Best practices in online marketing change and evolve all the time. Techniques that might have worked a decade ago, for example older SEO tactics and strategies, simply don’t work in today’s era. Website visitors want meaningful, personalized content. They don’t want to just click on a static web page. They expect a fully responsive site to work right on their mobile device. That’s where testing can come in handy for your online business.
Why do some online businesses skip or ignore Testing?
To first understand the significance of testing a site, you need to understand why many don’t bother to test in the first place. A common excuse used goes something like this:
“I don’t need to test my website because the clients, users or visitors will tell me when something is wrong.”
In this scenario, you’re trying to shift the burden of responsibility onto those who come to your site rather than taking preventative measures yourself. Preparation can go a long way in increasing the level of engagement and the amount of time your visitors spend on your sites, along with the best conversion optimization techniques.
How are online businesses usually testing their sites?
The best brands and online businesses today don’t look at testing as a small piece of potential marketing, or something that they could spend time and effort on. To them, testing means implementing a smart, methodical approach to checking all aspects of a website or application. They ensure the website does what it’s supposed to and that it’s clear where the users can access the most important information and forms to fill out. They are constantly personalizing the experience for their users, constantly tweaking and improving the website for the best possible experience. They want their users to ensure the website experience, find the content helpful and convert at the end of the day.
Testing goes beyond websites too. It can extend to other forms of media and content that people look at each day. The principles of A/B split testing and objectively evaluating your qualitative and quantitative data can be used for just about anything, whether you’re trying to test the results of a survey you created or checking the user experience on a video or application you created for someone. You’re just trying to throw ideas out there to see what sticks and picking the winner. After you’ve done all this, you can go back and see why this version of your content or something you have tried on a mobile or tablet device performed better. Understanding the user and their experience as a whole on your website and from one device to the next will help you came up with and make the necessary changes to get the user to convert.
When you have had your website up for a while, you should be regularly monitoring Google Analytics to observe the data. Bounce rate, exit rates, popular pages viewed, goals, funnel drop and more are some of the most important metrics to measure. These metrics help you understand what your users are experiencing and can help you improve or tweak the experience through testing. You should get as granular as you can when checking the subcategories of the pages as well and looking out for a number of pageviews and how long visitors on average spend time on the site. A visitor that spends a lot of time on site may not necessarily be a good thing. They might be struggling to find what they are looking for, only to drop off and go to one of your competitors.
Testing for Email Marketing Campaigns and Other Marketing Platforms
Remember what we said about A/B testing because it’s also crucial if you’re trying to do email marketing too. The same steps apply. You create variations on the emails you’ll send to potential leads. Maybe you want to experiment with a different color on the call-to-action button or change the headlines with a more inviting message. Perhaps you’re testing the email subject line. Perhaps you want to test all by doing what we call multivariate testing, where you’re trying to determine which version of your email got the best results.
After you’ve done all of that, you should never stop testing. Whatever you’re doing in the online marketing space is constantly changing, and that means you need to test accordingly, taking into account all of the variable changes. Stay on your toes and keep coming up with ideas which should be data driven. Understand that users behave differently from each marketing type e.g. email, social media, paid ad’s or those who come directly to your site. Measure the impact it has on the metrics you’re testing at all times.
Here are other metrics you should look for depending on what type of marketing you want to implement. Are you tracking these? Are you testing these? Are they apart of your testing strategies?
- Search Engine Optimization Metrics:
- Organic traffic
- Keyword rankings
- Position changes
- Traffic costs
- Social Media Marketing Metrics:
- Social media traffic to website
- Post reach
- Link clicks
- Landing Page metrics:
- Number of leads
Notice you’re always testing for a specific set of variables and measuring changes over a period, usually about every month or some every two weeks depending on what kind of relationships you’re trying to detect.
Online marketing channels are different, but the principles of strong testing never changes. You need to objectively evaluate what metrics are most valuable to the type of marketing and online business or users you have and then create your A/B tests based on that. If the results look good, keep optimizing and testing what you create to stay ahead of your competitors. If you get into the habit of adding testing to all of your marketing efforts, you’ll optimize your marketing and media more effectively. If you need more help with testing your online marketing and media, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.