Tips For Testing New Things In Marketing

Nov. 30

The Holiday Shopping season is upon us! In my opinion, it’s one of the best times ever to run new tests in Marketing. Running and measuring tests requires a massive amount of data to arrive at statistical significance. There will never be more data available than during your company’s busy season (which happens to be Q4 for many businesses, especially those in retail). Today, I wanted to share some high level tips and frameworks as you explore your own testing strategy.

Beta Testing

  • Never stop dreaming up new ideas. As performance marketers, I view each of us as "Mini CEOs". There are few disciplines as multi-disciplinary as digital marketing, and you are truly in the driver’s seat to create change and drive results for your overall company. No test is too crazy. No idea is wrong. In fact, I encourage testing just about anything. Even ideas that are seemingly strange or bad may work. Stay creative!
  • Treat each test as a new business. Get disciplined about it. In the world of digital marketing, we work with large budgets. The money at stake is meaningful and should be treated as your own. Approach each new marketing test with a complete business plan. Include an overview of the test, who will run it, how much money will be invested, what success will look like, an overview of plan b and plan c (in case plan a doesn’t work), and more. The business plan will inspire confidence in your management team. And, it will serve as a guide to those running the test. Think of it as Marketing’s equivalent of the PRD.
  • Create a calendar and script your entire busy season. You can only run so many tests at once. Prioritize the most important ones. Set specific dates that correspond with timeframes set forth in your business plan. Don’t know all of the tests you will be running? That’s ok, some of the best tests are impromptu and will be inspired by events that unfold in your market. Set time aside for new tests.
  • Collaborate with search engines and other partners. Some of the best tests are bigger than your company. Become a great beta testing partner. Participate in case studies. Allocate time and resources towards developing cutting edge technologies with others.
  • Don’t overlook offline marketing channels and other new channels. Are you primarily a digital marketer? Does your company avoid offline marketing? Challenge the norm. You’d be surprised that many of the characteristics that make you an excellent digital marketer will make you an excellent offline marketer.
  • Pay attention to all those emails and phone calls that come through. If you’re like me, you probably receive tons of new opportunities each week. I’m always being approached with new opportunities and have a tough time managing the level of emails. Of course, you can’t look at all of them, but try to pay attention to the biggest opportunities.
  • Set aside a separate budget, one that’s outside your team’s goals. Testing can be expensive. Even the most promising new ideas can be expensive in their earliest days. Carve out a separate testing budget from your bread and butter campaigns. Without this separate budget, teams are rarely incentivized to test since tests will typically raise overall CPA.
  • Realize that you and your team will be working longer hours during times of increased testing. Testing is super fun, and it’s a very motivating exercise. However, it definitely requires some extra time and attention. Again, it’s all about treating your company’s test budget as if it’s your own. Make sure every single penny is spent wisely.
  • Make sure proper measurement is in place. Collaborate with you Analytics Team. Never start a new test unless you are able to clearly measure and communicate its effectiveness. Testing is a complete waste if you cannot measure.
  • Consider tests that span different pillars of your overall Marketing program. Testing drives innovation, and you want all areas of your Marketing program to progress. Make sure to test across: ad copy, landing pages, bidding, beta features, targeting and segmentation, media channels and programs, and more. Every person on your team likely owns a portfolio of programs. Challenge each person to drive tests across each of their programs.
  • Document everything and delight in the process. Testing is so much fun! This is your time to shine. Make sure to present your results to everyone!
  • This final tip won’t help as much this year, but will certainly help going forward… Make sure to plan and do as much prep work as possible ahead of time. Build the landing pages, build the banners, get legal approval all well ahead of time. When things get busy, I like to focus on execution, and it’s always so great to have all the background work done well ahead of time.

Image of beta test © iStockPhoto – Aquir

Holiday Optimizations For All Businesses

Nov. 02

Do you work in a highly seasonal business where it’s all about the holidays? How about one that has nothing to do with the holidays? Regardless of which bucket you fall into, there is so much you can do to optimize your marketing this exciting time of year.

Optimization

A such, when my good friends at 3Q Digital offered the opportunity to write a guest post on their amazing blog, I was so excited with their suggestion: How To Optimize Non-Holiday Accounts In Q4. I really had fun with this post and share 7 clever tips on how you can fully embrace the holiday theme even in accounts/businesses that do not typically face holiday seasonality. Please head on over to the 3Q Blog and let me know what you think about my guest post. Wishing you an amazing weekend, everyone!

