If You Aren’t A/B Testing, You’ll C Worse Performance

Copywriters had it easy 40 years ago.

An amazing turn of phrase? Run with it. 

A concept stoked in vanity that was kind of in a way related to the product being marketed? Sure.

It was a free-for-all. As long as it sold, as long as it moved the profit needle, that’s all that mattered.

Then along came instant Big Data and all of its insights.

And then copywriters came to the realization that sometimes the words pored and agonized over weren’t as compelling as they thought. That something, dare it be said, not as clever, something more plainspoken could perform better.

There are dozens upon dozens of A/B tests companies can do: from the color of a button to the call-to-action contained within the button itself.

So, what are some of the things we try when it comes to messaging?

Let’s find out.

Subject Lines

We run the e-mail marketing for one of our cable clients. The offers change every quarter in terms of service and price. Standard stuff.

When we took over, every subject line made a point to mention the (reasonable) cost. The open rates were average by industry standards. A smidge better than their previous agency. Our copywriters took “average” with a vengeance.

After all, subject lines are like book titles: readers will be more inclined to read what’s inside if it sounds interesting. Our titles were apparently more boring than we thought.

Over the course of three months, we tested subject lines: half included the price, the other half didn’t. Otherwise, they were virtually identical.

Our findings? Those that did not include the price had an open rate 4% better on average.

Our subject lines for this client reflect that data now.

Button Copy

It’s amazing how a few words can make a profound impact when it comes to conversion rate. Take the ubiquitous form submission button found on every e-commerce site or “Request a Quote” page.

More often than not, the buttons found there are dogmatic, bossy, and demeaning, with the sole instruction to “Submit.”

Submit! That’s the word dog-owners used to take their companions in the Middle Ages. (We’re guessing.)

Now imagine if the “Submit” button said “Get Back to Me.”

Or the “Order” button” said “Smart Purchase.”

Those sound conversational. Friendly. Nice.

With Google Tag Manager, you can add a little code to test the effectiveness of otherwise identical landing pages and e-mails. Content Verve has some other button copy tests that are well worth reading.

The Copy Next To the Button Copy

Be honest. Have you ever used a throw-away e-mail address when filling out a form? One you don’t care that gets suffocated with spam?

We aren’t judging. It makes sense. After all, you don’t know what the company you’re giving that personal information is going to do with it.

Unless they tell you upfront.

As a potential customer, would you feel more comfortable if you saw: “We never sell e-mail addresses” next to the (hopefully awesomely worded) call-to-action button? What about “We won’t sell your e-mail address.”?

There’s only one way to find out.

Test it.

Hopefully, this article has shown the difference even tiny changes in copy can make.

Since everything can be tested in virtually real time, there’s no reason not to. It’s something our copywriters take seriously. And something we bring to the table for each of our clients.

Need more guidance on what to test and how for your digital marketing?

Contact us, and let’s discuss.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Mills