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[Infographic] How to Create an Effective Testing and Optimization Plan

August 30th, 2016

Editor’s Note: This is the third step in last week’s post by Adam Lapp. Here’s Adam…

Paul Cheney
Managing Editor
MarketingExperiments

If you’re entrenched in Conversion Rate Optimization, A/B testing, or have read articles before from MarketingExperiments or MECLABS, you’re probably been inundated with the concepts of friction, anxiety, and value proposition.

But how do you take those concepts and build an effective test plan so you can start increasing your bottom line?

To help you with that, our team of amazing designers (shout out to Lauren, Charlie, Leah, James, and Chelsea) designed this infographic for you. Hope you find it useful. 🙂

MECLABS Institute - Conversion Heuristic Infographic

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The Web as a Living Laboratory
Test Plan: Build better marketing tests with the Metrics Pyramid
The Best Conversion Rate optimizers do NOT make changes to webpages…

The Best Conversion Rate optimizers do NOT make changes to webpages…

August 23rd, 2016

Editor’s Note: For anyone new to this blog, Adam Lapp has been MarketingExperiments’ head of optimization for around three years. He’s been optimizing web paths for much longer, though – somewhere in the ballpark of 10 years. I’ve personally worked with Adam for five years now, and he has, hands down, the most brilliant optimization mind I’ve ever seen.

So naturally, I was thrilled when he sent me a draft of this post for the blog. It’s been a while since Adam took some time out of his busy schedule to write for our blog, but his posts are full of real-world optimization wisdom that many of our readers have found invaluable in the past.

The casual tone of this post may be a little different from what you might be used to on this blog. That’s because I’ve left Adam’s personal writing style, for the most part, intact. This post is written by a true expert and I wanted it to be as directly from the source as possible.

I hope you enjoy. Here’s Adam…

Best,

Paul Cheney

Managing Editor

 

Best Conversion Rate optimizers_Adam

 

I remember I once I designed and ran four tests in a row — two product page tests and two homepage tests — for a Fortune 500 industrial supply company, and lost every time. The designs were solid – better navigation, easier to find buttons, improved copy and value proposition – but they all lost.

When I look back at it, these four tests lost because I was trying to optimize webpages.

So, what the heck am I talking about?

Well fortunately and unfortunately, the probability of a prospect converting begins increasing or decreasing long before they get your website.

Read more…

Optimization 201: Fix the broken leg before you fix the broken toe

October 17th, 2012

If you’ve ever had a broken leg, you know it can be a painful and inconvenient experience. You can’t walk, and you are forced to rely on the people around you to complete the simplest of tasks. Who knew putting on shorts could be so difficult?

Here’s the thing … if you go the emergency room with a broken leg, you certainly don’t want to wake up from the ER with a splint on your broken toe (that you’ve been meaning to get checked out) instead of a cast on your leg. It’s great that the toe has been treated and will heal, but go ahead and try to stand up … I dare you. The toe did kind of hurt, but you could at least walk on it.

In other words, as we assess the ailments of our websites, it’s important to optimize and test elements with the greatest impact on conversion prior to treating the minor ailments. You wouldn’t want to optimize the headline of a landing page that has no button to proceed, would you?

This sounds simple, right? Well, let me tell you that it is not. Conversion rate scientists could be testing for years and not realize this one critical point.

 

Let’s set up a test

When you plan for a test, the first thing you want to do is analyze the page for problems, and then formulate hypotheses for fixing those problems. Here’s a hypothetical test set-up I created to help you understand this important lesson.

Read more…

3 Optimization Lessons we can Learn from the Fashion Industry

October 12th, 2012

Now I don’t know very much about fashion, but I’m fine with this ignorance because I’m a guy.  No offense to my co-worker, Thomas Southworth, who never ceases to amaze me with his contemporary style:

 

 

However, I have observed several fashion ideologies that are transferable to what I do every day between the hours of 9-5.

  1. Fashion trends change regularly
  2. Fashion is in the eye of the beholder
  3. Fashion is enhanced by accessories

 

The Volatility of Fashion Trends

Oscar Wilde once said, “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”  Indeed if you are not wearing a skinny tie then you are simply out of touch, which is funny because the skinny tie was all the rage 50 years ago.

