May 23, 2012
As Bryan Eisenberg, marketing optimization expert, puts it: “There is no finish line in optimization. If you’re aiming to get to a point where you’re finished with website optimization, you’re missing the point. You never stop doing it. It’s an ongoing effort.”
During Monetate’s latest webinar, Best Practices for Effective Website Testing and Optimization, Eisenberg joined Carlos Del Rio, Director of Conversion Analysis & Digital Strategy at Unbounce, and Adam Figueira, Product Marketing Manager at Monetate, to tackle the challenge of continual optimization and offer up strategies for success.
Here’s what the expert panel had to say about selecting the right website testing tool, starting out with the right tests, and mastering total website optimization.
Choose the Right Tool
Eisenberg, who recently released his “Website Testing & Optimization Buyer’s Guide for the Enterprise,” says a website testing tool should:
• Be easy to use. The best companies never stop testing and tweaking their pages. So you need a tool that’s fast and easy to use for every person at your company who is in charge of a channel.
• Allow you to run as many tests as you want. If you are limited in the number of tests you can run, you can’t take the risks that will lead to a real improvement in conversion rates. The tool you use must give you the freedom to test as much as you want.
• Give you the ability to segment. The tool you use should allow you to segment and then segment again. Having the ability to segment new vs. returning visitors, for example, is a chance to practice one-to-one marketing.
• Allow you to build pages quickly. As many people as needed should be able to go into the tool, make the desired changes if possible, and build the pages they need right away.
Take Real Testing Risks
Just as important as selecting the right website testing tool is using that tool to run the right tests. Del Rio’s advice? Master website testing with a free tool, and once you know how to use those metrics, move on to a tool you pay for.
Del Rio says it’s smart to start out with one big, informative test on a core page (like a landing page) instead of testing small stuff like the color of your checkout buttons. The reason? Focusing on one hypothesis means you'll know exactly what's changing your results. So if two people are debating about whether asking visitors for an email or a phone number will get more conversions, have them both create a landing page that has similar graphics/branding, test them against each other, then let the stats lead the way.
And don't be afraid to take risks—even if they don't pan out. If you're testing and your conversion rates go "up or down 12%, 13%, maybe 40%; those are the tests that will give you real insight,” says Del Rio.
Example: HootSuite got a 12% lift in the number of people who signed up with them by offering landing page visitors three different product deals they could choose from instead of two. Conventional wisdom said that more options would lead to "analysis paralysis" and stall visitors from converting, but HootSuite found out that wasn't true by testing and got more information about visitors than if it had run a simple headline test.
Focus on Total Website Optimization
Figueira says there are three pillars that are crucial to optimizing a website, and that combining these tactics will result in a better buying experience for visitors:
1. Guidance. When a visitor gets to your website, the product or offer they want should be easy to find. One way to do that: Predictive search. As visitors type in a phrase, a drop down of results offers up product thumbnails, reviews, and more. That’s shortening the amount of time it takes visitors to get to what they want—and improves conversions.
2. Curation. Giving visitors the information they need to make a purchasing decision right away makes it more likely they’ll convert. So tell visitors what they need to know. Are you offering free shipping? Is this product a “Best Seller”? Overlaying product badges on product images is a fast and easy way to give visitors very specific info quickly.
3. Expedition. Is the checkout process fast and frictionless? Are you only asking for essential info during checkout? Making checkout as painless as possible is important. So try testing different shopping cart features with your new visitors. Since returning visitors already know how to use your cart, testing those features on them won’t give you the results you need. Try automatically applying coupon codes or hiding the coupon box altogether to see how it impacts your conversion rates.
That's just the start of what the panel covered. Want even more landing page optimization best practices and examples? Check out the full, free webinar, Best Practices for Effective Website Testing and Optimization.