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3 Steps to Becoming a Better Marketer through Testing

3 Steps to Becoming a Better Marketer through Testing

Jeremy Smith  |  August 19, 2014
Today's guest post comes from Jeremy Smith at Crazy Egg. Enjoy!

MarketingLab-HeaderImage

A lot of marketers think A/B testing, usability testing, and other methods of gathering user data sound boring. Just the word "testing" makes them cringe with bad memories of the SAT and high school chemistry, and all of those numbers and analytics tools make their heads spin. But in today’s digital marketing world, testing is the key to success. The really good digital marketers, conversion optimization experts, UX pros, and web designers all know that testing is the secret to boosting conversions. I want to share with you 3 steps for improving your contribution as a marketer.

Step 1.  Realization:  You’re not just a marketer. You’re a scientist.

I want to challenge you to think of yourself as a scientist. Scientists don’t just trust what “feels right.” They run tests, they analyze the results, and they take action based on what has been proven to work.

Whether you’re a marketer, designer, growth hacker, or conversion rate optimizer, you have a responsibility to test the user’s interaction with your digital creations. Rather than relying on your first instinct to make decisions, you dig into your data, analyze, and make informed decisions. By testing the way your users interact with your website, your landing pages, or your app, you’re investing in creating a better experience for them—and you’re becoming a more successful marketer. I can’t put this any clearer than a recent VentureBeat article:

Top online marketers achieve more than three times the conversion rates of the bottom third, according to a new digital marketing optimization study from Adobe. Why? They invest in a culture of data, testing, optimization, and analytics.

The difference between the top-converting marketing pros and the low-converting ones is testing. As the article states,

The majority of top online marketers test to make decisions, and they make those decisions based on data.

But a lot of marketers aren’t testing on a regular basis. In fact, a huge segment of marketers admit that testing is not a priority within their company.

crazy egg testing priority numbers

Image from VentureBeat

What does this mean for you? It means there’s a big opportunity for you to get a leg up on the competition. If your company adopts a culture of testing, you’ll have a huge advantage over companies that just rely on their own opinions when it comes time to build a website, landing page, or app.

Step 2.  Activation:  You’re not just a watcher. You’re a doer.

The only campaigns that are guaranteed an ROI are those that have been tested. But what do you test? The simple answer is everything. Test your home page. Test your landing pages. Test your blog. Test your marketing campaigns. Test your calls to action, page length, button color, and headlines. Measure clickthroughs, scroll volume, average time on page, and bounce rates.

There are several ways to test these things. You can do heat mapping, user experience testing, eye tracking, surveys, A/B testing, and even more. At Crazy Egg, we specialize in heatmap analytics —finding out information about how, when, and where people click on your landing page. (If you want to give heatmapping a try, we’re providing 90 days free to Crazy Egg for UserTesting fans.) In the image below, Conversion Rate Experts suggests a few things that might be tested on a landing page. Remember, these are just a tiny fraction of the possible items that could be tested through A/B or multivariate testing.

Things to test

Image from Conversion Rate Experts

I’ve seen too many marketers who think that Google Analytics is where all data begins and ends. But testing uncovers so much more that you might not be able to learn through analytics alone. Google Analytics is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Over 80% of marketers spend time with analytics. But far fewer are doing A/B testing, audience segmentation, heatmapping, and other types of testing.

Percentage of marketers who do testing

Image from VentureBeat

This is a problem. Why? Because these marketers lack actionable data. Without data to lean on, they’re blindly guessing at what changes they can make to improve their conversions. It’s like fumbling around in the dark. Test results give you something to act upon. Testing leads to doing.

Step 3.  Domination:  You’re not just a one-trick pony. You’re a marketing master.

So here’s where we’re at:

  • You are a tester.
  • You are a doer.
  • And what does this make you? It makes you better at everything.

Testing is the beginning of absolute success for all areas of marketing. You don’t just do one thing well. You test everything, which makes you do all of your marketing better. Once you finish testing and you know what works, the conversions pour forth. Here are some real-world examples from Unbounce’s 12 Surprising A/B Test Results:

  • Text placement test:  439% increase in conversions
  • Navigation removal:  89% increase in conversions
  • CTA button color change from white to yellow:  14.5% increase in conversions
  • Stronger headline copy:  98% increase in conversions
  • Additional supporting copy: 38% increase in conversions

If these companies hadn’t tested their ideas, they would never have known they could produce this kind of increase in their conversions. If you can come up with great testing ideas, get results, and act on them, you can significantly impact your company’s bottom line. You might just get a raise, a promotion, or picked for the employee of the month. (I know you want that coveted parking spot.)

Recap

It’s time to start testing so you can become a better marketer and get an advantage over your competitors. Here’s how you do it.

  • Realization:  The light bulb goes off, and you become a scientist. Not just a marketer, but a tester of all of your creations.
  • Activation:  You take that valuable test data and do stuff. Stuff that makes a big difference for your conversion rate.
  • Domination:  You’re able to make high-level observations, strategic insights, tactical maneuvers, and valuable contributions. You take your company to the next level.

There are a lot of great testing resources out there. UserTesting lets you look over the shoulder of your users on your website or app. Optimizely is a powerful A/B testing tool. SurveyMonkey and Qualaroo help you get feedback from your customers through surveys. And don’t forget, you can get 90 days of CrazyEgg for free if you want to try out heatmapping. Good luck, and remember: always be testing!

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About the author:

Jeremy Smith is a serial entrepreneur, trainer, and conversion consultant, helping businesses like IBM, Dow Chemical, American Express, Panera Bread, and Wendy's improve conversions and strategically grow their businesses. Jeremy’s experience as the CMO and CEO of technology firms has given him a powerful understanding of human behavior and profit-boosting techniques.