For the average business owner, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest marketing lingo. That’s the reason why I created the What Does it Really Mean? series, so business owners could be in the know and apply the latest marketing trends to their business.

Here’s another one of those terms that you should know about: A/B testing.

A/B testing is the practice of using two slightly different versions of the same media at the same time to determine which one has a higher conversion rate. The conversion rate measured (clicks, likes, signups, etc.) depends entirely on the media being used and your campaign goals.

There is an endless list of comparisons you can perform with A/B testing, but here are a few to get the ball rolling:

  • Images: Are your clients more likely to click on the image with a blue background or the one with a green background?
  • Emails: Which subject line best persuades your clients to open your correspondences?
  • Surveys: What is the perfect way to phrase a question in order to receive more detailed answers?
  • Promotions: Are your clients more likely to sign up for newsletters if offered discounts or free product?

In short, A/B testing can be applied to many of your marketing tactics, and will ultimately increase your marketing ROI.

But before you dive into this form of research, I have a couple of tips:

Don’t Overreach

When performing A/B testing on a particular medium, I suggest changing no more than one specific item at a time between version A and version B. If you do, it could be difficult to pinpoint exactly which aspect of the media caused the increased conversion rate.

Start Small

The purpose of A/B testing is to gauge the effectiveness of the media before delivering it to your entire client base. Send the two versions to separate small groups, make any necessary changes based on the results, and then send the winning media to everyone. This way, if the initial experiment doesn’t produce the desired ROI, you can try again with different groups.

If you’re curious to see A/B testing in action without taking it on yourself yet, check out how it was used in Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. It’s a dated example, but one that illustrates the benefits of A/B testing greatly. The results show that assumptions can’t always be trusted, and if his campaign advisors had gone with their guts instead of conducting A/B testing, the campaign would have lost 30.3% of its email list. A more recent example would be when health insurance company Humana sought to update their website banner; because of A/B testing, they began using a banner that resulted in 433% more clicks!

For details regarding how to set up an A/B test and how it may benefit your specific marketing needs, contact CreativeWorks Marketing today.