Increase your conversion rate by A/B testing your copywriting

A hundred years of direct mail advertising has plenty to teach online marketers.

One of the things it’s been very successful at teaching is A/B testing.

An A/B test is where you present two groups of prospects with slightly different versions of your marketing material.

The A version and the B version.

You might try two versions of a headline on a webpage and see which one gets more clicks.

That version is the winner and you roll it out to everybody.

The received wisdom is that you should change only one thing between the A version and the B version.

If you’ve studied A/B tests at all, you’ll have seen them used to prove, say, that green buttons get more clicks than red buttons.

Then you’ll have seen that a follow-up A/B test proved that a button of a different shade of green got more click than the original green button.

But you can only do that level of fine-grain testing if you have massive volumes of traffic.

What if you don’t have enough traffic for an A/B test of your copywriting?

If you have 10,000 visitors a day to your website, you’ll have statistically meaningful data in no time.

But if you’re like most businesses, it’ll take forever for you to find out if “discover more” converts better than “learn more” as a call to action.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be A/B testing.

With lower traffic levels you just need to shelve the received wisdom and be more sweeping in your tests.

Rather than just changing the headline, you can completely change a landing page, for instance.

By making bolder differences between the A and the B version, you’ll get a quick sense of the broad direction you need to follow to get a higher conversion rate.

And you’ll get that feedback it faster than waiting months to find out which shade of green wins in a more traditional A/B test.

We have more conversion rate optimisation tips here. Also, if you want more information about why you need to make bold tests when you don’t have high traffic, you should read Making Websites Win.