Category: a/b testing
Shamir Duverseau

Is Digital Experience Worth More Than Conversions?

Digital excellence is about the experience.

Being a digital leader means shifting from a mindset of conversion rate optimization (CRO) to one of digital experience optimization (DXO). We’re not implying that conversions don’t matter but instead that a broader view is necessary. Growth-minded organizations must pay attention to each touchpoint between a customer and their brand—touchpoints that lead not only to the initial transaction but to an ongoing relationship.

In other words, the path to greater customer lifetime value (LTV) is a meaningful, actionable, and optimized journey.

Optimizing these experiences requires alignment among multiple channels and touchpoints. It also requires the right strategy, the right people, and the right technology. As complex and multifaceted as this may be, our Smart Panda Labs team left the Opticon 2018 conference feeling very clear on the three fundamental steps of DXO, all three of which are similarly fundamental to our own practice: 1) Measure, 2) Understand, and 3) Improve.

Measure

Good data is worth its weight in gold—and sometimes, more. But in order to capture the right data in a useful way, you need the right tools. Optimizely is currently partnering with other SaaS providers including Tealium, Salesforce, and FullStory to create the Digital Experience Stack (DXS). The goal of this platform is not only to create a robust view of the customer at all points in their journey but to make that data meaningful and actionable. For example, Tealium can stitch together anonymous and known visitor data and then leverage those audiences within Optimizely to generate more consistent cross-device experiences. Time is also a key component of capturing data in a meaningful and actionable way, and the open DXS platform allows you to lay out and execute a strategy of real-time insights and actions.

Understand

It’s only when the data can drive insights, and those insights can lead to actions, that you can effectively meet business goals, such as improved LTV. Thus, once you have integrated your data, you must derive meaning from it. Digital leaders, including many of the brands represented at Opticon 18, are making experimentation part of their DNA, pushing the envelope to understand the “why” behind test results and not just accept results as they appear.

One particular conference session focused on steps to create advanced customer theories that are iterative and transferable—theories that attempt to explain why customers acted or responded in a certain way. A theory might be as simple as a preference for calls to action that are above the fold, for example. They might relate to a customers’ state of mind or persona. Or you might even consider broader factors, like behavioral economics or laws of reciprocity. Intended as a team activity, the brainstorming should include diverse stakeholders who can lend unique perspectives to the exercise. Hypothesizing why consumers acted a certain way is a great opportunity to step out of analytics mode and into an empathetic state of mind in an effort to identify theories that warrant further testing.

The real goal here? To find those theories most likely to hold value—and to build a case around them. Before upgrading a theory to a conclusion, try to garner at least five experiments that support it. Then, use these insights as the basis for other enhancements to the experience, from email communications to marketing messages to personalization campaigns.

Improve 

All of your measurements, tests, and the understanding you’ve acquired as a result lead to the real opportunity: optimization. How can you leverage your findings to improve the customer experience at every touch point? How can you offer a more concierge-like experience, one that make suggestions based on their interests or offers information in a way that is in sync with their preferences? Are there reviews or ratings that can support and enhance their purchasing decisions?

When it comes to moving customers through the funnel, an enhanced experience is more likely to boost LTV than the speed of the transaction. Think a little less about what will drive the purchase today and little more about what will drive multiple purchases over the long term. Because a leading digital strategy is the one that takes the long view.

Throughout this conference, my colleagues and I felt a rewarding sense of resonance between what we heard coming from the stage and the work we’ve been doing for our clients. We left Opticon with even more frameworks and tools to help brands shift from a sharp focus on CRO to a bigger picture view that puts customers and customer experience at the center of their digital strategy.

