Justin Rondeau is the Director of Optimization at DigitalMarketer and runs all of the optimization efforts and split tests at DigitalMarketer and is active among our other properties.
A top-rated domestic and international speaker, Rondeau has spent his entire career working on optimization campaigns and has helped train some of the leading optimization teams at Fortune 500 companies. Rondeau has run hundreds of tests for both B2B and eCommerce brands and has has analyzed 3,000+ tests across virtually every industry.
He explains that testing the wrong elements or pages is just as bad as not testing at all… In fact it could be worse!
This is why Paul Klebanov of SEMrush asked Justin Rondeau these 8 questions to help you define your strategy for testing your websites the right way in 2016.
Paul Klebanov: What is CRO (conversion rate optimization) and A/B split testing, and why is it an important part of your digital marketing strategy and workflow?
Justin Rondeau: Conversion Rate Optimization is a dedicated, repeatable process focused on improving the user experience, such that they take the intended action on a page or sequence of pages.
Split testing is a CRO tool used to verify new strategies. For example, if you notice that you have a low opt-in rate on your landing page and you believe it is due to the length of your opt-in form. Instead of just making the assumption and potentially hurting conversions more, you can run a test to see which variant performs better.
PK: What are some common mistakes that you see people make when they first venture into conversion rate optimization and A/B split testing?
JR: One of the biggest mistakes I see from new optimizers is testing things that don’t matter on pages that likely don’t matter. There are an infinite number of tests you can run on your site, it’s the job of the optimizer to find out what will move the needle and test accordingly.
Secondly, I find that people do too much ad hoc testing. You need a process in place with a hypothesis, schedule, and stopping point.
PK: When you don’t have data to help optimize your campaigns, what are some of the best common practices that you can use when you first launch?
JR: We all know there are no ‘best practices’ or ‘silver bullets’. However, I argue that what is common is best for all. So using standardized design templates and following other common practices, e.g., social proof, appropriate form length for the offer, benefit rich copy, clear CTA, etc. Then you will have a good starting point.
Start with common practices, then iterate to find the individual settings that work for your audience and your company.
PK: When looking at A/B testing specifically, are there any copywriting principles that you can share for writing effective ad copy? Is CTR (click through rate) the most important factor or are there other KPI(key performance indicators) that marketers should consider?
JR: CTR is a top funnel metric. You need to make sure that people convert post click. Look at the leads generated or revenue generated in addition to CTR.
In terms of copy, make sure you are specific, speak to a desired end result, and focus on the benefit (not just the feature). Be clear about the action you want people to take, what is ambiguous doesn’t convert.
PK: What what are the most important elements or concepts that you A/B test on a landing page? What has the most impact?
JR: This varies - but copy and images play a huge role. When you’re running tests you are normally trying to test the ‘persuasiveness’ of the page. Anything that is functionally broken, e.g., long pagespeed, too long of a form for the offer, you can just change.
In a lot of cases there is just a poor visual hierarchy. You need to make sure people are looking where you want them to look. This is why people should use landing page builders and other tools if they aren’t designers. Don’t rely on your site template for your landing pages, you’re going to need something more specific.
PK: Is there a criteria that you use to determine if your offer's’ landing page is ready to go into production?
JR: For a lead generation landing page, we have an 8-point checklist we follow to make sure the offer is solid:
- Is it ultra specific?
- One big thing
- Speaks to a desired end result
- Has Immediate gratification
- Shifts the relationship (from visitor to lead)
- High Perceived value
- High actual value
- Rapid consumption
If an offer is missing any of these, we can make it better.
PK: How do Mobile CRO strategies differ from desktop? Are there any tips that you can give someone first getting started with Mobile?
JR: People on mobile have different goals and intentions. For ecommerce they might be doing price checks in stores.
Frankly you need to have an entirely different experience for mobile, responsive design isn’t enough. If you want a phone call, make a ‘Call Now’ button front and center. Make sure they can actually click your CTA and the content is easy to consume.
PK: Are there any optimization tools that you think are a must ?
JR: Bolded are absolute musts. The last two are super nice to have though.
- Google Tag Manager
- Google Analytics (triggered through tag manager)
- Hotjar for qualitative data
- Visual Website Optimizer for testing and personalization
- Optimonk for desktop on-site retargeting
- Banana Splash for mobile on-site retargeting
If you want to create a perfect process to run Critical Tests that double leads and sales on your website then join Justin Rondeau, the head CRO genius and Director of Optimization at DigitalMarketer for an all inclusive look into the top 10 critical tests you need to perform on your website in 2016.