6 Split Tests To Validate Your Marketing Spend

“Yes, but who has time for creating two versions of everything when there’s barely enough time for one!”

I understand.

Yet the cost/benefit ratio is mind-blowing when you really grasp the effects and experience the results of split testing in your own metrics.

And there are fast and easy ways to make testing super streamlined, including: knowing where the weakest conversion point in your funnel exists and focusing optimization efforts there, or hiring the likes of yours truly to do the grunt work for you.


…here’s a selection of split-test results from projects I’ve done over the past 8 years for each of the major KPI conversion points in a fairly typical online sales funnel.

Test 1: Cold Traffic Clicks
Test 2: Landing Page Click-Throughs
Test 3: Cold Traffic Lead Generation
Test 4: Sales Page Conversions
Test 5: Email Nurture Campaigns
Test 6: Repeat Customer Sales Campaigns

Test 1: Cold Traffic Clicks

In my recent post “41.94% Result Rate for Pennies using Video Ads on Facebook!” you see how fast we can validate innovative and creative campaign ideas with results like these:


Key learnings you glean from simple split-tests on pay-per-click platforms can then be rolled out to other traffic channels and across your sales funnel.

Next up is the landing page itself.

Test 2: Landing Page Click-Throughs

This graph shows the click-through rate of a pre-sell article lander for the five variants tested.

The difference between the best performer at 37% and the worse at 24% can drastically increase campaign results and reduce ad spend.


Below are two variations from a multi-variate test looking at the best heading, sub-head and background design to use in combination.

Which of these two variations would you choose as the winner?

Variation 1:

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 11.40.48-1781

Variation 2:

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 11.45.22-1798

The winner was number 1 by quite a margin. Further tests pinpoint exactly why, which led to new insight about the target audience.

Yes, the design seems quite poor. I worked with the clients designer who had a lot on his plate. It was enough to validate the first test variants before investing more attention on graphic treatment for subsequent tests and broader roll-out.

Below shows that same split test campaign while in progress, revealing the likely winning test variants and the best overall combination of factors.

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 11.32.54-1733

Of course:

‘Landing pages’ is a catch all term for the likes of product review pages, blog articles, service descriptions, etc and may include a specific component for lead generation, or a click through to another page for further details.

As we increase the responsiveness of landing pages we can then directly focus on lead generation as per Test 3.

Test 3: Cold Traffic Lead Generation

I’ve seen dozens of styles of landing page that convert really well, or not at all.

It’s all about the ‘message to market match’ which can be split test with ease and presented even in the simplest of designs.

Here’s an example opt-in page by the very savvy marketers at Motley Fool (Financial News & Investing). The visitor clicks a text-heavy banner on a news page and comes to this page without much graphical treatment (or even copy) to speak of.


Sometimes less is more.

Over the years I’ve created opt-in page split tests with 15% vs 40% opt-in rates. Testing on a small scale before major roll-out is wise. Small increase in conversion rates have a big impact on full-scale campaigns.

Table shows opt-in rates for lead gen campaigns I built for various clients.


Here’s a new opt-in campaign just launched

The first version had zero opt-ins after some 50 impressions. Didn’t seem worth letting that continue. So I re-thought the opt-in offer, design and process (took like 30 minutes) and hey presto, we have lift off with the first opt-ins coming in within minutes at a good opt-in rate for both of the split-test versions as shown:



I’ll let this one run and update once we have a statistically significant number of impressions to conclude the true opt-in rate.

Next up:

Test 4: Sales Page Conversions

This screenshot shows a multi-variate test indicating a whopping 37.84% sales conversion rate.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 19.39.12

It was this test that really opened my eyes to the value of diligent split testing.

As hall-of-fame copywriter Gene Schwartz remarked: “only the test decides”.

As a recent example, I re-wrote the entire introduction section of a long ‘video sales letter’ for a health supplement which resulted in a very significant increase in viewer engagement.

See the colored screenshots taken from the video analytics software.

Original lead variant: 25% retention past the introduction


My new lead variant: 44% retention past the introduction


This meant the new start of the video increased engagement by… well, a lot, depending on which numbers you calculate from. 2% to 6% is a 200% increase in video completions!

In the following Dashboard we see highly profitable campaign ROI for cold display traffic during an ongoing optimization process I managed for a client, while split-testing different sales letter variations.

A 76.4% campaign ROI.

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 8.22.33-2249

If sales do not take place on the initial visit and we collect email, we can then conduct Test 5.

Test 5: Email Nurture For Initial Sales


Here’s a nice example of consistently high open-rates in an email sequence written for a client showing very strong click-rates through to the landing page / offer page.


And finally, we can also test campaigns for repeat customer purchase…

Test 6: Repeat Customer Campaigns

As an ad agency copywriter in 2007 I wrote copy for dozens of agency clients and quickly hit my first major home run…

An email I wrote for the agency’s largest client account beat the best performer by 510%!

