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Tips & Tricks for Building Your Experimentation Program

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Regardless of whether you’re just getting started with optimizing your website, or have been embedded in the process for some time, there will inevitably come a time when you search for inspiration. “What do I split test next?” is a common mantra that we hear from customers and testing enthusiasts alike in the pursuit of the next conversion lift.

Do you prefer solo or team-based brainstorming? We have suggestions for both. Want a TL;DR? Skip to #21: we’ve saved the best for last.

Independent Idea-Generation

When you’re in a pinch, sometimes you’ll need to come up with an idea on your own. Maybe you feel most inspired outside of the confines of a brainstorming meeting. Here’s how you can find your next test solo:

  1. Make a list of your top website pet peeves. Buried navigation? CTAs below the fold? Too many unnecessary form fields? Take the list and re-examine your own site for flaws.annoyed

  2. Conversely, examine some of your favorite websites. What do they do well—make shopping seamless, or browsing news articles enjoyable? Key in on the moments that made you click, and consider what you could try to recreate on your own site with a test.

  3. Map out a conversion goal on your website. Pick a conversion goal—purchase, sign-up, or other. Count the number of clicks and form fields it would take a visitor to complete that goal. Challenge yourself to reduce that number by at least one.

  4. Consult other conversion rate optimization (CRO) experts. We’d recommend blogs on CRO like ConversionXL, Marketing Experiments, or another post or two on the blog you’re already reading.

  5. Consider your business metrics by industry. What conversion would you like to increase? Add to cart, or ad clicks? Take a look at our suggestions for e-commerce, lead generation, and media websites.

  6. Have you tried one of our 71 ideas? Messaging, navigation bars, and puppycams, anyone?

  7. Challenge your instincts with WhichTestWon.com. What surprising (or expected) tests could translate to your site or landing page?

  8. Re-envision your messaging. Tweak your copywriting in headlines and CTAs. For inspiration, brush up on these 8 Simple Copywriting Tips.

  9. Dive deep into your analytics. Look at your top traffic pages, the bounce rate, and re-examine your website conversion funnel. Where are the bottlenecks? Focus your tests around the most difficult conversions and try something out-of-the-box.

Build a Test Queue with your Team

Regardless of prior experience with optimization, test brainstorming is a process that begs for collaboration and should proceed building an experiment in an AB testing tool. Try one of the following with members of your team:

  1. Examine your competitors’ websites. What ideas would you borrow or improve upon for your own site?

  2. Host a killer brainstorming session. Inc.com documented five key tips from design think-tank IDEO on how to have a 75+ idea brainstorm.

  3. Take brainstorming out of the office. Plan a happy hour, working lunch, or walk outdoors to think about the challenges of online, away from screens. Start with big business challenges, and then drill down to specific series of ideas to test.

  4. Document previous tests and brainstormed ideas publicly. Leave ideas on a whiteboard, or write ideas on paper and hang them on a wall in the office. Leave instructions for others to add their own ideas.

  5. Submit your ideas virtually. Collect ideas via survey, social network, or form. We’re seen Jira, Google Moderator, Yammer, and plain ol’ email work well. Let the commenting begin!

  6. Examine your marketing performance across channels. What tests have been conducted elsewhere that could be applied on your website? Email subject line tests? Blog headlines, or experimenting with shareable social messaging?

  7. Take cues from other industries. If you’re a B2C business, borrow from excellent web experiences in the B2B space; vice versa for B2B. How does this approach influence your thoughts on images, website navigation, messaging, and other website elements that could be tested?

 Scale up your Idea Operation

Part of building a sustainable culture of testing depends upon spreading interest across a team, department, or company. Here’s how you can take testing to an even broader audience:

  1. hackathon

    Host a hackathon. Pair members of different teams together and ask them to brainstorm test ideas. If you can, queue up and execute tests live to determine the most impactful test.

  2. Issue a company-wide challenge. Be specific: “Pick apart the homepage.” “How would you improve our new user signup flow?” Make submitting ideas for testing easy (see #14), and experiment with anonymous or public name attribution for the suggestions.

  3. Crown a CRO champion. Encourage participation in submitting ideas by keeping a leaderboard—the employee that submits the most experiment ideas that are eventually run wins a title and company-wide recognition.

  4. Teach your company a new testing feature. Host a Lunch and Learn training session for a more advanced feature on your testing platform, like Segmentation or Targeting. Collect test ideas that utilize the new testing capability.

Finally, if you only remember one tip from this post, make it this one:

  1. Build off the results of a previous test. Begin every test with a hypothesis. Did the experiment result in a variation win, loss, or draw? Make additional predictions and map out subsequent tests based upon what you’ve learned. You’ll be building an internal knowledge base and crafting meaningful, intentional experiments over time.

Learn more about how to grow your testing team with tips like these: Download the Roadmap to Building an Optimization Team

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