It makes me happy to see that landing page testing and optimization is becoming a normal business practice, I just feel we can do better with the optimization part of the cycle. Tell me if this sounds familiar; you do your research, you design an experience that is aligned with user intent and your business objectives, then you launch your test. After your test runs, you celebrate the winning page, then you check off that project and move on to something else.
If this sounds all too familiar, this article is for you. As I mentioned in my previous post on landing page optimization, in order to make strides in performance you should always be trying to raise the stakes. This all comes with having a strategic optimization plan, which I’m going to cover today.
Define Your Objective
Every successful LPO plan starts with measurable objectives. What are you trying to solve? Are you trying to increase leads, increase lead quality, drive more sales, or increase user engagement? All of these goals are vastly different and will require different strategies to achieve them. For example, if your goal is to increase lead quality you may test page elements that will help users self-select.
Align Objectives With Traffic sources
Not all traffic sources are created equal. If you are expecting the same results from all traffic sources (mobile, search, social, display, etc) you will be greatly disappointed. The reason is the user has a different intent depending on the channel they come from. Knowing this, it is important that you establish different objectives for each marketing channel. For example, with search you may choose to measure direct leads, and for display you may choose to measure how they interacted with the key points of the page. This may require that you develop a unique experience per channel so as to not distract users with too many choices.
Innovation & Iteration
Now that you know what success looks like, you can start developing your test structure. As a way to quickly gather learnings I like to take the innovation & iteration approach to landing page testing, which I learned from my friends over at ion interactive.
In short in the innovation phase you are testing pages that are radically different such as a landing page to a microsite, and so on. Once you get a champion you go into the iteration phase where you are making minor tweaks to the winner such as headline and image changes. I feel this approach allows you to stay focused on the bigger picture and not get bogged down in the details of testing.
Maintain a Roadmap
To keep your eye on the prize it’s important to have a roadmap. Since your direction and focus can change depending on the outcome of the test I like to keep them simple. I have a parking lot of the potential test elements, and a Gantt chart that outlines the test phases. As we get closer to a winner we will reference the parking lot and pull the next item that we are going to test. Using this method if we find that a test is not going to plan we can quickly regroup and easily change course.
Remember landing page testing and optimization is an ongoing journey. If you work smarter you will be rewarded with killer gains in performance. If you have any questions on testing or developing a testing strategy don’t hesitate to ask.