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31 Essential Insights About Testing and Optimization from Around the Web

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For many people in marketing, testing requires a complete shift in thinking. What better place for this advice to come than the tongues and pens of seasoned experts? Enjoy these 31 insights that can help you develop a deeper testing mindset:

1. “Start with the really critical business question that the client, the marketer, has to know the answer to.”

Jennifer Zeszut in IT World

2. “Tools are only 10% of testing; the other 90% is the team.”

– 2013 Click Summit Attendee. Get more tips like this!

3. “It’s tempting to always get wrapped up in analytics or usability, but don’t lose sight of engaging your visitors and building your brand.”

Phil Sharp in “5 Lessons Learned from 100,000 Usability Studies

4. “In a [business] no facts exist inside the building, only opinions.”

Steve Blank in Four Steps to the Epiphany

5. “What gets measured, gets managed.”

Peter Drucker

6. “There is little measurable data out there to suggest that any single color converts better than another. Suggesting that a call-to-action button should be changed…is looking for a quick win over an educated decision.”

@EyeQuant in “Lame Optimization Ideas Hold Up Design Meetings: Here’s How to Stop Them

7. “I made a decision to write for my readers, not to try to find more readers for my writing.”

– Seth Godin in Entrepreneur

8. “Remember: Customers change, products change, the environment and context in which a site exists changes.”

– “The Five Stages of Testing Ideation,” by @BrooksBellinc

9. “Without stopping to make sure we are doing the right thing, we rapidly make the same mistakes not once but over and over again.”

Steven Hoober in “An Introduction to Designing for Imperfection

31 insights10. “Test assumptions, challenge best practices.”

– 2013 Click Summit Attendee. Get more tips like this!

11. “Just because split testing involves numbers does not mean it favors a cold, calculated design. It favors effective design, and appealing to peoples’ hearts is one of the best ways to be effective.”

Samuel Hulick in “7 false premises common in anti-A/B-testing arguments

12. “You won’t know your marketing strategy until you know the val­ues of your com­pany and the val­ues of your visitors.”

Jeff Fuhriman in “Who’s Your Most Valuable Visitor? Define Your Values and Find Your Success

13. “Most websites don’t have a massive traffic problem, however every website in the world has a conversion problem.”

Bryan Eisenberg in “Confessions of a Conversion Rate Optimizer

14. “After working on a site for even just a few days you can lose a fresh perspective. That’s why user testing is so helpful.”

– Karl Banks in “Rocket Scientist Turned Conversion Rate Expert

15. “By getting to know your website visitors based on their behavior and serving them targeted messaging, you will capture more attention and get more web conversions.”

Joanna Wiebe in “How Much of Your Copy Is Totally Irrelevant?

16. “The most important word in the vocabulary of advertising is TEST.”

David Ogilvy

17. “People are often aware of the ad messages; what they are unaware of is how they are influenced by the messages.”

Douglas Van Praet in “How Brand Research Misses the Real Reasons Why People Buy

18. “Before you consider your lack of growth a conversion problem, be open to the idea that your customers aren’t as enthusiastic as they could be.”

Tommy Walker in “It’s Not a Conversion Problem, It’s a Customer Development Problem

19. “In reality…we don’t choose the best option—we choose the first reasonable option.”

Steven Krug in Don’t Make Me Think

20. “Organizations are easily distracted by what’s easy to test, partially because they have no idea what they should test.”

– “The Five Stages of Testing Ideation,” by @BrooksBellinc

21. “If you want to truly be data driven, if you want to crush your competition, if you want to really win on the web, then all roads lead through robust experimentation.”

Avinash Kaushik in “10 Fundamental Web Analytics Truths

22. “People spend a tiny fraction of their time on your website, so they don’t have a ton of time to learn the rules of how you operate.”

Tim Ash in “Four Ways to Fail at Conversion Rate Optimization

23. “While there’s always room for trailblazers and pioneers, innovation comes most steadfastly from iteration, not ego.”

Bitsy Ash in “Your Website Isn’t a Block of Concrete

24. “The key to a successful A/B test is consistency and control. You want your data to be as accurate as possible, and that requires careful planning and execution.”

Cameron Chapman in “A Beginner’s Guide To A/B Testing: Exceptional Web Copy

25. “Don’t take wins, losses or flats at face value.”

– 2013 Click Summit Attendee. Get more tips like this!

26. “In-store, on a desktop or tablet site it is important not to underestimate customers’ intelligence.”

Ragini Bhalla in “Demystifying the Fear & Loathing of Customer Experience

27. “Clarity trumps persuasion.”

Dr. Flint McGlaughlin in Marketing Experiments

28. “To clarify, add detail. Imagine that, to clarify, add detail. Clutter and overload are not attributes of information, they are failures of design. If the information is in chaos, don’t start throwing out information, instead fix the design.”

Edward Tufte

29. “The quest for good data should be more about avoiding bad data than it is about making sure you have every scrap of information available.“

Laura Klein in “You Can’t Make Good Decisions with Bad Data

30. “If circumstances change, your decisions can change. Decisions are temporary.”

Jason Fried in Rework

31. “The price of light is less than the cost of darkness.”

Arthur C. Nielsen

Of course, these insights are just the beginning. Download our Clickaways, including more than 50 useful insights, and follow our roadmap to a robust testing program.