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Posts Tagged ‘best practices’

The Importance of A/B Testing

July 2nd, 2015 by Leslie Gloria

Is your business currently A/B testing? If you are scratching your head because you aren’t, don’t feel bad. Often times, businesses allow their marketing departments to initiate marketing programs without fully digging in to the details. While the strategy built around your marketing plan may seem solid, it is critical that you A/B test in order to explore variables that could dramatically optimize results for your organization.

What is A/B testing?
A/B testing stands for “Always Be Testing”, right? OK, it really doesn’t stand for that but it should. At a very high level, A/B testing (sometimes referred to as split testing) is a way to optimize your communications by testing two different versions of something simultaneously. The “something” could be an email, landing page, website page or banner ad. I give a list of common variables to test later on in this blog.

A more definitive explanation for A/B testing would be that it is a process of comparing a control, version A, against a version with a variable, version B. Always choose a metric to determine success before the experiment.

If you apply this process to the application of a scientific method it would look something like this:

  1. Evaluate the existing design or content
  2. Decide what you will test and develop a hypothesis
  3. Test your hypothesis using A/B testing
  4. Measure the results
  5. Analyze and take action on the new information

 

By testing actual visitors or recipients, you learn which experience a sample of your prospects prefer.

Getting Started
A/B testing doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, relatively simple and small changes can have profound impacts on your campaigns. It is also important to establish one important rule before getting started: never test more than one variable at a time. While you may be inclined to try a different email subject line and content with version B, doing so will confuse the results and leave you guessing which variable led to the changes in performance.

Let’s take a look at some variables that you can A/B test within your marketing channels.

Email Marketing

  • Subject line – Maximize your open rates by testing different subject lines. This could include using more action oriented language in one subject line or placing your brand in the subject line.
  • Time of day – Determine your sweet spot for the highest open and click-through rates based on the time of day.
  • Day of the week – Find the best day of the week to send emails to your audience.
  • Body copy – Try different messaging styles to see what resonates most with your audience.
  • Design of email – Introduce different layouts to see if your audience reacts more positively to one over the other. Banner image or no banner image? Call-to-action (CTA) button or plain text link?
  • CTA – Test different CTAs to see which ones receive the greatest response. Is someone more likely to take advantage of a free white paper or a free demo? Try using difference colors for the CTA button, but make sure to stay consistent with your brand.

Landing Pages

  • Personalization – Find out how personalizing the page affects activity. Leverage the information you already know about your website visitors in an effort to present the most relevant information possible.
  • Images – Use images or no images and look for changes in the metrics you are measuring.
  • Colors – Experiment with the colors of your CTA or links.
  • Layout – Test the placement of elements like forms and CTAs and look for audience preferences.
  • CTA – Monitor conversion rates of different CTA variables such as placement above or below the fold, colors or different wording. The conversion rate can provide additional insight in to visitor motivations.

Website

  • Colors – Evaluate different colors schemes and audience feedback: Do bold pops of color or subtle accents appeal to your audience more?
  • Layout – Try different page styles to see if users gravitate to and interact more with one or the other.
  • Content – Experiment with content types to see if your audience prefers white papers, articles, blogs, case studies, webcasts, or whatever else you might wish to offer.
  • Conversion form length – Find whether your audience is willing to give you more or less information on forms to access content.
  • CTA buttons – Test buttons such as “Download Now”, “Learn More” and “Contact Us”.

Social Media

  • Updates – Play with different status updates to see what drives more traffic to your website.
  • Images – See which images lead to more engagement with your audience.
  • CTA – Determine which CTAs have a stronger connection to the audience.

What does it all mean?
You won’t be successful by accident. Success with A/B testing requires dedication and commitment to not only experimentation but also iteration.

As long as you continue the testing process, you are mitigating potential campaign blind spots. There will always be small steps you can take, tiny variables to change, that will affect the performance of your marketing channels. The beauty of A/B testing is that your audience will always provide you with the best information.

Interested in learning more about A/B testing strategies? Contact Launch Marketing today! Be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to keep up with the latest B2B marketing tips and trends.

Graphic Source: connect.greenbeacon.com

Building B2B Buyer Personas: A Step-by-Step Process

June 25th, 2015 by Leslie Gloria

Buyer Personas

You may have heard about the importance of buyer personas and the role they play in your inbound marketing process. Personas are a well-established marketing technique that will allow you to produce more target and customer-focused communications. If you haven’t taken the time to develop and document your own buyer personas, now is the time to do it.

What is a Buyer Persona?
Before you create your B2B buyer personas, let’s set the stage. Simply put, a buyer persona is a detailed description of your target customer. A detailed buyer persona includes everything from demographic, psychographic and firmographic information. Firmographic information details the types of industries and organizations that would likely buy your product or service along with relevant business goals and challenges. Buyer personas are used to determine how you message and market your services and solutions to each target customer. They should be an integral part of the development and implementation process for your inbound marketing strategy.

Getting Started
Start by researching your customers. You need a clear picture of who you are talking to so that your message resonates. There are several ways to begin this research. Here are a few.

