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Online marketing best practices
 

Online marketing best practices

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Presented on 3/22/11 to the Kansas City Direct Marketing Association

Presented on 3/22/11 to the Kansas City Direct Marketing Association

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  • Thank you for having me – I love kansas city as I used to travel here frequently but haven’t been back in a while so I’m glad to have this opportunity. I hope you’ll find some of the information here valuable as you look at your own digital marketing campaigns. We have a lot of material and I’ve tried to place some breaks at strategic points thru out so the next 3 hours aren’t mind-numbing
  • This presentation will cover best practices across interactive channels – which really are about maximizing results , I’ll touch on some examples, pre/post data and at the end dig into some specific recommendations on how to look at metrics
  • Free – if you were here this morning you heard Nancy mention how powerful this word is. Consumers love it (although getting wary in emails) Also Marketers love it –”how can I get free exposure for my client/my brand” So why do I mention Free? Because as I talk about best practices one recurring theme is utilizing the right kinds of tools – and many of these tools are free. These are all things you can do yourself.
  • Three Deep has been successful because of this idea of Free tools – learning how to get the most out of them and using them to their fullest to examine campaign activity and not only find success, but also failing quickly so we don’t spend all our budget in one test and can move onto the next test
  • So just a very quick review about who we are – to get this out of the way and try and give you some confidence that we know what we’re talking about.
  • And, I have to acknowledge all the subject matter experts back home that contributed to this presentation
  • So Randa ended with measurement and I want to start with it.
  • Why? Regardless of what tactics you’re using – you need to plan for how your efforts will be measured. I’ve seen programs fail because what they ultimately needed to measure wasn’t available because of how a campaign was executed. When I was working with H&R Block on their annual direct mail campaign – we spent 3 months defining & outlining measurements, and creating specifications for data capture. Currently I’m dealing with a client who sent a sample mailing to registered consumers – and now is determining if they even have a valid sample and can conduct proper follow up research.
  • So, in the digital space – this measurement can be immediate. You can fail quickly. As direct marketers you know a foundation of success is the ability to test, analyze, implement and repeat. You always have a test and control – with the “test” sometimes becoming the control. Or sometimes proving that a bad idea is a bad idea before a ton of money is poured in into it. The way this measurement occurs, more often than not, is thru links.
  • So the first thing to cover is using a site analytics tool and regardless of what you use – you should also have Google Analytics. Now you don’t have to use this, Webtrends, Omniture’s sitecatalyst, Ron, listed some of these this morning – you can measure your efforts –frankly, I say why pay for something difficult to use. As we go thru the specific digital channels I’ll be showing sample results for the different channels discussed from a GA account).
  • So to measure these links – whether you’re putting a link in a twitter post, on your facebook page, in an email, etc. – you want to know response. How many people clicked or visited your site. Yes, you can get data from twitter or facebook, etc. – but redundancy is good right? And with proper tracking – all your data can be centralized, summarized, grouped. There are similar methods in the other site tools but they usually require a lot more upfront work in setting up campaigns in their system.
  • Once you’ve created this monster URL – you can shorten it or redirect to it from a Friendly URL
  • Here’s that link used in a post and then where it lands. You can see the tracking code all comes thru. Ron mentioned this morning a lack of analysis on social – this is a good place to start. In addition to the bits of data that come thru the tool (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) you can use the tracking URL to…
  • Track these visits that click thru to your site – in the Campaign section of your GA report –We’ll go into some more detail later on.
  • That’s the upfront part of measurement. We’re going to look now into some specific channel best practices (some of which you might use these links you’ve built), and then we’ll come back to this as we look at the best practices in the analytics tool itself
  • We covered social media pretty in depth – I’m going to talk about your other digital channels – starting with Search Engines
  • You can see here that search is really tied into all your channels – people will see an ad online or in print and follow up by looking for info online.
  • We’re going to talk about both areas of search optimization – Organic search, which are the “natural” results that appear based on a site/page’s relevance and match to the search term – and Paid Search which are ads that are paid for by bidding on those same search terms
  • Another thing to note – As different things are added to search results (local, video, RSS, etc.) – Organic results are dropping lower & lower
  • So we’ll start with Organic search – and they way these results appear are based on Crawlers : crawlers read thru the Website code And the search engine’s Indexing of those pages: how search engine sorts/categorizes content Unlike Paid search, this side of search is harder to track in terms of how changes effect traffic.
