This Headline Tweak Boosted Response By 307%

A/B Split Test: This Headline Boosted Response by 307%

By Kat Von Rohr, Writer for LeadPages

Yes, sometimes it really is that easy.

Recently, LeadPages customer — the award-winning author, Amanda Stevens — ran an A/B split test to see if tweaking her headline would increase her conversions.

The results shocked even her — this minor headline change more than tripled her response on this two-step opt-in page.

But which headline do you think dominated in this quick A/B test?

Take a guess and then scroll down to see the winner below…

Split Test Choice A
Choice A: A shorter headline on this eBook Landing Page (from Pat Flynn) aimed at the target audience for this book.
Split Test Choice B
Choice B: Same exact eBook Landing Page (from Pat Flynn) only this time the headline is directed at the reader.

And the Winner Is…

Choice B. It’s the exact same eBook Landing Page (from Pat Flynn), but the headline reads: “If you’re a retailer in need of fresh ideas and proven growth strategies, this book is for you!”

Now we could make all kinds of guesses about why this second headline performed better. (And if you have an opinion, I’d love to hear it in the comments below.)

But just looking at the data for a moment, you should know this second headline killed it in this test with a 99.98% probability.

That means our LeadPages system determined there is a 99.98% probability that this awesome headline result was NOT due to chance.

Split Test Data
Here’s an up close look at the data from inside LeadPages…

Quick tip: For your own split tests – you should always make sure that you have at least a 95% probability or greater that your results are statistically valid. Most split testing tools will give you that data, so you can declare a winner.

But let’s get back to this A/B split test for a moment…

The Story Behind This Split Test

As a writer myself, I love testing headlines like this. I love attacking a subject from multiple angles to see what resonates best with the audience.

And I’m not the only one.

Our customer, Amanda Stevens only tests headlines on her opt-in pages. She doesn’t bother testing anything else. In her own words…

“I’ve witnessed in the past (even many years ago with traditional direct mail) the power of a headline and the impact a slight headline change can make to response rates.” – Amanda Stevens

Obviously, with a 307% boost in conversions — her headline tests are paying off.

A big thanks to Amanda for sharing her results with us. For more on what Amanda is working on right now, check out her website.

How to Start Testing Your Own Headlines

Considering that it only takes seconds to change your headline on any LeadPages template, this is another incredibly simple split test for you to try.

As a Pro LeadPages member, you can run as many headline split tests as you’d like — to see exactly what kind of messages resonate with your audience.

Even if you’re not a pro member, you can still split test your headlines inside LeadPages with just about any other split-testing tool available today. (Fair warning: Using other split-testing tools is not as easy as using ours — but they still work.)

For more on how to run split tests like this inside LeadPages, check out our video.

For more simple split tests that you can run immediately — including the basics on how to change your headline — check out our blog post.

Again, I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments. Why do you think this second headline won? Have you had any success with similar headline tests? Let me know below.

  • mildmanneredmillions

    Alrighty – I just put this headline into a test we’re running (changed for our audience) Will report back with our findings in about an hour!

    • Kat Von Rohr

      That’s so great to hear! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Taavi Pertman

    Besides the obvious thing that the second headline is much clearer in what the book is actually providing – the old choice A “features” (which are also a bit unclear) vs choice B benefits – another reason might be the fact that the second one is targeting the niche better.

    Instead of “retailer”, it’s a “retailer in need of fresh ideas and proven growth strategies”.

    At least that’s my take on it.

    • Kat Von Rohr

      Good points. Thanks! Point of interest: As a seasoned writer, our customer also hypothesized that the second headline would be more effective. But like any good entrepreneur, she tested the headlines just to be sure. 🙂

  • Mark Fitzpatrick

    My take is the words “proven” and “you” have an impact….”A” is very generic and feels like it’s just ideas to try. “B” says “proven growth strategies” giving the impression that these absolutely work.

