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5 marketing testing methods to optimize the customer journey

There are many marketing testing methods out there, but what should you try?

For the best results when optimizing the customer journey, marketers need to be analyzing and adjusting their methods and customer touchpoints constantly. Testing your marketing will help you achieve so much more with what you already have by assessing and continuously improving based on data. There are many marketing testing methods out there, but what should you try? Let’s go over some key types of marketing testing you can use on your e-commerce site.

A/B Testing

A/B testing compares two variations of the same item to determine which variation produces the best results. It can be used at a variety of points in the customer journey: calls to action, landing pages, email subject lines, web page layouts, length of copy and more.

For instance, if you wanted to test the click-through rate (CTR) of a call to action (CTA) button, you could vary the button colour, making it appear either blue or red for site visitors, to determine the colour that gets the highest CTR.

With a discount offer you could test what amount appeals to customers and results in a better conversion rate: £5 off or 10% off? Or you could even test if you need to be giving discounts at all, like beauty brand skyn ICELAND who tested a $5 discount verus brand USPs (click here to find out which won!)

Marketing testing for e-commerce
skyn ICELAND tested a discount versus USP message, guess which won?


Tip: Don’t change multiple elements of an item during an A/B test. If you’re testing a CTA button’s colour, don’t change its size or font as well. Keep it simple, otherwise you won’t know which change is producing the best results.

Multivariate Testing (MVT)

Multivariate testing applies a test to a number of elements at the same time to work out the best combination of elements or what specific elements are contributing to better results over others. Rather than testing two significant variations, you can make subtle changes to a variety of elements on one web page and test it against other versions of the same web page to see how these subtle changes interact with each other and the customer.

Marketing testing: MVT
Source: HubPages

In an email, you may test two slightly different templates, a simple version with one CTA and one hero image and a complex version with two CTAs, and a brief message and no images, to see which one produces the best CTR or conversion rate.

Tip: MVT is more advanced marketing testing and therefore useful for highly trafficked sites, as you can get meaningful results fast.

Content Testing

Evaluating your content in detail will help determine whether you’re getting the best out of it. When creating a landing page, email or social media post, it’s important to ask yourself if it works for your target audience. Question elements of the content such as clarity of intent, the layout’s white space, the logo’s prominence, the number of images, accessibility and purpose.

You can also test how you’re delivering the content to your audience – is it at the right time, via the right channel, at the appropriate moment in the customer journey? For example, on social media, a lot of engagement happens at the weekend, yet many brands focus on posting content during the week:

Marketing testing: social media

Tip: Keep a pitch, offer or headline the same when testing and just alter the copy, CTA, layout or image. This will illuminate what elements work well together for your customers. To measure success, look at traffic, and conversions from content, two basic things that should increase for a successful test.

Geotargeted Testing

Geotargeting delivers content to a customer based on their location, determined via their GPS, Wi-Fi or IP address. Using geotargeting you can test whether providing location or culturally specific content drives results using this particular personalization. You could experiment using geotargeted banners, providing local offers or redirecting customers to a translated page based on their IP address.

Beauty brand Lancôme Canada tested out a similar concept by creating a version of it’s lead gen campaign to serve different audiences based on language rather than location.

Using Yieldify’s flexible targeting capability the brand was able to serve an overlay welcoming visitors using a Chinese language browser with a message that would resonate with them.

For more on catering to global e-commerce audiences check out our guide, How to win in global e-commerce.

Tip: You should use a generic control that could apply to all locations when testing the conversion results of geotargeted content.

Usability Testing

Usability testing determines whether your website or app is clearly and efficiently usable by your target audience. There is little point in having a website with stylish design, striking images and balanced white space if information intended for your customer journey is not clear.

Marketing testing: UX and Usability
Source: MockPlus

This type of marketing testing requires you to evaluate user experience and there are numerous ways to carry it out. Researching what appeals to your target demographic could help with design. Paper prototype testing would allow you to assess an invited user completing a task on your website, initially constructed as a step-by-step process on paper, before you create it digitally to see how efficient part of your customer journey is. You could even interview users to receive feedback to show you what does or does not work for them.


Tip: Usability testing is useful when implemented prior to launching a new marketing asset, as it could save you time and money in the long run if you get it right first time.

Case Study: A/B Testing

Megabus used A/B testing to observe which tactics and messages produced the best results across their customer journey to drive urgency in-session, secure bookings and recapture abandoning visitors.

In one instance, highlighting benefits of ‘At-seat power’ or ‘Free Wi-fi’ was compared with a control to see if this had a positive impact on conversion rates. By adapting the format and triggering for mobile because of what they learned through A/B testing, Megabus achieved a 3.2% uplift in conversion rate versus the control group.

Megabus: e-commerce testing
Megabus: A/B tested the customer journey

Conclusion

In a highly competitive e-commerce environment, you need to keep evaluating all elements of your work to make sure they not only look good, but that they drive results. Huge rewards are to be gained by incorporating this kind of analysis into your customer journey optimization strategy, particularly when it comes to e-commerce. Get an overview of testing ideas for your customer journey to solve challenges like cart abandonment, lead capture and more in our free tipsheet: download yours here.