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Why You Must Test Your Marketing

Why You Must Test Your Marketing

Have you ever heard of an A/B test?

If you don’t know, an A/B test (a.k.a a split test) is a marketing method used to compare two variables.

Most remodelers are familiar with this concept. Unfortunately, the vast majority do not use it as a tool. What’s worse, those that do, don’t do it right.

So today I’m going to give you a quick overview on how it works. Then I’ll share the mistake that’s most commonly made. And finally I’ll share the results of a test I ran this morning for one of our Roundtables members so you can see it in action.

1. Overview: The Why, Where, What, and How of A/B Testing

Why should you test? The reason for testing is simple: to improve your results. Testing will have a huge positive impact on your marketing effectiveness.

Where should you test? Virtually everything you do can be tested. Emails, websites, job site signs, billboards, mailers, door hangers, you name it.

Although it is certainly less expensive (practically zero) to test digital products.

What specifically can you test?

          • Subject lines
          • Headlines
          • Buttons (style, shape, color)
          • Testimonials
          • Images
          • Position / Placement of elements
          • Calls-to-Action
          • Offers
          • Order of Content
          • Quantity of information
          • and about a hundred other things ūüôā

How do you test?

In A/B testing you have the CONTROL (version A) and a TREATMENT (version B).

The important thing to remember when conducting a test is to only change one thing in the Treatment. If you change more than one thing, you will never be able to determine what caused the improvement (or decline).

The Mistake

The remodelers that I’ve spoken to about testing will almost always ask what they should be testing. This is the wrong question on which to be focused. You need to start with why.

“Why did our email open rates drop significantly on this week’s newsletter? Why are we not converting more website visitors to leads? Why have the Likes on our Facebook page plateaued?”

Asking why helps you focus on the problem. And when you look at it as a problem, your thinking becomes solution oriented.

For example, using the why: “Why did our email open rates drop on this week’s newsletter?” we could hypothesize:

  • Perhaps the subject line was too boring.
  • Maybe the time of day we sent it was the issue.
  • It’s possible the email¬†preview text was at fault.

Now you can ask, “What should we test?”

Seeing it in Action

I contacted Roundtables member Michael Foering of Custom Craft Contractors this morning and asked if he would permit me to run a quick test on his home page.

He was gracious enough to give me the go ahead. This is a VERY small sample set (50 participants), But it will serve to illustrate the impact A/B testing can have on your business.

Here is their current website (aka the Control):

Custom Craft Control

25 people saw the page above. Their instruction was:

Imagine you are interested in remodeling your home. What would you do first upon arriving to this website?

Here are the results:

Looking at the results from the control, I’m going to hypothesis that there’s no clear direction on what website visitors should¬†do.

The click map is distributed all over the place. I can conclude that the experience of each visitor was completely different as they chose their own path to navigate the website.

And now for our test.

Remember we need to start with why. So lets go with the sample I used earlier:

Why are we not converting more website visitors to leads?

(This isn’t necessarily true for Custom Craft, I’m just using it to illustrate the process).

If you’ve ever attended my session How to Turn Your Website into a Lead Generating Machine you’ve heard me say this: Don’t allow your website visitors to browse. Tell them what you want them to do!

So let’s test that concept. We’re going to¬†change the call-to-action in the banner section. Here’s what our Treatment looks like:

Custom Craft Treatment

25 different people saw this version of the website. Their instruction was the same:

Imagine you are interested in remodeling your home. What would you do first upon arriving to this website?

Here are the results:

These results are very promising to me! We have 72% of the visitors doing exactly what we wanted them to do.

We can now lead them down a specific lead capture path. I think this will increase my lead capture rate (assuming the subsequent pages do their job).


As you can see, testing can be a powerful tool in improving the performance of your marketing efforts. But be sure to start with Why and you’ll be better positioned to have your tests produce results that count!

By the way, if you would like to attend my session, How to Turn Your Website into a Lead Generating Machine you can catch it at the Remodeling Show and Deck Expo on September 30th.

What About You

Do you test? What have you tested? Did you have any results that blew your mind? Please share your stories below!



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