When to Start A/B Testing Your Copy and Where to Start

Everyone has heard a story about a brand A/B testing their copy and increasing their sales ten-fold overnight, but when and how do you start?

Through the years of copywriting and testing a boatload of landing pages/sales pages/emails/call to actions, there are a few points I know for sure:

* The headline / opener is the most important thing to test
* Simple tweaks are rarely worth it unless you have a ton of subscribers/viewers
* Start out with the best work you can and go from there

One thing is for sure: There are no concrete guarantees.

For some companies, long-form sales pages work, some companies make millions of dollars off flashy yellow sales pages, some companies can just put a “buy now” button because their reputation doesn’t even need a sales page. Every company is different, it's just a matter of starting.

The most important part is to get something up so you can start working with it.

When to start

I always recommend to clients that they shouldn’t even think about A/B testing until they’ve crossed the 1,000 line. Whether that’s 1,000 page views or 1,000 email subscribers, that’s a great number where you can gather solid data. A website with two readers a day won’t give any quality data to know what's working and what's not.

So, if you’re not there yet, just keep growing and then come back to this.

Testing your headline

For every single company, I always recommend starting any A/B test with the headline.

For email, that means the subject. For almost every other page, that means the first opening sentence. For blog posts, that usually means the title.

Tweaking the headline can have the biggest impact before anything else you test. I’ve seen many clients double their click rates by simply changing the opening headline.

Side note: If your page doesn’t have a headline, fix that immediately. Opening up with a giant paragraph of wordy text is a bad idea.

My favorite exercise for creating a quality headline, especially when it’s for something that could make you a ton of money, is to write out 30 different angles for the page you’re writing.

Let’s say you’re selling personal training. The different angles you could come at your coaching might include:
* Get abs
* Get ripped in 30 days
* Finally take control of your health
* Get the body you’ve always wanted
* Start competing
* Meal prep like a boss

You get the idea.

Pro tip: If you want to test your favorites in a weekend, set up some Facebook dark posts (link; https://sproutsocial.com/insights/facebook-dark-posts/ ) and get the data you want. Facebook is pretty harsh on fitness content, but that’s another topic for another time.

Now, the last thing you want to do is use cliches in your writing.

When you write a headline, if it sounds like something you’ve heard a thousand different times, you can’t use it. The second you make a reader eye-roll or make their eyes glaze over, it’s over. The sale will never happen.

Usually, this means you need to make it a little risky. You need to make a bold statement, especially when you’re starting out and you’re looking to stand out from what everyone offers.

Get specific

Look, I get it. Getting specific means you’re going to start turning some people away. People always want generic headlines because they want a wide net of possible buyers.

The unfortunate part is that generic headlines generally do the opposite. They don’t show 

Back to the personal training headline. Imagine two pages with two different headlines that are selling at-home workouts:

Get healthy in 2018!


Get the body you always wanted without a gym membership

With the first one, sure, health is important. But even if you attract the perfect client, that means nothing to them. We should all care about our health, but something that generic makes you seem bland, and no one hires bland. They want to work with people who understand their problems and are ready to solve them.

The more specific you are, the better your copy will perform because your readers will know that you understand their problem and that you have solutions to fix it.

At the roots, copywriting is simply putting into words how you solve problems.

Make it simple, make it clear, get in front of the people who could buy from you.