EDITORS NOTE: This blog was originally published August 10, 2018 and has been updated.
A/B testing (or split testing, if you prefer) might be the most underutilized tool marketers have today. Consider, in less than 3 minutes you can:
- Set up a test to see if your call-to-action could be more powerful
- Try two great layouts on your landing page
- Test out both of your catchy subject lines.
An A/B test means showing two versions of the same website page, email, or blog to visitors simultaneously and measuring performance for both variations. The version that performs better wins, it's as simple as that.
HubSpot's CRM and automation software tools make it easy to perform an A/B test on nearly every piece of digital marketing collateral, from website pages to emails, to ads and CTAs.
When you A/B test a website or other marketing asset, you can experiment with new ideas and test your hypotheses. A/B testing is extremely valuable because sometimes small changes produce big results when it comes to lead conversion.
Effective A/B testing starts with knowing what you want to measure and improve. Two common goals are increasing engagement with marketing emails and improving landing, web, and blog page conversion rates.
Use A/B Testing to Increase Email Engagement
There are two metrics that are important to consider for A/B tests in emails: open rates and clicks. When setting up an experiment, you'll want to focus on one of these two areas when setting your goals.
A/B Testing for Email Opens
Testing your open rates is all about your subject line and preview text. These are just about the only two components of the email that your audience will definitely see, and their decision of whether or not to open the email will come down to how interesting and engaging your subject line is.
Test out action-oriented words, and also play around with the value that your message is delivering or promising. Are you succinctly addressing an audience pain point? Often, there is a fine line between eye-catching topics headlines and click-bait.
Here are three simple A/B tests to try in your subject line:
- Use a question vs. a statement
- Include a personalization token
- Include/exclude a word prompting urgency
Remember to always send marketing emails from a real person's name and email address over a generic company email address to boost open rates as well. HubSpot's reporting quickly breaks down the results of your A/B test and lets you improve engagement with your audience.
A/B Testing for Email Clicks
Once you've identified the best subject line, it's time to look at maximizing your clicks within the email itself. Most marketing emails are not sent to simply communicate information; they are looking to generate reader engagement.
While the topic of your email will be the primary factor in determining audience interest, you can still work towards optimizing your clicks using A/B tests.
A few tests to try:
- Experiment with two different CTAs
- Vary the header images
- Compare engagement for long and short versions of body copy
- Test two different offers
Optimize Your HubSpot Landing Pages and Website Pages Using A/B Tests
Landing pages are constructed with a single goal in mind: conversion. Any split test should be geared towards increasing your page conversion rate, either via clicks on your calls-to-action or submissions on your forms.
Just like the email A/B testing tool, HubSpot's A/B testing tool for landing pages is very easy to implement. Your page variations will be split 50/50 across your visitor traffic.
Here are four A/B tests you can run on your website, blog, and landing pages that will make an immediate impact.
The visual elements of your website have the largest impact on the visitor's experience, which makes images a great place to start with A/B testing on your landing pages. Try out different combinations of hero and secondary images, and consider what will be the most eye-catching to your audience.
CTAs are another good place to use A/B testing. Your CTAs are the gateway to your landing pages, and you want to make sure they are as enticing and attractive to visitors as possible.
One quick simple test involves comparing the color of your CTAs to determine if one brand color drives more engagement than another. You can also test the copy in the CTA, or even the placement of the CTA itself on the page.
Video or Testimonial
Another great A/B test to run is to try a page with and without a piece of validation content such as a video or testimonial. While your instincts might tell you that you should always include this type of content on your pages, sometimes a clean and simple landing page produces the highest conversion rate.
Some pages are long enough that the placement of your form becomes a decision point. Consider testing whether forms in the header or footer make sense from an "always available" standpoint. You can also test out whether to include a form in the sidebar or the main body.
In addition to testing the location of the form on the page, you can compare the number of form submissions for an embedded form versus a form that is contained in a popup modal.
A/B Testing Best Practices
When running any A/B test, adhere to the following best practices to ensure clean data and reliable results.
- Test one element at a time.
- Avoid mid-test changes.
- Collect a statistically significant sample size.
A/B testing offers awesome opportunities to maximize conversions in emails and landing pages. If you're not A/B testing, you're missing out on big opportunities to improve your lead generation results.
BONUS: HubSpot Adaptive Testing
Looking to take your A/B testing a step further? With adaptive testing, you can test out multiple variations at one time. Simply create 3 or more variations of your email or landing page, and then let HubSpot's algorithm go to work! After enough traffic has seen your content, the best variation will be declared the winner and you can start on the next round of testing.