Have you ever set a New Year’s resolution only to fall back into your old habits by February?  Have you ever committed to a diet or an exercise regime, only to stick to it for a couple of weeks and then go back to watching weight loss programs on television while snacking on a bag of chips?  The same missteps that can derail our personal goals can also undermine our corporate optimization objectives.  Now it’s mid-July…have you achieved some of the goals you outlined for your optimization programs at the start of the year? If not, it’s never too late to start.

The “decision to optimize your site” and the choice of your optimization tool show great intent.  The companies that build the most successful optimization programs are those that start with sensible goals, build optimization into their organizational lifestyle, and then stick to their resolution to build an effective optimization organization.

So how can you “stick to your optimization goals” ?  Here are a few tips taken from the realm of adopting a healthy lifestyle that you can apply to your optimization program:

  • Start small – complicated tests that take months to execute can dampen your enthusiasm; simple tests that you can execute quickly will reward you with results that create excitement and build enthusiasm for the program; and those “small wins” when added together accumulate into big results at the end of a year of optimization.
  • Set reasonable goals - if your goal is to run tests more frequently, plan 6 tests this quarter instead of 3.
  • Write down your optimization goals – assign them to your team as a quarterly MBO; setting optimization as an official departmental goal will orient everyone’s activities towards achieving it.
  • Expect setbacks – not every test will go according to plan or generate a “winning” result; but every test offers learnings that can inform your next round of optimization.
  • Get support – enlist your executive team to sponsor the goal and ask for their assistance in dislodging roadblocks and clearing the way towards your accomplishments.
  • Review your progress – review progress regularly with your team and with your executive sponsor.
  • Celebrate your successes – create a fanfare around your results; leverage the successes to encourage further investment in the program.

Like any good habit, it’s important that optimization become a part of your everyday corporate culture.  Then keep the momentum going!  Measure your program year over year to gauge your continued progress and set a goal to achieve the next level. I’d love to hear additional tips and ideas from what has worked at others’ organizations.