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You Should Test That: Conversion Optimization for More Leads, Sales and Profit or the Art and Science of Optimized Marketing

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Learn how to convert website visitors into customers

Part science and part art, conversion optimization is designed to turn visitors into customers. Carefully developed testing procedures are necessary to help you fine-tune images, headlines, navigation, colors, buttons, and every other element, creating a website that encourages visitors to take the action you seek. This book guides you through creating an optimization strategy that supports your business goals, using appropriate analytics tools, generating quality testing ideas, running online experiments, and making the adjustments that work.

Conversion optimization is part science and part art; this guide provides step-by-step guidance to help you optimize your website for maximum conversion rates Explains how to analyze data, prioritize experiment opportunities, and choose the right testing methods Helps you learn what to adjust, how to do it, and how to analyze the results Features hands-on exercises, case studies, and a full-color insert reinforcing key tactics Author has used these techniques to assist Fortune 500 clients You Should Test That explains both the why and the how of conversion optimization, helping you maximize the value of your website.

368 pages, Paperback

First published December 21, 2012

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Chris Goward

2 books11 followers

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 17 of 17 reviews
Profile Image for Andrew Saul.
139 reviews5 followers
November 16, 2014
It's a decent, if brief, introduction to A/B from the point of view of testing websites. This book is very light on technical details so don't pick it up if you understand the concepts of testing and are looking for more detailed and technical explanation.

I'd say it's best application is for people completely new to the testing as a concept and who also want to get buy in from management for testing. Especially if the testing is to involve a website.

One downside to the book is it is often a shameless (but acknowledged so to the author's credit) plug for his company: Wider Funnels. There are too many case studies and all of them could've easily done without the sales pitch that's normally reserved for potential clients.
Another downside is that he goes into far too much detail about ways to improve a website, whilst clearly stating later in the book that testing is the only real option and to ignore "best practices" as solutions.

All that said it's a good way to start with testing if you are an absolute beginner and I think this book could easily be used as the framework to kick off a testing project for a website, provided the testing infrastructure was to be provided via a vendor solution. People looking for more advanced content aren't going to be satisfied by this book.
25 reviews10 followers
February 19, 2014
My disjointed notes from a couple of read-throughs. Most of this is specific to my company, and i probably should keep some of it secret. Oh Well

22: Move SEO-centric content below the fold if it's not directly related to the funnel. Use 301 redirects to cover test pages that you take offline.

29: Before and After is not conversion optimization. There are no variables being isolated. The only way to A/B test is with two pages with a distinct change.

32: We should study seasonality, specifically as it relates to new sets. Use google trends to match up search trends with conversion trends.

39: CRO (conversion rate optimization) is the intersection of persuasion marketing, scientific method and experience design. PM = communicate the value prop, build desire and urgency. right message, right people, right time, with clarity. ED = faciliatating the action. seamless, painless, enjoyable signup process. how can we make our signup process a bit more fun. "welcome to the club". SM = isolating variables, not testing too much at once, not changing the control. NEVER change the control.

57: 7 Step Conversion Testing:

1) LIFT analysis of value prop: (Relevance + Clarity) - (Anxiety + Distraction) * Urgency
2) Hypothesis
3) Funnel Experiment Map ( test design doc )
4) Design and Ad Copy
5) Run experiment with a proper tool.
6) Monitor the test to ensure it's running properly. ( do not draw conclusions from early monitoring )
7) Statistical significance -> analysis -> followup test.

63: View data at the page template level ( /category/foo , /tag/bar, /forum/baz, etc ) Run tests on site-wide layout & template changes, it gives us leverage. test sidebars / no, left vs right. In GA: Content -> Site Content -> Landing Pages, filter for these template pages.

104: Relevance - People searching switch from meaning-evaluation method to pattern-matching method. They look for a scent trail based on their search query. They process much faster, but far less. They can't afford to waste time on pages that are not clearly relevant and will click off.

105: Anxiety - What potential misgivings or fears might the user encounter, and how can we prevent or mitigate it? Brand Equity = Credibility. Make sure MTG.GG is clearly associated with QS at launch so it can build on our cred (but take care not to introduce the "finance" anxiety to the new brand ).

105: The tone of copywriting can effect external urgency. Why are people compelled to act now? Theories: they desperately want to be a part of a community, they want to make money, they're REALLY bored at work.

