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Tips & Tricks for Building Your Experimentation Program

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uno Home Loans is on a mission to simplify paths to homeownership for Australians. The company aims to bring choice, transparency, control, and automation to consumers. The financial services leader helps consumers access real-time home loan rates based on their personal needs.

“uno is an interesting business in that we have two parts to what we build and deliver—that to our customers and that to our service team members.  For our service team, we have a very tight feedback loop between their needs and our business objectives and thus can iterate on 2 week cycles, constantly delivering new and improved capabilities and adjusting course as we go,” explains Vincent Turner, CEO at uno Home Loans.

“However, for customers, we have to combine our data, domain expertise and intuition around what will improve their experience, ultimately driving their usage, conversion and our business outcomes attached to that, and test and learn as we go.”

More so than helping prospective home buyers secure loans, uno is an organisation that is rewriting the behavioral economics that drive lending. uno has a number of shareholders including Westpac. In a way, uno is itself an experiment in innovation, reinventing the home loan experience for consumers, similar to the way mortgage brokers disrupted and reinvented the industry controlled by the big banks back in the ‘90s.

“Rapid iteration is central to this engine. Internally with our adviser software, there is a case of diminishing returns, but in the customer facing world, the problem and thus opportunity is effectively unbounded,” says Turner. “This means the system we have for getting to and through ideas matters as much, if not more than, the ideas themselves.”

Website testing is instrumental to uno Home Loans’ process for reaching and engaging potential home buyers. In addition to learning about mortgage-shoppers, uno uses experimentation to make key strategic decisions in its evolution as a startup.

“In the earliest stages of our business, we spent a lot of time figuring out how to best articulate our service proposition in a way that resonated with customers,” says Justin Bohlmann, digital marketing manager at uno Home Loans. “Web and mobile testing helped us uncover the messaging and value proposition that spoke to customers’ needs.”

From this insight uno Home Loans reworded language within its internal communications platform to provide more of a concierge-style experience. From there, uno created a testing-based framework for growth and expansion.

Aligning Testing with Growth

“If we stopped testing, we’d fail,” says Bohlmann. “Someone else would beat us.”

Prior to implementing Optimizely, uno Home Loans had a baseline testing operation. But early successes pushed the product and marketing teams to make A/B testing a core focus. At first, testing involved doing four experiments per week. Soon, the operation needed more rigor behind it.

“We stagnated in terms of the ideas we were coming up with,” says Bohlmann. “We needed more focus and prioritisation.”

The growth team within uno used project management software to solve this pain point. Bohlmann and his team built a scoring algorithm within Jira to rank test ideas based on anticipated impact.

“An experiment idea on a high-traffic page gets a score of two,” says Bohlmann. “Above the fold placements get a score of three. Experiment ideas based on user testing might get a score of one.”

This method surfaces test ideas that are likely to make the highest impact. The uno Home Loans team can more effectively align marketing operations with growth.

“Everything loops back to the problem we want to solve, getting customers better deals on home loans,” says Bohlmann. “In Jira, every growth test idea has KPI metrics attached to it. The success of that particular test is to move the needle on those goals. For instance, accounts and opportunities are the core areas where we are focused right now.”

Connecting People, Processes, and Culture

Testing unites uno’s entire organisation, from the top-down, around strategy. This alignment, according to Bohlmann, democratises the testing process and makes it possible to move testing concepts from ideation to implementation, faster.

“Anyone can put ideas into Jira, from the CEO to interns” says Bohlmann. “We implement these ideas as quickly as we can. We’ve got a dedicated growth team where we’ll meet for an hour weekly. We set aside time directly after that meeting to implement what we discuss. Each week team members report on the results of the previous week’s tests. We double down on the winners and learn from the losing tests.”

At any given time, uno’s marketing team runs 10 tests. The company devises two to three solid test ideas each week. Winning tests are communicated broadly through a dedicated Slack channel and at the fortnightly showcase, the growth team shares the learnings – good and bad – with the whole company.

“It’s amazing being able to work in a place in where we have the freedom to be able to test, fail, learn, and succeed,” says Bohlmann. “It enables us to make progress and stay ahead of the curve with our customer experience.”

Results

Testing helps uno remain close to its customer base and target market. Bohlmann and his team are able to surface subtle, low-hanging areas for improvement that testing reveals.

One adjustment in copy yielded a 26% lift in email registration conversion rate.

“We tested and proved the simple hypothesis that asking would work better than telling. As soon as we implemented the test we knew it would work, it just made more sense. I had no idea it would work as well as it did.”

“That’s our philosophy for testing,” says Bohlmann. “We have enough traffic volume at the top of our marketing funnel to test multiple variations at a time.  We try to go big by doing something completely different to what’s working and iterate on what’s better out of the two. We make decisions quickly, which keeps team members’ motivation flowing. People continuously want to come up with more test ideas.”

Testing powers organisational momentum for uno Home Loans.

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