How can I decide what to test (next)?

The following inquiry from a subscriber reflects a question that eventually faces everyone who embarks on the journey of Online Marketing / Online Testing.  It is the question “How can I decide what to test?”, and the correlary, “How should I decide what to test first?”

Question:

From [your material related to online testing], I understand that the proper research question is typically a "which" question.

But how do we know what to test? What is the variable that makes a difference? […]

The process I can appreciate will be unique to the research objective. But what are the indications that something ought be tested? How do we know it’s the headline?

… Can you comment on this based on your experiences?

Our reply:

Thanks for your question, I’ll be happy to.

In general, you will use a combination of your metrics tools (business and site) and your knowledge of your specific product market and customer demographics to evaluate the improvement potential and select the variables with the greatest opportunity.

At any given time, you have a specific value proposition and offer process. Unless you are already the dominant market leader, and you believe that you already have reached market saturation, then there is potential for improving your business performance. The order you should address optimization is important.  You should begin by optimizing your Product Factors, then optimizing Presentation Factors and finally Channel Factors.

Optimizing your Product Factors means ensuring you have the best product value proposition, which is a factor of the value of the product (including supporting services, etc.) and the Offer. Once you have optimized the Product, then you will focus on Presentation Factors. This means looking at your site statistics, navigation logs, etc. and determining where you are losing visitors in driving them through your “conversion funnel”; the yellow-brick-road to your site’s primary objective (i.e. a Sale, a Subscription, etc.). Then, you will select the variable(s) associated with those abandonment points to identify which Presentation Factor variables to focus your optimization efforts on next. Finally, when you believe you have tested and optimized to the edge of the “diminishing returns” point on Presentation Factors, then it’s time to focus on Channel Factors; that is, driving as much traffic to your high-converting site as you can at the lowest possible cost.

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I hope this is helpful. If you have additional related questions, please continue to post them. Thanks again for your question…

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