No matter the size of your prospect list, optimizing its performance will improve your results. One of the best ways to optimize the performance of your marketing campaigns is to take a “test and learn” approach via A/B testing.
What do we mean by A/B testing? Essentially, it involves comparing two (or more) approaches to a specific campaign to find out which works best for your audience – what helps you achieve your goal. Usually, you perform the test with a subset of your audience, then use the better approach with the rest.
You can test virtually any aspect of a marketing campaign. Let’s take outbound emails as an example. Within an email, you can easily vary the From field or the Subject Line. Try using a person (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) instead of a generic email (email@example.com) to see if it impacts email open rates. Most data suggests that individuals are more likely to open an email that appears to come from an individual than that which comes from a generic domain. Vary Subject Lines to find one that increases open rates. Try an active subject (Optimize Open Rates) vs. a passive one (Open Rate Optimization). You can also vary the length of subject lines – knowing that generally shorter subject lines work better than longer ones.
From field and Subject Line are only two of the things you can vary in an email – although they are the easiest. Consider testing your preheader text, headline, or subhead. Test your call to action (CTA) to see whether the text you use, or the color, size, or placement of a CTA button impacts the click rate. You could also test different images or body copy within the email. And, while we’ve been talking about email, remember that you can (and should) perform similar tests on your landing pages. In addition, on landing pages you can test your forms – number of fields, placement, and design.
Ultimately, whatever you test should be measurable and focused on achieving a particular goal, such as open rate, click rate, or conversion rate. So, the key to testing is focus and iteration – driving towards a continuous improvement model. Start by assessing your baseline performance. Then design and implement a test to improve that performance. Evaluate the test results – and, if necessary, deploy the best approach to your entire audience. Then repeat the cycle – whether with a similar test, or a completely different one.
By taking a test and learn approach, you can quickly improve your campaign results – driving more leads to your sales reps and more revenue to your bottom line.
Author Bio: Michael Al-Megdad, Product Manager, joined Real Magnet in 2009 and focuses on Real Magnet’s social and mobile efforts. He is an expert in social media, analytics and the dark art of product management. Prior to Real Magnet, Michael worked for JupiterMedia, Fastcase Legal Research, and the Discovery Channel in various product, marketing, and training roles. Michael completed his undergraduate degree at American University, and received an MBA from the University of Maryland.
To learn more about A/B testing, please listen to our webinar recording: The Path to Predictive: A/B Testing