Testing is a long-term process. Testing is a long-term process. Again? Testing is a long-term process.
I’m sure you’ve heard it plenty of time by now (and not just from me), but why exactly is testing a long-term process?
I’ve posted before about the mindset to put yourself in while testing: your future vision for your website, understanding that everything is constantly shifting online, and throwing out assumptions.
This mindset keeps you focused on the future and keeps you on your toes. It is a tool that helps you be nimble enough to maneuver around new challenges.
Testing is a long term process because it is another tool for you to continually improve your business.
There are two main reasons to run testing:
- To achieve better results
- To learn more about our business and customers
The first is to achieve better results. This item seems like a no brainer, and it’s the primary reason most people are drawn to the idea of testing. We’ve all read the crazy success stories (“we changed the submit button and had a 70% increase in conversions!”). This gets you better results without spending more money on marketing, SEO, or PPC. This is the primary goal of testing after all. However, while these cases do happen, they aren’t the rule. There are ideas that should make sense, but don’t perform when tested. Or, you see a positive impact, but it is only a 2%-5% lift and it took a few months to achieve that number.
The important thing to take away from all of this is: big results can happen, but don’t be disappointed when the don’t. I know you’re thinking, “don’t be disappointed?!?!” Keep in mind that a small increase in conversion rate is a lot of money when you add that percentage on your yearly numbers. Then add on next years as well. Remember, each change made due to testing isn’t a result of just what happens for that testing period, it’s a value that continues to deliver month-after-month, year-after-year. How much more money would you make with a 2% increase in number of orders over one year? There’s another reason why testing is a long term solution.
There is also value in tests that don’t perform well. Remember, just because something worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Here’s an example:
The future idea for your website (remember the “future vision” bullet point from the last slide?) is to add related or suggested products to your product page. The idea is to give other options and help increase Average Order Value. Lets say you test a related products bar and see that it is distracting customers from their initial goal of buying. This test would prove that promoting related products in such a way costs you money. Because of testing the idea instead of simply adding the related products to your site, you are preventing yourself from making a change to your site that could have cost you money. The test can tell you how much money you saved yourself by not making that change. Testing can keep you from making negative changes to your site and save you money over time.
The second big reason why we test is to learn more about our business and customers. Regardless of if the test made money or lost money, you will learn more and more about your customers. A common response to this is, “I’m spending money on testing. Learning doesn’t help my ROI.” While there’s truth to it, it’s also short sighted. What value is there in learning? I’ll show you…
Each test will help you learn more about your website and your customers. Each time you learn something new, there are more questions that follow. The answers to these questions are more targeted tests. So, if a test performed well, you can push the envelope even more with a more targeted second test. There’s no reason to think that you can’t improve more than you already have. If a test doesn’t perform, you the answers to “why?” give you more targeted second tests. Each time you learn something new about your online business, you are able to make more targeted tests. This means, with a long-term approach, you can make more and more targeted tests that benefit your online business. Learning as you go is very important to the success of your testing efforts!
Remember, testing is a long-term process because:
- Testing is another tool to improve your business.
- Testing saves money by preventing you from making negative changes to your website.
- Each change made due to testing is value that continues to deliver month-after-month, year-after-year!
- The more you learn, the more targeted your testing is, and the better chance you have to achieve positive results!