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Dealchcker redesign – it’s the small things that count

March 1, 2012

(Published in TTG 23.02.12)

Our best website tester is my mother,” says Mark Attwell, managing director of holiday price comparison site dealchecker.co.uk – not that he’s advocating agents get in touch with her.

What he means is that people who don’t use your website on a daily basis are the best ones to test it because they move around it intuitively.

Dealchecker decided to redesign the “Real Deals” section of its website – a section that is promoted in a weekly email that goes out to
1.3 million people – on the back of feedback from its subscribers.

“Our editorial team writes the newsletter each week, and they receive feedback from the subscribers, which generates lots of the ideas,” explains Attwell, who joined last summer from comparethemarket.com.

With these kinds of subscriber numbers, even the smallest of changes has the potential to make a big impact on the company’s bottom line.

Altering alerts
The entire team (25 staff across sales, marketing, technology and editorial departments) got together to discuss ideas in October before embarking on a two-month testing period.

“It was a great team effort; you have to get a lot of people around, to get the ideas flowing,” says Attwell.

During a quiet November and December, six iterations of the Real Deals section were analysed.

The actual format of the email itself remained the same because you only have a “finite amount of words” with this type of media,
says Attwell.

With only one minor change taking place each week, he says the key was having a benchmark to measure any success against, such as emailing 50% of the subscribers the old design.

Dealchecker’s editor Alice Mariscotti-Wyatt says alterations were made to key holiday details, putting them into a more clearly defined list and with a destination image.

“The previous newsletter template was working – it just wasn’t optimised to its full potential, and didn’t communicate who the team were and the effort that goes into finding and selecting the deals,” she says.

“The thing that gave us the greatest benefit was the placement of the ‘call to action’ button. In all our tests this had a huge impact.

Previously the button was in a logical place at the end of the text, but below the fold. Now it’s bright orange, at the top of the page so readers know exactly how to progress with the booking as soon as the page opens.”

Subscribers are also now invited to rate the deals each week, and all social media links have been repositioned, in a bid to encourage greater audience participation.

The company also ran each new design through Google’s free website optimiser tool, and by December conversion rates were up 15% in good preparation for the peak January sales period.

Linking to partners
With partners ranging from Tui and British Airways to smaller niche operators, Dealchecker operates various financial models – some pay per booking made, others to appear on its email alert.

But Attwell reveals: “If our team spots a great deal, sometimes we will promote it and the company gets free traffic from us.

“We also help people along the way by designing banners for our partners, and we will also promote deals that can only be booked by phone,” he adds.

One unexpected outcome from the redesign process was that the success gave the team confidence to start redesigning its own homepage, starting next month.

With Attwell’s “little surefooted steps” approach you may not notice this at first glance, but no doubt mother would approve.

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