Getting Management Buy-In
While we’ve had a robust website optimization and testing program for our clients here at Zion & Zion for several years, we understand how difficult it can be for clients to get their own testing program off the ground. The first—and only—way to get a conversion optimization program started is to get leadership on board with the idea of testing.
This may take some convincing. It takes time and resources to get a conversion optimization program started, because you will probably need assistance from UX strategists, designers and developers at some point in order to test everything you want to on your website and/or landing page. In order to get a testing program started, you first have to prove the value of testing.
In digital marketing, testing should be an essential part of what you do on a daily basis. As an Online Marketing Manager at Zion & Zion, I manage paid search campaigns where our team runs daily ad copy tests in addition to larger scale A/B and multivariate website testing. So, we obviously have the buy-in of our leadership as this is a key service offering of our agency. However, for you to get your leadership to buy-in, you can start by presenting them with examples of how small changes (like changing a punctuation mark) and bigger changes (like changing headlines) can increase conversions and lower your Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). These are smaller tests that you can likely run on your own and without leadership buy-in. One simple example can often be the first step in getting your leadership team to listen to your case for A/B and multivariate testing on a larger scale.
The next challenge you’ll likely face is finding the time and resources to actually run a test to prove the value of testing. Finding the right opportunity is key. Maybe one of your most important landing pages is ready for a redesign. Rather than replacing the landing page completely, suggest running a test to see how each page (i.e. the old landing page and the new landing page) performs so you can compare the results.
Once you get management to buy-in to conversion optimization, the next step is figuring out how to efficiently test on a regular basis. Before getting started, it’s wise to research the different tools available to you in order to help you through the testing process.
Here are some of the tools we have considered over the years, and our findings on each:
This is an enterprise tool that we utilized in our testing program. Adobe Target does a great job with segmentation and targeting specific users, but it has a significant learning curve and is pricier than many of the other testing tools.
Google Analytics Content Experiments
This is a free tool that helps you run A/B tests on your websites or landing pages. It is relatively simple to use, and it’s best used for A/B testing landing page layouts, as you can only run a test with two separate webpages with separate URLs. This will limit some of the things you can test—and take up your web developer’s time every time you want to test a new headline.
This tool allows you to run A/B testing, multi-page testing, and multivariate testing. Optimizely is one of the testing tools we strongly considered when we were making the final decision. They have a great, easy-to-use platform. It only takes a small piece of code to gain full access to the tool.
Optimizely has a good conversion tracking and reporting dashboard that makes determining the winning test easy. It’s a great option for smaller companies with websites that do not get a ton of website visitors, as they do have a free option for any website with less than 10,000 visits to the test site per month. They also have a great enterprise plan for companies that get more traffic; this plan comes with additional useful features that the free version does not provide.
A landing page testing tool and a landing page building tool, all in one. Unbounce can be a great tool for agencies that don’t have an in-house design and development team. They have a large amount of landing page templates for different industries and verticals.
We found that this tool is better suited if you are using both the landing page builder and their testing tool. Unbounce is not as good as some of the other testing tools for existing landing pages and websites. This tool wasn’t a good fit for us as an agency, as we have our own UX, design, and development teams in house, allowing us to strategize, design, and build custom pages rather than rely on templates.
Visual Website Optimizer (VWO)
VWO allows you to run A/B testing, multi-page testing, and multivariate testing. It’s an easy platform to use. VWO allows the user to easily change headlines, buttons, images, and move content around. You can even use code to set up a test, which gives you extra flexibility. And the reporting dashboard allows you to quickly digest the results. This tool is especially good for users who are just starting out with testing.
The Testing Process
After deciding which testing tool is right for you, the fun can begin. Before you start doing live testing on your website, look through your website and landing pages for areas you want to improve. Then look at your website analytics for more potential areas that you may want to improve, such as cart drop off or pages with high bounce rates.
I like to:
- Form a list of areas and pages on the website we want to improve.
- Brainstorm ideas for problems that are worth testing.
- Prioritize each test in order of which will likely benefit my clients the most.
We try to run tests with a “go big or go home” attitude in order to get the most out of it—so we often avoid testing minor changes, such as changing the color of a form submit button. Depending on your website traffic and what you are testing, some tests may take a week or two to run while others may take a few months.
The more elaborate the test you run, the more difficult it will be to implement using just the testing tool. Fortunately, here at Zion & Zion, we have in-house developers who are always able to assist if a certain test requires their expertise. If you don’t have access to a web developer, then you may want to start small and simply and expand testing as you become more comfortable with your tool. Many of the tools offer customer assistance which can be a great resource to take advantage of.
Once you start testing, you’ll likely make mistakes, but more often than not, you’ll learn from those mistakes and continue to grow. By testing on a regular basis, we are able to provide our clients with great value.
To summarize, here are key takeaways to keep in mind when you’re trying to start a successful conversion optimization testing program:
- Get leadership buy-in
- Run a landing page/website test using a free tool
- Choose a conversion optimization tool that will assist you in testing on a consistent basis
- Review your website analytics to find areas in need of improvement
- Brainstorm testing ideas
- Prioritize ideas in order of potential value
- Test, Test, Test