Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why RADICAL Redesign Should Be the FIRST Step In Web Page Optimization

Yesterday afternoon, I tuned into a webinar sponsored by Marketing Experiments. Tagged Rapidly Maximizing Conversion: How one company quickly achieved a 53.9% lift with a radical redesign, the webinar was hosted by MECLABS Managing Director Flint McGlaughlin.

The basic message was this: When attempting to achieve a web page response lift, do not test individual components of the landing page. Rather, go for a radical redesign of the whole web page.

Why? Because testing one variable at a time is very very slow. For example, an average web page redesign experiment might test the headline, color, call to action, three dimensionality, video, copy, etc.

Instead, begin with a radical redesign and work backwards to achieve the necessary fast conversion improvement that marketers are looking for.

How do you know whether or not you need a radical redesign?

First, Evaluate your results to date to identify any of the following failures:

1. Your website is significantly under-performing.
2. You are experiencing unimpressive test results.
3. You have trouble getting a valid test.
4. The market you are appealing to has shifted in macro or micro directions.

Second, review your conversion index and customer profile analyses to determine specific structural [categorical] problems. [More about "categorical problems" in item #2, below].

The Six Key Principles

Based on a variety of independent theories -- decision theory and game theory, for example -- radical redesign urges marketers and web page designers to adopt six key principles.

1. Understand how to utilize radical redesigns to determine your optimum page "category."

a. A radical redesign is one in which the experimental approach is "categorically" different from the control.

b. Various perceived problems in the page design -- for example, weak headline, jumbled layout, ineffective call-to-action, a value proposition buried in links, poor thought sequence, poorly performing form field, too many or too few graphics, questionable perceived value, multiple steps to get to the buy process, etc. -- will all be changed and tested in one move.

c. From the point of radical improvement, then you can go back and look at individual variables.

2. Radical Redesign is aimed at determining our "best page" category. This is accomplished by taking into account structural elements inherent in a given communication archetype (for example, long copy vs. short copy, graphics heavy versus copy heavy, etc.)

Through radical redesign, you learn as soon as possible everything about how to get a lift. You are able to test such structural website attributes as image-heavy structure v. text heavy design; sales tone emphasis v. to academic tone; a 3-column layout v. a 1-column layout; structure that shifts from process value to product value, etc..

3. Use Radical Redesign to get to single-factor testing.

First, figure the structural communication categories [see#2 above], then move to such single-factor testing as an a/b split.

3. Hypothesize solutions.

• How might it work to simplify the multiple steps in the buy process?
• Suppose you eliminated as many cart steps as possible?
• What would be the effect of replacing a single call-to-action with radio buttons aimed at product selection?
• How might change copy to clarify and highlight the underlying value proposition.

4. Design alternative treatments.

Test as many treatments as your traffic will allow, then test the differential between the control and the treatments.

5. Analyze and interpret test results.
Look for enough actions and enough variants to allow for statistical significance and be sure to run tests full cycle. Don't assume anything too early in the testing cycle.

At this point, the learning begins. Now you must convert how much and how many into why and what can I learn about my customer? for example:
a. Is my customer's motivation sufficient to maintain momentum through longer cart processes?
b. Is the customer confused by multiple calls to action?
c. Is the customer ready to click the call-to-action button only when they have read and understood the value of the product?

6. Plan iterative tests.
a. Once you've tested into the correct category you can challenge the control enough to generate a significant difference. The objective now is to test the highest performing variables and increase channel specificity.

-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

No comments: