Starting a CRO Process – Part 3: Develop Hypotheses

Develop Hypotheses

Hypotheses are theories, not arguments. I’ve been guilty of running a test because two team members disagreed. Can you guess how valuable those results were? They were pretty low on the list of value-adds and we probably missed opportunities we could have been testing with that time. If you do get into a disagreement and want to test, make sure to create an actual hypothesis around the two options. Why do you theorize that option A will outperform? Why would B? Decide if this is the best way to answer the question, and then add to the backlog of tests. Make sure to evaluate the value of the test and prioritize against other options using the same process other concepts go through.

I’ve found a few a few other areas that consistently give me testing materials that may be helpful for you to start with:

  • Other people’s test results and best practices — These can be fertile ground for testing since they should not be taken as gospel. What worked for one person may not work for you.
  • User experience concepts — Having a good understanding of user experience can provide a framework to theorize and test flows and elements on your website. I’ve often found that real life and UX best practices don’t work together and it becomes a question of which non-ideal option is best. These are good areas to test, particularly if you can apply your learnings elsewhere.
  • In-person sales techniques — I’ve found a lot of success experimenting with converting in-person techniques to the digital world. Since sales has been around for a long, long time you can find plenty of material and information on well-honed practices.
  • Behavioral economics — Have you heard of Dan Ariely? Daniel Kahneman? Behavioral economics is a growing field that studies human decision making. Reading through books and studies on the subject has given me plenty of ideas to test.
  • User resonance — This harkens back to defining your audience and creating a persona. If you can theorize about what will best resonate with your target audience then you can test it. Is an appeal to their family values or aesthetics more effective? How can you position your product in the hero image that best allows your audience to envision themselves using it.

The absolute best way to generate test ideas is to be on the lookout for assumptions and turn them into questions. When you identify an area the team is making a leap of faith, create a theory around it and propose a way to test the validity.

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