Show Testing Some Love: How to Breathe New Life into Your Program

Here’s a question I bet you thought you’d never ask yourself when you started optimizing your site for conversions: what do I do now I’ve tested everything?

For businesses that have never had an optimization strategy before, the opportunities feel endless. It’s an exciting time. You and your team are full of ideas to increase conversions, decrease cart abandonment, learn more about your customers, etc. – there’s so much out there to explore!

Three years later and you feel like you’ve squeezed all of the juice from the orange. The excitement is replaced with a feeling of decision paralysis and your team is struggling to find creative ways to improve your website. That feeling represents the the downside of an awesome, super robust testing program (what a great problem to have!). Things get a lot more difficult a few years in and it becomes increasingly important to keep it fresh.

At Brooks Bell, we get the opportunity to work with dozens of successful companies and we help programs experiencing these difficulties. Some of the common issues are that you don’t remember the exact details of what you’ve tested, you have no centralized and easily-consumable source of data on how each test performed, and/or you don’t remember which ideas you never executed. And, you’re not even sure what features are on your site as a result of testing and which aren’t. If you’ve managed a testing program for any length of time and haven’t had a clean slate to start from (a site redesign, for instance), you know what we mean. Rest assured – you’re not alone.

It’s time to show your testing program some much needed love. But, what exactly can you do to revitalize your campaign and to breathe new life into your testing program? First, take a deep breath and realize that there’s still a world of opportunity out there! Use some of these suggestions to help you uncover them.

Don’t Hold On To Winners Forever

You shouldn’t assume that your winners will remain winners forever. Even if your website hasn’t changed, your users, and the way they access your site, are changing all the time. And, as a result, they may react differently than the population that was part of your initial test sample. New devices may change the way users browse your website. You only have to look at the way smartphones and devices are revolutionizing online retail to understand the impact a change in device can have on your conversion rates.

Re-test your winning elements to kick the tires and ensure the experience is still relevant. It’s also a great opportunity to test new and improved iterations of the old favorite.

 

Inject User Testing

If you’re only using software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools to collect data, you may be getting half the story. Our vision at Brooks Bell is to “uncover the people behind the data.” That’s an adventure that requires the use of quantitative data as well as qualitative data. Quantitative data is a great source to answer the how, where, and when, but sometimes doesn’t answer the “why” that comes directly from your customers through user research and qualitative data. Blending quantitative and qualitative data is the foundation of UserView, our innovative information product that combines both data sources to build the most comprehensive and robust optimization roadmap possible. It’s a great way to ensure you’re testing in the right places using strategies that solve real user problems.

 

Bring Fresh Perspective

Sometimes it’s not a case of running out of tests, but of running out of perspective. When you’ve been managing a testing campaign for years, it can be difficult to see the forest for the trees. You become blind to your website and the changes you make. This isn’t a slight on you or your team, these things happen. It’s how you deal with them that will determine the long-term success of your strategy.

One solution is to reinvigorate the team by including some fresh talent in your strategy sessions. As one of the fastest growing sectors of marketing, there is no shortage of marketers looking to make their mark in the world of testing and optimization. A fresh pair of eyes, however junior, can prompt a flood of suggestions from long-standing team members who may just need encouragement to look at your site from a different perspective.

Another solution is to ask for outside assistance. Working with dozens of other companies at the same time, testing and optimization agencies like Brooks Bell can offer proven advice to reinvigorate your program. What’s more, the beauty with this option is that you receive additional insight from an entire team of experimentation experts.

Get Your Documents In Order

Don’t be fooled into thinking you are the only person who has ever lost track of optimization data. Every professional who has been working in this field for any length of time has invariably ‘misplaced’ documents that recorded the outcomes of particular tests. It happens in the form of changing shared drives that house your results, keeping some results in decks and some in spreadsheets, building a great case study one-sheeter for a few tests but not the others. It’s not deliberate – it just happens.

While these things happen, they do nothing to improve the performance of your testing program in the long run.

Our final suggestion is to get your documents in order. Create a method for recording and documenting every test and spend some time organizing the data you already have. By putting in place a system that governs how you account for testing data, you will be able to better reflect on past learnings, data, and experiments to help drive your future testing. If you need some guidance or are looking for a robust solution, we’ve got a top secret project that we may be able to sneak preview with you…

 

Want to show your testing program even more love? Contact the experimentation experts at Brooks Bell to help you to revitalize your testing efforts today.

Categories Strategy & Process, Uncategorized