Monday, our Senior Digital Marketing Analyst, Brendan Regan, was interviewed by Tim Ash on WebmasterRadio. Tim and Brendan chatted about FutureNow’s testing experiences with clients. During the interview, Brendan details some common problems his clients experience, explains what data tells him about his clients’ customers, and reveals why it is important to test and implement winning variations quickly.
Brendan notes that many of his clients have identified and track some basic KPIs but have a hard time really digging into the details. For instance, he mentions the fact that many clients look at their aggregate conversion rate (CR), but fail to break that down into conversion rates for various segments. That’s a problem because some segments of traffic are earlier in their buying process, and may convert at a low rate, while other segments of traffic have a higher level of buying intent, and convert at a very high rate. The aggregate CR is the average of all these segments and all their conversion rates. This average tells us very little about where the problems exist and therefore, sheds little light on how to make improvements that will make a difference in the bottom line.
He mentions that segmenting traffic into custom segments such as early stage buyers and later stage buyers, helps you look at the data in more detail and really dig into where problems are. Doing this will show you where the real opportunity exists. An example of some key things Brendan suggests to look at for each of these segments are:
1. Conversion funnels – identify where the largest traffic drop-offs occur
2. Top landing pages – identify which ones have high bounce rates
If you can find some of the big problems in the data, this is likely where you’re bleeding money. Brendan points to the Pareto principle as support: 20% of the challenges on your site are likely responsible for 80% of your pain.
So, once you find those problem areas on your site, how can you most effectively make improvements and increase revenue?
Brendan mentions some things you can do to get started with testing:
Don’t view a losing test as a failure. A losing test still gives you insight into the buyer’s behavior and will result in effective follow up tests. Sometimes it takes one or two consecutive losing tests to figure out how to get a big win.
Test a range of circumstances and don’t play it safe. Running timid tests sometimes results in tests that run too long, or that don’t reach significance. Be brave, and test things that seem radical, or things that might not appeal to you. Realize that you are not the target audience. Radical variations lead to spectacular results; either clear wins or clear losses. Either way, you learn from each test result.
Run tests quickly. Win quickly and/or lose quickly, so that you can learn, implement, and move on to continue increasing revenue. If you have a successful test end quickly, you can implement the winning variation quickly and bank the extra revenue quickly. Build on the winning variation as a baseline and continue testing and improving.
Brendan helps reinforce this approach every day with his clients. If you’d like to work with him, or one of FutureNow’s other wicked-smart Digital Marketing Analysts, consider a subscription to our OnTarget program of continuous improvement.