Time… resources… energy… are all very, very limited. That’s why you should be… focusing on the critical factors of profitability.
There’s one big problem that marketers have when split testing: there’s an almost infinite number of options to test and they don’t know where to start.
A ‘critical factor’ is the part of a system that has the most influence over the result. For example, if you cut the gas line in your car you won’t go very far. The gas line is a critical factor to that system.
Yes we’re talking about the Pareto Principle. Pareto is the man who figured out that 80% to 90% of the results come from 10% to 20% of what you do (That’s why they’re the critical factors). The critical 20% that influences 80% of the results.
And when it comes to your marketing, 80% of your time should be spent optimizing these 5 critical factors for converting prospects into customers, making sales and increasing profits:
1. Your ad (e.g. Google Adwords, banner, radio ad)
2. Your landing page (optin page, e-commerce site)
3. Your content (e.g. video, report, articles, auto-responder messages)
4. Your sales delivery (sales person, webpage, direct mail letter, video sales letter)
5. Your order device (online orderpage, operator, reply form)
Here’s another more “global” critical factor: WHAT you work on in your business.
I believe in my heart of hearts that SPLIT TESTING is DEFINITELY in the top 20%. I would even rank it #1 for an up-and-coming internet marketer.
There’s no better way to learn what REALLY works than split testing. At the same time that you’re split testing, you get the added benefit of a world class education in copywriting and marketing that’s specific to your market. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Furthermore, if you study copywriting teachers like John Carlton, and use his strategies and tactics, your marketing can just take off like wildfire.
So, my suggestion to you is this: do 1 hour of split-testing every single day that you work.
(NOTE: If you’re NOT getting a lot of traffic yet, then maybe you’ll only set up one test per week on your blog or one test per month on your sales letter, and then you can test more often as the traffic builds up).
For most of us, ‘good intentions’ are simply not enough. We might realize that ‘split testing’ is a good idea as we read an article or hear someone talk about it. But the busy-ness of our lives will typically take over, get in the way of our good intentions to test, and we’ll forget about it again.
Instead, we need to make split testing a top priority and a habit in our business. And asking ourselves the right questions each day is an excellent way to begin.
One of my favorite questions to ask is this:
“What could I test today that could give me the biggest pay raise?”
(Write this on a post-it note and attach it to your computer so you keep it “front-of-mind” and visible every single day that you work).
Then it’s simply a case of brainstorming your ideas, writing them down, prioritizing what you want to test first, and taking consistent action.
Many marketers make the mistake of looking at things in isolation. They only see the parts, and not the whole sales process.
As marketers, we see: ads, optin pages, sales letters, order pages and upsell pages. However, as a consumer, we only see 1 business experience.
Things simply don’t happen in isolation, including a sale. So, let’s take a look at the entire marketing pathway that prospects experience with an online business…
Here’s a typical process that could happen in the golf market:
1. Joe surfs on his favorite site.
2. He sees a banner and clicks on it.
3. He then clicks on a link that brings him to the main sales letter.
4. He then goes to the order page.
5. He orders or he abandons the process.
Now, that’s a SIMPLIFIED pathway. Most of the time, the pathway might have 20, 30 or even 50 steps. Especially, if you’re using email autoresponders.
And a good marketer understands the basic chain of events above.
(Here’s some advice if you’re just getting started: create a flow chart of your marketing process. Use paper, use a mindmap, use flowchart software, use a whiteboard – the point is JUST DO IT.)
One of the most powerful elements to look at to really understand marketing pathways is “promises and expectations”.
A “promise expectation” happens ANY TIME YOU SAY ANYTHING.
Re-read that because it’s an axiom of marketing and sales.
Let me put it to you another way. Each time you say something, people EXPECT what you said to happen or be delivered. It’s an unconscious process that is hardwired into every human mind.
Most marketers make big bold promises. However, they either make the wrong kind of promise or their sales process isn’t really aligned with the original promise. And here’ an important lesson:
As soon as someone breaks a promise, all trust evaporates faster than water dropped on a dusty desert.
Consciously or unconsciously, the promise-breaker is now branded as a ‘liar’ by the potential customer. And people don’t tend to buy from liars.
The “wrong promise” occurs when the promise isn’t a match with that specific prospect. For example: I’m promising that you’re going to improve your golf putting game on my ad, while the sales letter talks about improving your drive…
Trust also fades into the wind when your promise isn’t believable.
