Today’s post contains something I wish all my posts had: a catchy phrase!
By now, everyone knows they should always be testing, but the real hurdles in optimization are deciding what to test, and in what order.
Yes, you can start randomly testing so-called best practices, like Big, green buttons always convert better, but you may not like it when your target audience behaves contrary to what the marketing gurus have told you. And, you can make an un-prioritized list of things to test, and work through the list top-to-bottom, but the opportunity cost of not testing the high-priority stuff first can be very high.
So, let’s assume you’re following a much smarter conversion rate optimization process: You’ve used your web analytics data to understand where the real problems are on your site, and you understand what the high-priority pages are that need testing the soonest. Great! You’re probably already a leg up on your competition
You pick a page that has a high bounce rate, or isn’t driving clicks the way you want it to, or isn’t moving prospects to the next step in your planned scenario. You know it needs to be optimized. Problem: what should be tested, and in what order should consecutive tests be run? Now you’re almost ready for “Move, Remove, or Improve.”
As a next step, list out all the page elements that make up the particular trouble page. You may wish to print the page in black and white and draw boxes around all the various page elements if you struggle to do this on-the-fly. A typical list of page elements might look like:
Point of Action Assurance
Call to Action (primary)
Call to Action (secondary)
Analyze all the page elements in the context of the page, the goals your prospects have, and the goals you have, in order to determine which elements are most likely hurting the performance of the page. This should give you a prioritized short list of a few elements that are high-priority tests, say 1) call to action 2) headline 3) testimonial.
For each page element you’ve decided you want to test, now is the time to think about that element in terms of, you guessed it, Move, Remove, or Improve. If “call to action” is your first test, ask yourself these 3 questions:
1) What would happen if I moved it? Should the call to action be moved higher on the page? Lower? Left-aligned? Centered?
2) What would happen if I removed it? Could you remove the call to action from the page completely? Perhaps later in a series of pages? How would removal alter user behavior?
3) What would happen if I improved it? Can the design be made more palatable? More professional? Can the users’ experience with the element be made more elegant?
Asking these three questions will help guide you as to how you should test high-priority elements on a high-priority page. It should also help you word the hypothesis of your test.
For example, you may decide to test moving the call to action lower on the page, because your answer to question #1 was, “If I moved the call to action lower, the prospect will have read more important sales bullets, and will be more likely to take the action I want.” Guess what? That’s a great hypothesis to try and prove or disprove!
Once you’ve run your highest-priority test, you can always loop back and test removing it or improving it to see what else you can learn. Give it a try, and let us know how you fare!