Image of Optimization © iStockPhoto – alexskopje

My Favorite PPC Landing Page Tips

Jul. 13

I’m a huge fan of PPC landing pages! Landing pages are the “on-page” side of pay per click marketing. In the world of SEO, there have always existed both on-page and off-page strategies. Savvy SEO marketers invest a ton of time, both on-page and off-page. PPC, historically speaking, has been more focused on off-page elements (managing campaigns in Google AdWords and Bing Ads). However, I’m here to challenge the norm! I personally recommend that PPC marketers focus a significant amount of time on on-page optimization (landing page optimization). Following are some of my favorite PPC landing page tips.

Landing Pages

  1. Invest in a landing page platform, such as ion interactive. It’s so much easier to build, test, and manage landing pages with a cutting edge platform like ion. Think about the parallels with SEM bid management platforms and how difficult the bidding process is in Excel versus a cutting edge platform. Same goes for landing pages! An added benefit for agencies: Have your client place a landing page platform on their site. This will give the agency control over both campaigns and customer experience! It’s a huge challenge for agencies to have influence over on-site user experience. Landing page platforms bridge that gap.
  2. Stay consistent with your company’s brand guidelines. If brand guidelines don’t exist, develop them yourself by interviewing influential members of your organization. I’m a huge fan of consistency. You want to go big and test big, however you want to also stay very true to your company’s overall brand image. The user experience should never be jarring to the consumer. Even though you manage landing pages and your PM team manages your website, it should all flow the same.
  3. Consider dynamic elements on your landing pages. It’s all about personal customization. Maybe have prices/offers relevant to the geography of the visitor. Perhaps you know a bit about the customer from their past browsing behavior on your site and you present a custom offer/package. Maybe it’s as simple as analyzing the search query in real time and offering up a landing page relevant to that specific search query. The opportunities are endless. A well designed SEM account will always have granular, tightly-themed adgroups. Make sure your landing page strategy follows accordingly.
  4. Consider going beyond a simple landing page, and create a landing page minisite. SEM landing pages are focused. It’s all about making it easy for the consumer. Minisites are awesome because they allow you to get all of that additional information in there without distracting the core flow.
  5. Landing pages don’t just have to be one page. In addition to minisites (see last tip), consider taking more of the flow under your control. If your site offers an API or another means of deep integration, consider hosting/managing the first few pages of the flow as part of your landing page experience optimization. The deeper you can go in the funnel, the more opportunity you have to test and improve conversion rate. Important tip: Make sure you work closely with your PM team and are on the same page.
  6. Building upon the last part of the last tip, share your success stories across your company. Your learnings from PPC landing page optimization have direct impact on other areas of your organization. Offer up your channel as a testing ground. I love digital advertising because you can learn so much so fast. Make sure the landing page part of your program is treated the same, it’s a testing ground for quick learnings across your organization.
  7. Don’t forget retargeting. Make sure your retargeting pixels are placed on your PPC landing pages (and across your entire website). I’m particularly a fan of retargeting PPC traffic because PPC tends to be one of the highest converting and most valuable sources of traffic.

How are you leveraging landing pages in your digital marketing program?

Image of guy looking at landing pages © iStockPhoto – Silent47

Check Out My AdLift Blog Guest Post

Jun. 12

About a month ago, I attended and spoke at Search Insider Summit. At this amazing conference, I had the pleasure of meeting Prashant Puri (CEO & Co-Founder) and Johnny Shami (Director, Business Development) from AdLift. What is AdLift? It’s one of the best SEO Agencies ever! Based in Palo Alto, AdLift is right in the heart of Silicon Valley and manages SEO campaigns for some of the biggest, most savvy brands around.

AdLift SEO Agency

Today, I had the honor of contributing a guest post to the AdLift blog. Given their SEO expertise, I thought it fitting to write a post about the intersection of SEO and PPC. In particular, I wrote SEO Tips From A PPC Pro. My post highlights 7 SEO tips that leverage intelligence/collaboration with your PPC program. Looking at it from a paid search perspective, this post offers 7 ways in which you can help out your SEO team. There are so many ways in which SEO and PPC teams can collaborate.

Head on over to AdLift today and check out my post. I hope you enjoy! If you are looking for an SEO agency, I highly, highly recommend chatting with AdLift. They are true experts!

Image in this post ©AdLift