  • So here’s the 4 main areas of Organic Search I’ll cover
  • So as some one searches – in this case for green bean casserole, the results are displayed. Overall, the top search result is highly relevant to the searched phrase This relevance is based on a number of factors which will change over time as Google places more or less importance on them
  • So why is getting in that top position important? Consider
  • Now if we apply some dollars to those positions – You can see in this example and additional $42k in value.
  • So the best place to start is with the fundamentals – making sure your page is set up properly
  • Meta Titles are very important to SEO. And a large part of ranking. It is important to have meta titles are relevant to the page and include popular search terms. This is one of the main pieces crawled and indexed by the search engines. (character limit) And the description, while not of strict SEO value – should be descriptive enough to make the result relevant to the searcher and elicit clicks. As you can see from this slide, both areas are too long resulting in data being cut off.
  • So what words should I use in my title? there are tools that you can utilize to conduct keyword research. If you have an Google Adwords account - Use their keyword research tool. This will tell you how many searches there are for the keyword as well as the Amount of competition and competitors who are ranking currently – identify if you should even try those or try something else.
  • If done properly – you’ll see alignment in what was searched and your page in the results: Searching for “Cane Sugar” changes how this result is displayed The bold text shows up in both the page title the description and the URL www.ch sugar .com This meta description describes the page, has a welcoming tone that invites a click and has high search traffic keywords that are commonly emboldened. And it fits into the 150 character limit! Its perfect!
  • Now while the title is what shows up in search results, the URL is still what most people see (in this example Gerber – Birth) Using this kind of natural hierarchy in your page names will help with SEO - AND it will help later when you’re looking at page metrics
  • This next one is one that a lot of sites miss – even Fortune 500 companies miss this. When I create A Guide to Poker, I might add an poker related image. Images make for a nice looking site – but an image is not crawlable by the search engines – so you can add an “alt tag” in the page code that identifies the image (or identifies keywords you want to represent that page.)
  • Under this same idea – Avoid use of frames using a frame (video insertion or Flash movie etc.), will give you some nice looking sites but …it has 0 search value. That’s why we recommend using flash in limited instances to enhance the site NOT be the site. Or not use Flash at all and instead use jQuery (which is a java script tool) - text within an element is search friendly, and therefore be crawled and indexed.   Another big advantage is that it is a lot more lightweight than Flash. Not only does a faster load time benefit the user, but it has also become a more prominent search engine ranking factor over the last year or so.
  • Anchor text helps add authority by associating a site with a keyword and noting that there’s a link relating to that keyword coming to the site. An example of this is my friend Alex owns a website, www.alex-pets.com . He wants to link to my site www.dogs.com So he creates a link on his site to mine. He write it like this “This is my friend’s dog site ” Google reads the link as part of the “authority” AND identifies the keyword as associated with the site www.dogs.com now has a better chance at ranking for the search phrase ‘dog site’.
  • So taking into account these elements – a strong page for SEO would be one like this.
  • Now that your page is set up and relevant – you want to increase it’s authority. A good way to do that is to build links. This is called a Link wheel– imagine this is the internet and this is your site. The more links you have, the more relevant your page becomes in the search engines’s eyes. Any crawler seeing a page points to your pages. Everybody links to Wikipidia and wikipedia links to multiple sources of info, etc. One note: Don’t use Paid links in these cases because it’s “cheating the system” and google will penalize the website.
  • Here’s a few ways you can start building those links
  • The depth of your website also has impact on the weight Google gives it in ranking. If your content that matches a search term is buried 7-8 layers deep in your site – it’s not going to get found. You want your content accessible within 3-4 clicks (this also has a usability benefit that we won’t get into today). Gerber – Home page – Products page – specific product
  • So moving on with Organic Search – I want to talk a little bit about Local Optimization
  • Local search are these listings here
  • There are Lots of directories out there, people search on a variety of them – you need consistent, detailed info for each. These Black lines are how each get their info. Google maps is one large example – but you want to list your location on multiple sites (the ones that drive most of these)
  • And, Since Searches for locations tend to be on phones (and this stat is increasing) you want to be optimized for mobile – google is the primary search engine and already optimized for mobile. This is probably the best place to start
  • So make sure you create a Google Places page for your locations. (and a page for EACH location you have) Then Do the same thing for each of the main sources (slide 40) of location data
  • Videos are a huge component of the web. And YouTube is now the 2 nd largest search engine
  • Video is starting to surpass other content types when it comes to results. I appropriate , developing videos around your content (how-tos, webinars, etc) is a good way to add content.
  • The Red box here are the results of the videos having an MRSS or Video sitemap – these are required to be found on google (to be indexed)
  • Now Youtube – will create the sitemap for you when you upload and complete the info. But if You can Create a Videositemaps for videos on your own site. (like an image alt tag but for video) Closed captioning Then the MRSS feed – while redundant, allows for another set of data for crawlers to find and index I have some resources/links listed at the end on how to create these site maps.
  • Another note about YouTube – It requires the tags to be single words and in order of significance Basically in a line This is in the natural order of words. For instance When ‘infant’ is typed - suggested terms are: infant formula, infant tips, infant help, infant food, infant feeding Then the person chooses ‘infant feeding’.
  • A final consideration is whether you should Host the videos – on your own site (speed limitations) Or us a Distributor – putting it on YouTube (can embed on site) – creates more views
  • Now Youtube – will create the sitemap for you when you upload and complete the info. But if Create a Videositemaps for videos on your own site. (like an image alt tag but for video) Closed captioning Then the MRSS feed – while redundant, allows for another set of data for crawlers to find and index
  • Is there a tool to verify if my site has increased in organic results position? Yes Google Webmaster tools – if you have Google analytics on your site then you should be able to access this. A couple things to note about WebMaster tools ranks is they are averaged, sometimes causing a decimal. If your site ranked number one for ‘dogs’ in LA and three in Chicago, you will see dogs 2.0 Or if you are ranked 1 and 3, then it’s 2.0 etc. and you have to download the information constantly to see change as it only keeps about 30 days of data.
  • The other thing to look at is your site metrics – particularly landing pages where you made change and Ideally you’d want to see decrease in bounce rates.
  • Lastly – look at the keywords driving traffic to your site – and you should see gains.
  • And with that I’ll pause for a few questions and a short break.
  • So continuing with Search Engine marketing
  • Let’s now look at Paid search – which you have more control over, and more data for measurement
  • So why paid search? Because it is growing at a steady rate and will account for over 15% of ALL media spending this year.
  • And because paid search can support a variety of marketing efforts from simple media support/awareness to direct sales tied to specific products/initiatives
  • Now we saw in the organic section the importance of ranking at the top. You still have your relevance playing a factor – in terms of the quality score but Here, another factors comes into play and that’s your budget/daily bid amount. When you take the relevance of your ad, how it relates to the landing page, and where you’re ranking – based on your budget – you get a higher quality score and appear near the top. A quality score is a measure of the “quality” of your advertisement on Google.  All your efforts to relate the keyword to the ad to the landing page which Google interprets as “relevant” and rewards you with more ad coverage, lower Cost per click and a higher quality score (theoretically).
  • So let’s start with how you can improve your rank & score
  • Focus your campaigns around specific themes – either specific content, goals (like registrations) or geographically based areas. Again – the Google Adwords keyword tool can help identify the potential keywords, number of searches and competition for a given keyword
  • Google trends is another handy tool that can help identify seasonal or
  • These geographic trends
  • Once you have keywords build – out multiple groups focused on like themes. Common Approach: Focus on just a few popular keywords, which have a lot of competition and may not be always relevant for the specific campaign. Three Deep’s Approach: Expand the list of keywords and select only the keywords that are relevant to the campaign and potentially with less competition, i.e. less expensive keywords
  • By focusing the keywords to a small manageable list you can closely monitor the impact of changes We get asked a lot about bidding on brand name – yes you should for a number of reasons.
  • Once you have your campaigns – you need to build your ads
  • You want alignment between your ad groups and the ads – so Write ads utilizing the keywords within the adgroups If we look at these 2 ads – 1 clearly stands out (again because the search term appears in the ad in bold) We’ll come back to this example later.
  • It also pays to write multiple ads and test them against each other – which phrasing works best in converting a customer, what discount amount to offer, etc. (in a little bit we’ll look at how you define “conversion”)
  • Lastly, when it comes to ads themselves you can use Ad Extensions - pieces you can select to include in your ads when you’re building them.
  • Now once you have your ad, we’re onto the 3 rd part of alignment – Ad group – ads – landing pages
  • You get Consumers to click on your ad – where should they go? You want the landing page aligned to the ad. Let’s look at this example for green bean casserole again,
  • If we click on the ad that seems more relevant – we get to a page that doesn’t have a single thing about green bean casserole. You have to click recipes and and try and find it. Even sadder – you can’t “search” within recipes and there actually is NOT a recipe for green bean casserole. Lots of frustration in this one.
  • Here we see the ad aligned to a page of green been casserole recipes But as we noted before - the click thru on this ad is likely not as high as it could be because while the ad is aligned to the landing page, it’s not aligned to the search term. Green giant could probably get the #1 spot and improve results by simply directing the ad to the right landing page. Or Campbells could get more clicks if they…
  • Update their ad to be more relevant.
  • If you’re not sure where you should send your paid search traffic? Test it. You can use the tool in adwords to split an ad/set of keywords between multiple landing pages. In this case the goal is based on conversions (sign ups) but you can set your goal to be time on site, clicking a specific link, etc.
  • Like testing multiple ads for the same ad group – you can split keywords…
  • And ads by landing page within the Adwords tool
  • In this case – aligning this group/ad to the page on the right resulted in twice the conversion. (might seem simple given the context but in this case the goal was conversion – a different goal might be time on page for the product information)
  • Now once you’ve built your campaigns and ads, everythings aligned – you need to set & manage your budget so you don’t overpay for clicks you don’t want – or underbid so you’re always falling low in the results
  • To get the most out of your efforts, you can’t just set it and forget it, it takes active daily monitoring to get the most out of your money.
  • If you’re goal is signups, coversions, or sales you can choose to manage your budgets based on that.
  • The best way to determine your conversions and see the fully realized value of your paid search campaigns is to link you Adwords to Analytics
  • You might think that Google AdWords is successful because you get leads to your website, but using Adwords alone you may have no idea what keywords are the most valuable nor understand your true ROI.
  • It’s a very simple 3 step process in Adwords to link it to you Analytics account
  • After which you have a whole section in Analytics dedicated to Adwords – and for your campaigns you can see the traffic/visitor data … as well as…
  • Your adwords data – thus applying impression and cost values. All in one reporting.
  • You’ll also be able to drill down into day parts for your adword campaigns to determine if you should control bidding/display of ads during certain times of day – you may find that you get the most clicks/leads between 10 p.m. & midnight.
  • You can also see what position your ad is appearing based on keywords
  • Following these practices can lead to significant results – relevance in ad groups & ads resulting in better rank, creating more clicks at a better cost OR Converting more leads for the price paid
  • And with that we’ll pause for some further questions and a short break.
  • Just a quick note on compliance – if you haven’t seen these multiple times – here again are the requirements from CAN-SPAM regulations
  • Since we’re on the subject of compliance – some practices that, while not legally required – if followed ensure that your data is accurate and Make sure the process is clear and conspicuous. Set the right expectation regarding frequency and content at the very beginning. Many senders are reluctant to disclose frequency at this point in the collection process. Later, they find themselves struggling with elevated complaints. You can avoid, or at least diminish, this problem by using words such as periodically, frequently, weekly or daily. make sure in your email collection process, are there checks in place to eliminate miss-keying, and include an automatic confirmation so that bounces don’t pollute your core list. This is usually done by responding to a confirmation email sent to the email address in question. This eliminates the chance of abuse where somebody submits somebody else's email address without their knowledge and against their will. The best subscribers are the ones who ask to hear from you. They sign up because they want information from you, and perhaps even look forward to it. On your site, list what the recipient can do if they feel that they received an unsolicited email from you - give them contact information and a simpler opt out other than clicking on the spam button.
