Don’t Fall Into the Website Split Testing Black Hole

BusinessEcommerce

  • Author Neil Rimmer
  • Published July 16, 2014
  • Word count 573

If you believe the hype, then website split testing is the long lost "holy grail" of Internet Marketing and the key to transforming your online dreams into reality. Unfortunately, the hype is wrong because split testing is just a tool and like any tool: It’s only as powerful as the person wielding it. In fact, one of the first things people tend to split test is their headlines. Well this is a complete waste of time because headlines don’t drive conversions, they merely pull visitors farther into your copy where your other sales tools, like the offer, actually convert prospects.

So in other words: You could use website split testing to try 50 different headlines but if all the other components were held the same, then the net difference in conversion rate between versions would average less than 5%. Headlines don’t drive conversions, period. So testing different headlines is a complete waste of time if that’s your objective.

Now before you think I’m against website split testing, make no mistake: I am not and in fact I believe it to be vital to any successful conversion rate optimisation project. However, a much wiser investment of your time would be to concentrate on setting up split tests on the following sales tools: Your pricing; Your offer details; Post Script or Call-to-Action

Pricing remains one of the biggest drivers of conversions so using website split testing to try out different price points is vital to dialing in the right balance between Price Point and Conversion Rate. After all, you might be able to sell Product X for $50 at a 1% conversion rate but get 1.5% at $39. Your job is to crunch the numbers and figure out the best balance for highest profits and that’s where split tests become vital.

Now although pricing is certainly one component of your offer, here are the other components that you should consider website split testing to improve conversion rate: Your features and/or product description; Any bonus products or services; Your Buy Now button.

All of these components of your offer will significantly affect conversion rate so you’ll want to run separate split tests for each of them. I would not advise multivariate testing unless you have significant experience and have successfully done so in the past. Otherwise, stick to separate split tests for each offer component.

Lastly and believe it or not: Post-scripts or a final CTA really work to the tune of generating upwards of 20% more clicks to the shopping cart when done properly. Now on most Ecommerce sites, this final CTA will typically take the form of "People who liked this product also liked:" and then a row of pictures of related products that link to formal product descriptions.

On other sites, the final CTA may be a prompt to sign up for a free consult, lead gen product, or simply a traditional post-script linking to the shopping cart. Whatever format you’re using, be sure to conduct website split-testing on your post-script or closing call-to-action because it can literally boost click-thru-rate to your shopping cart or database by 20% or more.

Make no mistake, split tests are a vital tool for any successful website optimisation project and can help you dial-in your price point, maximise offer effectiveness, and boost click-thru rates to your shopping cart. Just be sure to avoid split-testing "non-converting" sales tools and use them effectively to significantly boost online conversions.

Neil Rimmer is a conversion rate optimisation expert specializing in boosting online sales and optimizing traffic sources. To learn more about website split testing basics , just visit http://www.conversionomics.com.au today.

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