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Split Testing Secrets That Work

As some of the best marketing professionals point out, “If you are not testing, you are guessing.” Such a statement has a wealth of truth to it. Those who do not split test are implementing marketing methods and tools into the development of their website, without really knowing what works. As a result, most websites are not being developed in a manner that leads to the most effective lead generation results.

One of the most significant reasons that affect the use of A/B split testing is not that the testing itself is difficult. The mere fact that most professionals do not know what A/B testing is or how to implement it is the main driving factor in its use.

The key here: do not be like most marketing professionals. It is time to set your brand apart by learning A/B testing and configuring it into your lead generation strategy. At the end of the day, your efforts will lead to great results. Let’s get started by first understanding what A/B testing is.

What is A/B split testing?

A/B testing, also known as variation testing or split testing, is the process of comparing two versions of a web page to determine which one is performing better based on certain variables. The variants in the split test are A and B, where A is often the control group and B is the variable. For an increase in variance, some brands choose to also incorporate a C version, with other variables. For the sake of this guide and simplicity, we will just stick to a traditional A/B test scheme.

Since some people are visual learners, here is what an A/B test concept looks like:


As you can tell, you have a control group version and a variation version. Depending upon the variables you use when developing each site, you will likely notice a different lead generation rate on one version. Since lead generation is your focus, you want to create a variable and a control group and in the variable version, add different lead generation strategies to see what works best.

The Benefits of A/B Testing

Now that you have a good sense of what goes into an A/B test, you may be wondering what the advantage is of an A/B test.

According to VWO, A/B testing is one of the surest way to increase your leads and traffic to your website. In addition, most brands see a huge return on investment because as leads increase, so do sales and overall revenue.

Tech Advisory also points out, A/B testing is also beneficial for the following reasons:

  • Cost Effective. Most software for A/B tests is a one-time investment, and even then the cost for the software itself is pretty minimal compared to other marketing materials. Once you invest in the software and spend some time configuring your A/B test, there really is not anything left for you to do. As a result, you are putting in a minimal investment for a high rate of return.
  • Accurate Measure of Performance. A/B tests are also a great measure of performance. You will get an inside view of how each option performs, which will make it easier for you to decide what is the best lead generation strategy for your site.
  • Measures Behavior. Lastly, A/B tests are an excellent measure of your customer’s behavior. You will be able to gauge which products and variations work best for your customers, which helps you understand your target market better.

Overall, using A/B testing for your lead generation strategy is a solid way to get the results that you are looking for. Now that we have covered what A/B testing is, how it works, and the primary advantages, let us get to the heart of this discussion – which is what A/B split tests you should use for improved lead generation.

The Twitter Image A/B Test

For those of you who are loyal to Twitter and have numerous followers, then there is an A/B test out there just for you. According to Hubspot, many brands simply use Twitter as a means to get certain statements out, without substantiating those statements with images. To improve your lead generation using Twitter, it is time to make some changes.

Instead of succumbing to Twitter’s own line of images that now appear in your brand’s stream, which you can look at in the visual below, you can make the new change work to your advantage and first test how the change affects your lead generation results. Here is a strategy that one Hubspot marketer personally tried:


To perform the A/B test, select 20 tweets. Once you know what you are going to tweet, double the original group into two equal parts (20 per group for a total of 40). One half of the tweets, tweet as normal and add features such as ebooks, templates, and blog posts. This group is going to be your control group.

On the variable group, add an image to those exact same set of tweets. When tweeting both groups, the tweets need to be scheduled for separate days for a full week, but at the exact same time so that you are tweeting during high traffic hours.

At the end of the week, you will notice a substantial increase in your lead generation rates. For example, the individual who first tried out the test saw a 36% increase in clicks, a 41% increase in retweets, a 48% increase in favorites, a 31% increase in visits, and a 55% increase in leads

As you perform your own run of this test, your main objective is to test the images to see what work best. After you have tested, you can implement the images that work best and ultimately, you will see an increase in your lead generation rate. It really is that easy.

A/B Test: Images Do Not Always Generate Leads

Yes, you read the title correctly. You are not going to always notice an improvement in leads with images on your page. Rather than guess in terms of where images will work and where they will not, you should perform an A/B test.

As Unbounce mentions, one website was able to increase its lead generation, just by removing images from a sign up page.

In most cases, an image reduces lead generation rates because the image draws user’s attention away from the sign up form. Second, the image also creates a “shock” factor. That is to say, the image is too shocking, bland, or corporate, thereby scaring your leads away.

To ensure that you are putting an image on the right page and that the image is effective, you should perform an A/B test. You can first assume which images work and then test the images to note which ones show the quantitative results that you are aiming for.

Page Navigation

There are a few reasons why Apple is such a successful brand, but one of the most significant is its minimalistic style and user friendly interface. When creating a web page and in attempting to generate leads, you should apply the same principle.

According to Struto, performing an A/B test for the navigation of your website is one way to easily generate leads. In the A/B test performed, the group created two landing pages: one that was extremely navigable and a second version that included a number of distractions such as images and videos.

As you can already guess, the page with fewer distractions and easier navigation was the one that won out. Therefore, if you are looking to improve your lead generation results, then you should check if your users are looking for an easy to use webpage with as few distractions as possible. This way, you will be able to improve your lead generation rates.

