Whether you’re new to optimization or a seasoned veteran, you need to craft a robust recipe book of test ideas. Sometimes you can get stuck cooking up the same old tests that don’t yield meaningful results. When that happens, it’s best to take a step back. Here are six ingredients that will energize your testing recipes:
- Analytics. Use data-driven findings to plan new tests. Analytics data can provide insight into customer behavior and help clarify the most effective ways to reach and engage your target audience. Consider these primary metrics:
- primary traffic referral sources
- pages with high exit rates
- segments of traffic more or less likely to convert
- Previous campaign results. Revisiting results of previous campaigns helps you remove redundant ideas from your list on a tactical, one-off level. It also helps you look at the big picture, giving you insight on where your testing was and what its trajectory looks like. A key benefit of using a testing solution is that it allows you to keep track of every campaign, regardless of whether it was successful. This lets you identify trends and focus on attributes of successful campaigns. Optimization opportunities can be found in both winning and losing campaigns; even campaigns that didn’t quite produce the results you were expecting can provide direction for follow-up campaigns. Consider running a multivariate “screening” campaign to identify areas of your site which have the potential to move the needle and conduct follow-up campaigns to identify the best combination of changes to make to these areas. Keep track of all of your campaigns so that you can measure your optimization trajectory and find attributes of successful campaigns.
- Best practices. Have you ever attended local analytics groups like Web Analytics Wednesday or Digital Analytics Thursdays? If not, you should because you’ll be enlightened by peers and gurus who share test ideas that work. You can also attend an industry event or browse online resources such as webcasts, case studies, or books. Any way you choose, it’s always helpful to learn how peers develop testing ideas.
- Surveys, focus groups, and remote user testing. These tools offer a great way to pre-test an experiment to gauge its viability. The feedback you gather from potential buyers via online tools like UserTesting or SurveyMonkey help justify why you should or should not test a stakeholder’s idea. It also helps you get further buy-in from the product team for ideas generated by the testing team.
- Voice of Customer (VoC). VoC helps you capture and differentiate preferences from actual customers. VoC programs like ForeSee and OpinionLab enable organizations to target different groups of customers and gather important insight that can provide direction for tests.
- Usability gurus. Engaging outside experts who don’t have a vested interest in your company and its products provides you with an objective view. They not only offer fresh perspectives, but they can aggregate strategies from hundreds of companies.
In addition to all of these great ingredients, don’t forget about intuition. Ultimately, your goal should be to test as many ideas as possible and to learn from each campaign.
Have another source to share? Comment below!