The Internet Marketing Driver: Glenn Gabe's goal is to help marketers build powerful and measurable web marketing strategies.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Scientific Marketing - Do You Really Know Your Visitors?



The more I help clients with increasing conversion, the more I see the true evolution of web marketing. I know this may be hard to believe, but you may not understand how your customers buy as much as you think you do. I don't mean to sound obnoxious, but I've seen too many web marketing projects that look and act the way the marketing people think they should... I admit, it's hard to truly understand how your visitors think, browse, buy, etc. However, the web provides an incredible platform for testing and refining your web marketing campaigns to increase conversion. Read on.

Ta(who)chi? No, Taguchi!
Split testing, multivariate testing, and advanced testing using the Taguchi method are all viable options for optimizing your campaigns. You can also use some great online tools for assistance. For example, Offermatica is a powerful ASP-based tool that enables you to test to your heart's delight. Ever wondered what the best combination of elements would be on your landing page? Well now you can do it without the burden of building a system to track your results. You'll be surprised what you find!

You might be too close...
I think we all have faced it at some point in the past...you know, being so close to a campaign that you don't see how the average person views it. When I first started building interactive solutions, I quickly realized how important testing was. One of my first interactive applications initially used a slick navigation that I worked ridiculously hard on developing. I loved it. Then during testing, I realized that 25% of the target audience had no idea how to use it! Ouch. Back to marketing campaigns...marketers should use their knowledge of the industry, customer, and market to craft brilliant campaigns, but they also need to test out different variations in order to scientifically (that's right, I mean data backing our ideas) to understand what will convert the most visitors into customers.

It might not be pretty...
That's right, the best performing landing pages or email creative or product detail page may not be what you think it should be. You might find that visitors want more copy and less visuals or vice versa. You might find that they hate advanced functionality and don't see calls to action in yellow. Or, they might want to click "Buy Now" immediately and get past the lengthy product description. I think you get the point!

In closing, keep an open mind. You might find that using scientific marketing helps you blaze a path at your respective organization. And once you do, science will never look the same again!

GG

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Flying Blind - The Need for Web Analytics



Imagine the following example: You are in charge of marketing a golf tournament...you've collected the best golfers in the area, a portion of the proceeds will go to charity, you've contracted the best chefs in the area to set up in the main tent, and landed the top country club in the area to host the event. You want every golf fan in the area to know about the tournament...you want large crowds...which should translate to a successful day, both tournament-wise and revenue-wise. You launch several targeted campaigns, set up a great web presence with online registration, and barrel forward at light speed.

Path 1: Registrations are flowing in, everyone is excited, and your site is barely keeping up with the amount of traffic. The big day arrives, the golfers are ready, the sun is shining, the food is ready, and the golf course is packed! Great job. But...you have absolutely no idea which campaign worked for you, how your site performed, where visitors came from, which campaigns yielded the most visitors, registrants, or bounces. Uh oh. This won't be easy to reproduce, when needed.

Path 2: Registrations are trickling in, everyone is nervous, and your site is yawning as the traffic is only 2% of the site's capacity. The big day arrives, the golfers are ready, the sun is shining, the food is ready, and the golf course is empty! What happened? Unfortunately, you have absolutely no idea which campaign worked for you, how your site performed, where visitors came from, which campaigns yielded the most visitors, registrants, or bounces. Uh oh. This won't be easy to improve, due to the lack of data...

Both paths were missing one very important element, a robust web analytics program!

How About Some Mini Pretzels On Your Flight!
There are many companies out there that face this problem every single day. They barrel forward launching campaigns and driving traffic to their sites. However, they don't have a good mechanism in place for tracking campaign and website performance. As we all know, the web enables you to track every element of a campaign in order to learn, refine, and improve performance. Without a solid web analytics program in place, you are literally flying blindly...

Some of the more powerful analytics programs (Omniture, CoreMetrics, WebTrends, etc.) enable you to track everything about your campaigns, including source, traffic, conversion, revenue, bounce rates, pathing, conversion funnels, split tests, multivariate testing, etc. With an analytics program like this in place, you can improve the performance of your campaigns with real data, tracked in real-time, enabling you to you to accurately calculate your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). Before you know it, you will have a wealth of information at your fingertips that you can utilize when building and launching new campaigns. i.e. Which blogs to target, which keywords generate the most revenue, does email work for your business, which types of creative work best, etc.

So, you've got a decision to make. Launch and learn, or launch, fly blindly, and hope for the best! I hope you agree that option 1 makes a lot more sense!

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