/ Creative/Design

Creative: The Most Important Thing You’re Not Testing

Ozzie Thoreson

Laptop in creative conference room

Some people learn by reading. Others learn by doing. And then there is a select few that learn by watching. In marketing, we often combine these elements of reading, doing, and watching to promote our products. What many fail to remember is that while all consumers consume information in differently, the initial step in the customer buying cycle is visual.

Design has a large impact on your business, and in the same way a brick-and-mortar store will be more successful when it is organized and clean, websites, microsites and landing pages should be equally organized and clean. 46.1% of visitors say website design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of a company. That is nearly half of all visitors.

Think about the brands you enjoy and are most loyal to. There is likely some sort of visual representation that comes to mind with that brand, be it a logo, certain colors, or even the image of a product. That’s because most consumers are visual buyers.

Visuals Drive Engagement

90% of information coming into the brain is visual. It should be no surprise then that content which contains images get 94% more views than content that doesn’t contain a relevant image.

Whether it’s on social media, a landing page, or in an email, images engage your audience. Visuals reach the brain faster and create a deeper emotional connection to your brand. In order to maximize your creative assets, you want to make sure you’re using the right image, at the right time, on the right channel. That’s why it’s so important to make sure it’s something you’re regularly testing.

Common Elements for Testing Creative

Small changes can have a big impact, so it’s important to follow A/B testing best practices and only test one element at a time. These elements could include:

Hero Image

This is generally the first thing a consumer sees on your website, a landing page, or an email and sets the tone for that entire session. That first visual is similar to a billboard – it should be “read” quickly. And having the right hero image in place can be the difference between a consumer clicking, converting, or leaving forever.

Colors

It may seem small, but changing something as simple as the color of a “Call to Action” (or CTA) button can have a big impact. Certain colors draw more attention to themselves than others, making it a simple element to test.

CTAs

CTA buttons should always be present and clear. Both the button itself and the CTA language needs to stand out. Keep your buttons simple, but feel free to test the language, i.e. Sign Up Today vs. Sign Up Now.

Video vs. Static

If you’re always using static images on your landing pages and emails, try testing a video or gif (as video formats are not supported in email). Statistics show that landing pages that include a video often show higher conversions and higher purchase rates.

Text vs. Image

Are you using text where you could be using a visual element? Or are you using an image where you should be using text? This is another simple test you can run on your website, landing pages, or email.

Layout

The placement of a form on a landing page, the appearance of a certain product image in an email—these type of small layout changes can also impact engagement. While most A/B tests only require small changes, if you’re testing a layout, don’t be afraid to test bigger layout changes, i.e. a complete new layout vs. the status quo.

A Case for Testing Personalization

90% of marketers see an increase in conversions when personalization is used in an email. According to Jupiter Research, relevant emails drive 18x more revenue than standard batch and blast sends.

Images are a highly effective way to add relevancy and personalization to your marketing efforts, making it another element that is very much worth testing.

Of course the degree to which you can personalize images varies based on the type of data you have on your customers. But even basic details like zip code or gender can give you a basis for getting started with more personalized images, particularly when it comes to email marketing.

If your email marketing platform is integrated with your e-commerce system you can take personalization one step further by providing images in your messages that mirror their past purchases.

But Before You Test Anything…

Make sure your website, landing pages, and email templates are mobile responsive, as nothing effects the user experience more than having the ability to seamlessly view your content on any device. Otherwise, no matter how good things look from a creative standpoint, you won’t have the type of engagement metrics you want to see.