Improving Your Results, One Step at a Time
Posted On: 2015-04-08
by: Bill Platt

8th, 2015
All great journeys begin with a single step.

As self-publishers, few of us have a marketing team behind our books, so we need to step up to the table to provide the needed marketing for our books.

Today, I am going to discuss with you the concept of A/B Split Testing, and how you can use it to increase your book sales.

The concept behind split testing is to provide one option or design element to one set of people and to provide an alternate option or design element to a second set of people.

Conceptually, we want to provide a sales page to one group of people with one setup -- layout and copy, then we want to provide another group of people a different setup -- layout and copy.

Ideally, we only want to have a minor change between both setups. For example:

* One page will have an orange buy button and the other would have a yellow buy button;
* One page will have a specific keyword in the title of the page and the other would not;
* One page would have the author's picture prominent on the page and the other would not;
* One page will have the author in a suit, and the other would have the author dressed casually.

Even the smallest factors within a sales page can lead to dramatic differences in results.

The point is that when testing two sales pages, we only want a minor change between both pages, then we want to test both pages against a measurable group of people.

To see split tests others have set up and what can be learned from the results, read this article.

In a perfect world, Amazon would show us how many people looked at our book on a specific day, then we could compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges, when we are doing split testing.

In the real world, Amazon doesn't share that information with us.

With Amazon, we cannot run split tests based on the number of people who see our book sales pages. Instead what we have to do is to measure one day or one week against another. I tend to run my Amazon split tests over the course of one week, so I can get a more realistic understanding of what one product display does against another.

HINT: Amazon sales reporting changes to a new day at 3am EST / 12am PST.

Amazon does not let us see real traffic numbers, but Smashwords does.

Inside Smashwords, go to your Dashboard, then click Details under "Full and Sample Downloads". Although it must be noted that Smashwords can only show you the statistics for your book, as it was viewed from the Smashwords website, so this information really doesn't help you see inside of Amazon's statistics. And I don't know about you, but I see more sales from Amazon than Smashwords.

You can even use your author's website to split test different outcomes.

The basics behind split testing are:

* Define your goal (sale, subscribe, click, etc);
* Give your audience clear instructions;
* Track your results (discover how many people see and respond to your call-to-action).

If you have an author website, then you are further ahead than most of the people competing with you to sell books.

If you don't have your own author website, why not?

If you choose to provide an author website, you can use tools such as Optimizely to split test sales and marketing elements on your website. Optimizely has a free and paid version. For most of us, the free version is all we really need. You can learn more about it HERE.

Isn't This Just Too Much Work?

Typically, you can spend less than one hour a week setting up a split test, and reviewing the results when the split test is done.

Importantly, some people see a 20% increase in sales after running a split test, and others see an increase of more than 1200%!!

This is why it is important to test and track results. A 1200% increase in sales has the potential to increase your sales by thousands of dollars per month!

Our goal should be to discover what simple changes we can make to our book sales pages to generate incremental increases in our sales numbers.

The honest truth is that if you do not do any split testing, then any change you make is a shot in the dark.

However, if you do split testing, what you discover could seriously improve your book sales, and if you are spending less than an hour a week to do the test setup and analysis, then you might discover that this ONE HOUR could potentially translate into the most profitable hour you invest each week.

Simple Differences Can Provide Huge Results

Don't take my word for it.

Check out the following Split Tests and their results:

Get informed and see how split testing can help you too.

Bill Platt has been helping authors become more productive and successful for 14 years.

Pick up your copy of his Book Marketing Master Plan.