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Source: Miami Herald

Split testing is a powerful direct marketing tool pioneered some 100 years ago but still in use today.

This headline stopped me cold: “The Guaranteed Way to Radically Improve Your Copywriting.” I kept on reading “The best copywriters continue to radically improve their copy over time. They know how to create copy that works even when it defies common sense. They use split testing to radically improve their copy.”

Split testing is one of those direct marketing tools pioneered by Claude Hopkins (1866-1932) some 100 years ago. He also invented sampling, risk-free trials, money-back guarantees and other breakthrough response techniques.

Hopkins used each of his tracking tools to constantly improve both the content and sales results of his client’s advertising. All this came about before radio, television, computers or the Internet. And, Hopkins’ tools are still at work today.

The concept of split testing is simple. Direct marketers have used it for years. An A/B split test uses two text variations on separate (but otherwise identical) website landing pages. Then, traffic is randomly split between the two pages. Analysis shows which text alternative provided greater conversion and sales. Now, use the winning page’s content to change the website page; discard the loser. Then, create another text content variation, continue testing. It’s a never-ending search for perfection.

Paras Chopra, founder of Visual Site Optimizer, says the company provides an easy A/B split and multivariate testing tool, helping today’s marketers and designers create and monitor split tests.

Here’s a sample of split testing benefits., an e-commerce site selling PowerPoint presentation templates, conducted an A/B test, introducing a new left side navigation menu on all its product pages. What it found out was surprising. The left navigation menu increased clicks on its “Add to Cart” button by 34 percent and increased overall visitor engagement by 6 percent. Factual, in depth, case studies can be found at A 30-day trial is free.

Hopkins observed almost 100 years ago: “Always bear these facts in mind. People are hurried. The average person worth cultivating has too much to read. They skip three-fourths of the reading matter, which they pay to get. They are not going to read your business talk unless you make it worth while and let the headline show it.” Some things don’t change!

Scientific Advertising, Hopkins’ book written in 1924, is a quick read — just 64 pages. Some wording is predictably out of date but its content is amazingly current. Read a free online copy at:

Here’s another Stop, Look and Listen: “Imagine a direct marketing piece so imaginative, so engaging, so fashionably out there that people are phoning your company pleading for a copy.”

A piece, developed by Grey Advertising in Vancouver, B.C. for its client GGRP Productions, was dubbed “A Town That Found its Sound.” Results? An almost unbelievable 90-percent response rate.

Greg Dawson, associate creative director, and art director Andrew McKinley masterminded the project. They produced a B-to-B mailer using a 45-rpm record, which was placed within an assembly required cardboard phonograph. Both were enclosed within a personally addressed envelope.

Dawson’s theory is, “Direct mail works best when it possesses some kind of keepsake value. You have to give people something they have incredible difficulty throwing away.” For the whole story, visit — click on the February issue of “Deliver,” the U.S. Postal Service magazine for marketers.

Meanwhile, check out this new USPS product: Every Door Direct Mail. Local businesses can focus on potential customers without having to create and maintain a mailing list. Visit