Today’s self storage operator relies more heavily on online visitors to their website to generate business than ever before. Smart owners should be looking at the analytics data that is derived from customer visits. KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) such as Visits, Pageviews, Bounce Rate, Average Time on Page, Avg. Session Duration, and others should be looked at month over month to see if anything can be gleaned from the information. But once you have this information, what steps can you take to make changes that will affect these numbers?
A good way of testing out alterations to your site is to do A/B Testing. A/B testing refers to a controlled experiment whereby two versions of a webpage are presented to users to determine which one outperforms the other. In a true A/B test there will be two variants of a page that are randomly shown to visitors.
To give you an example, let’s say that your storage website gets a lot of visitors to a location page, but the bounce rate (people leaving the site after only visiting that one page) is really high. You want your visitors to take the next step and click on the button to rent or reserve a unit. The button currently says “Rent Now.” A good test would be to make a variant of this button that says “Reserve Now.” You would serve a subset of your visitors the original version of your web page that includes the “Rent Now” button. The rest of the visitors would be served the variant version of the page with the “Reserve Now” button. It’s important that the visitors chosen to see each version are chosen at random, because this will make it less likely that other factors (such as whether the customer was viewing the site on mobile or desktop) will impact the overall test. Your test can be split 50-50, or you can decide to do another percentage such as 70-30. You could also decide to run the test on only a subset of your page’s visitors.
Once your test has reached statistical significance, (which is a fancy way of saying that enough visitors were exposed to each version of the page) this will give you a good idea that they prefer one version over the other, rather than the result being due to chance.
How to Run A/B Testing on your Site
Running A/B or “Split” tests on your site today is very simple. There are numerous online companies offering AB testing. To get started, all they require is a bit of code placed on your web pages. Brands in include Optimizely, Unbounce, VWO, Maxymiser, Google Optimize 360 and others. Each has its pros and cons, but at the very least you’ll want a tool that can perform AB testing, multivariate testing (as the name implies, you test multiple variables), and multipage (funnel) testing. You’ll also want one that has a good visual editor with the ability to target different user segments.
What Can I Test?
There are a number of simple tests you can run to get insights into what works and what doesn’t on your site.
How your text looks can have a major impact on your users. Test whether serif or san serif fonts work best on your site, the color of the font, the size of the font, or of course the typeface.
Call to Action
As in the example above, you can test a Call to Action button by changing the wording, the color of the button or text, the position of the button, or the size of the button.
While pricing doesn’t necessarily have to be an A/B test, it’s nice to run it as such because you can be guaranteed to randomize the users. You may also want to test information around the price, such as promotional offers like “Sale Ends 2/28” or “1st month free.”
Landing Page Copy
Other good tests to run involve changes to your landing page copy. This can be as simple as testing a headline “Free, No Obligation Reservation” vs. “Reserve This Space.” Or you can test different-length copy, with one page delivering more content and the other less.
The images you use on your site have a substantial subliminal effect on your visitors. This includes background images, patterns, or colors, as well as images of your facility, staff, and storage units. These are all valid image to test. You should also consider testing the size of images and where they appear on the page. ConversionXL.com has an interesting study that discusses the relationship between image size and engagement.
If you would like to get more customers to fill out your contact form, consider testing one version with fewer fields vs. one with more. Or test what fields are required to fill out.
These are just a few ideas of things you can test on your site. A/B testing can be a powerful tool for increasing time on site and conversion. Give it a try and report back with your results.