  • There’s a number of ways to build your list: Weave sign-up opportunities throughout your communication channels to make it easier for customers to join your email list. Include sign-up links on your website, in social media posts, in your newsletters and elsewhere. Postcard – preferably with a Friendly URL that has GA tracking as outlined in the link builder. One of the most effective methods of driving email subscriptions from Facebook and Twitter is to collect email addresses as these customers convert from offers.
  • Accurate databases are essential to deliverability and engagement. The best way to ensure accuracy is to give subscribers control over their own personal data. If your subscribers aren’t fully satisfied with their communications from you, they may choose to update their preferences instead of unsubscribing all-together
  • So managing your lists properly leads right into Deliverability of your messages
  • Deliverability should be the first metric you check – before anything else. Are People wanting your message getting it. You run NCOA on mail files, you want it to get delivered. Creative testing results will be more relevant/directional if your list is clean. Segmenting is easier/more relevant, etc.
  • Most mail servers and ESPs will provide a report that shows "delivered" rates for your account. This is based on the response codes by receiving mail servers. Although the report will likely indicate that the mail is delivered, all the mail server can actually tell you is that the messages were accepted for delivery. This report also shows the number of bounced messages that were going to "unknown users": dead addresses. If you see that your unknown user rate is above 5%, there's a high probability that your delivery issues are a result of this. The first thing you should check is to see that your system is still processing bounces. -- If you have a delivery problem at a particular domain, you will usually find that open- and click-rate trends will drop from previous levels. Many ESPs and campaign management systems will have the ability to view open rates and clicks by receiving domain. While content is a less common reason for messages not being delivered than reputation, it is a factor.
  • Spam traps are email addresses that should not be receiving commercial email - usually because they were created by the ISP/blacklist operator but never signed up for any messages.  You can get these complaint messages by signing up for feedback loops that are available at Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, Comcast and other top ISPs. If you see a spike in complaints, your next step will be to figure out what has changed. New data source? Increased frequency? New mailing programs? This can be an easy metric to monitor, as there are a variety of free blacklist checkers on the market. If you are on a blacklist, review your mail server log files to see if you find a reference to that blacklist. If you find a lot of blocks notices that reference that blacklist, you'll know to start worrying.
  • So if deliverability is declining – you need to look at your lists. List churn is always a factor. Most senders struggle to find the optimal frequency for their subscribers. Obviously we’d all like to be at the “optimal freq” Contact centers are sometimes either too afraid or don’t have the technical ability to give this control to users. Inactive subscribers are a reality that all responsible email marketers need to contend with. However, marketers are understandably hesitant to purge those email addresses from their lists. The allure of having a sizable email list keeps some companies from cleaning out unresponsive subscribers - understandably, since these email addresses represent an investment. It costs money to build a list so the thought of "purging" some of those names seems foolish given the low incremental costs of sending an email and the idea that "someday they might open and purchase”. But it does cost money to send to inactive users. Add on the fact that ISPs are now considering engagement in their deliverability equations, so holding onto those names could put the entire program at risk. Win-back offers, surveys, new feature announcements, new content, and subject lines asking subscribers to verify their subscriptions can all be very effective.
  • Consider these: Vegetarians might not be interested in your recipe for chicken enchiladas. Customers in Wisconsin may be more interested in your winter clearance than your new spring styles in March and April. Airline passengers living nowhere near Chicago may not be interested in cheap flights out of O’Hare. Consider these: Customers who shop on double coupon days at their local grocery store want to take their emailed coupons with them. Customers who purchase only once or twice a year may not be interested in weekly updates Is that fish winking at me?* * I once received an email with an animated gif of a winking fish. I actually found it clever, not distracting, and very much in line with the brand’s tone.
  • The last piece of content has to do with the creative. Specifically images. And similar to SEO – something many companies miss. Let’s take a look at an example
  • Who turned off the images? I can’t see anything. Actually you can see something. It looks like they’ve put the title of the email in the alt text. And they want to make sure you can find them on Facebook. But look at the subject line. They want to correct an error in a phone number (presumably printed somewhere). That phone number is nowhere in this email. The recipient has to enable images to see it.
  • If you read the legal, you’ll see they do provide a number to call to unsubscribe, but they also suggest “click the link above” – not visible until images allowed. No one wants to lose subscribers, but don’t frustrate them further by making it difficult to impossible to unsubscribe.
