So you’ve got a stellar website design with copy that virtually sings. So why is it such a fantastic flop?
“Copywriters and designers are often not the users of a site,” said Vita Janecek, online marketing product owner for Kentico Software. This means that their designs and words, while they may look and sound good, may not appeal to your target audience.
So how do you get it right? It’s about going right to the users and asking them what they want, said Janecek, who spoke at Kentico Connection in Boston recently. Early testing can ensure that you’re hitting the mark.
After all, in the words of an old African proverb that Janecek quoted, “Nobody tests the depth of a river with both feet."
A Toe in the Water
Testing can tell you ahead of timehow well your website and email will perform, said Janecek.You canchoose different tests depending on your goals.
A/B Testing involves showing two different designs or email towebsite visitors. Traffic to the site is split to the two differentversions of the site so you can track which is more popular.
Multivariate testing enables you to test single elements of a site. This type of testing typicallyrequires more visitors to gauge statistical significance accurately,said Janecek.
The main result you want to look at during testing isyour conversion rate, he said.When it comes to A to B tests this meanslooking at which page or email leads to the most conversions. Testingcan look at individual pages, such as landing pages or those that arepart of your checkout process to see which ones are most effective, headded.
Reinventing the Wheel
When you start testing, it's not the time for minor tweaks. Make radical changes,said Janecek. Get rid of your current design and message completely andtry something new.
“In the beginning of testing is the besttime to learn if a new design will help, he said.This might meanchanging colors and text, the position of different items and removeanything confusing. A/B testing will differ slightly if you’re using it to determine how well your emails are hitting the mark. Inaddition to measuring conversions you can also measure open rates. You can use tests to find the best components, such asincluding the sender name in the email or changing the subject line.
Sendout two versions of the email: one version to 10 percent, the second version to another 10 percent. This will help you determine which version performsbetter. You can then send that version to the remaining 80 percent.
Before you finish a test, askwhether you’ve had enough visitors to get good results. As a rule ofthumb you should strive for approximately 1,000 visitors and at least100 conversions to get good data, Janecek explained. “Most importantly lookfor statistical confidence which should be indicatedby every goodtesting tool."
The testing period should be long enough togive you steady results, which typically takes about two weeks. Yourprocess should always begin with clearly defined goals and objectives.Create a list of your web pages and decide where you willstart testing. It’s wise to start at the top of your list with the itemsthat are your highest priority.
“Once you havetested the first page, you can begin ongoing testing,” he said. Ifyou’re not getting the results you’re looking for, it’s time for anotherround of radical changes.
While initial tests may give yougreat improvements right off the bat — gains from 20 percent to 200 percent — that will tail off over time.But that doesn’t mean thattesting should slow down. It should be ongoing to help youfine-tune your site. “Your conversion improvements will be lower, butthey will still be there,” said Janecek.