March 2014 Featured Article
Simple Testing For Increased Sales and Profits
It is crucial to know your numbers so you can optimize your business for success. But the last thing you want to do is make yourself crazy. You'll start focusing solely on testing, and lose time doing what you are best at – being an expert, and helping people.
That said, there are simple ways you can test elements of your business so you can optimize easily. And, lucky for you, the best way to test is to change things one at a time. You just have to tweak little things here and there, test them against each other, and keep moving forward.
Admittedly, it can be a little addictive, but it doesn't have to take too much of your time.
So, today I'm going to show you a few great ways to test various elements of your business. To get better results, without having to spend months and months on it.
I'll show you why what you learned in High School Lab can bring you a huge boost in profits…
The most important page on your website to optimize as an Expertpreneur®…
And why the lowest price doesn't always get you the most sales… or the most profit.
The Good Ol' Days
I wasn't much into science class in High School. The teachers droned on and on, you had to do a lot of memorization, and the tests were hard!
But one fun part of it was going to lab, where you got to do really interesting experiments. (Sometimes, things even blew up!)
In many science experiments, you have to find the results of altering something we already understand. For example, if we already know the makeup of water (H20), what happens if we use 2 O's instead? (You get hydrogen peroxide!)
This is the foundation for testing in marketing. You take what you know, referred to as the “control”, and test it against an altered version, known as the “variable”. You typically put them through an “A/B split test”, which tests them against each other, one after another over and over again, until you get enough results to see which performed better.
Whichever one has the best outcome becomes the new control. Or, the “winner”, as we call it in the direct response marketing world.
To give a clear example, let's say you have a landing page you created to get your audience to register for your webinar. You completed the landing page, but have a few other headlines you'd like to try.
In the typical A/B Split test, you present the original landing page as your “A” page, and then create a version with a different headline as the “B” page. Once you've sent enough traffic to the test, and have gotten enough results to make a decision, (so the results are “statistically valid”), the landing page which performs better becomes your new “control” or “winner.”
And you can continue this process to test other elements of this page. You could choose to continue testing headlines after that, or if it's at a really good conversion rate, well above the industry average of 30%, you can move on to testing and optimizing a different page on your website.
The key point is… you take a part of your marketing – a web page, landing page, sales letter – change one element of it – a headline, a price, the lead – and test this change against the original, the control. Just know that it's important to only focus on one element at a time when testing, or you won't know which change caused the marketing piece to perform better or worse.
Google Analytics is a great tool for doing this, and it's free to use. You can install the code into your website or web page… (or have someone do it for you) and use the “Experiment” tool in the Content area for split testing. A Google Analytics Experiment will show visitors both of your test pages in succession (your first visitor sees page A, the next sees page B, and this repeats over and over), until you have sufficient data to end the experiment, the “split test.”
It's really as simple as that! But before you get overwhelmed with what to test first, think back to my article on what a good website looks like… do you remember what the most important page is for Expertpreneurs®?
Optimizing Your Web Presence
Your website is your business card. The professionalism of the layout, and the copy on your page, is as important as any other piece you create. Potential clients will judge the quality of your business based on what they see.
But did you know that not every page is created equal?
As an Expertpreneur®, the most important page on your website is your “About Us” page. It is the cornerstone of your personal story and separates you from everyone else out there. There, you present your passion, drive, and USP. Along with social proof from others, in the form of success stories and endorsements.
And how you present this information can have a direct impact on whether people stick around to learn more, or click the “x” button and move on.
Naturally, you want copy that speaks directly to your target audience, and tells a compelling story of how you got where you are, and why you do what you do. But there can be a few different angles to try. And you never know which might be more effective.
That's where you can implement Google Analytics Experiments (A/B split testing) again. Maybe you have more than one story to tell. Or perhaps different USPs to test. You can test your control “About Us” page vs. the same page with one variable changed, to see which keeps prospects around longer, and leads to inquiries or them getting on your email list.
Perhaps a funny story about your pets that lead you into your career would work better than a somber story about a previous job. You never know until you test.
Another element of your “About Us” page that could affect conversions and inquiries is the inclusion of your media/press kit. As an Expertpreneur®, it's important to have a kit readily available so you can be booked for speaking events, media engagements and interviews.
However, where you place it could have a large impact on how many people download your media kit. Perhaps having a download link prominently displayed on your “About Us” page will get you more media bookings. Or maybe it's best for you to create a dedicated “Media Kit” tab on your site navigation instead.
It may seem like there are a lot of little things to test, but your About Us page is worth the extra time and effort. Once you've optimized it, you've guaranteed yourself great “stick value” for those who come to your site, looking to find out more about you!
You see, many businesses wage price wars with each other. The foundation of their success is by offering the lowest possible price, no matter what the competition tries. Wal-mart comes to mind, in this case.
Typically they have a lot of capital to work with, and are offering basic commodities you can get anywhere.
However, as Expertpreneurs®, our services provide real value beyond just being a tangible product. And you can get a lot more money per sale than you probably think is possible – as long as you position yourself well, and test different price points for your offers.
People will buy something if they perceive the value to be greater than the price they are paying. And we all know that good marketing and good copy can accomplish that.
I should also add that this is another reason why keeping track of your numbers is so important. You may find that you sell more items when a product is priced lower. But you may actually generate more profits at a higher price.
When you create a sales page for a product, I highly recommend testing price as one of your first split tests. And don't be afraid to shoot high with it. See what your competition offers for something comparable, and test a comparable number, or even higher.
In many cases, the higher number will make people think, “okay, this is really worth something.”
Another great way of testing prices is to have a few options for purchase. For example, a three-tiered subscription where you get the bare bones for the lowest price, a little more for the middle price, and some premium services for the highest price.
There are a few ways to use this to your advantage, but the standard method is to make the middle option look the most desirable. Offer very little with your bottom offer, make the middle one robust, and only add a little more to the top tier while making it significantly more expensive. You can also include a label under your middle option saying it's the most popular choice.
What happens is, people will be drawn to that option automatically, and be more inclined to buy it. And when you set it at a price that optimizes your profit, while remaining congruent to the value delivered to the client, it's a win-win situation!
If the psychology of pricing interests you, there is a great book you can read called “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely, that dives deep into different models you can try, and what really drives people's decisions to buy.
This acronym, coined by aircraft engineer Kelly Johnson in the early 1900's, and repeated over and over again by many great minds (including Dan Kennedy), embodies how you should approach your testing: Keep it Simple, Stupid, otherwise known as Keep it Stupid Simple.
Testing can be intimidating; I certainly wasn't the biggest fan of science back in my school days. But it really is simple to implement, and will make a world of difference in your business.
Start with your About Us page. Because a strong presence there will put you well ahead of your competition. Test one thing at a time, and take it slowly. It's all about making slow, steady progress.
Then move on to your pricing for coaching, info products, and events. You will be blown away by how much you can realistically charge, after you test!
Honestly, once you've gotten the hang of it, the possibilities are endless. You can (and must) test landing pages, paid advertising, opt-ins, sales pages, you name it! And you will most likely fall in love with the whole process.
But the most important thing is to take a breath, start simple, keep it simple, and make it easy on yourself. Take it one step at a time, and the results will come. Happy testing!