I love the book Traction and am using the bullseye framework relentlessly when I launch a new startup (8 so far and counting, including one that’s doing $100M+ in ARR)… and it’s working amazingly well.
But the biggest thing to understand about marketing is that you need to run a continuous, never-ending series of experiments to see what fails and what works.
Then, when something works (i.e. LTV > 3x CAC), you scale the heck out of it until you can’t spend any more on that particular marketing channel.
But do you know what’s giving us our biggest gain in visit to trial conversion rate for one of my new startups?
Good old split testing — using the (free!) Google Optimize.
What should you split test and how you should you split test? For me, it’s:
- Home Page
- Pricing Page
- Trial Signup Page
In that order.
But what should you test? Here’s what will NOT move the needle:
- Colors of buttons
- Moving elements around the page
- Hiding elements (headlines, CTAs, images, etc)
Here’s what I test:
- Headlines AND sub headlines (together)
- Hero images (that sit below / next to the headline)
- CTA text (such as “Try It Free” vs “Sign Up Now”)
- Page length / page load time (short vs long)
In the last 30 days we’ve increased our visitor to sign up rate by over 380% with 3 relatively simple tests. And we’re running a fourth test now that currently has a 74% probability to beat our baseline, so it’s looking GOOD!
In summary, there are 3 ways to grow your SaaS business:
- You can raise a load of money (been there, done that)
- You can increase your prices or move upmarket (enterprise, zzzzzzz)
- You can reduce your CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost)
Split testing reduces your CAC by improving your visit to trial conversion rate. The cheaper it is to get a trial user, the cheaper it is to get a customer, because you get more trial users from your paid marketing channels.
Before you go and raise money, commit to spending $100K a month in Adwords or go on a hiring spree for a killer CMO, use the resources you already have and get your web site converting like a machine first.
The trickle-down benefits are just too good to ignore. And split testing is easy — I’m talking point and click easy — so there’s no reason not to spend time setting up the tests.
Beyond that, you should never stop testing. Your first 2–5 tests will get you step function gains (up to a 100% improvement in visitor to trial sign up rate PER TEST) and beyond that it’s incremental gains.
But the compound effects of relentless A/B testing for 12 months could mean a 5x+ improvement in visitor to trial sign up rate, which is an 80% reduction in your Customer Acquisition Cost if you’re investing in paid marketing.
For a total of 50 hours work during that year. Talk about low hanging fruit… 🍏🍒
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