sounds like child’s play. The magic phrase, in one evening, brings down the self-imposed inertia and struggle in the customer’s mind.
3) Commands action
The variation headline falls under the ‘command category’ as per Copyblogger’s eight headline categories.
The Command Headline boldly tells the prospect what he needs to do, such as Exxon’s old Put a Tiger in Your Tank campaign. Bly indicates that the first word should be a strong verb demanding action, such as Subscribe to Copyblogger Today!
Now take a look at the variation headline again – ‘Open your internet store in one evening’
The first word is ‘Open’ (note: active verb). It’s instructive, it’s persuasive. It conveys to the customer that they are in safe hands and dealing with people who are sure of themselves.
More cool stuff on headlines
- 5 Landing Page Headline Formulas Tested – Unbounce
- Headline AB Test: Clarity Increased Sales by 89.97% – Our blog
- How to Create Winning Headlines in 9 Simple Steps – CrazyEgg blog
Tell your story
Have you run or planning to run any headline tests? Did they work or nosedived their way to oblivion? Spread the wisdom. Share your experiences and stories with us in the comment section below.