What is A/B Testing?
A/B testing is a marketing technique that is comprised of two versions of a website (A and B) with the primary purpose being to determine which website has a more impactful user experience. This information is important because it tells the tester which changes they should make to maximize the attention of their viewership.
Acknowledge the Potential Problem(s)
Where to start? You’ve just come to the sad realization that your website may not be converting your users as often as you’d like. You have now decided to map out all of the different design elements on your website that are potentially influencing your conversion rate. There is no golden answer with A/B testing, but there are optimization tactics that can surely give you a better understanding of what needs improvement. Here are some examples of common things to test:
- Your Headline Statement – Your headline should be clear and understandable within the first 5 seconds of reading it. Use this opportunity to test certain texts, font sizes and verbiage to learn what works best for your audience.
- Your Text – The devil is in the details. Something as common as the text choice of your website can potentially make a multiplying difference with your conversion rate. How do you find the best text? Test it out, or simply ask your patients!
- Your Images – Perhaps consider reducing or increasing the number of images on your website. Too many elements can be distracting to your user, and not enough can reflect poorly from an aesthetics perspective. The key is to find the perfect middle ground.
- Your Call to Action(s) – Why did you bring your audience to your website? My guess is that if you’re a healthcare clinic, your goal is to provide them with the tools to book an appointment. Consider the placement, the size, the text, the wording, and even the color of your Call to Action button. For example, traditionally speaking, red is a more aggressive and visually stimulating color than blue, and has actually proven to convert more users. Of course, in healthcare, it is rare to see a bright red color on any website, so you should be mindful of your industry and person of focus. It is also important to stay consistent with the colors of your brand. If you’re primary audience is color-blind, then that’s a different story!
- Your Video(s) – One of our clients was an advocate for highlighting aspects of their practice via video, which can be an effective way to draw in your audience, if done correctly. The video must be up to the same professional standard that you hold yourself to, and like any Call to Action, it must be strategically embedded into your website. In this scenario, our client’s conversion rate had significantly decreased when they introduced their video online. The video itself wasn’t the issue, but we found out that people were leaving the website instantaneously because the video automatically played once the user entered the website. We theorized that the clinic’s prospective patients were leaving or “bouncing” because they were checking the website during their office hours, and the unexpected video prompted them to immediately close the browser. Once we rectified the issue, our client’s conversion rate increased significantly.
Once you have chosen which elements to test, strategize with your web developer to determine which A/B testing tools would be best to achieve your intended results.
A/B Testing Strategies
There are a variety of ways to test the effectiveness of your sites, but as mentioned before, there is no magic formula for success. Your accomplishment will come with patience within this trial and error, but here are some more tips on how to increase your chances of an efficient and successful A/B testing campaign.
- Time Span of Test – One of the biggest mistakes one can make, is making a misinformed decision based on a insufficient amount of data. Depending on your website traffic, you may want to run the test for a couple weeks before pulling the plug. Ideally, for a smaller clinic, you’d want to accumulate at least a couple hundred patient views before concluding your study.
- Early Testing – If your clinic is going through a major shift, for example, you are introducing a new service, then you will want to start testing as soon as possible to avoid loss of sales and to penetrate your market quicker. Optimize your website before your competitors can adapt!
- Who Sees What?– You do not want to confuse your existing patients with a new design initiative, so write in a provisional code that will allow only your new site visitors access to your testing. Additionally, if you have repeat visitors, you will need to make sure that they see the same version of your website each time, or else your data will be skewed.
- Consistency is Key – If you are testing a specific Call to Action that may be visible on multiple pages within your website, you must track the effectiveness of each page with this Call to Action on it, to draw the most accurate conclusion possible.
- Don’t Question the Numbers – Once your testing period is complete, don’t be alarmed with the results you’ve received. Remember that this method is comprised of empirical evidence, but if you are unconvinced, then perhaps a re-test is in order.
A/B Testing can be a taxing and tricky process, but with the correct strategy and patience, you will find that the end result will yield you benefits, which will simplify the process for influencing your viewers. By following these A/B testing tips listed above you’ll gain a greater insight to what you can improve on for your clinic’s website, and effectively increase your chances of your success overall.