  • Total list size 30k
  • Average order value: 10k
  • Expected enquiries based on past campaign performance: 0.05% = 15
  • Expected sales conversion: 3% = 0 new customers (they got a customer once every several months from that particular promotion).
  • Marketing costs = £2,000

For our test with my copy against the agencies existing best creative we split the list.

The agency’s email pulled in a respectable 10 new enquiries based on the 8 they expected from 15k names…

…while the new approach I took with the copy, based on traditional principles of direct response copywriting, pulled in a record breaking 61 enquiries.

And because of the highly personal nature and human appeal of my copy, the client soon closed two deals at approximately 10k each (a 20k return).

With marketing costs at 1k (half of the full cost of 2k given that we did a split test) that’s a direct campaign ROI of 1900%.

And of course they could continue to re-use the email I had written in future campaigns.

But this was only the beginning…

  • I worked with the client on their prospect information pack to increase close rate following the new lead generation.
  • I planned a follow-up series to the list of 15k that had received my email
  • Plus another campaign to the 59 leads who responded to the first email but hadn’t yet converted.
  • And my email was also scheduled for broadcast to the list of 15k that had not yet received it.


Split testing your lead gen and sales funnel can bring demonstrably higher campaign performance — and opportunities for improvement are endless!

“Sure, But I Really Have Very Limited Time For Running Test Campaigns”

I know…

Having been in the marketing budget holders chair a number of times, I know how it feels to juggle between new high-leverage opportunities and sustaining existing profitable campaigns.

Despite the transformational power of split testing, it can take a lot of time and resources to create test variants and get the performance tracking working accurately throughout the funnel.

That’s why I created a flexible service to help alleviate the challenge of validating new campaign ideas before you go ahead with major roll-outs.

Check out the service description on www.cyclicmedia.com and get in touch for campaign development and/or optimisation.


How can I tolerate working for ‘the corporation’?

[dc]I[/dc]’m often questioned on how I can work in marketing for ‘the corporation’ of consumerism which apparently is devoid of humanity…


Understand that business means ‘value exchange’, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s what a humanistic society is based on.


Yes of course today’s world is in a shambles: political power, unnecessary poverty and neurotic consumer psychology.

Visit my About page to understand what comes ‘third’…

Revenue Performance Management

Phil Fernandez excellent book ‘Revenue Disruption’ details the how and why of Revenue Performance Management through innovations in Marketing Automation.

One gratifying passage reads:

“…It’s not about having the best tagline or most exciting creative materials. Marketers have to think like a publisher who is tasked with creating consisent, relevant content for every stage of the revenue cycle. When it’s done right, this approach produces daramatically better results than traditional marketing techniques that rely on interrupting the customer”

If you want to consolidate marketing processes with a view to full revenue cycle insight (how to build the sales and marketing funnel with confidence at every step and produce reporting metrics that senior management will drool over) then get this book.

Subscription Revenue Calculator

Great tool to play with the numbers when considering your revenue potential for subscription based services.

Subscription revenue calculator.

If you have no experience of a particular market, conversion rates, how to build a product series or even a high converting sales letter or video, then playing with numbers isn’t going to get you very far.

But for those with experience, this is a very hand tool to project pricing and conversion rates that will create a sustainable income level.


Time Management for the New Professional

I’ve not posted here for a long while because of my new professional development website over at www.cyclicmedia.com has taken precedence.

Over there you’ll find insider short-cuts to professional development with a focus on productivity, management, and marketing.

For the best time management system available by far.. and I know because I developed it after reviewing every book, course, and training program I could find, check out the InstaTime Time Management System.

Have you measured yours lately?

Some marketing performance metrics I woke up dreaming about this morning…

Revenue Ratios

  • Response rate = Response volume / Exposure volume
  • Sales volume = how many sales
  • Average sales value = Total revenue / sales volume
  • Average Purchase Cycle = Total time taken for all sales / Customers

Cost Ratios

  • Cost Per Visitor = Advertisement Cost / Number of Visitors
  • Cost Per Lead = Promotion Cost / Number of Leads
  • Cost Per Opportunity = Opportunity Development Cost / Number of Opportunities
  • Cost Per Acquisition = Promotion Cost / Number of Customers

[widget id=”ad-continue-marketing”]ad-continue-marketing[/widget]Basic Profit Ratios

  • Profit Per Sale = Product Price – Cost Of Goods Sold (e.g.. Manufacture, Delivery and Merchant Costs)
  • Gross Profit = Number of Sales x Profit Per Sale (before subtracting promotion costs)
  • Net Profit = Gross Profit – Promotion Costs
  • Gross Profit Per Visitor = Gross Profit / Number of Visitors
  • Net Profit Per Visitor = Net Profit / Number of Visitors

Time Management Course

Consider all that you can gain from attending a time management course.

* Integrate proven time management techniques into your daily processes

* Make informed decisions about what you do and when

* Apply a structured whole-brain process to shape your current and future commitments

* Proactively schedule tasks and construct weekly plans and daily to-do lists

* Adopt strategies and techniques to handle procrastination and interruptions

* Develop a personal action plan to reap the most benefit from your efforts

Extensive individual and group activities immerse you in a real-world environment based on your own unique time management situation.

