As digital marketers we are always looking for The Next Big Thing. New technologies and trends are key, but so is ensuring your current programs are reaching their full conversion potential.
While not a difficult or complicated process, optimization does require discipline and organization to generate useful results. Through the art and science of optimization you can identify and implement small (or large) changes that have a significant impact on the conversion rate of your campaign.
The first step in optimization is to identify what you ultimately want to achieve. The objective(s) of your optimization strategy should reinforce the larger marketing and business goals. Objectives should be specific, quantifiable, and supportive of the overarching goals.
Identify Areas of Potential
Evaluate your campaigns and identify elements that have growth potential. Some of these will be obvious, but don’t ignore the numbers: review traffic, open rates, engagement, viewing device, and any other data you have available for trends and areas of opportunity. The ultimate goal is to make the most effective use of your emails, so flag any areas that are underperforming.
This is where the art comes in. Once you’ve identified specific opportunities consider what changes you think might have an impact on conversion.
- Do you think lifestyle photography will resonate better for a segment of your audience than product photography?
- Suspect that moving the CTA higher/lower/right/left will increase click activity?
- Have a feeling that sending on a certain day is useless?
Plan Your Test
A bit of preparation goes a long way when developing tests for optimization. Spend some time prioritizing tests, determining the testing schedule, defining what metrics to track, and how to determine success. Develop a testing grid where you document plans and hypotheses.
Execute and Measure
Now that all of that pesky preparation is out of the way, it’s finally time to execute all of your carefully laid plans and begin to see some results! Carefully record all test results in your testing grid, along with the original hypothesis, testing details, specific objectives, and as many details as possible.
Once you have some results you’ll need to determine whether they are statistically significant. There are several significance calculators available online if you aren’t familiar with this process. Here’s one to get you started.
After you’ve determined what results are statistically significant you can begin making recommendations. Don’t be afraid to modify your test a bit and run it again to confirm or refute a finding. Very rarely are definitive and actionable results generated by a single test!
Once you’ve formulated data-driven recommendations you are ready to implement your findings. Continue to monitor campaign metrics to ensure that your optimization did, in fact, optimize your campaign.
Keep in mind that the optimization process is a never-ending one. Your audience, deployment technologies, viewing devices, and segments will never stop changing and growing, so it is important that your campaigns continue to change and grow with them.
#EmailCRO is an Email Optimization Experts Series featuring best practice advice and technology insights from email marketing and conversion rate optimization thought leaders and industry experts. Subscribe to the #EmailCRO Twitter list to learn more and join the conversation.