HubSpot CMS provides excellent tools for A/B testing landing pages, and when used correctly, it’s possible to bring about dramatic performance improvements with a little work.
Of course, you need to think carefully about how to manage your testing to extract the most value from this process, so here are some tips to bear in mind before you get started.
Tips to run an A/B test of your landing page
Select a single variable to put through its paces
A/B testing is most impactful when there’s only one thing you’re changing between the two versions of the landing page you create.
Trying to include several variables isn’t as useful because you won’t know which of the multiple differences between the pages was responsible for the change in performance.
Let’s say you’ve just made the switch to 100% free web hosting, and you want to see whether page load speed has an impact on conversion rates. You could resize or remove a data-intensive element from an existing page, and have this as the point of comparison with the original design, then run the test to check how the changes play out.
You can, of course, create an entirely new page to test out, with different versions competing for clicks and courting visitor engagement in unique ways. Whatever the case, trialing just one variable is the best strategy.
Once your test pages are up and running, you need to sit back and wait for the data to roll in. Don’t expect actionable insights to emerge overnight, as if you try to glean meaning from performance figures too soon, then you might draw the wrong conclusions.
Instead, it pays to be patient, gives the competing pages the chance to stretch their legs, and only choose a winner once it’s clear that a consistent pattern in performance has emerged.
Look elsewhere for inspiration
Landing page design is an art, and one which changes with time, so keeping up with the latest trends to get inspiration is useful.
The idea here is not to become overly reliant on the iterative nature of A/B testing because sometimes you might find that there are larger issues at play that can’t be fixed by tiny tweaks.
That said, if you do decide to roll out a different design format across your site, A/B testing in HubSpot can again be handy in refining and honing your decision-making at this point. It’s a case of knowing when to use it and when to take a different path.
Consider how you market your testing
If people aren’t visiting your pages, then you can’t generate the data you need to make the test worthwhile, so promoting them is part and parcel of this process.
Your first thought might be to fire off links to everyone on your mailing list, but before you do this, you need to consider the ideal audience for the test itself.
You might decide that you’re interested to see if there’s a difference between how people respond to landing pages if they’re only clicking through from your social feeds, for instance. In that case, being more targeted with your marketing will work well.
Explore beyond the limits of what you’re testing
While you definitely need to make the variable that’s tested a simple one, that doesn’t mean you only need to analyze its effectiveness by checking up on page performance alone.
When a test is completed, also delve into the wider analytical abilities of HubSpot to see what the participants got up to after landing on the page. If they converted according to the parameters you set, such as by interacting with a given on-page element, where else did they go on your site, and what other touchpoints did they engage with?
Getting a sense of the bigger picture is useful and lets you wring even more value out of A/B testing than you’d imagine possible.
Build momentum with subsequent testing
A/B testing is not a one-shot solution but rather part of a wider effort to continue iterating on your landing page design and ultimately build a better-performing website as a result.
Once you’ve put a specific variable through its paces, you can then move on to another aspect of the design that you think could be improved or simply one that you want to experiment with when you’ve had a leftfield idea.
Choosing to test time after time will lead to long-term improvements, whereas leaving your site to stagnate will stifle growth.
Weigh the cost benefits of testing
One thing we’ve not touched on yet is the cost involved in A/B testing because, of course, by doing this, you’ll be monopolizing certain resources, which of course, generates a certain level of expense.
For example, if you get a member of the marketing team to carry out testing on a landing page, it will eat into their schedule for a day or two, while follow-up work will also be needed to analyze the results.
This means you’re spending money and potentially taking a pair of hands away from another project, which might give you cause to pause and consider if implementing testing right now is worthwhile.
What you need to do is contextualize the costs and other complications in terms of the value that the testing will deliver if it bears fruit.
So if by A/B testing a landing page, you’re then able to double the number of leads you generate or conversions you earn, it will have been more than worthwhile. Justifying testing to decision-makers is easier if you explain this, so bear that in mind.
Don’t be afraid to use a little randomness
Earlier, we talked about how it’s helpful to target your testing in order to generate actionable insights based on your ideal audience.
That said, there is value to mixing things up, as you might learn more about what works about a landing page by exposing it to wider groups.
Of course, it’s still worth marketing it to people who are already known to your business; just don’t be too rigid in terms of choosing demographics for test groups.
Simultaneous testing is a must
There’s no point in running A/B landing page testing asynchronously because the performance of pages is often tightly tied to the particular time at which they are visited.
Thus the need for simultaneous testing cannot be overstated. If you don’t do this, the results will be out of kilter and lead you to draw the wrong conclusions.
Remember what you were looking to track
Lastly, it’s important to be focused on the main metric you were looking to analyze when you designed the test in the first place, even if there are other data points that catch your eye once testing is completed.
That’s not to say that peripheral metrics aren’t useful; it’s just that a more laser-guided approach helps make iterative improvements achievable consistently.
The bottom line
Once again, you can’t just expect the quality of HubSpot’s A/B testing tools to be enough to point you in the right direction for landing page improvements on your own.
It’s up to you to harness them strategically and plan carefully to maximize the potential they represent