  • The blue color makes me think these are links, but I still can’t click on any of the words to get to their web site. The alt text is descriptive enough, but I have to wonder what they’re sending me that’s this small. But when the images are turned on… The email is actually quite large, like a page out of a catalog, and it turns out there are actually 4 different links to click on. It’s beautiful now, but it wasn’t when we opened it, and it wasn’t very useful then, either.
  • Mobile Test Rendering Templates speed up the process of designing and putting together multiple emails throughout the year. A good idea is to have your template allow for different content based on your audience. Allow certain blocks in your template to remain constant (if needed), but allow other blocks to It is not uncommon, especially in newsletter applications and promotional email, to have content that is already available online. Many companies have identified ways to link email templates to already available content, shortening production and proofing cycle times. be dynamic based on segmentation of your audience.
  • . By featuring these Facebook winners in email, you get the dual benefits of additional incentives/rewards from Facebook contests while tangibly highlighting what your Facebook community is about to email subscribers. Email subscribers want exclusive benefits for their loyalty. By reserving certain benefits for email subscribers, you're increasing the value of your program to subscribers, and creating a motivation for others to subscribe. The viral nature of Facebook and Twitter make them ideal venues to promote these benefits. This tactic can drive incremental email impressions, often more than including "like" and "tweet" buttons in your emails. The key? A strong subject line. Just make sure to keep a close watch on frequency so you don't wear out your welcome with this tactic. The Nielsen Norman Group study found students were more likely to use "share this" links when they were prompted about the benefits. Use copy to prompt people. For example, "share this on Facebook and find out what your friends think about this product.“ Unfortunately, subscribers have been conditioned not to reply to commercial email messages, but they still have questions. Demonstrate your dedication to customer service by encouraging them to ask questions via Facebook and Twitter. If you're active in social media, you are constantly developing Q&A content; listening tools allow you to tell which ones are of interest to your audience. Including these is another win/win: providing valuable content for your email audience while highlighting the benefits of participating on Facebook and Twitter to your email subscribers. Twitter Followers on your email list demonstrate a different level of interest in your company. They appreciate the personal, insider perspective Twitter provides. Providing specialized content fuels this appetite while giving them even more to tweet.
  • This goes back to the referral component of growing your list. Is this email worth sharing? Would we share it with our own network? If your call to action is to enter a sweepstakes to win a grand prize of a million dollars, every person with whom a subscriber shares this is one more entry keeping that subscriber from winning. Does she want to share? If your call to action is to take a quiz or share the results of a quiz with friends, does your subscriber want to share? What if she made a perfect score—does she want to share? Are sharing buttons part of your regular template? What about for emails that contain sensitive or personal information? Should a user be able to share? When we said to the designer “put a Facebook button at the bottom”, what were we hoping subscribers would do? Visit our Facebook page? Share our a link to our email in their status updates? Become a fan of our brand? When customers “follow us on Twitter” like we ask them in every email, do they actually engage with us? When we ask customers to “share this on Facebook” what are they sharing? A web-hosted version of our newsletter? A one-line status update that restates our email’s main call to action?
  • In our last section I’ll show you where we find and report on that data.
  • In our last section I’ll show you where we find and report on that data.
  • So now we’ll take a final pause for questions
  • And here we are back at measurement
  • (RUN THRU BULLETS) And while I’ll show you how this is done in GA, the same principles should apply to whatever tool you’re using
  • So the first question to ask is – people come to my site, then what? Is it valuable traffic? Every site should have some sort of goal you want visitors to accomplish. And you can create a funnel to see where people fall out
  • So to build a funnel the first question is what do I want visitors to do. What is considered a conversion? Do I have a video I want them to watch? Or something to download?
  • Any one of these things could be used as a goal
  • Then you map out how visitors complete that goal – what’s the process they follow In this case once they click an ad they’re taken to a product landing page, you want them to put it in their cart and buy it – getting to the thank you page.
  • So in your Google Analytics profile, you Add a Goal, identify the goal page, and then identify the pages preceding it to create your funnel
  • And your funnel is implemented immediately – showing the complete follow thru as well as where people go when they leave – or sometimes where they come from if they enter at a later stage.
