Does your lead gen strategy pass the test? Here’s how to use A/B testing to make the grade and drive more leads

April 8, 2021

“Do you think these ads will convert?”

This is a question I hear a lot from clients, co-workers and colleagues, and I answer it the same way just about every time: “I don’t know, what happened when you tested them?”

The reason I do this isn’t to be smug (well, maybe a little). I ask this question because if you’re not testing your ad copy, creative and calls-to-action, you’re basing your strategies on assumptions and educated guesses. 

Data is your friend when it comes to ad campaigns, and testing gives you invaluable insights into your campaign elements that can make the difference between a funnel loaded with leads, or a bone-dry sales pipeline. 

Now, that’s not to say that sometimes good, and even great marketing comes from “going with your gut”. But I’ve rarely seen campaigns perform consistently well without some form of testing. 

Whether you call it A/B testing, split testing, multivariate testing, it all has the same goal: provide objective and definitive proof that one creative element performs better than another. 

Why is this so important? If you’re spending thousands of dollars to capture high-quality leads for your company, you need to be sure that you’re putting your best foot forward. 

Testing is the only way to confidently know what your audience wants and needs to see from your brand, products and services.  

Keep reading to learn how you can design, launch and optimize a testing strategy that will drive more leads and keep you ahead of your competition. 

Some basic points on how to ace your tests

In a nutshell, A/B testing is the process of running two separate versions of the same campaign and changing one creative element to see how it impacts performance. Here’s some examples of campaigns:

For the creative elements, there’s a ton of good candidates for testing, here are some of the most effective: 

  • Images (photos of a product vs. photos of people using the product)
  • Call-to-action text and button color
  • Headline copy
  • Offers (20% off vs. free setup)
  • Video length (15 seconds vs. 1 minute)

There are literally dozens of different elements you can test, but it’s best to start with the basics and work your way up. 

Easy ways to get started with A/B testing

The majority of our clients see the most success with Google and Facebook ads, and this is where we start testing. For Facebook, it’s as simple as changing the image in the ad, here’s an example: 

Notice how everything is the same as far as the ad copy and ‘Learn more’ button. This is really important! 

It’s called “A/B” testing for a reason: you can only test 2 versions (A and B) at a time to get definitive results. Here’s an example with Google Ads: 

You never know what your audience will respond to, so experiment with some different messages. 

As far as tracking, here are some of the metrics you should use to measure success: 

  • Click through rate, this is the easiest one to get started with. Whichever ad version had the highest percentage of clicks is the winner
  • Conversion rate, take the total number of website visitors and compare which ad version had more people convert (contact form fills and phone calls)
  • Cost per lead, this one’s a little deeper measure that helps with your campaign budgeting. You always want to know which ad version converts leads at the lowest cost, so you get the most bang for your buck
  • Cost per sale, here’s a key metric that will tell you which ads lead to revenue. Clicks and leads are nice, but without the dollars to show for it, you’ll want to keep testing to make sure your ads are driving sales. 

Once you’ve got your testing strategy in place, it’s time for the fine-tuning.

Always remember that you’re testing your audience as much as your ads

This is a point that I think marketers often forget when they launch an A/B testing campaign. 

The data and the numbers are obviously very important, but to get the most of your tests, always put yourself in the shoes of the actual people that see your ads. 

Knowing your audience is critical to all of your marketing endeavors, especially when it comes to A/B testing? What are their pain points? Why would they choose your company to solve them? What do they consider valuable about your product or service?

If you don’t have the answers to these questions, your testing strategy won’t be nearly as successful as it should be. 

Here’s an example from Apple’s original iPod campaign. They focused on what their customers wanted vs. how great their own product was: 

Here’s another way you can focus your tests on your audience. Think of their biggest objections, then test creative around how your product or service handles those objections: 

Both images courtesy of MarketingExamples.com

When you A/B test with this methodology, you find out the biggest hot-buttons your audience has. This info is a gold mine and can be incorporated throughout your lead generation strategy. 

Wrapping up with a final exam

All your campaigns can benefit from A/B testing, and hopefully this article gave you some inspiration on how you can use it to improve your results. 

Whether you’re just getting started and have some questions, or you’ve been running tests for a while and need some fresh ideas, get in touch with the BB Team to see how we can help. 

 

Chris Ramaglia

Chris Ramaglia

EVP and Partner

Chris Ramaglia leads our digital strategies at the agency. He has more than 17 years' experience with online lead generation, holds nine digital marketing certifications, and has a borderline obsession with helping our clients smash their new business goals.