Optimization is a Program not Just a Project
Similar to other marketing disciplines like PR, SEO, social marketing and customer relationship management, Optimization should not be viewed as an occasional project-based endeavor, but rather as an ongoing effort that builds on itself. Publishing one press release or simply creating a Facebook fan page does not translate to successful public relations or social marketing strategy and the same is true for online testing as just executing one or a few tests.
With every test comes knowledge whether positive lift is achieved or not. Obviously the big win with optimization is seeing significant lift improvements on your key site objectives. A test resulting in no or negative lift confirms that your existing or planned content did work or that the tested challenging content wasn’t sufficiently different or compelling. This learning process is iterative and will ensure continued improvement and resulting revenue, and avoids costly mistakes stemming from not knowing. Furthermore, testing insights can and should influence your marketing across other channels to ensure insights learned through testing are leveraged where possible beyond the website.
Taking a programmatic approach is truly the ideal approach for optimization as it should be a more strategic focus which will likely require process change to your marketing team. Treating it is as a project will limit the value and certainly the adoption and use of optimization over time. Of course, doing something is better than doing nothing so absolutely do get started by testing simple ideas, but do consider the value that taking a program-based approach can provide to your company over time. Just going to the gym once a week doesn’t prepare me for a marathon or a century bike ride.