  • You can create up to 20 goals – in groups of 5 and I recommend making a couple different paths. Also, if your pages or process change – create a new goal. If you modify your existing goal you’ll want to note when it changed for a proper comparison. Using a new goal will keep your data clean
  • So earlier we talked about aligning landing pages to your keywords or paid search ads. But is the page performing as well as possible?
  • How do you increase engagement, get visitors to go deeper or complete a goal. You can test pages just like you would test multiple versions of a direct mail piece
  • What pages should you test? What pages are performing poorly? Do your paid search landing pages have high bounce rates?
  • Ideal pages to test have the following criteria
  • And you’re not limited to A/B testing 1 vs. the other, you can swap out multiple components creating large multi-variate tests, however I recommend keeping it within a manageable number of combinations. After all you might still be paying an agency for every creative iteration.
  • Google Website Optimizer (or GWO) makes this type of testing very easy. In this case – right now you could go to the URL here and you would see one of these 2 pages.
  • If you complete the form you’d end up here.
  • Setting up a test can get a little technical but you can actually get it started it and hand off programming to your web master after a few simple steps. (FOLLOW STEPS)
  • In this case I have the creative ready for an A/B test and am ready to proceed.
  • I name the experiment – I plug in the URLs of the page I want to be the control, then the test and finally the conversion page.
  • At this point I can either download the code or choose to send an email directly to my webmaster with a full set of instructions
  • Which look like this – even for a non-programmer as myself, I can follow where these pieces of code need to go.
  • And once that code is in place, you can validate and make sure Google sees it. If they don’t validate you know somethings not right before the test is launched.
  • And once it’s running – your reports will tell you which version is winning.
  • Or not. Maybe your differences weren’t significant enough, maybe you just need enough traffic to come thru. And This doesn’t just apply to site optimization anymore, there’s new software/services coming out that can do this same type of testing for emails – where you can set up your options, set percentages
  • Some final notes – what I consider the most important, is don’t just plan one test – plan a series. Be ready with your next test to run against the winning version.
  • Now let’s look at how you can drill down into specific traffic and how it performs on your site.
  • There’s a small button in GA that has some default segment. You can look at your traffic for specific groups – just your paid search traffic. Just new visitors, etc. But you can also define your own segment
  • In this example – Organic search traffic in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Or choose those email campaigns you created and used the URL Builder for. Or one of your offline campaigns
  • You can then select to view just that new segment or look at your segment vs. another – in this case Twin Cities Organic traffic vs. All traffic. Lower bounce rate, higher engagement in terms of time & page depth. You can also look at how this segment performs against goals.
  • Tracking Events
  • Measuring page views is great, but how do you track interactions with things that maybe don’t have a page ivew - flash elements, video interactions, clicks on outbound links, etc. and more
  • If you set up Event tracking on your site you can see how many interactions are occurring with the types of elements
  • To do this you first need to identify what you want to track, and enable Event Tracking in your profile. Then you create your Category – might be video views Events might be clicks, pauses, plays Label – the specific video being tracked
  • You can drill into categories, switch between actions & labels.
  • Lastly – after you’ve set up your goals, tracked events, etc. – you can put all this into a single dashboard
  • This information is easy to read, but what does it mean? Is this good? Bad? Average? Why not add the goals you created, compare it to a prior time period, and have it emailed to a select team.
  • Any report within GA can easily be added by selecting this little button. What’s on the page can then be dragged and dropped to place the chart/report where you want it on the page.
  • Here you can specify a time comparison or create the dashboard for a specific segment you’ve created.
  • You can then send the dashboard out in a variety of formats and on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • Slide 108 – tie money in all along. Weave in case studies. Increased traffic at steady conversion rate = X more people Paid search – tied directly to revenue (when adwords/ga linked) Case study/anecdotes – cpg client wanted to hit X revenue – did it for $60% of budget (spend to budget or to goal) Back to school sweeps – set goals for entries, allow to adjust campaigns as they go. Summarize each section, recap prev sections after break, note Content and where we are at each section What do I do now? Handout: - Top 5 take aways by section Questions for audience – applying the best practice to their own business Paid search – optimization may pay for the mgmt fee and your net budget is unchanged
  • Internally we originally came up with a list about 3 times as long – We’ve narrowed this to be the best ones for starting out. Insert questions slide – add slide about measuring

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