July 10, 2013

Using A/B Testing to Improve Volunteer Sign-up

Imagine if there was a way to double the number of volunteer sign-ups on your website which required only limited technical support, a small amount of time and no extra budget.

Imagine if there was a way to find out what your visitors want from your website without individually asking them, or to figure out which of those promotional images you should use on your next set of leaflets.

Well, imagine no longer – A/B testing, also known as ‘split testing’ and ‘conversion optimisation’, is here. Want to know how to make the most out of your website’s landing pages? Good, then read on.

abimage1.png Source: www.maxymiser.com

Let’s start from the beginning. If you’re hoping to encourage volunteers to support your non-profit by registering their interest on your website, the odds are that you’re using landing pages. A landing page is a simple web page with one purpose and one purpose only – convincing your visitors to submit their personal details, such as their name, location and e-mail address, by filling out a form on your website.

Some landing pages offer freebies in return for the time that they’re asking their visitors to surrender. HubSpot, for example, uses landing pages to release e-books, webinars and other digital content which their potential customers will be more than happy to exchange information for. They can then add this to their database, send further communications to people who have opted in with their e-mail address and ultimately turn people in to paying customers.

These landing pages will become your greatest asset as a marketer who’s looking to drive volunteer sign-ups. ‘Volunteer’ is the key word – you’re asking people to volunteer their personal information, as well as their time, and so it’s important to optimise your landing pages to improve your conversion rate (the percentage of visitors who submit their details) on an on-going basis.

abimage2.png Source: www.optimizely.com

This is where A/B testing comes in. Using Google Analytics, or other specialised testing software, you can randomly assign two slightly different versions of the same page to your visitors. You can then measure the percentage of visitors that go on to submit the form and pledge their time as a volunteer.

Like a scientific experiment, you’ll need to run a ‘control’ version of the page, which remains the same, and a test version of the page, which changes one variable. For example, you could try a different image, a different headline or a different call-to-action. The important thing to note is that if you change more than one variable at once, you won’t know which of the changes has made an impact on your conversion rate.

Once the test has conclusively determined which of the variants performs best, you can then use the best-performing version as your new landing page. Of course, it may transpire that your existing design outperforms the variants – in this case, you’ll want to stick with what you have and test something else. Otherwise, you can use your new variant as your control, and test a different element of the page.

abimage3.png Source: www.greyhoundinteractive.com

By running these A/B tests, you’ll quickly discover what your visitors do and don’t like about your website, and you can use this data to streamline their visits in the future. Let’s say your current conversion rate is 5% – if, with careful testing, you increase that to 10%, you’ll receive double the sign-ups with the same number of visitors. It’s continuous, too – you’ll see the same improved conversion rate every month, and it should continue to increase exponentially over time.

Of course, if you can increase your traffic at the same time then you’ll see even more dramatic results – double your traffic and your conversion rate and you’ll see four times as many monthly volunteer sign-ups as you did to begin with.

How do you plan to use A/B testing to improve the number of volunteer sign-ups on your website? Have you tested your data already? Let me know with a comment!

Dane Cobain is a social media specialist for UK-based creative agency fst the Group. He’s also a gadget-lover and tech fanatic, as well as an internet addict.

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Dane Cobain
is a social media specialist for UK-based creative agency fst the Group. He’s also a gadget-lover and tech fanatic, as well as an internet addict.
Interest Categories: Websites
Tags: analytics, website redesign