Do You Split-Test?

Real direct marketing professionals don’t guess. They use split-testing so they rarely get it wrong.

Simply put, split testing is measuring a new idea or way to sell a product against a default that you know works.  You can apply split-testing to direct mail/email campaigns, Web sites, landing pages, etc.

Let’s take a Web site for example.  Other than looking pretty and making the marketing staff feel good about their “cool” Web site, the purpose of a Web site is to give visitors a good experience and deliver a good “conversion” rate – the ratio of visitors who click-through to detailed content pages to identify themselves and become “leads” to those who simply browse and remain anonymous visitors.

For a Web site, split-testing can be applied to several areas:

  • Headlines:  You can test one “headline” against another by randomly rotating headlines on your Home Page and measuring the number of visitors that clicked-through each headline to a more detailed content page.  Visitors read headlines, so it makes sense to test yours to determine the one that delivers the most click-throughs.
  • Links:  You can split-test links’ attractiveness to readers.  For example, you could test the standard “Learn More” against “Click here to learn how to save 50% on consulting fees.”  Which do you think would entice the reader to click-through?
  • Navigational Designs:  Some groups of users find it easy to use DHTML drop-down menus that allow them to get to any section of the site with only one click of the mouse.  Other groups prefer a menu of simple text links.  Do you know the preferences of the visitors of your Web site?

Essentially, there is nothing on a Web site that you can’t split-test – subscription forms, page copy, link colors, button titles, etc.  In fact, there is almost nothing in marketing that you can’t split test:  direct mail/email copy or headlines, Web landing pages, event booth signage, etc.

By using split-testing to improve your conversion rate, you generate more interest in your products and services, get a better prospect acquisition rate, and, in the end, generate more sales.

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