Archive for January 10th, 2012

Even authors can benefit from SPLIT TESTING.


Yes, yes. I know you’re an author, not a marketing specialist, but we touched on the importance of split testing last time, and if we’re going to learn this, we might as well understand it fully. Even if you’re not going to do your own marketing, this is an invaluable technique for testing every aspect of your book, from cover design to the wording of your bio page.

Split testing, also known as A/B testing, is a marketing technique in which a baseline sample is compared to a variety of single-variable test samples in order to improve response rates. Often used in direct mail strategies, this model has proven integral to successful Internet marketing campaigns, from social media to e-mail and landing pages.

The reason we’re talking about it – and that you should do it – is because it works. Split tests of elements like copy, arrangement of page components, use of one image versus another, and colors have shown significant improvements in reader response. Changes to these elements do not necessarily promote equal changes in response, but that’s just a part of what you want to examine when you look at the test results.

Marketers using this testing method distribute various samples of a test, including the control, to determine which single variable is most effective in improving the response rate or achieving any other desired results. In order for split testing to be truly effective, samples must reach a large enough audience that the test will provide a decent chance of detecting a meaningful difference between the control and the variables.

Split tests can be used to determine things like:

  • Whether different placement of the shopping cart button affects how many people click it.
  • Whether a form with fewer – or different – fields encourages more people to complete it.
  • Whether your assumptions about the best way to design or write a page are accurate. You are not your reader/customer – so is what you perceive as compelling actually compelling to them?

Split testing is not just about selling more books – although that’s a great benefit. According to SixRevisions.com, split testing can also help:

  • Get visitors to linger longer on your website.
  • Get visitors to be more interactive on your site.
  • Get more visitors to request a consultation or opt in for your free giveaway.

The say further:

Split testing also helps ensure that when it comes to advertising, you are maximising each and every dollar. If your website doubles its conversion rate from 1% to 2% using split testing techniques, you have just doubled your revenue using the same marketing budget.

One thing to keep in mind about split testing: believe the results. You may love your book’s title font, color scheme, or cover graphic – but what if your research reveals that it’s not converting as well as something else might? You want to be willing to hear what the results are telling you and make the necessary changes – especially if it means you’ll sell more books.

Happy testing!



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