109: Weakness into Strength:
Value Prop: No 3rd party testimonials -> Add testimonials and "as seen on" badges (B&W not color).
Relevance -> Popular inbound keywords in headlines and header text.
Clarity -> Calls to Action above the fold in clear language.
Anxiety -> Short forms with on-page validation, objection busting on-page.
Distraction -> Focus on reducing options to the minimal needed for funnel
Urgency -> Ensure the user knows how soon they'll get access / get replies for support.

115: Value Prop - What are all the elements of my offering and C2A that could be seen as benefits / costs? People make approximations of cost-benefit ratios quickly and logically, and justify the approximation emotionally. The "fuzzy edge".

118: A tangible feature is something that satisfies a prospect's stated need. These are the facts that permit the emotional decision to occur. Descriptive characteristics (not too many adjectives though!) elements of offer, incentives. immediate benefits.

123: Intangible Benefits - Comfort Power Acceptance Freedom Control Love etc. Find and meet unspoken needs.

126: A pretty landing page design from 37signals. Small content boxes to show off and differentiate product lines, a big "hero box" with an image of the book and some credibility testimonials.

138: Price Font Size: People judge savings to be bigger if the sale price is in a smaller font than the original. Try this on the 3mo/12mo form.

139: Anchoring: In which order do people read? Should we show the 12mo first, so people can think " oh at least there's a 1 month (30 day? we should test that!) option ". Anchoring people with higher numbers makes the other numbers seem smaller by comparison.

147: Optimize for Relevance. Prospects are animals hunting for information, entertainment,etc. Animals have refined biological algorithms that evaluate feedback from the environment to confirm they're still on the scent trail and not wasting time chasing wild geese.

150: An inconsistent experience with reduces relevance creates dissonance, high cognitive load, and hurts conversions. Consider the source medium when building landing pages, and understand which kind of hunting behavior comes from which source. Satisfy the scent trail before selling benefits or asking for a sale.

151: Pretty landing page to look at. "Make the perfect movie" - hey that's what I wanna do! What do MTG.GG readers want?

152: Search engine visitors are actively looking for a solution or information to solve their needs. The most prominent message in any landing page should match the search terms closely.

153: Synonyms are invisible. ( do Commander players recognize "EDH"?) Use the language of your customer. I don't think anyone calls themselves a "spike". Find out what language people use to describe themselves, and what they're searching for. Use Google Trends to compare "magic strategy" and "competitive magic", "commander" and "edh", etc.

160: A few lines of code can detect the source of incoming visitors and customize content appropriately.

162: Test the labels used for audience segments (153).

167:How do visitors prefer to navigate? Search? Category/archive pages? Menus?

184: 2-column signup forms dramatically underperform. Stick to one column, with as few fields as possible.

186: Image captions are the most-read text on any page.

187: Images are important when selling intangible products.

195: Under-educated customers need the benefits explained up-front, in clear simple language. 15 interesting tips on this page, the ones that matter:

Highlighted box at the top of the page for C2A "johnson box".
Support claims with proof, testimonials.
Break up copy with subheadings and bullet lists.
Write copy in the active voice.
Adjectives ( and !!!s ) are over-used but the right ones can do some real damage. "Exclusive" is a real good one.
Manage expectations. Clarifying expectations reduces anxiety. How fast can users expect a support response? Is it easy to cancel? When will they get access after paying?

208: Use reminder text and on-page validation for signup forms. Reduces anxiety.

209: Move any optional fields to a post-signup page.

213: Example of how to do "legalese". DO it in a modal dialog so the page flow is not interrupted.

215: Great example of a Wordpress.com signup form. 3 fields, with on-page validation, helper text, managing expectations, urgency.

218: Check GA for 404 pages. Do something useful with them.

219: Reduce page load times. Each second is worth a TON. Allow for useful filtering of content beyond simple category/tag pages.

220: What don't our prospects know, which we presume that they do? Do they know how to sign up? How to find our stuff? Who our contributors are and why to trust them?

223: Fulfillment anxiety - will someone be there to help when something screws up? Make sure they know the answer is "yes, quickly".

226: good example of managing expectations by delineating the checkout process in a nav / status bar. The customer fears post-purchase disappointment more than anything. A guarantee works best as reference info in a secondary location. This should go into a modal with < 1 paragraph, with a link to the full 111% info.

227: Add clear "cancel any time" language in a similar or same modal.