Change the Language of Your Call to Action

How you phrase and where you place your call to action are leading factors on whether your CTA is going to generate leads. As Atomic Reach points out, “A call-to-action is an essential part of content marketing. It allows for your readers to become engaged with your brand.”

The more engaging your call to action is, the higher the chance that it is going to lead to an improvement in your lead generation rates.

Capterra suggests first changing the language of your call to action. For example, rather than saying something standard like, “Join today!” or “Give us a call!” you are better off testing your calls to action. The more you reword the language and update it in a manner that appeals to your users, the better results you will have.

After you have configured the wording of your call to action, the next step is to test the placement of your call to action. According to CrazyEgg, you should test a number of variations.

Some brands have been more successful placing their call to action above the fold, on the top right, at the end of the content, at the footer, or at the bottom right. It would be easy to say that one of those options is the best option, but in reality – the best option is what tests best for your brand and users. Therefore, take the time to quantitatively analyze what your users best respond to and implement that option.

Stock Photos vs. Real Photos

Some marketing professionals have gotten the concept of photos down, while others have not. If you have been using photos on your pages, the next step is to ask yourself if those photos are effective in generating leads. According to one case study published on Slide Share, it was found that replacing stock photos on certain websites led to an increase in leads and conversions.

As a result, it is best to avoid wrongly assuming that your stock photos are effective in generating leads. The right thing to do would be to create two versions of a page and add stock photos on one and regular images on the other. Afterwards, you can do an analysis of which one performs better at generating more leads. Chances are you will find that the page with normal and natural photos will win out.

The Button Color Test

Alright, you may be reading the headline and wondering how such a simple factor can influence your lead generation rate. According to Unbounce and many other lead generation experts, it does have a lot of weight because psychologically, color places a role in how people perceive things.

Here is an overview of a button test that one website performed on WhichTestWon:


The test performed indicates that since Version B was more appealing to users, they clicked on it more often. As you can tell, the color of even the buttons on your page can affect how effective your lead generation campaign is.

While it is not recommended that you start affixing all of your page buttons with a yellow and blue color scheme and style, it is recommended that you start testing your options and verifying which colors appeal most to your users. By taking the time to perform a test like this, you will find that even the simplest moves can lead to greater lead generation results. In addition, there is also a lesson to be learned from this specific lead generation test, which is that when creating a button, the best buttons are those that are completely visible and clear, like the B version.

A/B Test Your Email Campaign

As we have touched upon, leads can be generated through your landing page and social media, but one area we have yet to touch upon is your email marketing campaign. If you thought that you cannot A/B split test your email campaign, then think again – because email marketing is one of the best things to test.

According to Wishpond’s blog, there are a number of ways to test your email marketing campaign. To get started, you should find a sample that you want to use from your email list or you can split an entire segment. Next, create to variations of one email and send it out to two users. After you have sent out the email, you should start tracking for variations in factors like open rate, view rate, click through rate, and even the conversion rate.

Now that you know how to perform an email split test, here are a few variations that you can using when testing. By focusing on these variations and figuring out which work best for your email campaign, you will see leads skyrocket – and you cannot beat that result!

  • The Subject Line. The first factor that you should consider changing when performing your A/B split test is the subject line. Most emails are glazed over because the subject line is not attention-grabbing enough or if there is not enough personalization. Consequently, your best bet is to create a variation that includes a personalized subject line that addresses the reader with “you.”
  • Text Only or Visual and Text. The next factor that you may want to consider is whether you want to use text only or visual and text. Some users respond better to one or the other, so it is best to test both versions on your users to that you improve your lead generation rate. At the end of the day though, many marketing professionals have noticed that text and visuals is the optimal solution. Images not only spruce up an email, but they draw the viewer’s attention in a manner that leads to great results.
  • Hard Sell or Soft Sell. The final consideration that you may want to create an A/B test for is the hard sell vs. soft sell component of your email. Some marketing professionals have found that their leads respond better to soft sales, while others have noticed they respond better to hard sales. To figure out what works best on your leads, simply send out different variations in emails and wait for results.

The main advantage of performing an email marketing A/B split test is that it is perhaps one of the easiest types of tests to perform. The main time commitment for this test is formulating the email versions. Once you have the appropriate emails set up, you can start the campaign and run it in no time – short and sweet.


Overall, running an A/B split test campaign to generate leads is an invaluable part of the process. Keep in mind that an A/B split test is just one way to raise your lead generation rates. There are numerous other options out there to help you achieve the results that you are aiming for.

Also, once you get the process down for A/B split testing, you may even end up loving it. Be careful though, once you start getting the hang of it, you may be thinking of numerous opportunities to use your testing. The good news is, with all of the marketing strategies out there, there are endless things that you can test.

Lastly, let me know your thoughts and any other tips for split testing that have worked for you. Leave a comment below and I look forward to hearing from you.

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About Sean Donahoe

Sean is one of the most recognized industry leaders in business and marketing. As a popular speaker, author, consultant he has helped over 50,000 students world wide find success in their businesses and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and businesses of every size grow and thrive...

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  1. Removing a skin tag

    Great article, thank you for sharing this with us!

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