Multivariate Testing for the Resource Constrained

I posted nearly a year ago about how multivariate testing is a flawed method when you use a “recipe” approach. And I haven’t written much about multivariate testing (MVT) on my blog, except to get tactical and talk about how I’d use MVT to experiment with testimonials.

In the spirit of fairness, there are plenty of ways to leverage MVT for business benefit, and plenty of testing scenarios that call for multivariate experiments. One such use case occurred to me when working with a client that was what I call “resource-constrained.” Continue reading

New Book on Conversion Optimization Released

book cover imageA quick announcement today that a new book on Conversion Optimization is now available on Amazon! It has, possibly, the longest title ever: You Should Test That: Conversion Optimization for More Leads, Sales and Profit or The Art and Science of Optimized Marketing. Why am I pumped about the release of this book? Three main reasons:

1) The author, Chris Goward of WiderFunnel, is a smart guy who’s run a lot of tests and developed a solid framework for Optimization.

2) I played a small part in the creation the book as his Technical Editor. I got to read the book as it was written, chapter by chapter, to help optimize the experience you’ll have reading it.

3) Any book with a foreword written by Avinash Kaushik is a book worth reading!

Read more and/or place your order today »

Building a Successful Optimization Program: Slides Available

click image to access slidesOn December 6 of last year, I presented a session at the BestPractices conference in Seattle, WA. BestPractices is a conference and webinar series presented by Analytics Pros and focused on, you guessed it, “best practices” around digital analytics and optimization.

The session was titled “Building a Successful Optimization Program” and the slides have been posted for public consumption.

I will be presenting a follow up webinar, “Testing & Optimization: A Deeper Look” on Wednesday, January 16th at 10am PST. Seats are still available, so feel free to put your name on the list here »

Do Your Landing Pages Leverage the Rebuttal Approach?

business cat meme image captioned "I beg to differ."I’ve written a fair amount over the years about using the 3 stages of the decision-making process as a framework for doing analysis and Optimization. At each stage of the process, the prospect’s mindset and needs are different. Therefore, your tactics for persuasion, testing, and Optimization should be different.

Today I’m going to focus on “Middle” and “Late Stage” prospects, and on one crucial tactic for converting prospects at these stages of their conversion journey. The tactic is more often used in B2B (and especially SaaS) marketing, but I believe it can be applied effectively in B2C scenarios as well.

I call the tactic for this post the “Rebuttal” Approach. It’s a borrowed legal phrase which is also used in politics; especially in debates. A rebuttal is an expected opportunity to counter-argue known points that your opponent has made. In political debates, an opponent is often given, say, 30 seconds to make a rebuttal argument against a specific point just made.

In Optimization, the Rebuttal Approach is your chance as a marketer to make a counterargument against your competition in order to convert Middle and Late Stage prospects. This is a crucial tactic because prospects tend to engage in a lot of comparison research or shopping before they make a decision. A prospect on your site in Middle and Late stages is almost always conducting some sort of comparison between you and your competitors. Continue reading

A 3-Level Web Analytics Framework for Optimization

We all know that Optimization and testing efforts should be “data driven.” Quantitative and qualitative data should lead you to the problems that testing attempts to solve for your prospects.

But how, exactly, should quantitative web analytics data be used to power your Optimization efforts? How does analysis differ when you’re looking for insights and testing opportunities? Great questions, if I do say so myself 😉

Camera LensI’m going to answer both in this post as I lay out a basic framework for how to “do” web analytics in the context of Optimization. I compare web data analysis to looking with different “lenses” at the same set of data depending on the context. For example, if I’m doing analysis on “site performance,” I would take a different view of the data than if I were doing “campaign analysis” or “content performance analysis.”

It’s the same for Optimization. You look at the same data as always, but you look through a different, contextual “lens” to suit your needs. Continue reading

Checkout Design Mistakes: Grid and Visual Hierarchy

ll bean payment pgIf you’re like L.L. Bean, and have been exceeding customer expectations for nearly 100 years, you can probably skip this post, because you can get away with a lot of ecommerce checkout design mistakes!

For the rest of us, we need to be very careful about the design of the pages in our shopping carts and checkouts. Prospects have a good deal of anxiety about giving us their money, and small design flaws can cost you the difference between a visit and a sale. If your Conversion Rate could use improvement, optimizing the design of your checkout pages can be a quick, direct route to your goal.

