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Web : Test Like an Online Olympian

The 4 stages of website testing that apply to all marketers

September 2012 By Drew Burns
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How do you get a testing campaign off and running?

Marketing teams are understandably trigger-shy to make changes that might impact a constant revenue stream. It can be intimidating to start changing the content on your website, one of your most lucrative sales channels (perhaps your only sales channel), with the risk that the results may not be what you'd expect.

However, website testing is extremely accessible to marketers at all types and sizes just by approaching it with a jog, run, sprint mentality—in that order.

Olympic sprinters don't get fast overnight, just like you aren't going to go from A/B tests to more sophisticated testing targeted at distinct customer segments in a matter of days. And that's OK. No matter what stage your testing process is in, even if it hasn't begun, there are always steps you can take to get your program off the ground or to continue driving results after it's gained some momentum.

Jog
Any online business worth its salt uses some sort of analytics tool to measure website visitor activities and interactions. Prioritizing testing efforts based on analytics data is the first step toward a successful testing program. First, you need to build this framework to set up your testing process:

  • Where do most visitors go once they arrive on your page?
  • What elements are they interacting with the most?
  • What pages do they tend to abandon your site from?
  • What keywords are they typing into your search bar?

Answering questions like these with data will help you identify opportunities to improve website engagement, conversion and even revenue. This helps you prioritize the areas to test first. Start out at a light jog as you figure out what works:

1. Identify your business goals and key performance indicators (KPIs). What business metrics do you want to influence positively? Is your goal to increase online revenue or average order value? What about increasing time on site and page views? Or decreasing shopping cart abandonment? This helps focus your optimization efforts to ensure your program has true and lasting business impact.

 

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