228: Instill a sense of ownership pre-purchase to increase entitlement complex. Build a better cancellation workflow to learn more about why people cancel, when, and how.

229: What is lost by NOT subscribing? People are loss-averse.

232: The first few milliseconds of a page view are spent evaluating the visual layout above the fold. Will they stay or bounce? What will they be looking at? They want and expect visual cues about how the page is organized. The QS home page nails this.

Color emphasis can tie benefits together on a product page. CrystalReports landing page is gorgeous and worth copying / testing.

270: How can we show people that others are using this product without giving away our numbers publicly?

277: Use the thanks.php checkout-finished page to do more things. Install additional tracking, guide them to a "start here" page. Ask for information about the referral.

282: Testing at the template page level is usually about eye flow, layout clarity and the overall value prop.
1 review
October 3, 2013
This book is a much more condenced, yet still really inspiring, study of the CRO methods and tools, than it's "older brother" by Tim Ash. Both books holds great value for anyone interested in conversion optimization, but I would recommend this one first because of it's inspiring language and structure!
468 reviews28 followers
April 26, 2015
Just test stuff. This book should have been a blog post or a long article.

Great conversion rates depend on a lot more than just a great product. Rather, they’re the result of an ongoing process of rigorous testing, scrutinizing and experimentation.
Profile Image for Paul Brown.
12 reviews2 followers
February 13, 2020
Fantastic book which challenged my idea and delivered insights

Almost as soon as I started to read this book, I knew that this was a little special. Stacked full with ideas, approaches and insights, it’s a must read for anyone involved in Conversion Optimisation (note, I have dropped the rate) - read the book and find out why!
Profile Image for Esben Kranc.
92 reviews8 followers
February 25, 2022
Published in 2013, it is a wonderful first foray into the website testing paradigm and showcases how scientific rigour might be used to help visitors of your website convert into paying customers. However, I was missing scientific rigour in their own models - they seemed very ad hoc. Otherwise, a good book about being sure to test "expert opinion".
Profile Image for Keith Brooks.
196 reviews1 follower
May 9, 2021
Really good, a bit too much "look what we did" but the message is clear and true. What works for some may not for you and that is why you test things
Profile Image for Borislav.
24 reviews
May 6, 2014
As someone who firmly believes that websites should not be just name cards or something-we-have-but-not-invest-much-effort-on-it, Chris Goward’s book was much of a delight to read. Optimizing for a better conversion should be based not only on one’s gut feeling, but moreover on statistical proof that one is going in the right direction while designing web interaction. There are quite a few ways to test and formulate outcomes described in “You Should Test That”. I personally got a few good ideas to work on in the near future. And if you do not pay attention to the constant mentioning of Chris Goward’s company name, I am sure you will to.
Profile Image for Saeed Esmaili.
7 reviews21 followers
December 4, 2018
The best thing about conversion-rate optimization is the result: You get increased revenue without the need to increase your ongoing advertising spend. You can keep spending the same amount of money, driving the same amount of traffic, and you’ll get more leads, sales, and revenue from a conversion-optimized website.

For conversion optimization, you should always set your test goal to be as close to revenue as possible. Optimize for direct sales, average order value, and qualified leads generated.

Conversion optimization is best approached as an ongoing process of improvement.

Profile Image for E.
785 reviews34 followers
August 24, 2015
3.5 stars. A fantastic start for those unfamiliar with why they should continually test, and still offers some interesting insights to those with more testing experience. Great to show to managers who may doubt.
Profile Image for Alex.
158 reviews39 followers
November 28, 2015
Good overview. Lots of fun and inspiring case studies. LIFT Model was informative. Brushed over statistics and test analysis and was a tad misleading in that arena. Overall, awesome book to brush you up on conversion optimization.
Profile Image for Luke Tucker.
27 reviews6 followers
March 24, 2016
Chris writes in a practical way with good examples. Resource I'll definitely keep on the shelf and refer to. The LIFT model is of particular interest and the chapter on the 7-step conversion testing process is a winner.
Profile Image for Henrik Lindberg.
39 reviews10 followers
February 2, 2014
I was not the target demographics for this one. I'm sure it would have been useful for a marketer.
Profile Image for Alex Devero.
540 reviews53 followers
May 5, 2015
Great conversion rates depend on a lot more than just a great product. Rather, they’re the result of an ongoing process of rigorous testing, scrutinizing and experimentation.
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