Self-Efficacy and Testimonials in B2B Marketing recently conducted a great case study testing two concepts that can influence someone’’s buying behavior: self-efficacy and testimonials. The test consisted of two pages with the same heading of “30-Day Free Trial on All Accounts,” but with different subheads. One subhead gave instructions for signing up, while the other related positive testimonials from customers.

which test won?Self-efficacy: Appealing to someone’s self-efficacy — their belief in their own ability to achieve a certain set of goals — can be a strong motivator in influencing their buying behavior. The first subhead accomplished this by telling the test subject that sign-up took less than 60 seconds and that all he or she had to do was pick a plan and get started.

Testimonials: Testimonials heighten credibility, which is also an important factor in persuading someone to act. The second subhead delivered testimonials such as “supremely useful” and “exceeded our expectations” to help motivate prospects to sign up.

Both of these subheads were effective in marketing and motivating the audience’s buying behavior, but the self-efficacy example led to 23% more conversions. This is why online testing is so important, because you just never know what will be most effective for your target audience until you test them.

In addition to illustrating the importance of online testing, this case study also reminds us about the effectiveness of subheads. Sometimes we get so tied down with developing headlines that we forget how important subheads are — and, as this case study shows, they were the key to 23% more conversions.