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Test Blog Post

It goes without saying that it’s critical to test all of your copy because it’s impossible to know how customers will respond to what you’ve written.

Something you write may be unknowingly offensive or confusing. Other lines may not be as appealing as you thought they’d be.

The only way to know for sure is to test.

But that’s also become a cliche. You hear people talking about “testing this” and “testing that”, but not many are doing it. A lot of people are talking about testing, but not as many are actually testing. The goal of this post is to show why you need to be testing, and then to show how you can do it for your business.


Why You Need to Test, Test, and Test Some More

First, let’s talk about why you need to test. The reason is that testing is the only way to know how well your copy actually works.

When you’re sitting in a boardroom talking about a campaign, everyone has an opinion. Some people think you should use this picture and others think you should use another one. Some people think you should use larger fonts and others think you should use smaller ones.

Often, when you’re coming up with an initial design, you have to just choose one option or another based on the best information you have available, and then move forward. Then, when possible, you need to test because you never know how your design and copy will actually perform.

In other posts, for example, we have talked about how a one-word change increased click-throughs for an e-mail campaign by 46%. Extrapolated over 2,000,000 e-mail sends that results in 17,000 more clicks for the same amount of advertising dollars spent. If you want to get more for your money, testing obviously provides big returns.

Here’s another example. Switch Video recently tested a one-word copy change on their call-to-action-button copy and increased conversions by 228%. That’s right, you read that correctly. A one-word change increased website conversions by 228%.

How’d they do it, you ask? First, they surveyed their customers to learn more about them. From the surveys they learned that site visitors were most interested in learning more about pricing, so they changed the button copy from “Get a Free Consultation” to “Get a Free Quote.” This one-word change increased form submissions by 228%.

That’s a really big improvement from changing a single word, yet without testing, your team could argue for days trying to decide which word is better. Three quarters of the team might like “Free consultation” more than “Free quote,” so you decide to go with that. The result? You get 228% fewer form submissions.

Switch video changed one word on their call-to-action button and increased conversions by 228%.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that these small changes can make a big difference.

Here are a few ways you can begin to test your copy.

Test #1: E-mail Subject Lines

The first thing you can test are e-mail subject lines. The good news is that most e-mail marketing clients make it easy to A/B test subject lines for the e-mails you send out.

MailChimp, for example, makes it super easy to A/B test your campaigns. After sending two versions to 20% of your list, it will send the winner to the remaining 80%. Here are some screenshots that show how this works.

Example: MailChimp

To conduct an A/B test in MailChimp, first select to start a new campaign, and then click on “A/B Split Campaign.”

E-mail marketing clients like MailChimp make it easy to test your subject lines.

Next, choose how you would like to set up your test. You can select a winner based on “open rate,” “click rate,” or “manual.” Most of the time click rate is the best option to choose, but you can decide what makes the most sense for your e-mail.

Finally, you’ll conduct your test by entering two different subject lines, and then setting up the rest of your e-mail campaign.

For our sample project, we could enter two subject lines such as:

  • Sign up for a free Simple Survey Tool trial today
  • Find out why everyone’s talking about the Simple Survey Tool

Both of these subject lines are different enough to provide relevant testing results. After sending them to 20% of your list, you’ll know which one is most likely to perform better across the final 80%.

As this example shows, setting up an A/B test in most e-mail marketing clients is as easy as clicking a few buttons and coming up with two different subject lines.

Test #2: E-mail Creative and Copy

In addition to testing subject lines, you can also test your e-mail creative and copy. The design and copy of your ad or website work together to get the optimum result.

To test this, you can send an e-mail to one group of recipients and a different e-mail to a different group of recipients. The difference between e-mails can be the design and/or the copy that’s used.

First, you’ll need to come up with the hypothesis you’re going to test. Are you going to test two different color schemes, two different layouts with different font sizes, or two different copy versions?

You could, for example, test two versions for the call-to-action-button copy. One could use “Buy Now” to get people to click through and the other could use “Learn More” as the call to action.

You could also test the length of the copy. You could use more copy for the “Buy Now” version and less copy for the “Learn More” version since you’ll need to say more to make people willing to “Buy Now” then you will to get them to click to learn more “Learn More.”

You may be wondering what you’re testing in this scenario. With a test like this, you can measure the following: