How to Start a Successful Online Testing Program


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Last week you could have joined a free webinar titled “Online Testing: Everything You Need to Know to Be Successful” thanks to the folks at Maxymiser and Forrester Research.It was reaffirming in many ways of the discipline and ongoing nature of testing to get the best results over time.

I’ll assume you’re already on board with testing as a part of your marketing efforts, and save the discussion of why you need to test for another day. Here are some of the key takeaways I gathered from the talk.

Successful Online Testing Tips

  • Start slow, build your case and demonstrate that its working.
  • Each element is crucial
  • Plan, design, execute, analyze, validate and repeat

Start slow, build your case and demonstrate that its working

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the testing that needs to occur. Tackle it in small steps, addressing some of the need to know information first – or said a little differently – tackle the known problems first.

Focusing your attention not only helps keep the task list manageable, it limits the number of variables you’re looking at. If you’re only changing a single variable, confidence is much higher about its influence on the results.

Plan, design, execute, analyze, validate and repeat

Testing is a process, and process is critical. Here are several of the point to keep in mind as you make testing part of your culture.

  • Define ownership of the program. Execute support is also critical given the ongoing nature of evolving and developing tests. It takes time and if you don’t have executive support, you’re not likely to go far with your testing program.
  • Define the necessary resources. Testing takes time and people. You can outsource quite a lot of the testing, but you’ll still need internal sponsors and owners to ensure the information gathered gets used.
  • Plan. Figure out your goals, the hypothesis you want to test, the specifications of what you want to achieve and the environment in which the testing will occur.
  • Design. Layout the objectives so you can design the test and the creative that will go into it.
  • Execute. Develop the test, make sure your tracking systems work (QA), verify, review and launch.
  • Analyze. Once the test is run, review the reports, validate your assumptions and document document the results. Act upon the new information you have. Review the winners and losers, make the winners permanent until some testing variation unseats them and you find a better solution.
  • Repeat.

Each element is crucial

You are running experiments and the data you collect is only as good as the methodology you put into it. And this isn’t about Pass/Fail. It’s about verifying assumptions, even long held beliefs about your web presence, how your customers interact with your web site, even about your product.

Testing is not a one time event. It’s an iterative program, that over time can have a meaningful impact on your business. Take that first step and commit to it now.


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One Response to “How to Start a Successful Online Testing Program”

  1. Derek Gardiner Says:

    Thanks for your comment on . Very interesting thoughts you’ve outlined above. I have placed a response under the comments section. I would love to hear your thoughts.