That quote, made famous by Abraham Lincoln, tells us a lot about how we should approach an A / B test …
Running a series of random A / B tests on your landing page with no insight and no underlying hypothesis is like blindfolding through the woods, hopping a dull ax and hitting a tree.
This may sound like a ton of fun, but if your goal is to cut down a lot of trees (or get lots of conversions), this is by no means a very effective strategy.
So what ol honest Abe would suggest when it comes to your A / B test?
He would probably say that we should spend a lot of time – perhaps the majority of our time is ready for any A / B test. We must gather data, capture information among our visitors and build our tests based on solid evidence.
Preparation significantly improves implementation, which naturally leads to better results.
Yet many people jump straight into their A / B test… without any basis.
Why prepare for A / B test anyway?
The purpose of A / B testing is to find out what works best. So it may look like you can do test after test until you hit on something that works.
But, as Michael Agard points out:
The tree is unlikely to give way to a dull ax. And, running tests without data is unlikely to yield good results. In fact, it is likely to be a pure waste of your time and money.
It takes time, effort, research, monitoring and analysis to conduct A / B testing correctly.
So, how can we prepare?Here are two steps before starting any A / B test:
Phase 1 – Research
Michael Agard relates the move to “sharpening the ax”.
Basically you want to learn as much as you can about your target market…
First, the essential:
Who are they?
What do they want Or what are their wishes (or problems)?
Where are they in the purchase process?
Next, dig a little deeper:What are they interested in?
What are his hobbies?
And, go inside their head:
What are their prices?
What do they care
How do they speak (In particular, what words and phrases do they use?)
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you in the next stage of A / B exam preparation (which we will cover in no time).
For example, if you know that your target market is made up mostly of men, then let’s say about age 35–50 — you probably don’t want to test a headline that young women would like.
So, how can you learn the answers to the above questions?
By researching every resource available to you.
4 ways to collect insights for A / B test
Anything that helps you better understand your target market (or website visitor) when it is a matter of research. Here are some options:
1. Study your current customers.
What do they have in common?
Which of the above questions can you answer by studying your past and present customers?
2. Use surveys.
If you cannot answer the above questions by studying your customers, why not ask them directly?
Try sending a simple survey. Remember, give your customers something in exchange for their time to get more feedback. Some companies will offer discounts, entry into the competition or a freebie in exchange for completing a survey.
In addition, you should consider surveying your website visitors (and potential customers). Tools like Qualaro make it easy to set up and run surveys on your website. This is often a very eye-opening exercise when you think that you have nothing left to know about your visitors.
3. Gather data.
If you have previous A / B tests or previous campaigns, look at those results. Do you see a pattern?
Also, look at what your website visitors are doing on your website.