Imagine if nothing was ever tested, nothing was ever improved on and made better. We’d still be stuck living in caves and life would be pretty miserable.

OK, that was a pretty extreme example to start off this post with, but I really think it is a great way to showcase why split testing your sign up form is so important.

You could set up your form, then leave it the same way forever. But if you’re aiming to boost your email list growth, you’re going to want to test variations to ensure your form is as effective as possible in attracting potential subscribers.

The beauty of split testing comes from the fact that don’t have to rely on guesswork or gut feeling when making changes to your form. Split testing helps you identify what is working and what isn’t.

Of course, there’s no magic button to just split test a form once you’ve created it. (Well, there kind of is, but there’s still a little work on your part to get it going.) So we’ve put together some steps you’ll want to take to setup your next split test.

Things you should consider when testing

There are a couple guidelines to follow when split testing your sign up form. These aren’t hard and fast rules, but rather general things to look for and follow when setting up a split test:

  • Test one thing at a time, and make small changes
  • Give your tests enough time to run

With those two things in mind, let’s go a bit deeper into what some of the things you might test with your sign up form, and what kind of timeframe you’re looking at to run your test so that you can see statistically significant results.

Test one thing at a time

Hopefully, you have a lot of ideas for what you want to test, but in order to get a good idea of what your audience is most receptive to, you have to take it one step at a time. Otherwise, if you try to test a bunch of changes, you won’t know which change made the difference.

Below is an example of split testing a sign up form button to see if that has any impact on your list growth:

Above is our sign up form. For this test, we’ll make a simple alteration with changing the wording of the button from “Submit” to “Get my first newsletter!”

Next step? Another small change, another split test. Let’s take a look at some of the other changes you can make to your form to boost sign ups:

  • Headline – Test words like “free” or “bonus” if offering an incentive.
  • Color/template – Try different colors or designs that stand out from your page, helping to draw attention to your form.
  • Image/no image – Do you have a physical product? Try testing a form with and without the image to see which version impacts potential subscribers more.
  • Fields – Limit the number of fields someone has to fill out to become a subscriber. Asking for name, email and phone number? Try a test comparing that with a form that only asks for email.

Below is a great example of a split test from ConversionXL, testing sign up button color:

Split Test Example 1

The winner? The red button increased conversions by 34 percent.

Another great test, this one from Hotjar, pits a form with less fields against one with more:

It should come as no surprise that the winner was the form on the right. Simply adding less fields, which translates to less for the person has to do to sign up, makes it the winning form.

Give your tests enough time to run

So, now that you have your split test all set up, how long should you wait before seeing what the results are? How long before you should get a good idea as to how effective our form test it?

Neil Patel, cofounder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and KISSmetrics, recommends giving any split test at least two weeks and 100 subscribers before checking out the stats to determine a winner. This is because you want to have statistical significance behind your test results. Run the test for too short of a time, and you won’t have a clear picture of which variation is the winner, simply because not enough traffic has been exposed to the test.

In addition to a two week testing period, take into account different variables that could pop up, such as holidays, when your audience may not be as engaged with your site. Not that you shouldn’t test during the holiday season, but take that into account so you can extend the testing period as needed.

Ready to start testing?

Split testing is the best way for you to figure out what kind of sign up form your potential subscribers are most captivated by, short of actually asking them. You may be hesitant to start testing, but the best advice is to start with some small changes, see what works, and build on that.

And if you would like a little more guidance regarding split testing, join me on Tuesday, August 16 @ 3pm ET where we’ll go over how to implement a split test in AWeber, and expand on some of the ideas and examples you read about in today’s post. See ya then!