Why is A/B testing important?

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Written by Majda Anwar

November 22, 2019

B2B marketers have too much on their plate. I mean, if you have just one plate spinning, I’m jealous!  Campaign execution is fast and furious. Marketers must leverage multiple touches across multiple channels to engage their prospects and customers in any meaningful way.

If you utilize marketing automation, you’re feeling lucky if you can get a multi-touch email nurture off the ground in a timely fashion…let alone the four other channels launches to support a given campaign.

This SpaceX photo from Kennedy Space Station is a perfect metaphor for how marketers feel when they launch a new campaign. But it's easy to chase the rush of launch and forget to A/B test!

Then that moment comes to life – you can see the finish line! Your copy is approved, graphics are in place, content is finalized, QA is complete, sales has been briefed, ads have been approved – you’re at the finish line!

You’re ready to press the launch button…

But, in the back of your mind, you may be asking … what happened to my A/B testing plan?

Unfortunately, most marketers would ignore this step in lieu of getting the campaign launched. And while I TOTALLY understand the pressure to take your campaign to market, I’d like to highlight a few reasons why you should never skip A/B Testing, but first:

What is A/B testing?

A/B split testing is the comparison of two components with a single variation in a digital campaign to improve conversion rates. A portion of your test base will receive one variation, the other portion will receive another.The winning result will then be used for the full campaign base.

We A/B split test to improve results for a campaign. It is the only proven way to optimize campaigns.

Stats show B2B Marketers Are Struggling With A/B Testing:

You’re not alone if you keep struggling to make it happen!

  • 44% of companies use split testing software. (It should be 100%!) (source)
  • The testing of multiple landing pages is considered an advanced and difficult methodology (source)
  • Only 17% of marketers use landing page A/B tests to improve conversion rates (source)

However, Those Who Do See Results:

Increased revenue: Companies that A/B test every email see email marketing returns that are 37% higher than those of brands that never include A/B tests (Litmus)

In a true revenue marketing mindset, any other metrics will be met with a “so what?” by executives unless you can tie your efforts to the bottom line. The good news? Testing allows you to find the optimal solution(s) that will drive revenue!

Make sure to track your utms properly so you can have CRM reports showing what emails closed-won opportunities influenced. This will help you identify email sequences that drive revenue.

Increased conversion rates: Using correct targeting and testing methods can increase conversion rates up to 300% (OutGrow).

This goes without saying, but as a best practice, be consistent with your testing methods. I encourage my clients to have a monthly or quarterly testing hypothesis focused on a single variable such as subject lines for emails or number of form fields on a landing page. Once you have proven with confidence that a particular variation works, move to the next test.

Increased lead generation: Companies see a 55% increase in leads when increasing their number of landing pages from 10 to 15 (Hubspot).

Testing, by nature, encourages a higher number of landing pages to be built, you’ll need at least 2 variations. Your execution team will acclimatize to a higher volume of landing pages and thus your speed to launch will increase. The more campaigns running, the more chances you have to convert and increase results.

So, What Should You Do Next?

Starting to conduct A/B Testing doesn’t have to be a huge initiative. In fact, we recommend starting small, so you build adoption across your team. Here are some steps you can follow to begin your testing plan:

  • Select a channel
  • Identify a section of the channel to test
  • Identify the metric to measure the test
  • Analyze the results

For example, let’s say you want to test your email channel. A great first step would be to start A/B testing your subject lines. Most marketing automation platforms have an embedded email A/B testing functionality for emails, so this is a great place to start!

When testing your subject lines, you want to examine the open rate of your email as a subject line is what engages your target audience to open the email. Compare your variables against one another (or a baseline), rinse and repeat until you get a desired result.

Once your open rates are awesome, move on to click-to-open rates!

  1. Select a channel – EMAIL
  2. Identify a section of the channel to test – SUBJECT LINE
  3. Identify the metric to measure the test – OPEN RATE
  4. Analyze the results – OPEN RATE vs OPEN RATE vs BENCHMARK

You can do this for other channels as well, of course. For instance, Google Optimize makes it pretty easy to A/B test traffic to your site in a variety of ways, and there of course many other tools out there with robust options.

P.S. If you’re looking for some email marketing industry averages, check out this report from CampaignMonitor. Want some ideas on new A/B tests? WordStream has a good list!

Do Even More

If you’d like more help understanding how you can conduct A/B testing for your organization, check out our A/B Testing Infographic. It dives deeper into different parts of the customer’s experience to test and measure for results.

Remember, testing should be implemented in small, iterative steps. The more testing’s embedded into your marketing team’s culture, the more you are able to optimize your results from conversions to revenue contribution.

Or, get more help with your marketing:

  • Not sure on what metrics you need? You’re not alone! Check out this 30 minute REVTalks session about what KPIs you need to focus on for revenue.
  • Read into some helpful inbound marketing resources, including 7 questions you absolutely have to be able to answer
  • Feeling overwhelmed with your marketing automation? Start here
  • Interested in improving your marketing? Look into both free and paid marketing training with Revenue Marketing University!

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