Prototype Challenge: Two Tests Are Better Than One

Here at the Labs, we believe the old adage, “Two heads are better than one.” But we also believe that two tests are better than one.

Here’s a wild guess:

In the process of building your prototype, you had to make some decisions.

And each time you made a decision, you said goodbye to a potential product that could-have-been. You felt good about the decision, but there’s always that nagging bit of doubt. What if I should have done it the other way?

Fear not! There’s a process that will tell you what is better, and all with a bias towards sales. It’s called split testing.

What is split testing?

Split testing is using two similar “products” to determine which has a higher rate of conversion. The product in this case could be a sales page, an email, a photoshop mock up, a service outline, or anything else you want to test. Conversion here could be an outright sale, an email optin, a survey answer, or any other measure of engagement.

To split test your prototype, create a second version. Take one of the decisions you made in creating the first prototype and go the other way. Change a color, change the length of a call, change a material, etc… But change only one thing.

Again, no need to create a finished product here. You can split test two different landing pages, two different product descriptions, or two different mockups.

Now, at random, present one option to a customer. Repeat.

Notice the process here is not: Which one do you like better?

The question is instead: Would you buy this? Are you interested? Can I have your email address?

Which one the customer prefers is moot. What will actually give you information you can use is if either option makes the customer want to act. Through presenting 1 option to a group of customers and the other option to another group of customers, you can determine which is more effective.

How to arrange a split test?

There are two easy ways to conduct a split test: email and live.

For email, you’ll use your email service provider (like MailChimp) and your existing email list. Your email service provider will either have an option for split testing or simply the ability to divide your list into two unique groups.

Send one option to one group and send the other option to the other group. No need to explain that you’re testing, simply see which version of the product inspires more action (opens, clicks, additional optins, forwards, etc…)

For a live test, you can conduct tests with actual (potential) customers. Whether they are friends of friends, social media contacts, or random strangers, you can simply sit down with them, presenting one option (and only one option) and gather feedback.

Your task for today is split testing two prototype options. Use this technique to determine whether you’ve guessed correctly about what will appeal to customers and how they might use your product or service. Always maintain a bias towards gathering feedback that tells you about how customers will act (buy, contact you, click thru, optin, etc…) in relation to your offer.

Download the Day 3 worksheet here.

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