As a blogger, you’re getting first-hand experience in digital marketing. Whether you want to pursue it as a career or not, it’s a marketable skill that can help you in the future, especially as our world leans more and more on the digital realm.
(See, for example, me sending my husband a post on Instagram just now, instead of walking across the room to show him the photo on my phone.)
One really valuable tool at digital marketers’ disposal is AB testing. And it’s something you can practice as a blogger!
What is AB Testing?
In general, AB testing is a way to test out your marketing efforts. It’s not limited to digital marketing, but it’s much easier to do on the digital side, so it’s a lot more common.
The idea is pretty simple: you show half of your audience one thing, and the other half something else, and see which one had a higher success rate.
The important thing to keep in mind is you should only be changing one element at a time. That way you can pinpoint exactly what caused your results to improve. Did a certain picture perform better? Or maybe one subject line lead to more clicks, even though the body of the email was the exact same?
In addition, make sure it’s actionable. You want to be able to do something with that information in the future, outside of that one test. So maybe you’re AB testing subject lines, and you test “LAST CHANCE” vs. “20% OFF” in your subject line. That’s going to be more helpful than saying “we tested these two random photos against each other and this one did better.” You’re not going to use the exact same photo for the rest of time, so make sure you’re getting actionable information!
Why Should You AB Test?
The biggest reason to AB test is to learn more about your audience so you have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t.
Every audience is different, so what’s considered a *best practice* might not work for you at all! AB testing allows you to test those best practices against new ideas to see which concept works better with your audience.
The more tests you do, the better you’re going to get to know your audience. And the better you know your audience, the more you can create content that resonates with them!
What Should You be AB Testing?
So what can you as a blogger actually AB test? Quite a few things, actually!
With your email list, AB test your subject lines to see which has a better open rate. Or keep your subject line the same and customize the call to action in the body of the email. Even something as simple as changing a button color can give you interesting data to pull from!
With your external marketing, test a bunch of Pinterest graphics. Make a few different styles for a few blog posts and see which template gets more pins.
Or, if you’re running Facebook Ads, you can test the photo, the caption, the display link, the button… there are so many awesome options built into the Ad Center!
The important thing is to only change one element at a time. So if you’re changing your email call to action, don’t change the button text and the button color. Change one of them first (say, the color), test it out a few times, and then test the other, after implementing whichever color did better consistently.
It’s also important to keep in mind that it’s okay if there’s no clear winner! If you tested a blue button vs. a purple button 15 times and neither one did better than the other, you know you could use either color and be just fine.
Getting to know your audience is critical as a blogger and online business owner. AB testing is an amazing way to do it! What are you going to test first?