Key Takeaways

  1. Being a digital leader means shifting from a mindset of conversion rate optimization (CRO) to one of digital experience optimization (DXO).
  2. The three fundamental steps of DXO are: 1) Measure, 2) Understand, and 3) Improve.
  3. In order to capture the right data in a useful way, you need the right tools. Optimizely is currently partnering with other SaaS providers including Tealium, Salesforce, and FullStory to create the Digital Experience Stack (DXS).
  4. Make experimentation part of your DNA; push the envelope to understand the “why” behind test results and not just accept results as they appear.
  5. Ask yourself how you can leverage your findings to improve the customer experience at every touch point. How can you offer a more concierge-like experience, one that make suggestions based on their interests or offers information in a way that is in sync with their preferences?
  6. Think a little less about what will drive the purchase today and little more about what will drive multiple purchases over the long term. Because a leading digital strategy is the one that takes the long view.
Category: a/b testing
Alex Corzo

Increasing Email Engagement with Simple Testing

It’s easy to become complacent with your digital marketing efforts. Take email, for example. You deploy communications, people open them at a satisfactory rate, you move on to the next agenda item. But if you asked a smart panda, they’d tell you that you might be leaving considerable engagement on the table—and missing out on all the fun!—when you pass up an opportunity to test.

Even a very simple A/B test might provide some surprising results and help you increase your open or click-through rates or drive incremental traffic to specific campaigns. At the very least, a test can assure you that the choices you’re already making are the right ones. If you sense a case study coming, then your instincts are good! Here’s an example of a very simple two-part test that challenged our assumptions and continues to yield great results.

Making the Most of Subscriber Engagement with Testing

Recently, Smart Panda Labs helped optimize the Marriott Vacation Club blog for our long-standing client, Marriott Vacations Worldwide, by creating an opt-in subscription form. Through a custom-built integration between WordPress and Salesforce Marketing Cloud, an automated blog email digest was then deployed weekly to those subscribers, alerting them to new posts featuring vacation tips and travel guides. The blog and automated email alerts had been running smoothly for 5 months and the engagement with the email and blog—defined by opens and click-throughs—was above industry benchmarks. In fact, the numbers were astounding.

While average open and click-through rates for subscriber engagement in hospitality and retail industries hover around 20 – 23% (open rate) and 3% (click-through rate), respectively, the blog digest emails continue to average opens between 50-60%, with unique CTRs of 11%, month over month. With the blog running smoothly and the emails delivering such great results, we felt this was an optimal time to leverage that success. How could we drive even more traffic to the blog and improve engagement for the long term?

While SEO and other advertising channels are appropriate and relevant, we felt it was important to start with testing—and to focus on a captive and already-engaged audience. The weekly automated email was a natural testing ground.

For the first test, we pitted two versions of the “from display” against each other. Half of the blog subscribers received their email digest from “Marriott Vacation Club” (the baseline). The other half saw “Marriott Vacation Club Blog” (variation) as the sender.

The test ran for four deployments, and in all four, Marriott Vacation Club Blog outperformed the baseline in both open and click-through rates, sometimes by as much as 4%. We determined this variation to be the winner and recommended making it the only sender profile for the blog automation effort going forward.

For the second test, we decided to test a dynamic subject line against the baseline, Check Out Our Newest Blog Posts. The dynamic subject line pulled in key words from the featured blog post titles each week and looked something like, Read About Bali’s Monkey Forest and Lanai.

While the client and our smart pandas expected the dynamic subject line to perform better, the test proved us wrong. Throughout four weeks of testing, the general subject line consistently outperformed the content-specific subject line in both open rates (as much as 7%) and click-through rates (an average delta of 2%). Sometimes you just never know!

We recommended that MVC continue using the general subject line moving forward. Because the results were so counterintuitive, they were hesitant at first but decided to follow the data (applause!).

You Can Do It!

If your company currently has a blog, or is planning to launch one, be sure to offer your audience a means to subscribe. Use automation to send those subscribers regular reminders about new posts. With those tools in place, you’ll have created fertile ground for testing—from the subscription form itself to digest template design, calls to action, from displays, subject lines, deployment times and more. Before you turn to other advertising channels, make sure you’re maximizing what’s already working in your favor by leveraging the engagement of your opted-in audience.

Blog or not, starting an email testing program is as simple as we make it sound. As you begin to optimize your email campaigns based on test results, you’ll be adding incremental improvements to engagement each time. Even the smallest, simplest tests can yield big results and go a long way to helping you meet your business goals.

Key Takeaways

  • To drive more engagement to a site or blog, start by leveraging subscribers. Use automation to send those subscribers regular reminders about new posts.
  • Subscription forms and blog digests are fertile ground for testing—from the subscription form itself to email template design, calls to action, from displays, subject lines, deployment times and more.
  • As you begin to optimize your email campaigns based on test results, you’ll be adding incremental improvements to engagement each time.
  • Even the smallest, simplest tests can yield big results and go a long way to helping you meet your business goals.

 

Category: a/b testing
D'lynne Plummer

6 Tips for Writing Persuasive Website Copy

Persuasion. By definition, it’s a symbolic process whereby people try to convince other people to change their mind or choose a particular course of action in an atmosphere of free choice. Of course, if you’re a marketer, you’re more than familiar with the process of persuasion—it’s the essence of what you do.

As a copywriter, persuasion is my livelihood. The content I craft must encourage people to choose action over inertia—to click, buy, register, share or submit information when it is in fact easier to do none of the above. Laziness, by the way, is tough competition!

No matter your industry or business, it’s likely your website plays an important role in turning prospects into customers. It’s the canvas on which you present your best attempts to influence, cajole, persuade and ultimately convert. The design of your site plays a critical role in that effort—from overall user experience to the quality of images and the placement of calls to action. But your website copy can also make or break your success. There is a reason they say “content is king” (or, as I like to say, Queen).

With that in mind, here are six of my top tips for writing website copy that converts.

#1. Don’t bury the lede.
As a customer, one of my biggest pet peeves is landing on a home page that doesn’t actually say what the company does. As a copywriter, it bothers me even more—such a missed opportunity! Why the mystery? Spell it out. Don’t make visitors scroll to the bottom or, worse, travel to the About Us page to actually find out what you do. There’s a good chance they’ll just go back to their search results page if you make them work that hard. On interior pages that require even more content, think like a journalist (not a novelist) and get to your point right away. (And yes, it’s spelled lede!)

#2. Write enticing, specific headlines.
Headlines are a bit of an art. On a website, they are immensely important because, as much as it breaks this writer’s heart, people don’t read, they skim. People read web pages like animals forage for food. Not a pretty picture, but it’s the truth. Headlines help people know they’re in the right place while they’re foraging. And if they are enticing headlines, well, people might even read what’s under them! Techniques that work include:

  • Peppering headlines with action and/or emotional words, particularly at the beginning and/or the end of the headline.
  • Encouraging people to act now. It sounds like a gimmick, but people are inclined to believe that time is always running out.
  • Forming the headline as a question—did you know we are biological programmed to answer questions when we’re asked them? (See what I did there?)
  • Consider length. Don’t make a headline so long that SERPs will truncate it, but too short and it probably means you didn’t make an impact. Try for about six words.
  • Consider SEO. If your headlines are coded as h2 tags on your site (as they should be in most cases), then putting a keyword or two in there wouldn’t kill you.
  • Offer value with “learn how” and “how to” language. Headlines that imply that readers will learn something do very well. Despite our inherent laziness, we love self-actualization.
  • See what the robots say about your headline. Am I a huge fan of AI taking over my job? No. But the headline analyzer at Co-Schedule is useful, even if only to prompt us to take the headlines we write more seriously. Try it out.

#3. Make copy easy to scan, but don’t skimp on substance.
Remember our foraging animals from above? Content should be laid out in digestible little pieces. Make your copy easy to skim by:

  • Keeping paragraphs short (3-4 sentences).
  • Using bullets (aim for six or fewer—don’t get carried away).
  • Embracing headlines and subheadlines.
  • Varying point size.
  • Employing lists whenever you can, which help move people through content one step at a time.

All this being said, rich content does better than skimpy copy. On pages that are meant to convey details, descriptions or important information, make sure you deliver. Of course, you’ll want to reduce redundancy and verbosity, but you also should take the words necessary to be clear and deliver the message.

