Whether you’ve got a small internal testing team, or an entire agency dedicated to the process, it’s vital to have whoever’s involved aligned with your mission. From creatives to account to higher-ups, having everyone on board makes a difference.
Are you looking to strengthen your current team? Build one from scratch? Whatever the case, these aren’t just helpful suggestions—they’re imperative if you want to create a successful testing culture.
Hire the right people.
Seems like a no-brainer, right? But testing is a very focused niche, and it’s imperative to find a good match. This doesn’t mean seeking experts because, outside of analysts, you’ll be hard-pressed to find them. It means finding candidates with an authentic geekiness about testing; learning it, living it and loving it. And it also means building a well-rounded team with different skill sets and perspectives. You can’t expect a group of analysts, for example, to also be effective account reps, designers, copywriters and developers, too. Build your team intelligently, and cover every base.
Quench the thirst for knowledge.
Since testing is still a relatively young niche, there may be some learning curves for your team. Be sure to provide them with as many educational opportunities as possible. Set up a learning library, offer webinars, have your analytics teams host crash courses and send team members to seminars. Learning about testing should become second nature, so that everyone is inspired to gain the knowledge.
Pay it forward.
In a world that is wired in, consuming information isn’t difficult. That makes learning about testing and staying on top of trends pretty easy. To avoid team gaps in knowledge, be sure to pass what you learn along. Using tools like Yammer or company emails can be a fast, easy way for you to share what you’ve learned.
Encourage curiosity and skepticism.
Though it seems a contradiction, these two attributes are cornerstones of a solid testing culture. Curiosity spurs us to keep reaching for answers through the data. Skepticism ensures that even when we get great results, we double-check the data and don’t rest on our testing laurels. This kind of honesty is what gives your team credence in the field.
Practice what you preach.
Your team is strategizing, executing and analyzing tests for clients. How about for your own site? Internal testing is just as important. It keeps you saturated in the culture, gets you excited about company learnings and allows you to continually optimize your own conversion path.
Think outside of the Mbox.
The tests you get team input on don’t always have to be for clients. Often it’s just as effective to provide inspiration to think about testing without pressure about the results. Keep your team thinking about testing in different ways. Try creating a hypothetical test and having people guess which would win and why. Or post a client’s landing page in a common area and have everyone write comments next to it about what they’d test. Sometimes using unexpected real-world examples to illustrate testing, like Greg Ng’s A/B Cupcake Test, provides a refreshing alternative. The idea is to free yourself from traditional thinking and get creative. It will, in turn, influence the way your team strategizes for the clients.
Put them in the driver’s seat.
One of the things our Director of Analytics does is let everyone run a test. Hitting that launch button creates a sense of personal attachment to the results, and the team spirit surrounding it is infectious. Rachel Healy, a copywriter at Brooks Bell, recently got to launch a test. She commented, “There’s a certain drama to testing. You can’t fully understand unless you participate in it.”
Celebrate it all.
When I asked around the Brooks Bell office about an effective testing culture, there was one persistent idea: create a continuous culture of excitement. There should be a system in place to communicate learnings; whether through weekly meetings to discuss test statuses, using the aforementioned Yammer to fire off results or whatever method you find works for your group. But don’t just celebrate the wins. “Celebrate learning, hope for success, wins and losses,” says Greg Ng. After all, 50% of tests are flat. And when you turn every result into something the company shares, the team becomes truly invested. That makes for an unstoppable testing team.