Making the right promise is NOT about hyperbole and exaggerations, it’s about matching the promise correctly with the core desires of your target prospects. This is the heart of what I call “harmonization”.
And more importantly — you must CONTINUE the pathway of trust throughout your marketing process too.
We’ll compare 2 different sales processes in just a moment, so you can clearly see what you shouldn’t do… and what you should do as well.
The reality is, that almost every marketing process FAILS because of either:
1. Ineffective promises and claims that don’t resonate with that prospect
2. Incongruencies in the marketing process
And we’re going to look at how to solve BOTH of these problems.
First, let me illustrate an example of a BAD marketing process that fails, using the golfing example we mentioned earlier.
1. Uncle Joe surfs on his favorite golf site and is reading an article about golf vacations in Scotland.
2. He sees a banner about a new golf club and clicks on it.
3. He goes to the new golf club site and asks for a report that talks about “How to Improve Your Golf Game”.
4. He reads the report and gets a few tips.
5. He then clicks on a link that brings him to the main sales letter to sell him golf clubs.
6. He then goes to the order page to check out the price.
7. He abandons the process because he wasn’t looking for golf clubs in the first place.. or… the incongruency “threw him off”.
Let’s compare that to what I would consider is a “winning marketing process” using the same golf club example.
1. Mr. Gronkbee surfs on his favorite golf site and he’s reading an article on “hitting longer drives”.
2. He sees a banner about a new golf club that guarantees to add “50 yards to his drive” and clicks on it.
3. He goes to the new golf club site and asks for a report that explains “The science of 300 yard drives”.
4. He reads the report and he gets excited about the science behind the new cutting-edge material that delivers longer drives.
5. He then clicks on a link that brings him to the main sales letter. He reads a ton of great testimonials from golfers who say it’s added a 50 yards or more to their drives.
6. He then goes to the order page and he places his order. He gets the product and uses it. And he’s smashing balls further than ever before. He become an evangelist for those clubs and the company that sell them.
Expectations begin as soon as someone reads your first ad that’s designed to get them to click. And you need to DELIVER on those expectations throughout every marketing pathway you create.
So take the time to “harmonize” your sales process – from the ad right through to the sales page, order page, and the product or service you offer.
It’s simple really. By giving potential customers what they want, you’ll develop a marketing funnel that works.
Very few “experts” will ever admit that their suggestions are simply their BEST GUESSES.
I’m almost willing to bet that if you go to 100 big Madison avenue advertising agencies, not one will ever say:
“You know what Mr. Jones… We’ve got what we think is a great idea. But the real truth is… We have no clue if this is going to work or not. So let’s test it and find out.”
Now don’t get me wrong. Many expert opinions are very valuable and have tremendous impact.
But the reality is, no one “knows” anything until it’s actually tested and the market votes with their wallets and credit cards.
Markets and people’s behaviors are changing faster than ever now, thanks to the web. And yet, at the same time, the internet and technology has allowed a new breed of business builders to emerge who understand this key principle.
I call them “Extreme Optimizers”.
These are the people that apply the same techniques and processes that my team and I use to optimize our own business and other businesses’ marketing.
In our optimization company, one of our core values is: “Testing ends all arguments”.
That’s because split-testing crushes opinions and theories and replaces them with market-driven realities. So instead of guesswork, you have real-world results to guide your decision making.
And the best mindset to have as you test is a simple, curiosity-driven “Don’t Know” attitude. You say to yourself: “I’m going to try this and see what happens.” And as they say: “The numbers don’t lie.”
Too many marketers let their opinions blind them. They think they “know what works” because they’ve been “writing sales letters for years” or they’ve been “running their business for years”.
But a more effective, and arguably more profitable, attitude to have is, “I don’t know anything – I’m just going to let the market tell me what works and what doesn’t.”
And when you get deep into testing, you’ll discover that 80% of the ideas that you were sure were “great” don’t work… while the crazy ideas, that you never thought would work, end up boosting your conversion rates.
After a while, you quickly start realizing that you don’t know much. AND THAT’S A HUGE BREAKTHROUGH… because then you’ll let your market, prospects and clients TELL you what works and what doesn’t instead.
It’s a critical and important paradigm shift that can make all the difference to your results.
What’s your experience with split testing? Let us know in the comments below.