While everyone else is out looking for the newest ninja hack to target, out bid or out smart the ad network their running traffic on, I'm sitting her doing BORING little tasks day in and day out that ACTUALLY move the needle and are 100% transferrable to ANY ad or traffic network I want to run on today, tomorrow or 10 years from now.
Today, I want to show you the often overlooked strategy I use to reliably as much as double my conversions within a 24-72 hour period, every time I do it.
What is this amazing covert NINJA tactic I am talking about?
Headline split testing!
Why Split Test Headlines?
You've probably heard it before, but your headline is the first thing that people read when they land on your page (assuming you DO have a headline... right... you have a headline?).
So it makes sense that testing different headline could persuade someone to stay longer, leave faster or take more action on the page.
From experience, once you have achieved a baseline of results on a page, the headline is where you should spend most of your time improving.
What Should I test in my Headlines?
So this is going to vary by industry obviously, but I like to try things that revolve around the following "ideas" or "hooks"
- Qualify for Not - "Check if you Qualify for..."
- Take action before a specific date "Complete our Assessement before the End of November to Qualify for..."
- Call out their geography, that this is JUST for them "Residents of New York..."
- Call out their Gender or Age or both "Women over 40 in Florida could Qualify for..."
- Let them know how easy it is "Apply for this in just 30-seconds and one phone call"
Now this is not an exhaustive list of headlines you can test, but it should get your creative juices flowing.
You see, the WHOLE marketing game is won or lost with your ability to persuade people to do the thing you need them to do.
This comes down to the words we use in either a video, ad, landing page etc.
So, once you're done reading this post, grab a blank piece of paper or open up your text editor of choice and start writing out headline ideas.
I like to take a blank piece of paper and write out as many ideas as I can, and then refine them.
How Do I Test Headlines on My Landing Pages
For 99% of our landing pages we use UnBounce.
It's a great tool, there are lots of landing page tools out there, it's the one we choose to use.
If you are using Instapage, ClickFunnels, Thrive Themes for Wordpress or ANY other tool, there should be some sort of split testing ability built in.
The only requirement you should have of your split testing tool is that
- It can track what ever your conversion is, likely a thank you page view, so that you can quickly and easily see which page is winning
- You can run more than just an A/B (2 headlines) test.
So, like I mentioned above, I will write out as many unique angles as I can think of for a particular market.
I don't filter here, or try to filter as little as possible,
The goal is a LONG list, because you won't try them all, but you want lots of ideas to work with.
From that initial list, try and refine 2-5 different versions you can test.
IMPORTANT: You want your headlines to be related as closely as possible to the ad you are running here. IF you are running several different versions of ads that have different hooks and angles, you may want to first try running each ad to it's own lander that has a headline(s) that match the message in your ads.
How Many Headlines Do I Test?
This is going to come back to how much traffic you are getting to that page each day.
I am hella impatient, and want to see small wins ASAP.
I run 3-5 headlines at a time, but we also are getting hundreds of visitors to most of our pages each day.
If you are getting less than 100 visitors a day to your page, I would look to test no more than 3 different headlines at a time.
WHY fewer headlines for lower traffic amounts?
- It will take you a LONG time to see which headline bubbles up to the top as the winner if you are getting fewer visits each day.
- You could be wasting money on traffic to poor performing headlines, and if you're running lower amounts of traffic, I am sure every dollar counts.
How Often Should I Be Testing Headlines?
Always be testing.
I will admit I don't have a perfect system built around testing the headlines on my page every week or 10 days.
But, it is the go to for me when I realize that our ads are starting to get stale.
I will test headlines to an ad I know is winning and usually get a BUMP in results.
The other key time is when we are rolling out new hooks for ads.
e.g. targeting moms and dads specifically rather than everyone in the life insurance market.
We want our landing pages to speak to MOMS or DADS depending on which ad they click on.
This will ALWAYS improve conversion vs just a generic message to everyone.
Almost EVERY market has a way to slice and dice the demographics up so that you can speak more specifically to a smaller niche of the entire population.
This is kinda marketing 101, but I know a TON of marketers that just use the SPRAY and PRAY method of writing ads to everyone and not speaking to anyone specifically.
How much of my traffic Do I Test With
I go against the grain here and often test with as much as 50% of my traffic on a page.
BUT, and this is important, I watch it like a HAWK.
Literally, I am in there 4-5 times a day checking to ensure I am not shooting my own foot by sending 50% of my traffic on a page to a headline variation that is worse...
or in some cases 5 headline variations that are worse.
Some folks will say test with only 10-15% of your pages traffic, but I am impatient and want results.
I figure I'll gamble with 50% of a pages traffic for a day or two and possible drive up my costs, all in the name of finding a winner fast and then making more profits with that new winning headline.
How do I choose the Winner?
So because of my ADHD nature, I can NEVER let a split test run for a week and get all that statistically relevant data built up, BUT I still make it work just fine, so you can too.
Are there clear LOSERS
The first step is to identify clear losers.
If your page usually converts at lets say 5% and you've got 50 visits to one of your test headlines and has no conversions yet, my gut tells me it sucks.
Pause that puppy and move on. Let that sweet traffic got to another variation.
WOWSERS we've got a winner
What I look for is something that is a clear front runner, and ideally by 25 to 50% better than my current headline.
I don't always get this, and when I don't, I go back to the drawing board.
In UnBounce, it's super easy to adjust the weighting (percentage of traffic going to each page), so I tend to tweak and play around with that based on the stats I am seeing.
When you get a front runner that looks like it could improve your pages performance by 25, 50 or even 100% start pushing more of the traffic to that page.
IMPORTANT: When you start moving more traffic towards a variation page then your control headline you NEED to watch this like a hawk. Why? Because conversion rates on pages can still swing a lot until they get a few hundred visits. So as a rule I won't push ALL Traffic to a new variation after just a few hours, but I may push most of my test traffic to one particular variation, especially if it is a CLEAR front runner by a lot.
What Happens when I have ALL Losers
So this obviously happens.
Just take a look at this example below.
I REALLY want to improve the conversion on this page, because I know in the past, we've been closer to 8-9%.
I wrote a bunch of headlines for this page this week and none of them won.
I spent 2-3 days changing around the weighting as I saw one page pull ahead vs another, only to send the bulk of traffic back to the winning variation at the end of the day.
We can't always WIN.
If we could, then things would be easy, the rewards would NOT be as big and well.. shit would be boring.
We have to try to improve, but be willing to accept failure.
When things don't work, we can always learn something from it.
So... In Conclusion
- Grab a piece of paper or note app and try to write as many different headlines as you can for your market
- Try to work that long list down to 3-5 you feel could really contend
- Figure out how to split test your pages in what ever lander app or page builder you're using and setup a test.
- Review the stats and start making decisions ASAP.
Split testing landers, especially headlines, are some of the BIGGEST and EASIEST wins you can have with campaigns.
So go do it ... NOW...
I mean, first pop your email in the box at the bottom of this post and join my weekly MARKETING MAYHEM newsletter
THEN go do some split testing.
Alright make it happen, and see you next post.