Software testing has traditionally been the job of Quality Assurance teams, but as organizations realize the inherent value of a seamless online user experience, the idea of testing has also proven invaluable to other roles.
As marketing professionals evaluate the effectiveness of their strategies, tactics, and content, it’s no longer enough to blindly publish landing pages, design websites, and send emails.
By performing the following tests, marketers of all levels and ensure that the intent of their messaging matches the execution.
A/B Testing – Sometimes, it can seem like communicating with prospects can be a shot in the dark. A/B testing lets you test two scenarios at once to determine which your audience responds to better. The is often done with on web page or app to better understand how you’re communicating with your prospects. For example, if you were unsure what to write for the header on your website, you could A/B test two versions against each other to gain insights into what resonates best to capture leads and use that data choose A or B. In addition, analyzing the results of your test helps you make informed decisions that will convert leads in the future, such as the next time you have to write a page heading. Optimizely is the deluxe A/B testing tool, allowing you to go into your page and live edit through the dashboard to make tests. Optimizely keeps all your data organized, and includes value-add features such as retroactive filtering, intuitive stats engine, optimized targeting options, and saved audiences. For teams that are looking for something that will fill their more basic A/B testing needs, VWO is a comparable option.
Responsive Design Testing – Did you know that having a responsive website improves your SEO? We bet your ears just perked up. It’s true — Google prefers sites that are responsive. What does this mean for you? Basically, you need to make sure that your site works not only on desktop browsers but also on other screen sizes such as mobile and tablets. It’s not surprising the mobile use is increasing year after year, not to mention exceeding online desktop activity. While the thought of mobile-friendliness should be a no-brainer, it may not always fall on the marketer’s plate to design responsively. However, when it has a stake in your page ranking, it becomes a whole other story. Tools that provide a device lab and visual testing capabilities like CrossBrowserTesting can help give you a look at what your website looks like on those devices you don’t have access to. This is a fairly easy way to guarantee the compatibility of your site with the most popular search engine so you can make sure all that backlinking work you’ve been doing isn’t for nothing.
Email Testing – If you’re slaving over email marketing but keep seeing your open rates drop, it might not be that your copy is lacking as it is as much a lack of testing. Just like you need to make sure your website looks good on different devices, you also need to make sure your emails look good on different email servers. Unfortunately engaging email messaging isn’t always enough when Gmail and Outlook are displaying content differently — unless you stick to HTML. Litmus provides a platform that lets you build, edit, and preview your emails on over 90 different email clients (did you even know there were that many?) because the only thing worse than an email that goes out with a typo is an email that doesn’t show up at all at all. Speaking of errors, Litmus does a crawl of your email to make sure that links work, images render, and content loads so you can feel confident in every email you send out. By using a tool like Litmus, you can stop leaving your emails up to chance and spot discrepancies before you send them out to your 100,000 count subscriber list.
User Testing – What’s a better method to getting feedback on your digital experience than asking the very people whose opinions you care about most — your users? User testing is an unparalleled way to get feedback from real people on the usability of your application. When you have a website, for example, it can be difficult to put yourself in your users’ shoes and think about their needs outside of how you would want the application to look and work. User testing lets you gain insight into the user experience of someone who may not have been on your app before, and platforms like UserTesting provide you with videos of those real people giving their honest feedback on your website, mobile app, or another project of your choosing. By getting your product in front of your target audience, you can get more accurate insight into why your users perform certain actions or want things a certain way.
Performance Testing – Performance testing is fairly underrated in the marketing world, but it could be what makes or breaks the success of your application. Why spend all your time making the perfect graphics, designing the perfect layout, and writing the perfect copy if your website is going to take forever to load or crash when too many people visit? When 51 percent of online shoppers in the US say that site slowness is the top reason they’d abandon a purchase and a 2-second delay in load time during a transaction result in abandonment rates of up to 87 percent, according to Radware. It’s not just your QA team’s problem to test for performance. In fact, it’s in your best interest to see your marketing efforts succeed. Leveraging tools like LoadComplete and LoadUI will help you determine breakpoints in your application so you can get a better understanding of how fast it is and how much it can handle. Trust us — around the holidays, performance testing is a lifesaver.
Testing is all about checking the quality of your application, but it shouldn’t be limited to QA teams. With plenty of tools on the market, it’s becoming easier for marketers to conduct their own tests in order to optimize websites, landing pages, emails, and other content. By including testing in your marketing, you can know that your efforts are reaching a higher level of quality and trust that your messages are getting across to more users each time they interact with you online.