Daniel Burstein

Landing Page Optimization: For the best test ideas, look beyond yourself

Pitching. When I worked at an advertising agency as a copywriter, this was probably my most important skill.

If you’re not familiar with the term, this is how decisions are/were made in many advertising agencies and marketing departments. “To attempt to promote or sell, often in a high-pressure manner” is how The Free Dictionary describes it.

The copywriter and art director pitch the creative director. The creative team pitches the account executive. The agency pitches the client. And then, well, the company uses that campaign to pitch the audience. (For historical reference, see “Men, Mad.”)

 

And now for something completely different

As you can imagine, this doesn’t necessarily result in the most effective campaign for the company. Or anything of value for the customer. It simply means that the best pitch wins.

Herein lies a benefit of A/B testing and conversion rate optimization. You don’t have to choose the best idea based on who has the most persuasive pitch. You can put these ideas in front of customers in real-world, real-time situations.

For this reason, it benefits you to cast your idea net as wide as possible, challenge the paradigm, and see what you learn from (sometimes radically) different ideas. After all, if you only rely on what you come up with in your own head (or within your own small team), you are inherently limited.

Besides, everyone in the company probably has a marketing idea anyway. By including them in the process, you give them ownership of the marketing and a vested interest in helping it succeed.

So, whether it’s Sales (follow up on those leads), IT (get those tests live quickly), Customer Service (follow through on the marketing promise), or even Accounting (get the marketing vendors paid quickly to get the new campaign going), one way to improve your landing pages and email marketing is to cast a wide net for the next great idea.

 

Internal strategy sessions

One way to do that is with an internal strategy session. To give you an idea of what your sessions may look like, here is an inside look at the Peer Review Sessions (PRS) the research analysts at MECLABS use when they create test hypotheses for Research Partners.

Obviously I’m highly biased (my paycheck, after all, says MECLABS), but I’ve always been impressed at how these Peer Review Sessions incorporate feedback from everyone on the team (even the newest members), and result in test ideas that repeatedly improve conversion.

Here is a look at the weekly PRS email that is sent out, to help you craft your own sessions …

 

PRS Frameworks

Description:

Peer Review Sessions (PRS) are a dedicated time each week for you to have portions of your project reviewed by your peers.  Two heads are better than one, and an entire team is even better.  It’s a time to leverage the intelligence and subject matter expertise we have on the team.  The person sitting next to you may be able to see something that you had never considered.

As for what you can use PRS for, it is wide open.  Feel free to use it for brainstorming blue-sky ideas or simply getting last-minute feedback on a treatment design you are presenting in the next few days.  The only requirement is that you speak up, but in a way that is respectful to your team members.  No idea is a bad idea.

For people presenting at PRS, please consider two things:

  1. Lead the discussion, and don’t let it slip away from you
  2. Be careful not to filter or reject ideas during PRS, but rather take them all in and discard afterward

How it works:

PRS will be scheduled for one hour twice weekly:

  • Monday afternoon from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Friday morning from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

On Wednesday of each week, Aimee Thompson will send out a request for topics to be discussed.  In order to get the most out of PRS and to make it objective-based, each PRS submission must be focused around one of five PRS frameworks:

  1. Brainstorming – Open-ended strategy session where all ideas are welcome.  There is no specific focus besides providing good ideas for the presenter to have as ammunition as they develop a research question and test hypothesis.  We are looking for quantity more so than quality (although quality is good).  No preparation is needed for this framework.
  1. Treatment Development – During this session, the presenter shares a test hypothesis (and possibly a research question) with the group in order to develop concrete treatment ideas that prove or disprove the hypothesis.  Please do not share ideas unrelated to the hypothesis.  Whiteboard usage is strongly encouraged.
  1. Treatment Review – This session type is to be used by presenters who have a treatment already wire-framed or designed, and who are looking for last-minute critique.  Feedback is to be limited to tweaks and small changes, such as copy, imagery or subtle repositioning.  The presenter may also use this time to narrow the possible treatments from a higher number to a lower number (e.g., “We have three treatments designed but can only test two.”). This type of framework may only require 15 minutes, depending on the number of treatments.
  1. Follow-up Test Planning – The presenter requests follow-up test ideas based on prior results.  Test ideas will be constrained to the interpretation and results located in the Test Protocol.  Participants will refrain from providing ideas unrelated to the prior test results.  These types of ideas should either be suggested after PRS has concluded or during a PRS Brainstorming session.  The presenter must bring a complete Test Protocol to the meeting.
  1. Problem Solving – The session type is reserved for more general problems or issues a team member may be facing with their Research Partnership.  Topics may range from relationship issues to value proposition development.  Any issue falling outside a typical test sequence that you would like help on is welcome.

So if you need to use a PRS time slot, please provide Aimee with:

  • Day — Friday or following Monday
  • Time needed — 15 or 30 minutes
  • Partner name
  • Type of framework

Attendance:

As our team grows, so has the attendance to PRS.  This has both pros and cons.  A positive result is more ideas and visibility on the item you require assistance on.  A few negative results are multiple conversations occurring at once, and people with good ideas not having the opportunity to speak up.

To resolve this issue, we will be splitting PRS into two groups of a more manageable number. One group will attend the Monday PRS and the other on Friday.  Splitting PRS into two separate groups also allows for more topics to be discussed (4) and the flexibility of getting peer review either at the beginning of the week or the end.

We will mix the groups up about every month.

 

Related Resources:

Quick Lift Ideas: 8 test ideas to help you increase conversion across your site

Homepage Optimization: 5 questions every marketing team should ask themselves

Landing Page Optimization: 36 articles and resources to help you complete your next LPO project

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