The Marketing Optimization System: Step 1 – Discovery

Written by Alex Harris

This post is part of a series of posts about marketing optimization and the marketing optimization system.

The first step of the marketing optimization system is Discovery, where you establish what you can learn and optimize quickly to get your quick wins. This step will have you dealing with quantitative data – which means that Google Analytics will be your new best friend. It seems tedious, yes, but you need to figure out where people are going in your site, what they are doing in what pages, and why. Furthermore, you need Google Analytics to review your top goals, your top landing pages, and so you can track important aspects, such as revenue tracking, conversion tracking, and heat map tracking.

Analyzing quantitative data allows you to understand your metrics and is going on with those metrics. To start off, you need to apply the 80/20 rule, which basically states that every e-commerce site makes 80% of their revenue from 20% of their inventory. The same rule applies to your highest traffic pages – 80% of your visits come from 20% of your pages. You want to have a deeper understanding of your pages that get the highest traffic, as well as those that produce the highest revenue. You also want to identify and understand the pages that have the highest bounce rate, so you will know how to reduce the number of visitors that leave that page right away.

Apart from dealing with quantitative data, the Discovery phase also requires you to understand qualitative data. Understanding qualitative data gives you a deeper insight of the pains, problems, and desires of your ideal customers, which is very important in conversion rate optimization. It allows you to find more opportunities to increase your overall ecommerce sales.

Keep in mind that back in the day, doing this used to be a lot more expensive because the tools that were available were mostly expensive and difficult to use. Now, you can take advantage of great tools, such as, which lets you watch users and visitors go through your site, so you get to understand what exactly is going on in your site and how they interact with your site. It lets you see how they are completing the sale, so you can adjust your strategy.

Questions to consider: Theirs and yours

What you want is to have the answers to these questions that your target market might ask themselves before they make the decision to linger on your site, browse through your products, and complete a sale: Are you really relevant to my wants, needs, and desires? Is your site relevant to the search query I just came from? Do I know why you are the right solution for me? Is it obvious for me what to do next?

You also want to consider the following factors and answer the following questions when you start user testing:

First impressions – View your home page and talk about your website. What can you do here? What do you sell? Do you trust it? Does it look reliable? Why, or why not?

Checkout process – Find a product, quickly go through the process of purchasing it, go to the end of the checkout process. If this wasn’t a test, would you have completed the purchase? Why, or why not? What was the order process lacking, if any?

Competitive analysis – You need to consider the competitors of your site. To do this, do a Google search for a similar product and try to order the product from a competitor. Which site did you prefer, and why? What were the strengths and weaknesses of each site?

Returns, Privacy, and Trust – Imagine a scenario where you need to return your purchase and request for a refund. How would you do that? Would you trust your site to give you a refund?

During the Discovery phase, you will break down the summary of what you have learned from the qualitative data that you painstakingly gathered. Using that, you can then establish a wireframe and design feedback for specific tests. You will also use Heat Map, a visual website optimizer to see specifically where people are clicking. Survey tools such as Survey Monkey also lets you review specific surveys based on the feedback of your users. Understanding what is going on in your customer’s mind and using their voice helps you get better research. Doing the right research approach will help you get better long-term results.

The Discovery process is essential in the steps that follow, particularly the Hypothesis phase. This is the groundwork of the marketing optimization system. This is where you will start to understand patterns of language that people have to help them make their lives better. Use the information people are telling you and use that in your marketing material. These patterns of insight helps you elevate your unique value proposition and your copywriting.