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Heather Park
Property Management Lead Generation | Property Management Website | Inbound Marketing

Property Management Marketing: A/B Testing Methodology | Rent Bridge

Written by Heather Park
Jun 26, 2020   |   7:30:00 AM

Optimization leads to improved results for your marketing efforts—but how do you know what to optimize? Without a clear testing plan to verify your strategies, you won't know:

  • If your email campaign or landing page work effectively toward achieving your marketing goals
  • If you're converting enough leads into new business
  • If your content offers are generating traffic and yielding leads
  • What to optimize within your inbound marketing strategy to improve your engagement

However, without a plan for your testing strategy, it's wasted effort.

  • What do you test?
  • How do you test?

There are several ways to "test," but the most effective way to test any campaign or strategy is an A/B test. It's a simple concept that can have a significant impact on your property management marketing strategy.

Plus, testing helps you save marketing dollars by applying a strategy and analyzing the results with a smaller audience before completely rolling out any strategy (and spending more money). Here's what you need to know about A/B testing—and how to use it to fine-tune your business growth strategies.

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What Is an A/B Test?

A/B testing (or split testing) is a structured evaluation of two variations of a property management marketing campaign, email, landing page, or another marketing strategy. You can even test two versions of a digital content offer, then roll out with the version that generates the most interest and conversions. 

When applying a test, you can analyze just about anything between Version A or Version B:

  • Which subject line variations result in more opens?
  • Which links generate more click-throughs?
  • Which calls to action (CTAs) generate more leads?
  • Which images work best?
  • Which email or landing format is more user-friendly?
  • Which times of day work best for sending emails?

A/B testing sets up an "either/or" situation that creates a clear "winner" between two variations of the same element within a piece of content or campaign.

You don't have to guess what works best—your audience tells you! After all, your users are your goal. The most effective marketing strategies involve more listening and adapting than coming up with something "brilliant" that doesn't work because it doesn't connect with your audience. 

You might think you have a great strategybut if you are trying to improve your engagement and generate more leads, you need to listen to your consumers and adjust. 

How Do I Set up an A/B Test?

There are four main components to a successful property management marketing A/B Test. Plan your strategy and goal, set up the test, document everything, then track the results. Once you document a plan for how to test, you'll have a template to test just about any metric on your website, in an email campaign, or for your content forms. 

1. The Strategy

Never test without an end goal in mind! You don't want to skew your results by "hoping" for a result. However, it's critical to know what you want to know about your campaign variations before you begin the test. 

Take the time to document: 

  • What is the goal? 
  • What is your audience? 
  • What are the variations?
  • How will you track and report results?

Use testing to fix a broken strategy or part of your website. Or, use testing to improve something that's already working well! Testing doesn't have to help you find out what's wrongit can also help you fine-tune what's working well and make it even better!

Sometimes finding out if a small tweak or a completely different approach can generate better results is worth the effort to test a strategy.

2. The Set-Up and Execution

Once you know what you want to get out of your test, the set-up and execution are critical! You must make sure the test runs in a way to answer all of your questions from the strategy component of your A/B test—without bias.

The only successful test is a clean test. Any bias in your audience or your metrics (even unintentionally) can skew your results and evaluation. A bad test can cost valuable property management marketing dollars! Rolling out the wrong test "winner" can be an expensive mistake. 

Take the time to walk through these steps when setting up and executing your A/B test:

  1. Choose your audience: Start small. You want your broader audience to receive the very best final product. Test on a smaller audience, then roll out with the winning strategy. Make sure your test audience is an accurate representation of your broader audience. 
  2. Split your audience 50/50: Make sure it's a random (or blind) split. This is critical! If one half of your test has any bias toward better performance, you've skewed your results. 
  3. Change only one thing between variations: This is also critical. Your A/B test measures the different responses to only one change in your content. If you have multiple variations between Version A and Version B, your results won't tell you the "one" thing that made the difference in response between the two test audiences. 
  4. Test both variations at the same time: If you're sending an email with a subject line test, send both versions of the email at the same time. Version A goes to audience Split A while Version B goes to audience Split B.

