Written by Process Design, UX Design

How to A/B Test your copy like an anglerfish

The Deep Sea Dweller pattern is a WordPress Multisite monster that can provide your team with a cheap yet powerful leads generation engine.

KyleBondo.com - Build a WPMU monster for multiple landing pages

Hunting the Internet Oceans

Like most things in nature, there seems to be no end to the number of clever ways animals capture a meal. It is surprising how often nature shows us a better way to do something.

Take the Deep Sea Dweller for instance. This monster is commonly called the Anglerfish, but most versions have sinister-sounding names like Black Sea Devil. And like a creature of the dark, this one does not disappoint when it comes to showing us how intelligent predators can be. Unlike the quick aggression of the shark or the stalking snap of the octopus, the Black Sea Devil is a patient hunter, choosing a lure-and-wait strategy that brings the prey to them. This is exactly what an online marketer does for a living. They are the Internet version of the Deep Sea Dweller, putting out lures and waiting for someone to click on their well-placed link.

This is the main user experience (UX) concept behind A/B testing that uses different landing page variations to attract customers to products or services. There is no end to the number of search engine optimized (SEO) versions your content can take as you attempt to figure out which one will attract more traffic. From social media posts and word-of-mouth to advertisements to search engine pay-per-click campaigns, the number of ways that traffic can find your landing page can be endless.

But how do you manage all of these potential opportunities to feed your company without being eaten yourself? Simple. You learn from nature and become your own Deep Sea Dweller.

Placing Your Content Lures

For the anglerfish, it is a matter of simple survival; eat or die. They have one type of luminescent lure and only one chance to snap up the meal. If they miss their prey they don’t eat. Miss too many meals and they die.

Marketers have the same problem. If they don’t convert enough prospects into paying customers, the company dies. No company, no paycheck. To keep the money flowing, marketers use the same tactics as the Deep Sea Dweller. Only they don’t have just one landing page lure in their tackle box. They have the benefit of dozens, each one optimized to appeal to a particular customer pain in an effort to extend out something shiny enough to attract attention. Both marketers and fish need to be patient. Act too quickly or be too bold, and you scare off your prey. Respond too slow, or not at all, and your customer moves on to another shiny object without taking the bait.

Fortunately for the marketer, there is an overabundance of customers on the Internet that react to all sorts of lures. But as people become more and more tech-savvy, many of these lures become less and less effective. Some customers have already seen the one lure that use to work the best and pan your offer. Others are not looking for the kind of lure your using and wander off when they see your competitors. For these reasons, you have to formulate multiple versions of your lure in an attempt to figure out what new lures will attract today’s customers.

The resulting frustration with figuring out what your customer will bite on is so chaotic that the only way to get your lure noticed is to find the angle unique enough to work.

Fishing for Customers

Say that you want to create 30 similar landing pages with copy variations to use with Facebook posts or advertisements. Your target audience is known, your channel is set, and all 30 of your landing page are ready. It’s time to set the lures and go fishing! The trick now is management. You need all your lures in one, centralized place so that you can quickly understand which lures are working, and which need to be adapted or dropped.

However, multiple landing pages mean multiple sets of content, multiple analytic tracker codes, multiple data feeds, and multiple landing page URLs. Thankfully, WordPress provides an interesting and cheap way to orchestrate all of these pages without having to pay for a SaaS solution, complex URL managers, or some expensive social media marketing platform. Instead, you apply the pattern of the Deep Sea Dweller to a WordPress variation called WordPress Multisite. This slight change to the existing open-source software allows you all the Deep Sea Dweller lure pages you need in a self-contained mini-network that you control from a single WordPress installation.

Here are few highlights to why the WordPress Multisite Deep Sea Dweller pattern strategy is effective for both independent and small studio marketing campaigns:

#1 – Your Own Tackle Box

Building out individual sites for each landing page is a monster task. Especially when it comes time to manage 30 different landing pages of content. You could make them all HTML, but chances are you’ll want more control over each landing page, better data collection locally, and an easier time updating everything.

That’s where your WordPress Multisite comes in. You can easily build 30 sub-sites within a WordPress Multisite Network to provide you all that control. Imagine an environment where you can move between landing pages with just a few clicks, aggregate data directly without having to open some other analytics tool, and know exactly how each landing page was performing. A WordPress Multisite monster like this would give you that orchestration, while also making updating, security, and edits easier to perform.

#2 – A Lure for Every Fish

Control over the management of each landing page would also be paired with its own subdomain address for even more benefits. By using subdomains as a type of “codeword” to each variation, both operations and marketing would know which page was which, making changes easier between landing pages.

Subdomain addressing also keeps the primary business domain name in the URL with domain mapping. Since branding is an important part of your SEO strategy, having your domain name in each subdomain link creates a foundation upon which your landing pages connect back to the brand you’ve already built. This creates a level of trust with your potential prospects. If you consider your domain name is how users find you online, having it in the link can validate your business and build trust that your landing page link is actually going where you say it’s going.

#3 – Different Lures, Same Pole

Shared resources are yet another reason why WordPress Multisite helps solve this problem. The chances are good that most of the landing pages will share common theme user interface (UI) elements (or share the same theme with different content). WordPress Multisite promotes this kind of code reuse by sharing UI elements with all of its subdomains. This means you can build multiple child theme variations that all reach back to a single global theme for global updates. A single theme codebase also means only one update pushes an edit out to all 30 landing sites. Try doing that to a group of ordinary HTML pages!

#4 – Try All Kinds of Lures

To further extend the power of WordPress Multisite functionality, UX features are controlled via a refined assortment of trusted and tested plugins that can be managed globally or independently. This allows you to add functionality to a group of landing sites or provide a particular UX feature to only one landing site.

This opens the door to using almost any plugin for any landing sites or using one plugin for all your landing sites. Do you want to collect customer information on 10 sites, but only provide links on 20 others? There’s a plugin for that! Want the subdomain landing page to actually redirect somewhere within your main website? There’s a plugin for that! Want analytics of each landing page site shown on your Super Admin dashboard? There’s probably a plugin for that too (and if not, that would be a cool one to build).

Teach a Marketer to Fish

The Deep Sea Dweller pattern is a WordPress Multisite monster that is not difficult to conceptualize. All you need to do is grab some server space, Install WordPress, configure the WP Multisite options, network your subdomains, then start building out landing sites. In many cases, this could be created for a lot less than you think.

The challenge for you would be to think up your A/B testing scenarios, streamline the UX design and deploy your lures. Once your bait is set, don’t be surprised if this black water angler concept proves itself to be a cheap but powerful leads generation engine.

Happy fishing!

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Last modified: July 1, 2021