A common question we hear from clients is “How do I make my testing program align with my vision?” The best analogy we can make is to consider your testing program to be a like the board game Risk. You have a large map of territories and your vision is to conquer the world. OK, so maybe your vision isn’t quite as ambitious as that, but you do want to dominate your marketplace. Along that line, we’d like to share our thoughts on how to capitalize on your testing potential.
Know your domain. I’m not talking about your URL, but rather the geography of your site. Of course you can start by running tests in small, isolated areas, but your learnings will be less transferable to your overall site optimization. Instead, consider identifying the major territories of your site first. If you are an e-commerce company, this may include the home page, product category pages, product detail pages, shopping cart and checkout. If you see success with a particular incentive offer on the home page, for example, you can iterate with a follow-up test to see if men’s and women’s landing pages respond differently.
Know your arsenal. Any good general knows what weapons are at his disposal. It may sound like a harsh perspective, but you have to know what the best weapons are in your testing program. Take inventory and organize everything in your arsenal – banners, incentives, buttons, etc. Once you have a comprehensive list of what you have to work with, you’ll be surprised how much more easily your testing plan can come together.
Know your competitors. Who are you up against and what does their territory look like? Knowing their battle plan makes it much easier to envision your next move. You should be auditing your competitor’s sites as frequently as you audit your own. As Sun Tzu said in The Art of War, you must “Know your enemy.” Let your goal be to lead your industry so that you competitors begin to view you as the one to beat.
Finally, know your strategy. You can’t know where you are on the road to success if you don’t know where you want to be. And the only way to get to where you want to be is to have a well-organized, forward-thinking strategy.
When you know your domain, arsenal, competitors and strategy, your vision can quickly become a reality. Of course you will encounter obstacles and take risks along the way, but you’ll be well-prepared because you already have a plan of attack. Now go forth and conquer!