The most advanced organizations view optimization as an ongoing strategy. It is not a one-time project and it doesn’t have an end point where the company’s experiences are “optimized”.
Since 2007, WiderFunnel has been developing the world’s best optimization process. We have run thousands of tests across industries, allowing us to continuously refine and prove its effectiveness again and again.
We call it the Infinity Optimization Process™.
What is the Infinity Optimization Process?
The Infinity Optimization Process is a structured approach to conversion optimization strategy and execution.
It encompasses the yin and yang of marketing: the intuitive, qualitative, inspired, exploratory side that imagines potential insights, as well as the quantitative, logical, data-driven, validating side that proves whether the insights really work.
The process cycles between two distinct phases: Explore and Validate. The central point is the nucleus where the energy is released. That is where growth and insights are revealed.
The goal of both the Explore and Validate phases is to generate and prove important insights that produce revenue lift and profitable growth for your company. These insights are what we call ‘A-ha!’ Moments.
— Tara Robertson (@taraerobertson) September 25, 2018
It starts with the Explore phase
The Explore phase is all about information-gathering and experiment ideation. This is where we gather insights about your business and customers through many different sources.
All the data-gathering is centered around the LIFT Model®, which is our framework for understanding your customers’ conversion barriers and persuasion opportunities.
Some of these sources include:
- Business context – We gather information from your stakeholders, pulling in their expertise. Stakeholders understand the business, products and services, clients, and history of learning. Of course, this information must also be understood as filtered through the individual’s perceptual filters.
- Persuasion principles – There has been significant research conducted, especially in recent years, around what influences visitor behavior. Understanding these principle triggers is very valuable. At WiderFunnel, we continually maintain our knowledge by accessing a vast library of articles, books, and insights on these and other subjects.
- Digital analytics – Investigating web analytics, click map, scroll map, and session recordings allows us to understand how visitors are using your website and where they are encountering difficulties. The goal is to understand real users’ journeys, e.g. where they are going, what they are looking for, and where they encounter conversion barriers.
- User research – To paint a fuller picture of your visitor, we draw on our knowledge of qualitative methods, including leveraging tools to help us understand the “voice of your customer”. This understanding enables you to increase your marketing Relevance. Some of these methods include onsite surveys, email surveys, NPS, user testing, etc.
- Test archive – Over the years, WiderFunnel has developed thousands of tests, which give us insights across all industries of a spectrum of persuasion down to transactional elements, e.g. how to design forms, how to test a value proposition, etc. We use that bank of knowledge to create faster and better results.
The LIFT Model is the central point for understanding and categorizing all these pieces of information within the 6 conversion factors: Value Proposition, Clarity, Relevance, Anxiety, Distraction, and Urgency.
The Explore phase is an expansive thinking zone, where all options are considered, whether they are minor usability tweaks or dramatic concepts that challenge your business.
The Validate phase proves great ideas
Validate is an iterative process that proves which of the ideas generated in Explore work and how they work best in real life scenarios.
We take the customer insights and LIFT points from the Explore phase to be tested in this 7-step experimentation cycle:
- The PIE Framework – PIE is one of the most popular conversion optimization frameworks in the world. It allows our Strategy team to prioritize testing opportunities based on three factors: Potential, Importance, and Ease. Click for more detail on how to prioritize optimization opportunities.
- Hypothesis creation – Based on our LIFT analyses and PIE results, we will develop appropriate hypotheses to generate LIFT and insights for the specific page(s) or visitor journey to be tested. Insights are only validated once they are tested in controlled experiments, and hypotheses are only testable when they are constructed using proper hypothesis structure.
- Design of Experiments – The Design of Experiments is a very important step that ensures your traffic is used most effectively. In this step, we develop an appropriate experiment plan and design. Depending on the nature of the test, we may opt for one of the various experimental designs available: cluster, multivariate or factorial experimental design, to name a few.
- UX/UI design – In a growth-oriented organization, form follows function. While UX experts can often contribute insights toward experiments, graphic design should follow after experiments have been prioritized and planned.
- Development and QA – The technical details are critical to ensure reliable experiment results. If goals are improperly set up or any technical detail is missed, your experiments can be wasted. There are many common A/B testing goal tracking mistakes you should avoid.
- Live A/B test – Experiments should be run using tools designed for running controlled tests. You simply cannot use regular web analytics tools to compare “before and after” results and expect to make good business decisions. The only thing worse than not testing is testing improperly and relying on bad results.
- Results analysis – The most fun and important step is here, where growth and insights are delivered. If the hypotheses and design of experiments are created effectively, you’ll be learning something important about your customer and lifting your revenue. At WiderFunnel, we call these Profitable ‘A-ha!’ Moments.
Why is the process important?
In practice, the Infinity Optimization Process includes 69 distinct steps (with 105 sub-steps.) But showing every single step would be impractical and confusing—instead, the diagram of the process represents its core components.
The shape and connections are not just for visual aesthetics. The diagram intentionally communicates the most important concepts of Infinity Optimization:
- This is an ongoing process. It’s not just a strategy or ad hoc plan. Hence the infinity loop shape with progress arrows.
- Two distinct mindsets are required. Expansive and reductive thinking are opposed in a productive way. This yin and yang thinking is one of the distinctions of the LIFT Analysis process we use.
- Explore is not linear. There isn’t a step-by-step cycle to the explore phase. It is necessarily variable based on context and open to inspiration.
- Validate is linear. The step-by-step process is in the correct order by intention and each step is important.
- Both Explore and Validate are ongoing. An Explore cycle may inspire a series of Validate experiments, and at the same time insights from the Validate phase can lead into more Explore information gathering.
- There are two equally-important outputs. Both growth and insights are the intended and central result.
Implementing an optimization program in your organization
If you haven’t been seeing excellent results from your optimization efforts, it may be due to a lack in your process or team’s expertise. Those are the two most important components of the world’s best optimization programs.
Whether you choose to adopt a process similar to Infinity Optimization or to develop your own approach, building a rigorous process will undoubtedly improve your optimization program.