A common mantra among usability pros and conversion rate optimization specialists is to “always be testing.” Anyone who owns/manages a site and has committed to a consistent, rigorous testing program may have had some questions about what elements to test or where to focus efforts to generate a significant positive impact. Here are a few ideas to help identify squeaky wheels in need of testing grease.
Key Transition Points in Your Sales Pathway
Some call it a funnel. Others say its a lifecycle. No matter the form and figure of your customer sales path, there are no doubt important steps along the way. Map out the various steps your customers might take to complete the desired transaction. Every transition from one step to the next presents a chance to conduct testing.
Here are a few samples for different types of websites. Each transition point is accompanied by a few potential testing elements, but please know, there are likely countless testing elements on each web page.
NonProfit Site Testing
Ecommerce Site Testing
Lead Generation Site Testing
Channel-Specific Landing Pages/Experiences
No matter what advertising channel or venue you rely upon to deliver traffic to your site, crafting a landing page experience to align with ad creative is a recommended practice. Landing pages allow marketers to bring harmony to a consumer shopping experience littered with discord potential. Where the customer should witness an experience that conveys immediate relevance to her intent for visiting, the marketer should view landing pages as virtual testing laboratories. In our case, page headlines, graphics, calls to action, offers/incentives, and credibility indicators are just some of the chemicals and materials for our marketing experiments.
Different marketing channels are more effective during certain stages of the customer lifecycle. In an ideal scenario, the experience you provide new customers should be different than the content and messaging shown to returning customers. Utilize a well-constructed, thoughtful testing program to determine the best combination of landing page elements for the various channels in your marketing mix. For example, testing can help you find out what message and call to action to use on landing pages for paid search campaigns targeted to new prospects versus elements to include on pages used in retargetng campaigns.
Lagging Figures from Your Metrics Matrix
If you have successfully created and implemented a metrics matrix, the process of locating your site’s problem areas can be very easy. Take a look at this sample reporting detail:
The table above shows four key site metrics and their growth/decline percentages from month to month. Conversion Y seems to be down of late while the other conversion metrics are holding steady. In this instance, we should look to develop a test that aims to improve this particular metric.
New Content Introductions
For every new piece of content that you introduce to your audience, you should definitely create a mini marketing program to promote said content. If your audience will view, experience, download or access you content by other means, you will also want to create a testing plan for the page(s) on which the content is housed.
If you are in search of a reputable website testing tool with which to create and manage web page experiements, please consider:
Google Content Experiments (available to Google Analytics account holders)
Visual Website Optimizer
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