Of all my sales letters and squeeze pages, I only split test the top 10% that get the most traffic. The whole point of split testing is to have two versions of your sales letter or squeeze page, Version A and Version B.
Version A should only be slightly different to Version B. You might change just the headline or one header graphic. Then by using tools such as Google Website Optimizer, you can track the results and find out which version brings in most opt-ins or sales. Usually small differences can mean a big difference in your overall conversion rate.
Setting up for split testing
Setting up to do a split test is really easy. I always test:
- Removing the sub-headline
- Removing the header graphic
- Changing just a single word in the headline
You will be surprised how making small changes can increase your conversion rate by 10% or 20%. Even if the alternate split test fails, you can always choose another element to split test and start testing again.
I pretty much test the beginning and end of the copy because that’s where you lose most people, either in the Attention stage or the Action stage.
Well… that’s how I split test.
Warning! Bad advice
But I always hear advice like: “The first thing to split test is the offer.”
WTF does that mean? Split test the offer!? This is just such a load of amateur BS, I need to explain it.
What they mean by that is that they suggest that you setup one sales letter pricing your product at $17 and another pricing it at $47 and see which gets more sales.
Or perhaps offer one bonus on Version A and a different bonus on Version B… or one upsell on Version A and a different upsell on Version B.
Or even worse, a straight $37 sale for Version A and a $1 trial for Version B. People pay $1 now and $36 in 14 days.
Don’t split test on price
The problem with split testing price is:
- You piss off people who paid a higher price
- It’s very hard to make heads or tails of your results
Let’s say you split test $17 versus $47. The $47 copy converts at 2% but the $17 copy converts at 4%. Great, you just doubled your conversion rate so price at $17, right?
Even though you doubled the amount of sales at $17, you now make $34 every time you used to make $47. You’ve given yourself a pay cut. Your visitor value dropped from $0.94 to $0.68.
Profits pay the bills… not number of sales
It’s all about the profits, not the number of sales. That’s why many internet marketing experts rightly suggest you raise your prices, because you can make slightly more profits with less sales, so you deal with more responsive customers in smaller numbers.
You can probably see now why the dollar trial scenario is even worse. Let’s say your $37 offer converts at 3% and you introduce the dollar trial offer which converts at 15%… but only 10% of those buyers actually let the trial offer go through… since there’s no good reason to pay out an additional $37 when they already have the product for a dollar.
The straight $37 offer converts at 3% so that means your visitor value is: 37 times 0.03 = $1.11. Every time someone comes to your web site you make about $1.11.
That’s huge. It means you could bid a dollar per click on AdWords and still make money.
$1 trial offer woes
Let’s test it against the dollar trial offer. I’m going to ignore the $1 payment since that money is going to get gobbled up by credit card fees. But 15% of your visitors commit to this trial offer.
Most of them drop out but 10% stick. $37 * 0.15 * 0.10 = a visitor value of $0.55.
Adding the dollar trial really cut your conversion rate in half! Even though you wouldn’t think it seeing big numbers like 15% or 10%… you’re almost trying to give up a sale to get an opt-in instead.
This isn’t even taking into account the increased customer service time and refund rate you’d get with a dollar trial. I get people contacting me all the time for products they paid for with a recurring payment plan saying, “I never paid for this, you autobilled me.” And I respond, “You paid with PayPal, there’s no way I auto-billed you. You signed up for this.” People forget.
If you want to split test the offer and test stuff like a dollar trial, go for it. But long before doing that, I would run a few dozen split tests on the headline and call-to-action to make sure the sales letter was pimped out enough to justify that extra time spent split testing the offer.
- Test quick and easy Attention and Action Elements first (headline, sub-headline, removing one word, order button).
- It’s easier to double your conversions than double your traffic.