Remember those mornings when you were in school and you’d wake up to a bolt of fear going through you because you suddenly remembered you have a test today that you forgot to study for? Relax, that’s not what this post is about.
In my post, The Frustration of Trying of Make Money Online, item #8 is Test, Test, Test. This post addresses why testing is so important.
In the Beginning:
The problem with selling anything is that you never know exactly what will trigger a sale. Maybe you’re selling the only cold drinks in the area on a hot day, so the only thing you have to do to sell them is to show up. That’s easy. But then, someone else will notice how many drinks you’re selling and setup another location selling bigger drinks, or colder drinks, or cheaper drinks. Then another and another.
Now that you have competition, you have to be more mindful of your sales message. Simply showing up and opening the door does not guarantee a steady steam of business.
So you try a big sign across the front of your store, and maybe get someone to hand out flyers to people walking around.
Copywriting – The Art of Turning Vegetarians into Sharks:
But what do you write on your sign and your flyers? You want to write something that will trigger buying in your potential customers. You want trigger a buying frenzy like waving a hunk of bloody meat over a pool of sharks. Well, at least you think they’re sharks and you think they like meat. But what if you have a bunch of vegetarian shark look-alikes? You don’t really care; you just want to sell your product. But, if you write your message to an audience of meat eating sharks when in fact they’re not, you probably won’t be very successful at selling your products.
A/B Split Testing:
You need to test. In this simple example, you could make two flyers, one for the sales message you think will work and an alternative sales message. This is what’s called an A/B or split test. Put a coupon on the flyer and have a code or way to tell the difference between the two flyers from the coupon. At the end of the day, total up the coupons and you can see which flyer was better at bringing customers into your store. Repeat this process for several days with various flyers and then update the big sign on your store to reflect the message from the most successful flyer. The big sign on the store is more expensive to change than paper flyers, so waiting to update it makes sense (unless it’s electronic).
Multivariate (lots of variables) Testing:
Let’s take it a step farther. You now have a flyer that draws pretty good results from your vegetarian shark look-alike customer base. Up to now, you only used the same color paper, and the same photo of your product. A customer happens to mention to you that a lot of their friends don’t really have good eyesight, so a larger, clearer, more close-up photo would be a good idea. You start thinking of all the various possibilities and you get really inspired and print up a handful of flyers, some with blue paper, some with red paper, some with yellow paper, and some with white paper. You print some with a big photo, and some with a small photo that’s cropped better than the original photo. You even print some with black ink and some with blue ink. Wow, that’s a lot of combinations to test. Testing all these combinations at once is called Multivariate testing.
You stick with it and even though you have a headache from tracking the coupons and totaling up the results, you now know what combination of factors sales the most product.
It’s easy to understand this example, yet a lot of online businesses and Internet Marketing people fail to successfully implement this type of testing online.
You Don’t Know What Will Work:
You can see from this example how important it is to test your sales message. Your sales message (i.e. copy) is a combination of everything you present to your potential customer: headlines, images, colors, fonts, logos, etc. Everything has the potential to impact the number of sales vs. the number of visitors (conversion ratio). If you don’t do this, if you simply put the message out there that you think will work, you may be missing a lot of sales and a lot of profit. Don’t try to bait a bunch of vegetarians with a hunk of bloody meat, run a few tests and see what makes them salivate!
There are various products available to run these types of tests online in real-time. One of the best that I recommend is Clickfunnels, they have a complete integrated tool suite to make this type of thing easy to do (which means you’ll actually do it!).
Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel (i.e. Stay Tuned):
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Read my guide: Insiders Guide to Promoting Your Business Online for more great information!
Until next time,