Assuming Nothing: How to Get Good at Split Testing Sales Strategies (Review)

“Assume nothing!”

That’s how Derek Gehl’s insightful, in-depth article on how to increase your online sales begins.  And he’s right.  One great strategy you should always remember for increasing your web sales—perhaps the most important strategy—is that you should test every strategy.  And that means every strategy, not just the new ideas or the ones that don’t seem to be performing that well.

How do you know what you’re currently doing, even if it’s working well, is working better than your other options if you haven’t tested them?

The answer is simple: you don’t.

So don’t be scared to try new things, and don’t be afraid to make changes when you see positive results.

Gehl’s article tackles the problem of how to increase your online sales from this position of testing your current strategies against new ideas.  He also offers twelve strategies that he has personally tested and found to be effective, but the greatest take-away from his article is that you can (and should) do this for yourself with all of your business practices.  Your results might surprise you.

I will go over a couple of his points to provide examples, but his article is well worth a read in its entirety and can be found here:

One of Gehl’s most insightful, if counterintuitive, ideas is to only offer one product or service on your homepage (even if your company actually offers several products or services).  It may seem an unlikely choice, but according to his testing when you focus on one product (or one group of very similar products) and devote more copy to describing it your sales will always increase.

What should this additional copy include?  According to another of Gehl’s points, your web copy should first and foremost seek to establish your credibility and build trust with your potential customers.  He lists two specific ways you can increase trust through your copy, including using authentic and specific customer testimonials, and including your own experience and credentials to show your customer how well qualified you are to handle their needs or solve their problems.

Another counterintuitive idea?  Remove any mention of buying, purchasing, cost, or sales from your headlines and top fold.  According to Gehl, waiting to mention or even hint at a purchase until after you have hooked your potential customer into reading through your copy and establishing trust will increase your sales drastically.

If not mentioning selling your product seems like a weird way to go about the whole sales pitch, you can test the idea yourself.  Just run one version of your homepage with your current copy and one version with all sales words removed until toward the end of your copy, and see which performs better.

Not sure how to go about the logistics of testing your current practices against potential changes?  Not to worry: Gehl also goes into an in-depth description of exactly what split testing is and how to go about it (the main thing to remember is to only test one change at a time so you know what is causing potential sales changes).  He even recommends the best software for getting the job done easily and correctly.

For a full description of how to go about testing potential changes, check out Derek Gehl’s thorough article here:

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