Today, I want to discuss how we should be actually determining and managing changes to ensure that our conversions are improving.
As I previously mentioned, you should follow the GOLDEN RULE and always be plugging the biggest leak in your funnel.
If you are just starting out, or if you are a business that is PRE-PRODUCT MARKET FIT (see here!), there are probably some obviously things you KNOW you can do to your site that will help optimise steps in your funnel.
USABILITY testing is also great during this period because it will quickly highlight easy changes you can implement immediately.
In this scenario, you can also just follow rules of thumb and use your gut instinct (following the advice above!) to QUICKLY and EFFICIENTLY implement changes to your site. SPEED and KNOWING what to change is the key in this scenario. You will easily be able to measure the effect of these changes because your FUNNEL and ANALYTICS should be in place!
Once you reach a certain level however, things become a little less black and white. Growth optimisation then becomes a science and DATA becomes your best friend.
There is a diminishing rate of return. The more we optimise our funnel, the harder it is to continue to improve our conversions. As a result, we need to move to a more SCIENTIFIC approach for determining and managing changes.
We don’t know if the changes we are going to make will increase conversions!
See, the thing is, PEOPLE are WEIRD and UNPREDICTABLE! (In a good way of course ☺)
We now need to start TESTING our HYPOTHESIS to make sure that the changes we are implementing will DEFINITELY increase conversions.
After all, we don’t want to waste resources on something that won’t be BENEFITIAL!
So, how do we do this?
The easiest way is to run what is called an A/B test.
In an A/B test we divide the traffic to a certain page on our website (ideally from one source) into two groups.
We then use one page as a control and create a separate one, implementing the changes we THINK will increase conversions.
One of the groups then gets sent to the ORIGINAL page and the second group to the NEW page and we MEASURE the difference.
This way, we know whether or not the changes we are implementing are actually increasing conversions!
Why do we go to this great length though?
Well, the beauty of it is that we can actually test a number of things at once, for each stage in the funnel, while still knowing what is working and what isn’t!
Furthermore, there are also some great tools out there which allow us to create A/B tests without having to do any coding (or divert development resources!).
Two of the easiest to use are https://www.optimizely.com and www.visualwebsiteoptimizer.com
Both of these tools allow you to CREATE your own A/B tests by simply DRAGGING/EDITING/DROPPING elements on your current page.
You can change text, add/change images all with a few clicks! On top of this, you can also track what GOAL you are trying to measure and easily determine what % of users you want to use in a test!
TIP: Make sure you do some cross-browser testing after creating your tests though as sometimes editing the HTML on your site using these tools can cause some issues….
Great…well here is a real A/B test from the guys at 37signals in action!
Read the full story here: http://tinyurl.com/3wgof54
Please note though, most tests aren’t as clean cut as these!
Well, that’s about it for today. I hope you have learned a little more about HOW you TEST what is actually working on your site and KNOW that your conversions are increasing.
Just remember, DATA never lies! After your funnel starts to become pretty optimised you will need to TEST EVERYTHING!
Happy New Year everyone! Keep those sales coming in 2013!