Activities include:

* Identifying your personal time style

* Constructing and applying an Issues/Impact matrix

* Mapping and analysing your current and future commitments

* Formulating SMART goals

* Modelling interpersonal techniques to handle interruptions based on a video scenario

* Collaborating with others to create best practice guidelines

* Developing a customised post-course time management tool kit

And there’s more… much more.

Managing Time Through Self-Management Principles

Essentials of time management

* Contrasting time-planning and time management

* Avoiding the psychological time trap

* Taking control of your life through the choices you make

Determining your time style

* Evaluating your current strengths

* Recognising opportunities for improvement

* Assessing the effect of your time style on others

Gaining control over your time

* Appraising your situation with an Issues/Impact matrix

* Targeting factors that adversely impact your time

Mapping and Analysing Your Current Situation

Incorporating a time planning process model

* Harnessing the power of a structured approach

* Re-using the model throughout your life

* Customising the model to fit your style and needs

Determining your primary purposes

* MindMapping current commitments and responsibilities

* Defining the purpose for each commitment

Assessing your realities

* Weighing the value of current efforts

* Making choices in a planned way

* Deriving tasks–the raw material of time planning

Planning for the Future

Envisioning where you want to be

* Leveraging the power of imagination

* Articulating your personal vision

* Choosing a future that works for you

Setting challenging goals

* Creating a sense of direction

* Generating personal momentum for action

* Formulating SMART objectives

Moving toward your goals

* Initiating changes to your situation

* Formulating tasks to achieve your goals

Prioritising and Scheduling

Proactively identifying your priorities

* Maximising the Important/Urgent matrix

* Applying The Pareto Principle to determine the greatest results for least effort

* Prioritising with ABC123

Building your schedule

* Assigning tasks into a monthly, weekly and daily schedule

* Integrating scheduling technologies to fit your lifestyle

* Creating a dynamic to-do list

* Reducing mental clutter

Managing Your Time Day to Day

Overcoming procrastination

* Identifying the root causes of inaction

* Beating the deadline-driven trap

* Approaching your tasks positively

Focusing your attention

* Diffusing interruptions constructively

* Conquering over-commitment

Handling the flood of e-mail

* Optimising e-mail for your advantage

* Stepping off the “e-mail-go-round”

Customising your workspace

* Architecting your most effective environment

* Designing a personal information flow and retrieval process

Getting the Best Return on Your Time Investment

Analysing your progress

* Conducting regular reviews

* Comparing planned vs. actual usage with a time log

Changing your time habits for the better

* Calculating potential time savings

* Exercising the freedom to do it your way

* Writing a Personal Statement of Commitment

And after all that… now discover something far simpler that cuts straight to the point and gives you the permanent ability to manage your time quickly and easily.

InstaTime Time Management System.

Workforce Management Training

How to achieve strong workforce time management

What a nightmare… timesheets, corporate management, employee tracking, management development, employee scheduling, timekeeping, facilities management, the list of elements for workforce time management truly stretches as far as the sun.

But let’s be practical. You barely have enough time to DO the work on your plate every day, let alone study and absorb all of the various trainings for workforce time management.. right?

So what answer is there to achieving a strong workforce time management plan?

I’ve answered that question extensively in a new…

Free Workforce Time Management White Paper

A free white paper titled Exposing Productivity Gaps In Teams (how to invisibly ‘force’ your team to maximize their use of time’ has been made available on a new Time Management Workforce Training page.

Or read more on Time Management Training.

Time Management Training Course

How to choose a time management training course

…with one arm tied behind your back…

Many areas are involved with time management training.. so much so that finding good quality time management training course for yourself or your team can be difficult.

In fact, using a bad training program can have a hugely detrimental effect on the quality of work produced from that point on, as well as reducing the morale of your team, or turning you cynical and pessimistic before your senior years entitle you to be.

That’s why I wrote a white paper exposing some of the problems with time management training programs and my personal advice on selecting good time management training programs.

To some extent, leadership training in management classes should be part of time training. Training seminars are great. But often lead to a small blip in extra productivity and then going back to same old same old within weeks, or even days.

You’ve probably had that experience in the past, and you are looking for something new, fresh, yet effective.

Continuing education courses are a good idea, but training and development in any area can be expensive.

So what are the key considerations when looking for a Time Management Training course?

Find out in my…

Free Time Management Training Course White Paper

A free white paper titled Exposing Productivity Gaps In Teams (how to invisibly ‘force’ your team to maximize their use of time’ has been made available on a new Time Management Training Course page.

Project Management vs Time Management

Project Management

Organizing the activities necessary to accomplish projects.

Projects are any desired outcome that contains more than one physical action (tasks) to be accomplished.

Project management requires several combined skills, including being able to organize, make decisions, ask good quality questions, analyze and track progress, and then manage your time.

If you’re working in a team, grab yourself a copy of my white paper for  Team Management training.

Time Management

Deciding on and doing tasks to accomplish projects.

Inside the InstaTime time management system you’ll see how I do personal project management outside of a team environment.

× Live Chat