Are you split testing yet? Split testing is the internet marketing equivalent of flossing — but it doesn’t have to be anymore!
Marketers usually lie and tell people they split test, but if we are lucky, they do it once a month, and not on a daily basis. Like both things, the irony is that it only takes a few seconds and it saves a lot of frustration later.
Do you ever wonder if you might have a better headline than the one you are using now? Do you ever wake up at night wondering if you should charge less or more than what you are charging now? What if that extra bonus on your sales letter is reducing your sales? Should you use long or short copy or even a video sales letter instead of a written one?
You can all these questions for your particular niche, your audience, and your offer by split testing. Once you split test, nobody can argue with you. Because Google Website Optimizer, like most of Google’s services, run on their server and not yours, it is pretty easy to set up. You just have to copy and paste a few lines of code onto your web page.
I am going to give you the basic steps of setting up your own split tests right here.
Step 1: Create Two Versions Of The Same Page
You first need to decide what you are going to split test. I start with the headline. Here is something interesting, I once increased conversions by 19.6% just by adding quotes around my headline. What does this mean? It means for every $100 dollars that I made from that site. By having quotes around the headline, I would instead make $119 dollars. For every $1,000 dollars I made on that site. Instead by having quotes around the headline, I would make $1,196 dollars. You can see how that adds up over time.
The most aggravating thing about split testing is you don’t always know exactly why a certain change makes a difference. Maybe having quotes around my headline makes it look more official and gets them to read longer. I’m not sure. I do know from testing that it works.
If you don’t know what to split test, enter quotes around the headline, remove a couple of words from the headline, or remove or add a sub-headline. Just make a quick change, don’t over think it. Spend about 10 seconds making a slightly different version of your sales letter.
Now you should save that new sales letter as index2.php. It means that your normal sales letter is named index.php. You alternate sales letter is called index2.php. Once you get Google optimizer set up, it is going to send half your traffic to index.php, the other half to index2.php to figure out which one gets you more sales.
Step 2: Create Campaign
The next step is to create your Google Website Optimizer Campaign. If you have an AdWords account, you can simply log in, go to the reporting tab and click on website optimizer. If you don’t use AdWords, just go to Google and search for Google Website Optimizer and you will find a page to sign up. It’s free and it’s easy.
Once you are logged in, you should see a link that says Create Experiment. You are going to click that link and create an A/B Experiment. GWO allows you to either run AB test, which is what we are doing where you compare two versions of a page versus multivariate, which requires a lot more traffic which we are not going to use.
Click on A/B Experiment, go to the next step and then create an experiment name. Most people skip this step, name is something stupid like split test 1. Name it the name of your site, plus whether it is a sales letter or squeeze page. For example, Action Pop Up Sales Letter would be the name of my Google Website Optimizer experiment.
The next step is to identify the pages you want to test. You are only comparing two versions of a page, so you are going to put in the URL to your original page. For example, www.actionpopup.com/index.php and then you are going to name and give the URL for your alternate page, for your variation page. For example, “Subheadline” that way you know what the difference is between your original and alternate sales letter. You are going to add the page variation URL, for example www.actionpopup.com/index2.php.
Finally, you are going to give them the URL for your conversion page, for example www.actionpopup.com/thankyou.php. This way the service knows what your two test pages are and what is your download page, click continue.
Copy and paste the tracking code from this service. Website Optimizer is going to give you four pieces of code. It will tell you exactly which pages to place it on. For the original page, that index.php file. It’s going to give you a control code to place at the top of the page.
What this is going to do is decide if your visitors should be viewing index.php or index2.php. It will make sure that an equal amount of traffic will be sent to both pages.
Next it is going to give you two pieces of tracking code, one code to place at the bottom of index.php and one to place at the bottom of index2.php. Even though this code looks scary, it is just a hit counter. It is going to figure out how many people viewed your index.php file and how many viewed you index2.php file.
Finally it is going to give you conversion code which you place on your download page. This is another hit counter that will only count if someone gets to your download page.
Step 3: Let It Run
Can you see how all the pieces are working together now? When somebody comes to your site, first it is going to decide to send them to index.php or index2.php. Let’s pretend they got sent to index2.php, it’s then going to load the tracking code and say “ah ha” they viewed index2.php. Then the person might leave or they might buy. If they do buy, they will end up on your download page and then website optimizer will make a note of that, and notice that index2.php happens to make this particular sale.
Let it run until the end. This service will keep track of which page is winning and will run a statistical formula to decide when it is time to stop split testing.
If one of your pages, either index.php or index2.php got a lot more sales than the other, it will decide the clear winner. For example, your index2.php page with the quotes on the headline might be the winner, and now you know you have improved your conversion rate and have more money.
Delete index.php and replace index.php with index2.php since it is now the clear winner. You are not done. Now it is time to start the process all over again and split test the next thing you want to test. Maybe another change to the headline, a logo, bigger buy button, whatever you want, stop guessing and start split testing with Google Website Optimizer today.
Are you split testing yet? If not, what’s your deadline for your next split test to go live? Comment below please…
Filed in: Copywriting