    • Kat Von Rohr

      I agree – “proven” and “you” can be some of the strongest words you can use in copy. Thanks for the comment Mark. 🙂

  • Duff_McDuffee

    On first glance I don’t know what a “rescue remedy for retailers” even is. B is much clearer.

    Of course this is all 20/20 speculation–clearly the second one works better, so that’s all we need to know really.

    • Kat Von Rohr

      Excellent point! It’s so easy to say “of course this variation is better” after it wins. That’s why we’re always constantly testing inside LeadPages, (and we encourage our customers to keep testing), even if we *think* A or B will perform better.

  • The second headline has an egoic label or self-identifier (hey I AM a retailer) therefor it makes a quicker impression with the target audience.

    • Kat Von Rohr

      Love it! Thanks for the insight. 🙂

  • Tad Stephens

    And the second headline talks about what the book will do for the reader of the headline not about the book. Copy should be about the hole, not the drill.

    • Kat Von Rohr

      Another good point. Thanks for weighing in Tad. 🙂

    • Mary Rose Maguire – Copywriter

      That’s another great point, Tad. Amanda focused on the needs of the customer more than on the book itself.

  • RedHorseVeteran

    To me, the longer headline funnels the reader and qualifies them and hits some endorphin buttons in their brain.

    An ingenious mind trap.

    The reader is either:
    1- a retailer that wants fresh ideas, or,
    2 -a retailer that doesn’t think they want fresh ideas but they sure as heck don’t want their competition to get fresher ideas than themselves.

    In any case the reader’s mind is in kind of like a self-preservation mode and will give up some lead info to survive.

    By the way, I may be completely off-base. I am good at getting out of trouble and playing balderdash.

    • Kat Von Rohr

      Nice! Love the insights about qualifying your reader. 🙂

  • WillHoekenga

    Headline B won because no retailers are walking around saying, “Boy I could sure use a ‘Rescue Remedy’ right now!”

    The second headline is closer to speaking the actual language of the prospects, something the overly cute alliteration of Headline A misses.

    That’s my opinion, anyway. 🙂

    • Kat Von Rohr

      Fair enough. 🙂 Thanks for the comment Will. Point of interest: As a seasoned writer, our customer also hypothesized that the second headline would be more effective. But like any good entrepreneur, she tested the headlines just to be sure. 🙂

      • WillHoekenga

        Yup, absolutely the right thing to do! I’m always surprised by how often the headline that seems so theoretically sound gets beat

  • Mary Rose Maguire – Copywriter

    Headline “B” is a classic Gary Halbert-style headline. Unfortunately,, Gary passed away a few years ago but was one of the most successful copywriters in the U.S. (There’s a book he wrote called “The Boron Letters” that offers excellent advice on copywriting and direct marketing.)

    The style is called “If… Then.” With this type of headline, you are dimensionalizing the problem and that’s what she did. She specifically named a problem and narrowed her niche. When you do this, the funny thing is that someone may say, “Well, I already have ideas and some strategies, but you know what… I could always use more!” Amanda wasn’t talking about HR issues or awards programs (although she may in that eBook), but she nailed a pain point for retailers.

    The “then” portion of the headline is where the real payoff happens. She used the magic copywriting word… YOU! This is a surefire winner. Whenever you include “you” in your headlines, you will get attention. By saying “This new book is for you!” she is promising a solution to the reader for the problem she just mentioned.

    Finally, “new” is another magic copywriting word. People are glued to the word “new.” Everyone wants to get in on the ground floor, whether it’s learning about a new product or a new approach.

    All in all, this is an excellent headline and I congratulate Amanda for its success!