#4. Establish your own voice.
Not every brand is well suited for a cheeky, conversational voice, but it’s unlikely your consumers will warm up to a stiff and formal tone. Err on the side of humanizing your content with a little personality or shifting to a first and second person voice (address the reader as “you”). Taking the time to establish your brand’s voice is worth the effort, and it starts with understanding the voice of your audience. Create a series of personas and work to craft a voice that resonates across all of them.

Have fun, but whatever you do, don’t be patronizing. This new trend where buttons like “Sign Me Up” sit opposed to “Nah, Nevermind, I Don’t Want To Save Money” or “Nope, I Don’t Like Fabulous Things” has to stop. Want a far better example of voice? Check out how Tio Gazpacho infuses an upbeat Latin flair with just the right amount of “Spanglish.”

#5. Meet the reader where they’re at.
It was hard enough to get the user to your site in the first place—don’t blow it by scattering information all over your site. In his spectacular online CXL Institute course, Fundamentals of Persuasive Websites, Paul Boag says your customers’ questions are best answered throughout the site, where the questions are most likely to surface—not on an FAQ page. When was the last time you went to an FAQ page and got just what you needed? Yeah, me too. Be gone, FAQ.

#6. Put a call to action on every page … and test them.
You can court the girl all you want, but eventually you have to ask her out. (Ok, I’m old fashioned.) Don’t let a page go by without finding a way to engage your audience. These calls to action should correspond directly to what’s on the page, and they should follow the content to which they relate. Yes, I said follow. It’s a myth that buttons “above the fold” convert better in all scenarios. And supposedly the right side of the screen is a poor placement for calls to action, since readers spend more time on the left. But you don’t have to take it from me—button placement and copy are super fun to test, and the results might surprise you.

For one of Smart Panda’s hotel clients, for example, we ran an A/B experiment that pitted five buttons against one another, each with variable calls to action:

A: Reserve (the control)
B: Start Your Reservation (the assumption)
C: Make Your Reservation
D: Reserve Your Room
E: Book Your Room

The winner? E! Book your room. But the pandas weren’t done. They iterated on that test by pitting Book Your Room against a slightly more descriptive alternative, Check Availability. The latter won by a long lead and, when implemented, increased room reservations by $30,000 per month. (You can read more about A/B testing in this whitepaper.)

There are many more tips I could offer, but perhaps the most important message to leave you with is to be authentic. Take the time to understand what makes your brand better and different and speak like a human (not a robot) about those features and benefits. Don’t assume you know more than you do about your consumer—Netflix is convinced I like science fiction and can’t seem to stop telling me how much I enjoy it. But do try to talk to your audience like actual people who at the very moment they are on your site are much more likely to do nothing than something. Persuade and entice them with thoughtful, original copy.

Key Takeaways

  • Avoid mystery, go for clarity. Don’t skip the opportunity to define your company immediately on the home page—and don’t bury the lede.
  • Write enticing, specific headlines punctuated with action words. Try framing headlines as questions.
  • Make copy easy to scan, but not skimpy. How copy is formatted makes a big difference in how likely it is to be read and absorbed.
  • Establish your own voice. Time spent finding your brand’s personality is not wasted.
  • Forego the FAQ page. Answers should be found everywhere throughout your site on relevant pages.
  • Put a call to action on every page, and test variations of the button copy.

 

Category: a/b testing
Shamir Duverseau

10 Tips for Website “Redesigns” in 2018

It’s the start of a new year, which means everyone is making their resolutions—and already breaking them, too. To be honest, I am not a fan of resolutions. While I applaud the intent to set goals and meet them, the data shows that making one-time resolutions, for most of us, doesn’t work.

As a digital marketer, you and your team might also have resolutions for your company. The first quarter is a busy time for implementing new strategies, and for some this includes a website redesign. Some more honesty here: I’m as a big a fan of website redesigns as I am of resolutions. Not because redesigns aren’t (sometimes) warranted, but because too many companies think of a redesign as a one-time fix and not an ongoing and incremental process. It’s why only 9% of Americans meet their weight-loss resolutions—quick fixes don’t work. Creating new patterns and standards, however, do. It’s like reaching for carrot sticks instead of cookies.

