Web: Is Your Online Marketing an F?
Question: Do any of the following keep you up at night?
"I don't know what to test, so I don't test," "Our customers are leaving our website," or "Our market has dried up"?
If these resonate with you, your marketing is probably failing. And you're wasting marketing dollars that could be working for you instead of against you. I'll show you five ways to fix this by leveraging the principles of conversion optimization and testing.
Problem 1: 'HiPPOs' Are Running the Asylum
When I talk about hippos, I'm not talking about the kind you'd see on an African safari. I'm talking about the HiPPOs who live in your company. They're blessed with the Highest Paid Person's Opinion, which is often based on conjecture and so-called "experience."
If you've ever found yourself having to deal with crazy HiPPO ideas, you need to be testing so you can diplomatically reply to HiPPO requests with, "I have an idea, too. Why don't we test them?"
If your idea wins in the A/B test, you'll be afforded more leeway in the future, while educating the HiPPOs about the value of scientific experimentation. You'll also make more money for the company, with which any smart HiPPO would be a fool to argue.
Lesson No. 1: "Stop listening to HiPPOs. Stop implementing change based on assumptions. Start testing."
Problem 2: You Don't Know What to Test, So You Don't Test
Not knowing what to test is one of the most common problems in conversion optimization.
Knowing that you should be testing, but not knowing where to start, is just plain frustrating. Let's look at a typical A/B testing process:
Where to start: Pick the most high-profile pages on your site, including your home page, pricing page and other high-traffic pages.
What to test: There are fundamental elements that are common to most pages—the headline; your call to action (CTA) design and button copy; and form length, design and position.
Why you are testing: It's a big mistake to try to test something without a real purpose. This is where a test hypothesis comes in—a statement of what you are going to test and your theory behind why it will be a success.
An example test hypothesis would be: "The page does not have a clear call to action and prospects spend too long trying to understand what to do next. Adding a large orange button right under the main benefits will help them identify the CTA and perform our desired action."
Once you have a hypothesis, you're in a better position to create a test page to compete against your original page in an A/B test.
How to test: Now that you're ready to run a test, you need to follow a few rules to ensure your experiment is clean:
- Each page in your test should receive at least 100 unique visitors.
- The test should last at least a week to account for different daily behaviors.
- The statistical significance of the experiment should be more than 95 percent to remove the potential that your results are based on chance.
Lesson No. 2: "Now you know what and how to test, start testing."
Problem 3: Your Market Has Dried Up
Do you feel like you've exhausted your current market? Then it's time to partner with companies who have customers with similar needs to your own.
Examples of partner co-marketing activities include sending an email to each other's customer lists explaining how you work together to provide extra value, writing guest posts for each other's blogs, adding logos to each other's websites and running joint webinars.
A good strategy is to have a landing page where prospective partners can complete a partnership request form outlining expected co-marketing activities if they are deemed to be suitable partners.
Lesson No. 3: "With the right partner strategy, your market will never dry up."
Problem 4: Customers Are Leaking From Your Website
"Leaking customers" sounds like a strange statement to make. The term "leak" refers to a "link" that moves your visitors away from a page and your intended conversion goal.
My guess is, you're sending your marketing traffic to your home page. This is a classic mistake even seasoned marketers make. Most home pages have 30 to 70 links, but your conversion process should have only one goal—and no leaks.
So how do you plug the holes and stop the leaks? Congrats if you replied "with a landing page."
The benefits of this are:
- Only a single objective, which is to click the CTA that represents your conversion goal.
- A message tightly matched to the ad, which led people to the page.
- A controlled environment allowing for optimization and accurate analytical measurement.
Lesson No. 4: "Stop sending marketing traffic to your home page."
Problem 5: Visitors Come for Dinner, But Don't Eat
You have people visiting your website, but not converting into customers. Your visitors are not finding the important information on your pages and, as a result, are bouncing from the site.
Using heat-mapping software, you can discover where people are looking on your pages and adjust the layout to place important elements in the areas with the highest focus.
For example, one reason a visitor's eyes may jump all around a page but ignore calls to action could be because the CTAs don't stand out from other page elements.
If you're seeing something like this on your own pages, adjust the placement, color contrast and size of your CTAs.
Some say button color is irrelevant, but this is false when color contrast is the problem.
Yes, red might not perform better than blue under normal circumstances, but if the page is predominantly blue, then a red button will attract more attention than a blue one.
Lesson No. 5: "Use a focused landing page to remove wandering eyes."
In summary, if you can fix even a few of these problems, you'll be well on your way to more fruitful marketing campaigns. Your marketing doesn't have to be failing. And, as a final thought, remember that every page on your website can be better.
So test away, and you'll see how good your website and the marketing traffic arriving at it can be.