After spending countless hours and a large part of your budget on your marketing efforts, it can be frustrating to find out that they’re not working. You may have tried every copywriting tip in the book for your email subject lines, spent ages learning to build a landing page, or created a masterpiece ad campaign, only to launch them and see no improvement in your sales rates.

So what do you do? You could make some educated guesses on how to improve your marketing based on your instincts and your knowledge of your target market, but that’s still merely guesswork.

Or, you could use testing to narrow down precisely which aspects of your marketing assets are the source of the problem, and confidently change only those pieces of the puzzle to generate improved results.

Businesses Are Still Using Instinct Over Data

Because there are no set rules for online marketing success, entrepreneurs have to learn from a lot of trial and error along the way — which is why it’s critical to test the performance of your marketing efforts. Your messaging instincts may be strong, but no one can predict with 100% accuracy what messages your audience is going to respond to.

Your messaging instincts may be strong, but no one can predict with 100% accuracy what messages your audience is going to respond to.
Most small businesses and entrepreneurs don’t take advantage of testing to learn from their mistakes. A study by Smart Insights found that the majority of marketers do not use testing tools to optimize their campaign assets. In fact, only 48% of marketers run A/B split tests on their marketing assets, while 37% aren’t running any.

Half of Small Businesses Aren’t Focusing on Optimization

When you test your marketing, you’re able to optimize the parts that are working in order to bring in more of those good results. However, many entrepreneurs don’t know the importance of running optimized marketing campaigns. In fact, 44% of marketers don’t have any form of digital marketing plan. Smart Insights found that, while marketers ranked SEO as the highest digital marketing activity for ROI, 47% use little to no optimization for SEO tactics.

The findings for landing pages, paid digital media and email marketing showed similar lack of optimization. Many small business owners assume that effective testing is expensive, complicated and reserved for the big guys.

Modern Marketers Turn To Split Testing

Finding out what’s working and not working in your marketing doesn’t have to be complicated.

Split testing is an easy and inexpensive way to gain the information you need to improve your response rates across a variety of marketing mediums, including email, landing pages and ads. By comparing two or more versions of a headline, call to action or subject line, entrepreneurs can quickly determine what their market prefers, allowing them to steadily improve their message until they have impressive conversion rates.

You should be testing everything all the time, because every minute you spend not testing something is a minute that you’re potentially taking a loss.
According to the Data-Driven Split Testing guide, “You should be testing everything all the time, because every minute you spend not testing something is a minute that you’re potentially taking a loss.”

Split Testing Brings Results

The more split tests you run, the more you’ll learn about your audience’s behavior and preferences — allowing you to quickly make informed decisions about where to focus your time and money.

According to marketing expert Dale Cudmore, “Split tests are a statistically backed method that tells you if a particular change, usually on your website, will lead to more profit. Even small improvements in your conversion rate can lead to tens of thousands in extra profit every year for the foreseeable future.”

There are countless split testing case studies that show the big difference in conversions that simple changes can make. For example,, an ecommerce store that stocks Americans with FSA-eligible products and services, wanted to improve their revenue per visit on a particular page. They ran A/B split tests to eventually find that their tab-heavy navigation bar was too distracting for customers. After simplifying it, they saw a 53.8% increase in revenue on their page.

In another revealing example, a business named Extra Space Storage, a storage facility with over 1,000 facilities across the US, was looking to improve their conversion rate. They decided to test the color of their CTA button. Originally blue, the split test tried yellow and orange, too. In the end, the orange button outperformed the others with a conversion rate increase of 7.8%.

How will split testing benefit your small business?

By running split tests, you’ll get:

  • An easy way to find the best version of any online ad so you don’t waste money on under-performing ads
  • Actionable information about which CTAs perform best so you can make simple tweaks that will dramatically improve your sales
  • Clear answers about which email subject lines work best so that you can always choose ones that your customers won’t be able to resist
  • Insight into the performance of your copy so you can continuously improve it to attract more customers from your target market
  • Solid data about what landing page layouts your customers prefer so you can increase form fills and get more leads than ever
  • An understanding of the different ways to split test to identify which is best for achieving your goal

For an easy-to-follow guide that will show you how to run simple yet effective split tests from start to finish, check out Data-Driven Split Testing.

About Aslan Williams
Aslan Williams grew up in a small, southern town, tailgating at football games and watching sunsets over the Mississippi Delta. Since leaving her southern roots four years ago, she has lived in five countries, practicing yoga, teaching English and honing her marketing skills at various International internships. Now, as a recent graduate from UCSB, Aslan is applying her degrees in Communication and English in her role as Content Engagement Coordinator at Ontraport.