I’m not a frequent L.L. Bean customer, but I recently went through their checkout process, and was amazed by how confusing the layout of their “payment” page was. I had to really look around the page to orient myself and figure out what was going on, and how to move forward.

Like Amazon.com, L.L. Bean’s checkout flow is not intuitive to me, but I assume they’ve done a lot of testing and have optimized for their target audience.

I’m going to point out a few potential issues with the design and layout of their page which you can check against your own checkout pages. Actually, these broad design principles can be used to optimize ANY web page you’re working on. Continue reading

Copy Matters: 30 Minutes for a 10% Lift

Pad of Paper & PenOne of the more common excuses I hear for marketers not conducting experiments on their websites is a “lack of resources.” This generally refers to not having designers and developers at their disposal to create new versions of site pages, new graphics, new layouts, etc.

However, that is not an excuse from testing. That is perhaps an excuse from “radical redesign” testing. But there are still ways to run tests and get conversion rate lifts without tapping those resources. If you have access to a copywriter, or can write a bit of copy yourself, there’s plenty of testing (and learning) you can do, and I’ll give you an example in this post. Continue reading

3 Signs Your Personas Are Broken

danger iconLast month, the venerable Bryan Eisenberg wrote on his blog about Content Marketing Personas. The article was a good reminder for us that there are a lot personas out there in the marketing world, and many of them are sub-par if not dangerous.

I especially liked his suggestion that readers explore his “conversion trinity” on paid ads and landing pages using existing personas to see if they were up to the task of helping optimize a landing page experience. He has promised us more columns about “getting personas right” in the future, so I recommend you keep an eye out for those.

Coincident with me reading Bryan’s post, I was doing an on-site consulting engagement with a new client. They were looking to redesign a microsite with the goal of boosting lead conversion rate. I was relatively unfamiliar with their marketing efforts, so I asked if they had marketing personas. They answered, “Yes,” and I was delivered an 8Mb PDF with a professional layout, high-quality stock images, and content that was backed by legitimate research.

I deleted it minutes later.

Why did I delete these personas, choosing to “start from scratch” instead of leverage a document that had obviously taken many hours to produce?!? I won’t answer that specifically about this client’s personas, but it’s my segue into my 3 warning signs that your personas may be toxic. If the personas you’re using to do Optimization (or any Marketing) show any of these traits, you may be shooting yourself in the foot. Continue reading

How TV Ads Can Be Optimized for the New Consumer: Part 2

In Part I of this 2-part article, I committed to analyze and critique real-life TV ads to see how they do at engaging me (and my many devices) while I watch TV in my living room. I did this exercise while watching NBC’s The Voice program during “blind auditions.” Yes, I’m addicted to this show, and yes it’s a guilty pleasure. Don’t judge!

I was analyzing these ads in a few different ways:

  • Frequency – Is the advertiser spending tons of money on a single campaign?
  • Call to action – Does a digital call to action exist? Is it explicit or implicit? Is it intuitive? Is it an engagement or a commerce CTA? (See Part I)
  • Landing page – How does the experience look and feel on my device of choice? Does it meet my expectations? Is it fast?
  • Multi-channel + Multi-device – Is the transition from channel to channel, and device to device, feel smooth and elegant (or disjointed and awkward)?

After reviewing my list of ads and evaluating some scenarios, I chose 3 ad campaigns as good examples that were either doing things well, doing things poorly, or both. Continue reading

Conversion Optimization Specialists are Marketing Mediators

image depicting mediationFor years, I’ve been searching for better and better ways to explain what it is that I do as a Conversion Optimization specialist, and to encapsulate the value I bring to marketing organizations.

I’ve heard that you should be able to explain your job to your grandparents. Anyone who works in new media, web, or technology knows how challenging this can be!

For those in the web industry, I could easily argue that Conversion Optimization is a sub-skill of User Experience (UX) design. I’m constantly experimenting with, and trying to improve, the experiences that users have on websites so that they’ll be more likely to buy, become a lead, etc.

But, that last paragraph is useless when you’re explaining Optimization to your grandparents, or even to marketing executives that have lived most of their lives in the years “B.I.” (Before Internet).

So, in this post, I’m proposing a new metaphor that I’ll be testing in the near future with grandparents, clients, and maybe even strangers at dinner parties!

Drum roll, please… Continue reading