If your site isn’t nimble enough to withstand incremental changes based on the data its (hopefully) collecting, then by all means, redesign it! Sometimes the only way to make a site deliver the results you want is to throw out the old and bring in the new.

Because you’ve already heard enough from me today, I asked our Smart Panda team to weigh in on website redesign, each from their own areas of expertise–from strategy and planning to database management and development. Here are 10 of their top tips for website redesigns … and for establishing new habits for a better site for years to come.

  1. Lisa Edwards (Account Management): Avoid the Big Bang. Redesigns can take months and years if you let them. Prioritize your requirements and get all of the mission critical items taken care of first, and then launch the site. After launch, implement a phase two—add the lower priority items from your wish list and fine tune the site based on testing results and user feedback. If you take too long redesigning a site, by the time you’re ready to launch it, the business goals, user needs, technology and industry best practices may have changed, leaving you with a new site that’s already lagging behind.
  2. Lauren Sanchez (Project Management): Time your launch. Consider when and how to launch your redesigned site. Put a plan in place for creating buzz and get users excited about the new site. Avoid launching during the holidays or near the start of another big promotion, so as to maximize benefit of the redesign.
  3. Lisa Martino (Search Engine Marketing): Slow your roll. If you have a highly-visited website, roll it out to a small percentage of traffic first, so you can gather insights. If users are lost, confused or not taking the actions you want, you can make improvements based on this data before rolling it out to the rest of the world. This is also a great opportunity to test different page designs, calls to action, or content, for example, to see what converts the best.
  4. Jessica Magyar (Project Management): Don’t skimp on project management. Assign proper stakeholders to each milestone along the way so everyone knows who is accountable for what. Establish a clear timeline at the beginning of the redesign to ensure proper progress is made. And document the scope of the redesign from the start, referring to this scope along to way to keep the team on track.
  5. Jessica Porges (Digital Analytics + Testing): Keep the end user in mind at all times. Understanding what users want from the site is key to improving usability. Base redesigns on a combination of historical data and voice-of-customer feedback—don’t assume you know what your users want or how they will behave on the new site. Map out the entire customer journey and make sure your team has a full understanding of the customer experience.
  6. Erich Andren (Solutions Architecture + Testing): Test, test and test some more. Make sure you clearly define KPIs up front so you know why you are testing and can make sure the tests and their results matter to your business. Once you have the winners and losers, you have both data-backed elements to use in the redesign and a meaningful list of what to avoid.
  7. Alex Corzo (Customer Relationship Management): Think about your database from the beginning. Data capture is essential for nurturing and retention purposes. First, create strong value propositions with unique content and assets or loyalty programs to drive the growth of a database of prospects and customers to keep them coming back to the site. Then, design the site with elements that can be personalized based on what you have learned about your database at every interaction.
  8. Charlene Hixon (Email Marketing): Simplify signup. Make your calls to action obvious for data capture. CTAs are the single most important element of any signup page. Make sure the sign-up form (or shopping cart) itself is as efficient and easy as possible for consumers to complete. Keep your eye on form/cart abandons and continue to remove hurdles to conversion.
  9. Ravi Chandramouli (Web Development + Engineering): Consider the tech. One mistake I see all the time is companies reskinning the site for aesthetics only, while leaving legacy technology in place. On the flip side, don’t embrace a new technology trend without understanding the long term impacts this transformation will have on user experience, database management, testing and optimization, or even simple things time to load. Know what you’re getting into.
  10. Cheryl Myers (Creative): Question your motives. To echo Shamir’s introduction, unless a redesign is absolutely necessary, don’t do it. Often a site can be improved by making adjustments incrementally rather than starting over. Your consumers are human, and humans often resist change—it’s why Google’s search page, Amazon’s header bar and Facebook’s site design have remained the same for ages. So, unless your brand has been updated, you’ve had a major product change, your user experience is beyond repair, or your site is incapable of withstanding important updates, it’s probably better to keep your changes small, continuous and based on data.

As you may have gathered, we believe the success of your strategy and planning phase will likely determine the success of your new site. Gather your data and customer feedback and let those insights inform your every step. Know your customer, understand their journey and make sure the redesign is for their sake, not just about beautification or new technology.

