Why is split testing so important?
Because small changes add up to big dollars.
My favourite example comes from Colleen Szot, the world renowned infomercial writer who shattered a twenty-year sales record by changing just three words in one of her scripts.
You would miss them if you didn’t know where to look.
She didn’t insert superlatives, or extra promises, or yet another celebrity endorsement.
Here’s what she changed:
Version 1: “Operators are waiting, please call now,”
Record breaking Version 2: “If operators are busy, please call again.”
And sales took off in to the stratosphere.
It would be disingenuous to suggest that small wordplay can turn a losing product in to a multimillion dollar success. But it can certainly shape a winner.
Conventional sales logic says: make the sale as pain-free as possible.
Why would you piss off the customer by threatening to waste her precious time on hold?
Szot would argue that believable social proof is worth it.
After all, who is more likely to rip out your eyeballs?
The salesman peddling a product that is flying off the shelves, or a call centre full of eager, idle lions who haven’t been fed for days?
Whatever you are selling, you will sell more by adding social proof.
If you are in the service business, this means appearing busier than you actually are.
You are publicly seen to value your time; your writing is concise, your communication succinct. The world knows you refuse to take a shit without checking your calendar first. It’s a staple of your vocabulary that you only ever have room for one extra client.
If you are selling products, this means threatening to run out of them, or stop selling them, or start raising the price on them. Whatever you are selling, the cost of not acting now is always going to rise exponentially (even if the price doesn’t).
In both cases, the best possible reason for denying a customer your service or product is because somebody else got there first.
It’s annoying to walk in to a shop and find that shiny new gadget is out of stock. But it stings to see the last box snatched up by the guy ten paces in front of you.
Social proof creates intrigue, desire, validation.
Scarcity creates a monster.
Every piece of sales copy you produce should have both.
Extra: Read more about how I use social proofing and scarcity in my neuromarketing post series, originally published in 2012.