Growth strategy

Forks in the Road

Written by Callum Hopkins / April 16, 2014

Callum is full stack developer at Lean Labs, with strong ties to web and graphical based design. He lives in the North East of Scotland and is a huge Football (Soccer) supporter. In his spare time, Callum enjoys reading up on the latest web trends and visiting art museums and galleries.

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both" the opening lines to the infamous "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost accurately sums up the problem faced by many business owners when changing elements on important pages to their website's conversion pages.

Even when you have a page delivering high and successful conversions, there will always be the opportunity to make slight tweaks to the content, visual elements and CTAs that can help gain even more conversations or more lucrative conversations. However, the problem is knowing which changes are going to work the best.

Making the Correct Changes

Making assured changes often is a good strategy in keeping your business and it's public image fresh and up to date. However, making a change at the wrong time or in fact the entirely wrong change can be disastrous. As a business owner or someone who is in charge of making these changes, you need to have complete faith the data used to support or influence your decisions.

It’s tough enough to make a decision to change X to Y but there’s even more pressure to succeed when you have the options of changing X to Y or even Z. It’s like in a game of blackjack; it’s all about whether you stick or twist. If you’re not completely assured that the next card will make a positive difference, you can always stick with what you have. However, when you’ve split your pairs, you have more at risk on the table. Now with two hands and double the amount at stake, you need to think about how what you do with one hand and how it will affect the other.

The same thinking needs to be applied when you're faced with a multiple choice in terms of making conversation page changes. How do you ensure that that Z is better than X and Y or Y is better than Z and X? In addition, what if you have is already better than both your new options?

Compare and Contrast Testing

Enter A/B Split Testing. A/B split testing is the easiest and more effective way to test multiple options of changes against each other changes and also against what you have originally. In a nutshell, it compares your options and delivers results on these comparisons for consideration. Options are tested simultaneously, allowing you to accurately test your options with your customer base in a non partial method. This allows fair and powerful comparison results. A/B split testing allows you to get real data feedback from the people that are your biggest influencers; your customers.

A/B split testing isn’t limit to two options nor is it only effective when you are faced with multiple choices. Anything can be use in a A/B split test, a few examples can be:

  • Images
  • Content changes
  • CTAs
  • Navigational changes
  • Video and interactive media

Tried and Tested

With the help of A/B split testing, business have been able to test new options and changes and have seen the results of implementing successful changes. A great example of this is the 37Signals case study where they found that "30-Day Free Trial on All Accounts" generated 30% more sign-ups than the original “Start a Highrise Account.” Click Here to read the case study.

A/B split testing allows safe, effective and accurate testing of options and is a tool used everyday by businesses to help ensure their online presence is at it’s optimum. It aids in allowing decision makers to have the best data when facing important decisions with changes to online material.

When Robert Frost was faced with the diverging roads in the yellow wood, I would think he would have loved to have been able to use A/B split testing to find out the road less traveled would indeed make all the difference.

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference".

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