If you're interested in which headlines, offers, videos, prices, guarantees and copy increase the number of leads and sales your business gets, this post is for you. One warning though – you have to put into action what you learn here today. Once you finish reading this post, start your first content experiment. And if you're one of those people that thinks A/B testing (also known as split testing) is hard, let me assure you it isn't.
Everything you'll see in this post is free. Here's our ingredient list:
- Google Analytics
- Google Content Experiments (now in Google Analytics)
- Two Free WordPress Plugins
Now, let's look at the exact steps you need to take to create this recipe and get the leads and sales you're after.
For the purposes of this post, I'll use a sales page as an example. If you want to learn more about how to create effective sales pages, join the Dempsey Marketing Tribe on Triberr to get exclusive access to an upcoming webinar on the topic.
Alright, enough selling on my part – here's how to do this.
Step #1: Determine What You Want To Test
On any given sales page, there are literally a ton of factors you can test, including:
- Body copy
… just to name a few. The first thing you want to test though is your headline. A headline is super important as it's the first thing everyone sees when they land on a page. You have about 2.3 seconds to get someone's attention. That's the job of the headline.
Any marketer worth his or her salt will have a swipe file of headlines. If it can be done, it probably has. Here are 16 different types of headlines you can create:
- Straight Benefit
- Reasons Why
- Dominant Emotion
- Item – Hype
- Expert Positioning
- Extreme Value Proposition
Once you've decided on what to test, in this case your headline, it's time to create some variations.
Step #2: Create The Two Variations
The key to knowing what it was that caused someone to convert is to test one thing at a time. There is something out there called multivariate testing, which is testing multiple factors at once, but that's a bit beyond most and you need a lot of visitors to do it (think Google).
When creating your two variations create two versions of the thing you're testing, and keep everything else exactly the same. If you're testing a headline create two, and don't change anything else on the page.
The easiest way to do this is to create your first variation in WordPress, and then use the Duplicate Post plugin to create an exact copy of the page. Then on the copy, change your headline and the URL and save it. Voila! Two exact versions with different headlines.
Step #3: Create A Thank You Page
Every sales page has a call to action, typically some variation of “click here to buy my stuff.” Once the person makes a purchase they land (or should land) on a “thank you” page. This page is critical in measuring conversions.
A few tips for creating excellent thank you pages:
- Tell the person what happens now that they've ordered
- Provide links to your social media profiles and invite the person to join you there and say hello
Step #4: Install This Other Free WordPress Plugin
There are so many free plugins available for WordPress I can barely stand it. Here's one you'll want to install to help with your A/B testing, aptly named: Google Content Experiments.
Install and activate that little sucker and you're almost ready to go. Something you may need to do is add a little line of code to the header file of your WordPress theme. The plugin author has directions here on how to do that. If you're rockin a Genesis theme though, you're good to go.
Step #5: Create A Goal In Google Analytics
We're more than halfway through and you're doing great! The next step is to create a goal in Google Analytics so we can measure our conversions.
When you log in to Google Analytics you'll be taken to the list of website profiles you have in your account. Select the site you're testing and then click on the “Admin” link in the top right.
On the Profiles tab you'll see another tab that says “Goals”. That's what you want. Create a new goal under one of your goal sets, and give it a name that relates to the outcome.
Now that we have our two variations, a thank you page, and our goal set up (and all the plugins to make this happen) it's time to set up our experiment.
Step #6: Create A Content Experiment In Google Analytics
Google Content Experiments used to be a separate product – Google Website Optimizer. A few months back Google integrated it with Analytics and we now have a single location to go to for all of this. They've also made A/B testing extremely simple. Here's how to set up an experiment.
If you've been following along with the directions above just click on the “Standard Reporting” tab at the top of the page. This will take you back to the main Analytics page. Once there, on the left-hand side of the page, select “Experiments” under the Content section.
Click on the “Create Experiment” button toward the top of the page to create a new one.
Enter in the URL of your first variation and click the big blue “Start Experimenting” button. Exciting!
On the next page, pictured below, fill out the details of your experiment.
When you're finished click the “Next Step” button.
Now this is the cool part right here. On step 2 you can select a metric for your objective. This is a fancy way of saying to select the goal you created in Google Analytics earlier.
After you select the goal, I suggest you check the box beside “Rewrite variation URLs to original in Content reports” and click on the next step button.
Now we're about to get back into WordPress. In step 3 you'll need to add the experiment code to your original page. Remember that content experiments plugin you installed earlier? That's going to come in handy now.
Select the option to add the experiment code yourself and copy the code. Now, go to the page for your first variation and scroll down until you see a widget that says, “Google Content Experiment Settings”.
Click the checkbox, enter your experiment code, and save the page.
Back in Google Analytics, click the “Next Step” button and you'll see a box appear that verifies that Google found both pages and the code.
Now you run the experiment, and wait for the awesome to occur. Of course if you aren't keen on waiting for serendipity to happen you can run a small ad campaign and send people to the page.
Step #7: Write Down Everything You Just Did
The last step is more of a suggestion – keep a testing journal. In addition to creating an annotation in Google Analytics of when I've started a test, I keep a spreadsheet that shows:
- Experiment name
- Element tested
- Date started
- Variation 1 url
- Variation 2 url
- Date ended
- Variation 1 conversion %
- Variation 2 conversion %
Once you have a clear winner – something Google will tell you – create another variation and test it against the winner.
ABT – Always Be Testing.
Corny? Yes. Highly effective in increasing the number of leads and sales you get? YES!
Step #8: Ask Me Questions
If you have any questions on this, ask away in the comments below.
Bottom Line: Test, Test, Test
As an entrepreneur it is your duty to test, test, test. Test everything – headlines, calls to action, pricing, guarantees. Everything.
With WordPress and Google Content Experiments (and this nifty guide) it's very easy to set up A/B tests. Now go create your own!