At Webdirexion, we pay quite a bit of attention to testing both at the beginning (before you launch) of website design, during development, and at key points during marketing campaigns. Then the cycle starts again — which is another way of saying always be testing. There are heat map tests, A/B tests, multivariate testing and other methods all designed to yield more desired business outcomes like lead form signups, case study downloads — converting site vistors to prospects, leads and customers.

What is Everyone CROing About?

“Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.” – David Ogilvy

A/B testing often results in better CRO.

A/B testing often results in better CRO.

If increasing sales is the holy grail for marketers, why don’t more pay attention to CRO — Conversion Rate Optimization?  Let’s say your typical B2B sales campaign looks something like this when it comes to Online Marketing:  Set up a landing page; run a PPC campaign; send out a promotional email to your list, drive warm prospects back to your landing page; look for visitors to convert via a form on the page which puts them into your CRM? Done?  Not by a long shot. You need to find ways to improve results.

There’s a chain of “C” focus points on the way to a sale which all may be optimized: Content; Conversion; Connection; Close. You need to test each step of that process for better performance. That’s when you start CROing.  Only then can you maximize ROI — Return on Investment. Only then will your boss understand how valuable you are to the organization.

Learn more in BLIP Magazine — this week’s edition is dedicated to CRO

If you are not writing at least three versions of ads at the beginning of each PPC (Pay Per Click) campaign to find the best converting ad, then you’re leaving money at the table. And if you fail to test your landing pages, pop-up CTAs (Calls To Action), sign-up forms, e-mail subject lines, and sales follow-up letters — who can say just how much you are losing? It’s not uncommon for any one of those tests to yield a 30% – 40% conversion gain.  CRO is a cycle involving testing at every point in the marketing process.

This week, Thursday, April 9th is “International CRO Day” (#CROday). A number of companies are hosting webinars that day to celebrate and study “data informed marketing”. I prefer to think of CRO as mining for measurable results to meet or beat desired business outcome goals. That’s the science part involving testing and review for actionable analytics. But let’s not forget the art part of the formula — smart, pithy writing; compelling images that create an emotional handshake; graphic design that explodes into your attention with intention; and the high advertising concepts that drive all of these.

How can you improve results in your conversion funnel, unless you test?

How can you improve results in your conversion funnel, unless you test?

None of this is new.  Over fifty years ago, legendary ad-man (think Mad Men) David Oglivy who gave us the refined and definitive formula for print advertisements still prevailing today (Headline, Graphic, Body Copy, Logo), drew upon his years of experience in consumer research at the George Gallop Audience Research Institute to create one of the most successful advertising agencies of all time — Ogilvy and Mather.  Wrote Ogilvy:

“The most important word in the vocabulary of advertising is TEST. Test your promise. Test your media. Test your headlines and your illustrations. Test the size of your advertisements. Test your frequency. Test your level of expenditure.”

Most would agree that the bottom line for all testing is an increase in sales.  Two questions:  why then, do so many marketing communications professionals blow past testing; and why is there a disconnect with testing at the sales end of the cycle?  I think one reason is because too many of today’s marketers are in love with content.  Content is not king.  For the online marketer, Connection is King, because connecting with your prospects in meaningful ways is the only thing that wins a sale.  People buy on emotion, and they buy from those they feel they know.  Content supports selling.  Connection wins the sale, via an emotional handshake.  But sadly, most marketers are failing to test for ways to improve these efforts.

“Companies typically spend $92 to bring customers to their site, But only $1 to convert them.” (Source: Eisenberg Holdings)

Weird, right?  Testing is the holy grail for marketers, and a boon for the sales person… but too many professionals can’t be bothered.  Years ago, I held a sales position at a large business and computer retailer and one of our priorities was selling special order office chairs.  The chairs were available in over 60 different colorful fabrics and leathers — via special order from the factory.  My initial pitch was to stress colors as a feature and matching corporate color schemes as a benefit.  “Choose from 60 different colors to match your corporate interior designs,” I would say.  Results?  Nada.  Later, I called around the country to stores that led in sales for these chairs — my consumer research — and learned that one thing prevailed in their pitch.  Durability.  I changed my pitch to, “for $20 additional per chair, you can order from 60 different fabrics which will last up to 20 times longer.”  This is a longer form of an A/B test used frequently in CRO work — you test one pitch against another.  My results?  I became top salesman in special order chairs in my district.

Today, we marketers can choose from a variety of instantaneous tools for A/B pitches and other forms of testing.  In our experience at Webdirexion, these almost always lead to a significant “lift” in results.  More clicks.  More email opens.  More lead forms.  And, in the end — more sales.  Here’s to CRO.  When will you start CROing?

What’s in a Successful Landing Page?

“You can’t nurture what you don’t convert” is a quote from one of the recommended resources below, and sums up the entire value of keen focus on strategy, creative, testing and improving landing pages. Nurture leads and grow them into sales when you develop a successful landing page.

A/B versus Multivariate Testing

This infographic by Invesp, provides an excellent introduction to different types of testing plus key elements and steps in a successful campaign.

Which Landing Page Version Gathers More Leads?

The average “lift” (increased completion of a goal, which for B2B often means leads gathered at your landing page) resulting from a smart landing page campaign is around 45% for the last 5 tests reported at A/B Tests.  That’s why Webdirexion has made this a core service area (see a recent client example here).  There are different types of tests available, so we wanted to start out this curated landing page solutions post with an infographic that explains multivariate testing versus A/B testing.  Key takeaway:  avoid testing for small improvements while ignoring the big concepts. 

Designing Landing Pages That Work

Landing pages that workThis article by Karol K on Six Revisions first defines (more…)

How Pre-Testing a Site Design Pays Off

Webdirexion Pre-Testing a Site Design

(click to enlarge – heat map test is shown for Medical Device Conference Site Design) Pre-Testing Site Designs pays off for Content Marketers.

Many Content Marketers are overlooking the opportunity to test designs to encourage desired business outcomes.  Not at Webdirexion.  In this recent example, our client Joe Hage, President of Medical MarComm, collaborated up with us to test a site we developed for his new Medical Device Conference — before it even went live.  We learned a lot from this test (see video below), and the results are proving out in analytics and event registrations for Joe.

We solved a number of communications issues prior to coding , and the resulting changes we made are paying off in event registrations for a new, first annual conference (10x Medical Device Conference for Exponential Growth), based on the following principles: (more…)

Five PPC Advertising Tactical Tips

PPC Advertising by WebdirexionPPC — Pay Per Click — advertising has evolved rapidly, and many Content Marketers are missing using it as a primary tactic for value proposition testing, when you need leads quickly, and you want SEO insights (you can learn key phrases in PPC ads to carry forward into articles and posts). So, here are five ppc advertising tactical tips to help you in the trenches.

1. Know your target personas

Who are you talking to in an ad, and what exactly motivates them to seek your solution?  The answer requires (more…)

Round Up of Marketing Tips & Tactics

At Webdirexion, we practice a mix of Content Marketing, and Inbound Marketing — close allies with some overlap. Here we’ll review some marketing tips and tactics from each discipline in the quest for goal based solutions to boost your ROI.

marketing tips and tacticsWomen are from FaceBook, Men are from G+: This from a study played out on the attached infographic from DigitalFlash. Women are also from Pinterest, and more men use LinkedIn than women. About 25% less men (more…)