Sometimes, the simplest things generate big changes in performance. Other times, a significant performance improvement requires a bigger change. That's why your variable can only be one difference between the two versions—large or small.

The Control

If you have multiple variations that you'd like to test, create multiple A/B split tests to track the performance of each variable against a "control" version of your strategy. The "control" could be a past winning campaign or what you feel is the "ultimate" version of best practices that you know works well. 

When variations beat the performance of the control, create a "new" control! Always give your audience the best content and strategy to generate better conversions and results for your property management marketing campaigns. 

3. The Documentation

All of your work with the strategy and set-up for your test is useless if you don't document what you've done! Documenting "how" you test is as important as recording "what" you test and the results. 

Develop a consistent documentation plan for all tests. This will come in handy when you review different versions of various tests. Just like documenting your workflows, everyone needs to understand and follow your company-wide strategy for testing. 

Follow these steps: 

  • Document the strategy you used to create and analyze your test: You did this in Step 1, but make sure it's part of your final evaluation documentation, too. 
  • Keep good notes about your split audience: While the selection of the audience into Split A vs. Split B needs to be "blind" (or random), you'll need to know who received Variation A versus Variation B to track the results—and future engagement. Follow the ongoing interaction of the individuals in each testing group gives you ongoing feedback about the success of your property management marketing strategy. 
  • Record how you plan to track and report the results: What does it all mean? Can anyone on your team pick up the testing results and understand the outcome or how to proceed? It might seem redundant to record how you plan to track, but it's an essential part of your testing evaluation. Map out your terms, goals, and what success means for your test. 

You'll need to reference your testing strategy and results to evaluate performance and determine the next steps. Keeping good notes makes it easier to remember everything along the way!

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4. The Tracking

Know the metrics you're evaluating and the tools you need to apply to get the information you need from your test. Make sure you're familiar with industry standards for conversion rates, sales percentages, and other metrics when evaluating your A vs. B strategies. 

Know what works for your business, too. Meeting industry standards isn't always the right goal, especially when starting your new property management business. 

Know What Success Means

What does success mean for your business? If it's an improvement of managing 10% more doors compared to the prior year, break that down into smaller metrics month over month. 

Turn sales or renewal goals into actionable steps supported by your property management marketing strategy. 

  • How many new leads do you need each month? 
  • How many leads need to convert to new business? 
  • What's the conversion percentage to accomplish that goal? 

A/B testing will help you find the right pieces to your property management marketing strategies that lead to your success! Track the responses to determine the winner between the two variations, then test the next best variation to continue optimizing your results.

Choose the Right Tool

Depending on what you're testing, choose the right tool to make it easier to track, report, evaluate, and implement your winning strategies! The right tools and the right expertise help make testing simpler and more effective—while property management business owners focus on serving clients and tenants. 

HubSpot makes it easy to design, set up, track, and report on your A/B testing campaigns. When you use Hubspot, you'll avoid common A/B testing mistakes while developing a useful testing scenario from the start! This is why we love to introduce our clients to HubSpot when modernizing their property management business.

Let Rent Bridge Show You the Way!

Don't waste your property management marketing dollars guessing about ways to improve your lead-generating strategies! Investing the time and resources in excellent A/B testing will speed up your inbound marketing performance to help grow your business. 

Rent Bridge is a HubSpot Diamond Certified Agency Partner with access to the best A/B testing tools and resources. Our team can help you develop tests to analyze your strategies, then recommend solutions to convert more leads into long-term, delighted clients. If you're interested in growing your property management business, you can't afford not to use marketing campaigns based on data!

Contact us for a free consultation about how to optimize your marketing approach through techniques like A/B testing!

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Updated and republished 6/26/2020.