How to get value & learn from failed website optimization ideas

Digital marketers are often laser-focused on creating and improving websites that deliver more new customers, revenue, and/or leads to sales. When ideas don’t work out or new a website test fails, marketers often view the failed test as just that: a failure.

It’s easy to see why some digital marketers develop this kind of mentality. Many of their personal goals are tied to revenue or sales opportunities delivered from their company’s websites. Whether it’s beating out a competitor with SEO strategy or helping the sales team close out a big deal with a great piece of online content, a lot of their goals are tied to website performance. Marketers are often quantitative and drawn toward wins. As a result, failed website tests are often considered failures. 

Respectfully, we disagree with this mindset.

Building success is a process

What do Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney, Oprah, the Wright brothers, and Michael Jordan all have in common? They all dealt with failure during their early careers. It would have been easy for them to throw in the towel, but instead, they overcame those initial stumbling blocks and went on to become icons in their respective fields.

The mentality they used to manage adversity has a lot to teach us as digital marketers: 

Learning from failure can lead to success.

To see this from another perspective, think about the day in the life of someone on your sales team. They are likely focused on the speed of building their pipeline and constantly asking themselves, “What is the next best deal to go after?” When a prospect doesn’t work out, they usually dust themselves off and quickly move on to the next sales opportunity.

To a salesperson, it’s often not considered a failure if a sales prospect isn’t interested. Instead, it’s both a learning opportunity and progress because the salesperson can now better focus on higher potential prospects. Refining an ideal customer profile is an important ongoing journey, and finding out what doesn’t work is just as important as discovering what does work.

 

Losing ideas are learning experiences

Like sales, no one bats 1000 in digital marketing. Learning from failure can give you a clearer roadmap for what works for your website. If you run a test and your web visitors are simply not engaging with your content or offerings, make a note of it, then move on to the next idea. If you’re like most marketers, you probably have a long list of website ideas waiting in the wings anyway. Although not all of these ideas may work for your prospects, here are some tactics that can help you create more success with website optimization: 

 

  • Lean in to your successes: If you found a variation that performed well, create a subsequent series of ideas around that success.
  • Learn from your failed experiments quickly: This can help you avoid wasting additional time and expense on ideas that just don’t work for your prospects.
  • Use failed ideas to refine your target audience: Audience behavior changes over time. Looking at failed experiments can help you revise your ideal customer profile and how you engage with them over time.
  • Share your losses with your team: Don’t hide them. Be proud of them. They are  learning opportunities, and they help you refine and advance as a company.
  • Train those around you to change their mindset: Once your team sees that failed tests aren’t a waste of time, you can all move forward together swiftly on the next set of ideas that are more likely to deliver success for your business. 
  • Focus on testing more: If you have a series of thoughtful ideas and you move quickly, you will almost certainly find lift somewhere in those ideas. While you can’t guarantee that every idea will be a winner, your chances get much higher with quick, solid execution.

 

Another important note: Success with website testing doesn’t always have to be defined by a clear runaway winner. Even “mediocre” ideas might be the right ideas to show to a subset of your audience. Of note, you won’t get these insights from A/B testing or SEO strategy alone. To deliver results from “mediocre” ideas, you need a robust personalization strategy enabling you to show the right ideas to each customer segment, even if that idea is not a global winner.

Stop worrying about one failed website idea. Test more ideas, and test often.

Most growth marketers understand their customers well. Many have spent years researching their customer segments and have become very in-tune with what makes their customers tick. Many marketers also know which general website ideas are in the ballpark for their prospects.

Marketers might not know, however, exactly what kinds of messaging, content, and interactivity will drive each group of prospects further down their online funnel. Prospect behavior also changes over time. Ideas that worked in the past may not be as effective now.

This is why testing many ideas and testing often should be a priority for any digital marketer. When you’re continually trying out new ideas and continuously optimizing your website, you’ll be able to get faster and better results.

Intellimize can help you test multiple ideas quickly and personalize your website for each unique prospect so that you can deliver results and simultaneously learn what resonates most with your ever-changing audience. Marketers should be more bothered about not moving quickly on many ideas rather than being unhappy about one failed web optimization idea. 

Find out more about how you can test multiple ideas and continuously optimize your website automatically by contacting Intellimize with a free consultation.