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A/B Split Testing and Cheesy Pick Up Lines

by Brandon Contreras on March 28, 2016

4 minute read

Stroll with me back to our late teens early twenties. A time, quite possibly, when we were tangled in the dating scene. Whether we were looking for a significant other in cafes, bars, restaurants, laundromats, nightclubs, libraries, grocery stores, etc., we were out and about fashioning our vibe, fine-tuning our talk-tracks, trying new and exciting ways to couple up. All the while searching for the one. You remember this, don't you?

The Process

Initially, we tried all the easy and familiar. Anything from the, “Hey, I’ve seen you here before and…” or even the “You look strikingly familiar, almost like we’ve met…” or possibly the “Great T-Shirt! I’m a Depeche Mode fan too!” Maybe we’d use these approaches over and over. Our mental note-taker-person sitting excitedly inside our head, pen in hand and notepad on desk, documenting successes and failures with these approaches. Naturally the approaches that garnered the most success (define this as you’d like) were the ones we’d continue to use. Further, possibly, we’d fine-tune these successful approaches looking for even more success, mentally documenting the tweaks, trying new approaches, and so forth. 

While most of us would agree, there was no science to it; we’d just try, learn, tweak, try again, learn, and repeat. Maybe we agree that there was no science to it because we weren’t thinking in scientific terms about our dating trials. But what if I were to suggest that what we were doing with our approach was the marketing equivalent of A/B Split Testing? Chuckle, smile, smirk… It’s true! Allow me to explain?

Testing Our Marketing Pick-Up Lines

A/B testing (also known as split testing or bucket testing) is a process of comparing two versions of an asset (email, landing page, web form, etc.) against each other to determine which one performs better. A/B testing uses data & statistics to confirm that the new tweaks, changes, enhancements improve conversion rates. You see the parallels don’t you? Are you A/B testing your content now… just like you A/B tested your game back in the day?

Marketing Automation and the Marketing Dating Scene

Your marketing automation platform comes complete with a way to test your content. Testing your content, tweaking it, making subtle changes, testing it again, are all paramount to your marketing operation. Plus, if you can see statistics and analytics as to which changes enhanced performance, all the better. What are some of the items you’d test or tweak? Rob Toledo in the Paul Olyslager blog suggests:

  • Calls to Action (CTAs). This could be wording, design or placement of a pop-up, sign up or sales button, or a portal that brings visitors deeper into the site.
  • Product pricing and promotional offers.
  • Product pictures and placement on page.
  • Long-form sales page versus short.
  • Timing of upsells. Right after a purchase, or just before?
  • Testimonials, logos, and more evidence of social proof.
  • Does that CAPTCHA turn everybody away? How many boxes are too many?

Brass Tacks

While A/B Split Testing all your content may seem like something an arduous undertaking… It’s not. The tools you have access to make this over-the-top easy. In the vid snippet below I show off once simple way to A/B Split Test two variations of one email message. Simple. Remember, if I can accomplish this… uh er uh, you can too!


Thanks for reading, thanks for watching… more importantly thanks for commenting and sharing!

This blog post first appeared on the LinkedIn Pulse and is authored by Brandon Contreras, Manager of Global Channel Development at Act-On Software, Inc.