Whether we just talked you out of a site redesign or into one, we wish you success!

Key Takeaways

  1. Website redesign for the sake of redesign is a missed opportunity—and a waste of resources
  2. If a redesign is a must, do it for the customer. Use historical data and voice-of-customer feedback to inform every step of the new design. Otherwise it’s just “sitting pretty” and delivering no ROI.
  3. Think about your launch strategically—time it right, create a buzz and roll it out to a small segment first. This gives you the opportunity to test and improve it before rolling it out to the world.
  4. Think about your database from the very beginning. Data capture is essential for nurturing and retention purposes.
  5. Resist change—because your customers resist change, too. Don’t fix things that aren’t broken. Incremental improvements, based on data, are usually better than an overhaul.

 

Category: a/b testing
Shamir Duverseau

4 Methods for Improving Conversion Rates

Conversion rate optimization— it’s a mouthful. It’s also a science and an art … and frankly, a lot of work. But few aspects of your digital marketing strategy are more important than this cumbersome term.

Our crowd of friends at Wikipedia define conversion rate optimization (CRO) as, “a system for increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that convert into customers, or more generally, take any desired action on a webpage.”  If you just totally zoned out, or assumed this was just a fancy way of talking about split testing, we understand. At Smart Panda Labs, we define CRO a little differently—it’s a way of thinking about all the digital experiences you offer.

As with any strategy, the first step is defining a goal. Are you trying to sell more of a particular product, book more hotel rooms, register more participants, increase the number of leads or increase the quality of those leads? Once you have a clear goal in mind, you can work backwards from that destination, thinking through the various touchpoints along the route. And then the fun begins.

Here are four of our favorite methods for increasing engagement and conversion rates across your digital channels.

#1: A/B Testing

I’m sure you guessed we were going to say this—if you know anything about us, you know testing is a panda’s best friend (as we like to say, Always Be Testing). To determine the optimal experience for your consumers, you must constantly and repeatedly test every element, measuring and analyzing the results and leveraging those insights to inform your next test or segmentation. Testing should play a role in everything related to CRO.

Really, you can’t test too much. From entire web pages to a series of pages (like a checkout process) to specific sections (like the navigation) to page elements (headlines, images, and buttons), testing them against alternate versions will keep you busy …  forever. You can test one or more version against your current baseline, and you can show that test to all your visitors, a percentage of them, or even just select audiences (like consumers coming to your site straight from paid media). These tests should help you find pain points and roadblocks on your site—touchpoints where you can improve the experience, remove anxiety and influence people towards a specific action.

Tools tip: A key to testing success is to arm yourself with the proper tools. A free tool like Google Optimize is a great way to get started if you are new to this, or if you’re trying to get leaders to buy into a testing strategy. However, if you really want to do some fancy and exciting stuff, investing in an enterprise tool like Optimizely will enable you to generate insights capable of truly transforming your business.

#2: Targeted Messaging

People don’t often associate targeted messaging with CRO, but special promotions or social proof (such as a testimonial from an industry expert, or a message to the effect of “5000 people are looking at this hotel right now”) are designed to nudge people toward making a decision, right? These are tactics are intended to optimize your conversion rates.

The key here is to use the method that best aligns with your goals. For example, if your goal is to sell more products, book more rooms or generate more leads, then perhaps a cart or form-abandonment message would be best. When someone is about to leave the site without converting, try injecting a message that offers a special discount or gift for completing the process then and there.

However, if your end goal is to increase average order value, total revenue or lead quality, try testing the abandon message against showing social proof, like the number of people who bought in the last month or how many people have this item in their shopping cart at this very moment. While this may not get as many conversions as the promotion, it may be better for your bottom line. Again, it goes back to starting with your goal and working backwards.

Tools tip: A great tool for this method is Yieldify. Their platform offers a number of options, from overlays with forms to message bars with counters, and allows you to test them. You can also use tools like Optimizely to run these tests, but their experimentation platform is not designed to run targeted messaging 24/7/365.  So, if you don’t want to invest in another robust tool, use Optimizely to test what works and then a simpler tool to inject the winning messaging.