    • Kat Von Rohr

      Nice! As a copywriter, I’m also familiar with the Boron Letters, and Halbert’s work. Definitely agree with you on the “if – then” statement. Thanks for the awesome analysis Mary. 🙂

      • Mary Rose Maguire – Copywriter

        Kat, you’re welcome and thank you for the excellent article! I couldn’t
        resist blogging about it and linking to this post. I am such a huge
        cheerleader for headlines and constantly tell my clients, prospects, and
        list subscribers that they need to create better headlines for their
        marketing collateral. It’s also nice to meet a fellow copywriter who
        appreciates Halbert!

        Here’s my blog post, btw:
        http://www.maryrosemaguire.com/2013/12/06/conversion-power-want-tweak-headlines-maybe-get-307-boost-response/

        • Kat Von Rohr

          Oh man – that’s so cool! (And it’s a great post!) Thanks for sharing!! 😀

  • Chris F Farley

    I agree with what Gary, Duff, Mark, and Taavi said and also want to add that “B” benefits from an “if>then” logic structure. We are programmed from an early age to believe that whatever follows a group of “True” statements will also likely be true. From my NLP training I learned that a grouping of 3 truths is extremely powerful in directing the following statement to be true in most people’s minds.

    Any retailer who reads the first part of the headline will subconsciously say “yes” to:
    1. Are you a retailer? 2. Are you in need of fresh ideas? 3. Are you in need of proven growth strategies?

    The last part of the headline “this new book is for you!” logically makes the reader believe that this statement is true and that they indeed need this book.

    Thanks for the brilliant A/B test…this is definitely going in my swipe file.

    • Kat Von Rohr

      Couldn’t agree more! Thanks for weighing in Chris! 🙂

    • Kat Von Rohr

      Couldn’t agree more! Thanks for the insights Chris. 🙂

  • ryanhache

    I agree with WillHoekenga.
    Headline B won simply because it states the benefit in terms the target audience can understand. “Rescue Remedies?” what the heck is that? vs. “Proven Growth Strategies”.

    • Kat Von Rohr

      Thanks for the weighing in Ryan! Appreciate the comment.

  • A is talking about some third person, theoretical retailer, while B is talking to the retailer directly. The headline not only establishes a connection but also the authority of the person supplying the giveaway.

    • Kat Von Rohr

      Good point! Thanks Bobbie. 🙂

  • Ray

    Could be any number of reasons, including…

    [New Book] is not that exciting. Everyone has a book nowadays.

    If [you] are a [retailer].

    This is good. It pulls you into it, and then narrows it down to a specific type of person. This headline also uses the word “if”. I wrote an entire post about the power of the word “if” http://raymondduke.com/blog/if-you-could-read-just-one-blog-post-today-read-this “If” is a strong word because it leads you into something else. If you read the first part of a sentence, you want to read the next part.

    Also, a retailer is an identity that people can connect with. It’s not just about the reader, it’s about all of the other people that are just like him.

    Lastly, it’s direct. Direct copy wins on the internet.

    • Kat Von Rohr

      Nice! Thanks for the insights Ray. 🙂

  • John Mignano

    Headline B focuses on a problem, opens up dialogue in (retailer’s) head, expands on conversation, connects and engages target market with solution…

    • Kat Von Rohr

      All good points. Thanks for the insight. 🙂

  • Faith Watson

    So many valid reasons offered for headline B’s success. I feel it’s a bit like a perfect storm, or a gift basket: when you fill it up with several good things, is more likely one of the things in the basket will make the receiver happy.That’s why they’re great corporate gifts. If receiver likes all the things, it’s exponential. I also want to point out why I try to get people to relax about the length of their headlines. It’s been drilled into everyone’s heads that no one will read a long headline, especially online. What no one will read is empty words or words that don’t speak to their needs. Like “Rescue Remedies.” That doesn’t mean anything so it proves useless to shorten copy for the sake of trying to keep attention. We seriously don’t give people enough credit with some of the old dogma. This is an ebook — do you think the ideal audience won’t read 17 words? 🙂

    • Kat Von Rohr

      Nice! Thanks for sharing your insight Faith. 🙂