What to Test – Part 1

Welcome to the latest edition of our new weekly blog series, What to Test. Each week, we will introduce a new test idea. We’ll explain why it’s important to test it, what you might learn, how to carry out the test, and what to measure in order to determine a winner.

The Test = Button Color


Testing the color of your buttons, whether they be on your homepage, in your ads, on your forms and landing pages, or in emails, can have a positive affect on the number of people who click them. And when you have a button, the goal is for people to click it.

Take the number of people who view the button, and divide that into the number of people who actually click. We’ll call this the button conversion rate, or click-thru rate. And our goal in testing the button’s color is to increase this figure.


Start with your button as it is today. We will call this version the “control”. Then think about other colors that might attract attention. These could be colors that fit the overall design of the page or email, but they could also be contrasting colors that stand out and grab the viewer’s attention.

Take a look at other popular sites, and the website’s of your competitors. What color buttons are they using?

Narrow down your list to 2 or 3. You never want to have too many versions, because it will take longer to find an answer. I recommend including at least one hot color, like red or orange, and one cool color, like green or blue. (Orange is the “best practice” color in landing page submission forms)

Now create the test using a tool like Optimizely. The thing you want to measure is clicks on the button, or visits to the page that the button brings you to. Either one should give you the numbers you need to find a winning color. Then sit back and watch the results come in!

Anything to add? As always, use the comments below or Twitter #whattotest to keep the conversation going!

5 Reasons Your Email Isn’t Generating Clicks


Welcome to another edition of the “5 Reasons” blog series. This will be a weekly blog series, with a fresh post every Monday. Last week’s topic was “Five Reasons to Start Using Google AdWords”.

This Week’s Topic = Five Reasons Your Email Isn’t Generating Clicks

On January 14th, I wrote about the 5 reasons your email is not getting opened. But maybe you’re problem is not getting opens. Maybe your open rate is strong, and rising. But what about clicks? A good open rate does not always translate to a good click-thru rate.

Let’s take a look at 5 reasons your email isn’t getting enough clicks:

  1. Needs plain text. Too many HTML emails are sent as one large image file. While your designers might brag about beautiful your emails look, your subscribers might never even see them. When I get an email from you, I have to accept images. If I don’t, you’re not getting your message across.

  2. Needs more links. While logistically it might not make sense, I’ve seen time and time again that more links = more clicks. Placing several links to the same page within the content of your emails should make it more likely that someone clicks. Some people click on the first link they see, others read the whole email before clicking.

  3. Needs a stronger CTA. Just including a link in your email is not enough. Your Call to Action should give someone a clear reason to click. And it should tell them to click. Just because you think it’s obvious what the action a reader should take is, doesn’t mean they will.

  4. Needs a better offer. Your call to action might be clear and obvious, but if I’m not interested in what you’re offering, I still won’t click. Maybe your subscribers just don’t see the value in clicking through one of your emails. They either aren’t interested in the offer or don’t like the content. That’s a tougher problem to solve, but one you can diagnose with a simple survey.

  5. Needs to be delivered at a better time. If everything else looks right, you may just need to vary when you’re actually sending the email. If your emails land in a crowded inbox, you may get people to open your email, do a quick scan, and then quickly go for the delete button. See last week’s post on email timing.
As always, if you have your own tips, please include them in the comments below.