 

 

Fashion changes in a flash, so what worked for you six months ago may be utterly inept today. In the same way, the webpage that you recently tested and validated as an optimized design may be outdated and ineffective a year from now.

What can the marketer learn from the fashionista?

Testing is a never-ending process. And you cannot expect something that worked last year to work today. People change, your competitors get stronger, technology improves, market values shift, and so on and so forth. So keep testing and always revisit previously optimized pages to try new and innovative ideas.

Also, don’t be afraid to try what may be considered “antiquated” ideas. Just because the current design trend is short, above-the-fold pages, that doesn’t mean that the long copy pages of the ‘90s can’t make a comeback.

Read more…

What Eyebrows and Websites Have in Common

August 3rd, 2012

Have you ever wondered why you have a small patch of thick, delicate hair above each of your eyes? What purpose does it serve? Some could argue it fearlessly defends your eyes from the hostile invasion of forehead sweat, or that it was a way for ancient cavemen to defend a saber-tooth kill with one threatening scowl (oh, the power of nonverbal communication).

Whatever the actual purpose, one thing is clear: This comparatively small facial feature is very significant to our daily lives, even if we don’t consciously think about it. And, there can be dramatic ramifications if removed.

Have you ever visualized someone you know without eyebrows? Take for instance the lovely Anne Hathaway (the actress, not Shakespeare’s wife). She is strikingly beautiful with eyebrows, but what happens if you remove them?

 

Anne Hathaway with eyebrows:

 

Anne Hathaway without eyebrows:

 

Wow, what a difference. But, removing this small element does not have a huge impact for just Anne; this seemingly innocuous change severely impacts everyone’s appearance.

Take our Director of Editorial Content, Daniel Burstein. A rather handsome guy, but what happens if you remove his eyebrows?

 

Daniel with eyebrows:

 

Daniel without eyebrows:

 

At this point, if you are still reading, you are probably wondering, “Why am I reading about eyebrows on an Internet marketing blog?” Good question, but I have an answer.

Eyebrows are a very small feature of a person’s face, but they make a huge impact on a person’s appearance when removed. In our A/B testing lab, we’ve found the same thing occurs on your website and landing pages. Making a seemingly small change to copy, layout, color, etc. can have a significant impact on conversion.

We tested a very small change in button copy for the MarketingExperiments blog, and achieved a 34% lift in conversion. The goal was to get more readers to comment on blog articles. All we did was change the button copy from “Submit Comment” (pretty standard) to “Join the Conversation.” That’s it! Small change — i.e., eyebrows — equaled a big result.

Read more…

Quick Lifts: 4 ideas to increase email clickthrough

November 23rd, 2011

“The goal of an email is to get a click.” –Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO, MECLABS

Editor’s Note: It’s a simple concept and you have likely heard it a lot if you’re a regular MarketingExperiments reader. If you can provide your prospect with enough value to get them to click out of their crowded, highly competitive inbox and onto your landing page, the email has done its job.

Of course, it’s one thing to be able to say what the goal of an email is, and another thing entirely to accomplish it. It takes a lot of experience testing and optimizing emails to develop your own internalized methodology for writing effective email messaging.

To fill that void, Adam Lapp, our Associate Director of Optimization and Strategy, was kind enough to lend us his years of experience in testing and optimizing emails and give us real optimization ideas for a specific audience-submitted email. By observing how Adam looks at a page, we can get a glimpse into the methodology he uses to optimize an email and draw out some transferable principles to apply to our own pages.

The following email was submitted by Zoe. The audience for the email is marketing managers and above. The objective is to introduce clients to the benefits of Data Enhancement through a free, downloadable whitepaper.

 

Email Sample: 

Click to enlarge

 

So from here, I’ll let Adam take it away.

4 ideas for getting more clicks in the email:

Overall, this is a relatively good email. There are several things marketers could take away from the email as it is. For example:

  • There is a clear problem and solution presented
  • The benefits of the solution are clearly articulated
  • The whitepaper has an image associated with it to make it feel more robust/tangible
  • The side column is used for supporting material
  • Personalization is used in the signature

With that said, I came up with a few ideas to increase the performance. Here they are in no particular order: Read more…