It’s also important that your tool allows you to show different messages to different audiences. While promos may work great on returning visitors, social proof may be the key for people coming via paid search. Test your messages to determine what works best for whom. Then get crazy and further target your messages. This is when the fun really begins.

#3: Personalization

The more you know about the people on your site, the more you can surface the content, products or services they most want. Remember, we live in a world of instant gratification, so the more you can reduce their effort, the more likely they are to convert.

Start by segmenting the people on your site, landing pages or mobile app into different audiences. For example, you can split users up by metropolitan area if you’re in real estate or by new vs. returning customers if you’re in the retail industry. The more information you have, the more personalization you can perform—and the more personal, the better. (As general rule, make sure your segments don’t get too small for what you’re able to manage and analyze.)

Once you have performance data for these segments, try to discern what the different drivers are for these audiences. Also be sure to review past A/B tests and parse them by those same audiences. Insights from these steps should drive your ongoing personalization campaigns.

As you continue to create and customize these campaigns, think about ways to personalize headlines, homepage messaging, navigation. And remember to Always Be Testing. Even once you know this personalization campaign works, you’ll want to continue to test against a control group to ensure you’re getting optimal results.

Tools tip: Optimizely has a specific platform designed for personalization. It can be fed data from a number of different sources, including the data it’s able to collect on its own. However, if it were up to me, I would use something like Tealium in conjunction with Optimizely for my personalization efforts. Tealium will gather mounds of data for your analytics, ad tracking, CRM, ESP, etc. It can be easily configured to send whatever data is needed to a personalization platform like Optimizely.

If you’re getting a flood of traffic and want to try personalizing to some very small audiences, Qubit is also a great tool to consider. If you’re in an industry like gaming, or you’re a large retailer, this may be a good way to go.

#4: Triggered Emails

People don’t often think of emails as an optimization tool, but they should. There are a number of industries, both B2C and B2B, in which people need time to make decisions. These decisions may involve multiple visits to your site or perhaps an online conversion that leads to an offline sales process. So how do you continue to influence your audience when they aren’t on your site or in your mobile app? Emails.

By determining proper trigger points, you can send targeted messages that help move people toward online and/or offline conversions, surfacing relevant information. Emails are a great way to remove anxiety, focusing on one singular goal with each communication. These communications start knocking down barriers at each touchpoint, giving a person the chance to make a decision and convert.

And, of course, test. Split test your messages, email designs and imagery, the points at which they trigger, frequency of the communications, subject lines, headlines and more. Remember, this is not a light switch, this is a journey. You have to help your audience in the right way, at the right time. If you were on a road trip, you care about the location of the closest gas station only when you’re low on gas. If you just filled up, a gas station is irrelevant to you. Figure out when your prospects need to fill up, and be there with the gas.

Tools tip: There are a lot of good email service providers out there that enable triggered emails, from Salesforce Marketing Cloud to Adobe Campaign. The key here is to use your ESP to do the triggering, not a third-party tool. Keep all things email-related in one place across the enterprise. You won’t believe how much easier this will make your life!

All together now

All of the above methods work great in and of themselves. But, if you really want to provide the best possible digital experience, do them all—and do them in concert with one another! Sync your A/B testing with your targeted messaging as part of a personalization campaign that includes triggered communications. Boom. Make every facet of your customers’ journey feel like it’s all about them.

To accomplish this, you need to understand who the person is—or at least which audience they are a part of—across multiple digital assets. Here again is where something like Tealium comes into play, serving as a central hub for all this information. Then, the data can be segmented and pushed to Optimizely and Yieldify and Salesforce Marketing Cloud, enabling these powerful tools to perform in harmony.

The methods above will help you provide a digital experience that removes barrier after barrier at every single touchpoint, reducing and removing one anxiety after another and significantly increasing conversions. If done properly, you won’t just have a one-time customer, you’ll have created a loyal fan who keeps coming back and brings others will them. And that is what true CRO is really about.