Last year saw an increasing number of companies grasp the critical value of optimisation and with high quality A/B testing and personalisation cited as top priorities this year, the question is not whether optimisation is good for business – but rather how to convince everyone to pitch in with the effort.
Gaining the necessary buy-in across all departments is crucial to ensuring your optimisation strategy is a success; whether that’s providing the best digital experience possible, increasing conversions and/or boosting revenues.
Marie Despringhere, UK Country Manager, Optimizely, outlines a three-step game plan to really get the whole team on board.
Make everyone feel involved
When it comes to optimisation, everyone in the process is vital and needs to play a significant part in the overall strategy. It is also important to remember that when you bring on multiple departments, it may seem like you’re adding a bit of complexity into the mix. But, in reality, you’re adding unique viewpoints and agendas — which ultimately will help to create hypotheses that can dramatically enhance your optimisation strategy and have a significant impact on the business..
A few key pieces of advice: Use testing briefs to outline goals and share common knowledge at the beginning of the process; decentralise optimisation as a business unit, but still utilise testing and personalization experts to help organisations get the most out of their optimisation efforts; And, in terms of driving the best results, empower the people that know more than you on the product and business side to engage in the optimisation process.
These include product managers, merchandising managers, business unit leaders and customer facing teams. Get their hypotheses into the mix and keep them engaged throughout; And, finally, keep in mind that a single person (or department) will have difficulty scaling A/B testing and personalisation across an organisation unless it’s really small.
Thoroughly plan your testing
It’s pretty clear that if you don’t properly plan and execute your tests, then it might be difficult to measure the impact. A little research will help formulate more focused hypotheses, conduct , conduct better, faster and more focused testing and, of course, generate more accurate results.
When it comes to forming hypotheses, it’s important to make sure they provide a specific purpose and help you pinpoint exactly what you are trying to determine. They also need to be testable and have specific goals of, for example, solving conversion problems and/or gaining market insights. In addition, make sure you are getting actionable data from analytics.
For real insights, forget about averages: In your testing, did you add an element that was wildly successful with a small, niche market segment? You might be on the right track. Examine test performance for different customer segments to tease out insights.
Lastly, remember, the key value of testing is to learn what you don’t know, not to prove yourself right. You may not always gain the results you are looking for but this doesn’t mean it is a wasted project, use those failed tests to gain further insights into what might work. These tests may be the ones that yield new opportunities in areas you may not have thought about testing before.
Prioritise for results
Companies respond to success. Many companies, however, start out pumped up to engage in testing only to scale back their efforts when they don’t see the results they’d hoped for. Avoid this by continually brainstorming testing ideas and by securing some easy, early wins; but don’t settle for simply testing button colours. Prioritise what you test to ensure you’re not wasting time on mediocre ideas, and test the pages with the highest impact first. Contrary to what many think, the highest potential doesn’t usually exist on the homepage. Look, instead, at the pages with the highest traffic, top landing (entry) pages and pages with the most expensive exits.
Just like in sports, practice makes perfect. Yes, it takes time, but the results will speak for themselves. And now is the time to educate your staff on optimisation techniques and increase the internal skillset, you may find that some of the biggest initial sceptics have turned into advocates when included early on in developing the plan.
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