Last year I was hanging out on OkCupid and realized online dating is another startup, replete with landing pages, copy optimization and “filling the funnel.” The only difference is that we’re selling ourselves instead of software.
Hoping to up my conversion rate, I wanted to figure out what style of messages OkCupid members respond to the most, so I did a little a/b testing with four types of messages:
- “Hi” - Fairly lame, but simple and says, “look at my profile”
- Generic, short message - Same as above, but not quite as lame as the word “hi.” Something like (literally), “look at my profile.”
- Personalized positive message - Prove that I’ve read her profile, “Canceling Arrested Development was a travesty, but I take solace in watching It’s Always Sunny while huffing paint.”
- Personalized Negative Message - Nice guys finish last…“You’re wearing the same shirt in 3 of your photos. Don’t get out much?”
Care to guess which performed best?
From one of the respondents:
It’s interesting that I replied to this right away even though you basically insulted me twice.
So how can we apply this to customer development? What if we tried the same experimentation when contacting our customers?
Requesting Customer Interviews
First off, I won’t be (intentionally) insulting any of my customers. That said, I have the email addresses of a couple thousand people who have requested the iPhone version of Bounce, so we’ve got an ample size to run some a/b tests.
For this experiment, I’m looking to do some customer interviews to answer questions like:
- Why did they give me their email address?
- What do they expect Bounce to do?
- How much would they pay for it, if it did what they wanted?
Now let’s see which of the following emails results in the most interviews:
Simple (and boring) but to the point
Trying to add a bit more flavor
Like the Chocolate version, but a little extra puppy killing
What’s your Hypothesis?
I sent 75 emails out this morning, time to place your bets. Which one do you think will perform best?
Will the puppies live?