By Mark Simpson, President and Founder of Maxymiser.
Multivariate testing is a powerful web development strategy which boasts the best conversion rate improvements in the business and strongest return on marketing spend - but it is a discipline, not a quick-fix.
While three years ago, MVT was new to the UK market and a minority practice, it is now a critical part of web site development strategies across the retail, finance, travel and media markets.
Other sectors see its value too, from online gambling and gaming markets to the online dating industry.
Having invested heavily in search engine optimisation and other techniques for driving traffic to their web pages, these organisations now recognise the importance of securing the best possible return on that investment - by making sure they get the most from those visitors before they click away again.
While MVT is now broadly acknowledged to be a critical, central requirement in any serious online enterprise, it must be accepted too that this remains a young market, where specialist skills and experience are essential to drive maximum results.
Multivariate testing is not something that can be done once, or even once a year, and then left alone for a while as the higher revenues come in. It is a discipline and a service that must be built into companies’ ongoing marketing programmes.
In the web world, things move at a lightning pace, and hungry competitors are always looking for their next advantage. Blink, and the golden moment may have passed.
10 Top Tips for implementing MVT and converting online customers:
1. Keep it fresh
Static websites don’t perform as well as dynamic sites, so keep updating content and presentation in order to entice shoppers to spend more.
2. Test as you go
Live testing and iterative site development is the key to high conversion rates. Even subtle changes such as font size, colour and language can have a huge impact on revenues so keep testing different variations to see what yields the best results.
3. Customise your website
Make sure your website has a welcoming look and feel and clearly display the offers that are most likely to appeal to consumers on the most popular pages.
4. Get promotional messaging right
Make sure that product offers, discounts and promotions have a clear, concise call to action. Live testing will help you determine which promotions drive the most sales uplift.
5. Up-sell and cross-sell
Make the right recommendations to shoppers at the right stage of the buying process in order to maximise revenues. Consider ‘people who looked at this destination also considered here’ suggestions, favourites and wish-lists.
6. Make it easy to buy!
If the registration, log-in and check-out processes on your website are too cumbersome then shoppers will simply give up and go and buy from one of your competitors instead, so thoroughly test and improve your forms.
A one-size fits all website won’t deliver a best performing visitor experience, so use information you pick up about visitors to show targeted pages in session for your different audiences.
8. Make navigation easy
If shoppers are bounced around a website in such a way that leaves them dizzy and confused then they will leave with their basket still empty. Get the navigation basics right – for example, include a search facility, make the check-out page prominent, and make it easy for customers to jump between pages without wiping clean forms every time.
9. Remember your customers
For many consumers ordering online is a multi-stage approach, involving research across many sites and a number of separate sessions online. To ensure customers come back to your site, tailor the content you serve to a returning customer so that the last pages they looked at appear as soon as they hit the site.
10. Keep them coming back for more
Incentivise shoppers to keep returning for more with Direct-to-Consumer offers and relevant products based on their buying history.
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