Your school is recognized through your marketing efforts, including your online presence and digital marketing. Whether it’s through your email campaigns, social media content or website, it’s important to deliver a great experience to visitors and potential families.
A/B testing can make a huge difference in how well your marketing campaigns perform. When done consistently, A/B testing can improve your return on investment (ROI) as well as the effectiveness of your marketing strategies.
What is A/B Testing
In case you’re wondering, A/B testing, also called “split testing” is nothing more than comparing two versions of a marketing element to determine which one performs better. A simple variation of one detail of the marketing element is presented to randomly selected users. A statistical analysis of the results data is conducted, indicating which variation performed the best.
Types of A/B Tests
There are many types of A/B tests you can run to determine what elements of your marketing are performing better. Often, it’s easier to think about types of A/B tests by considering the goals you have for your marketing campaigns. These are usually broken down into one of four goals, such as:
Increase traffic to your website
If you want to increase the amount of traffic coming to your website or blog, you may want to run A/B tests on variables like blog posts or webpage titles from social media or other online properties that link to your website or blog, thus driving more traffic to your site.
Typically, school marketers test a variety of variables on landing pages, such as different locations, colors or anchor text. Using the highest performing variables can increase the number of people who fill out inquiry forms, or “convert”.
Lower webpage bounce rate
When you have a high bounce rate on a particular web page or post, you may want to test copy, headlines, fonts or featured images to determine if you can improve your website’s bounce rates.
Increase merchandise sales
Some school websites sell merchandise and should consider A/B testing variables related to shopping cart abandonment. Amazingly, 70 percent of merchandise customers leave items in their shopping cart, so testing variables such as product photos, check-out page designs and even where you should display shipping costs can lower your shopping cart abandonment rates.
Increase engagement rates
Consider running A/B tests on social media campaigns, online ads, email and landing pages. A/B testing these assets will help educate you on what copy will perform better. For example, you can run A/B tests on email subject lines, ad titles and copy, graphics, images, etc. There are many variables you can test to improve the outcomes of your marketing campaigns.
Since each independent school has its own target audience(s), there’s no one-size fits all for designing your website, writing the most compelling copy or building the most effective inquiry page. To determine what design elements, copy or other marketing features work best for your target audience, you need to use A/B testing to figure out your prospective family preferences.
To help you do this, I’ve curated 7 of the best A/B testing tools to help you determine which variables will yield the results you’re looking for.
I love this free how-to guide from Hubspot and Kissmetrics to help schools get started with A/B testing. It offers an A/B test tracking template, step-by-step instructions and a statistical significance calculator to help you determine your wins, losses or inconclusive results (yes, it happens).
Google offers a great set of tools under the Google Marketing Platform (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) to help organizations improve the performance of their websites. Optimize is Google’s A/B testing tool and it is free to use. Google Optimize offers standard A/B testing tools as well as multivariate testing, split URL testing and server-side experiments. This is a great tool that every school should be using, along with Google Analytics and Google Search Console to ensure their website meets Google’s rules and is optimized for the best results.
Crazy Egg is a website optimization tool that offers a variety of features such as A/B testing, heatmaps, recordings and more. It is a great tool for testing variants of every page on your website by adding a snippet of code to the pages you want to test. Crazy Egg allows you to A/B tests without any coding experience.
AB Tasty is a conversion rate tool that helps you build and run A/B tests, split tests, multivariate tests and funnel tests. It’s an easy tool to use as it offers a visual editor. You can also use their advanced targeting to test based on various criteria such as URL, geolocation, weather, and more. AB Tasty also generates reports in real-time, allowing you to make decisions quickly and accurately.
Adobe Target is a website optimization tool that allows you to segment audiences and run A/B and other types of tests to improve the performance across web, mobile, IoT and more. It’s easy to learn and use the Adobe Target visual composer to design and run A/B tests.
Are you struggling to capture inquiries through your forms? Leadformly allows you to customize your forms and implement best practices. Leadformly offers templates based on years of A/B tests to determine the best methods for achieving the best conversion rates.
A/B testing is no longer a new marketing best practice. Finding an A/B testing tool is no longer an issue. Now, the challenge is choosing the right one for your school.
Your online assets need to be the best they can be and A/B testing can help you do that. When you test variables you’re not only increasing inquiries and enrollments, you’re also improving your knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. You can apply your new knowledge in designing your future marketing campaigns.
Have you used any of the A/B testing tools listed above? Is there a tool you think should be added to the list above? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…