Testing is key in e-mail marketing and beyond: conversion and experiences


Enhancing performance is not always about making big changes. Consider that in most high end competitive sports it's often the smallest tweaks which result in winning. This can also be true for improving your conversions.

Conversely, to achieve the results you want, you may have to make some major changes. What you want to avoid is the "castle on a swamp" scenario - don't build on a swamp and then try to correct the mistake by piling more buildings on top of the others which have sunk already till one stays up. Know when to say 'uncle' and start over.

Your first step is to establish your goals and then test. Those goals and the results of your testing should make a road map to get you to where you want to be. Trying something different or making a quick adjustment is fine as long as that does not become your ongoing strategy.

In a recent report on conversion, Econsultancy concludes the following practices are significant for increasing conversions:

  • Use of A/B or split testing
  • Testing landing pages
  • Building a new website
  • Using analytics to optimize the copy / layout
  • Redesigning page layouts
  • Changing e-mail providers or implementing a new e-mail campaign
  • Simplifying and revamping the checkout process

The report finding also stresses that user testing is important for your landing pages. It's a valid point and can't be repeated enough. Testing is key in all forms of digital marketing and is as much a matter of conversion as of relevance and customer experience, which basically all boil down to the same as I often said before.

Do you have a test group? Are you testing the user experience on a regular basis? Far too many companies are doing no testing at all. Do you think your sky diving instructor should test all equipment on a regular basis? I bet you would insist on it. So, why are you not doing this for your customers? Don't you want them to gently touch down on your landing page and avoid slamming into it and bouncing?

From the report: The vast majority of companies surveyed (87%) carry out 10 tests or fewer on their website per month. It is worrying that some 17% of companies do not carry out any tests on their website. Over three-quarters of companies (76%) carry out between one and 20 tests per month, with just over a quarter (27%) carrying out three to five tests per month. Company respondents who said they were very satisfied with their conversion rates carry out more than four times as many tests per month on their website as those that are very dissatisfied with their conversion rates.

The report also notes: 'There is a strong correlation between the number of tests carried out and the level of satisfaction with conversion rates.'

People will not tell you if something is not optimal: only tests, negative comments and poor conversion will

Don't fool yourself! People will not go out of their way to tell you something is broken with your landing pages, newsletter or forms. It simply doesn't happen.
The vast majority of prospects will simply abandon the process without ever telling you something is wrong. Customers and prospects are not part of your testing team. They will not ask for a better customer experience, they will simply go away, because they expect a superior customer experience.

You must test and you must do so on a regular basis. This is not optional if you want to see good conversion rates. Because conversion is all about customer experience.

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