  1. Consult your sales team. A company’s sales team is always in close contact with clients. The sales team is going to be familiar with what the client may be looking for and what incentives (if any) help close the deals.
  2. Interview potential clients. Going straight to the source is the best way to understand your clients. Assessing their specific needs will help you promote your products and services in a better way. Consider an online survey followed up with a call to flesh out the details.
  3. Consider your customer support staff. Just like your sales team, your support team is regularly in touch with clients. You can learn about issues clients are facing and preferences for types of communication.
  4. Follow social media. Social platforms are great places to help you understand clients. Profiles can provide clues and information about who they are, interests, groups, connections, etc.

 

What you need for each persona
While you are gathering information on your target buyer personas, you are going to want answers to the following:

  1. Role: What is their specific job title? Who do they report to? Do they have unique job responsibilities?
  2. Company: How established is the company? How many employees do they have? What is their industry?
  3. Demographic: What is their gender, age, marital status, location, education?
  4. Goals: How do they define professional success? What are they trying to achieve personally?
  5. Challenges: What are their biggest challenges? How can they overcome these challenges?
  6. Buying Preferences: How do they like to buy? What a makes for a great buying experience?
  7. Preferred Resources: Where do they go when they are searching for solutions to a problem? What social media are they engaged in? What types of content do they prefer?

 

Pulling it all together
The last thing you want to do is to take all of your research and make your persona come alive. Humanizing your persona will make it easier to understand and relate to for everyone across your organization. With all of your buyer personas defined, you should now have a better idea of who, how, and where you should be marketing to achieve the greatest level of success. For example, the demographic information will help you target your persona more effectively, and the psychographic information will help you write more engaging content for each persona.

Keep in mind that your buyer personas will evolve and change. This is especially true when you are first creating personas. As you uncover more information about your customers and what motivates them, personas will be continually re-defined as needed.

Now it’s time to get to work. Creating inbound marketing strategies that are consistent with your identified buyer personas will ensure that marketing efforts are result-driven and address the bottom-line of the business. Best of luck!

Need help creating buyer personas for your target markets? Contact Launch Marketing today! Be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to keep up with the latest B2B marketing tips and trends.

 

Graphic Source: www.usdigitalpartners.com

We’ve all heard ‘content is king’ one too many times, but that can only be the case if your content is impactful, right? Otherwise, your content is…the jester, so to speak?

This past week, our very own Founder and President, Christa Tuttle, joined three other B2B marketing experts as a webinar panelist for Feed Your Marketing Machine: Create Content that Generates Leads. The experts shared best practices around creating and curating content and discussed the types of content that resonate with prospects, how to position content and how content can convert prospects into customers.

Here are three practical applications and takeaways from the webinar that can be implemented immediately into your content creation and curation to grab attention and close prospects.

#1 Address “What’s in it for me?”
When you are mapping out a content strategy or devising the next topic to tackle, keep your reader/potential customer’s point of view in mind. Put yourself in their shoes and ask: “What’s in it for me?” If they don’t have an answer almost immediately, they will quit reading, viewing and/or engaging with what you are trying to share and you’ve lost their attention. Scott Thomas, Founder & President of Intelechy Group, discussed how buyers today are extremely educated even before reaching the Sales team—that all of their research comes from what you are creating and distributing ahead of buyers seeking assistance to buy. If you are not engaging them, someone else will be closing the sale for themselves. Consider the “Buyer’s Journey”: Awareness, Interest and Evaluation and adhere to it. Another expert panelist Dave Wolpert, Chief Content Officer of Sales Engine Int’l, noted that people like “bite-size” content, so offer the same content in small chunks or visually-quick consumable bites, this way, as potential buyers are seeking information, they can quickly consume what you are conveying. Christa Tuttle noted that not all people consume content the same. The following shows how people consume content best:

  • 30% of the population consumes content best through auditory means
  • 65% of the population receives content best visually
  • 5% comprehends content best when delivered kinesthetically

This being known, share the same bite-sized content in a variety of ways for your customers to pick and choose their preference: infographics, whitepapers, short videos, blogs, etc.

Christa Tuttle reiterated that it is imperative to keep track of what resonates, and “test, test, test!”

#2 Know when to gate content versus not gating it
The panelists offered these tips when it comes to gating content versus allowing viewers to access it without giving any contact information.

Gated Content:

  • Anything that is a valuable, more in-depth educational piece or shows advanced interest in the product
  • Examples could be analyst reports, white papers, webinars, eBooks, product trials, online product demos

Non-Gated Content:

  • Anything that describes the company’s general products and services, or assets considered thought leadership which are on the “short side”
  • Examples could be blogs, tip sheets, checklists, infographics, product data sheets, company overviews

The value of non-gated content is being readily and instantly available to the audience, which will also lend a hand in creating traffic through SEO. If content can be accessed easily, it widens the opportunity for the content to be shared as well.

#3 Take advantage of recorded content and understand the secret to success
Ben Cecil, Co-founder & Strategy Director of UPG Video, offered some interesting insight on video creation; the 80/20 Rule. Most of us spend 20% of the time focused on the content when making a video and the other 80% is dedicated to the production and aesthetics. Ben suggests you do the exact opposite. Focus 80% of your efforts into planning and strategy: the type of content, how you will convey this message and how you will make the content resonate with your viewers. It’s the idea that style over substance says nothing.

The webinar was packed full of practical and strategic tips and tricks to enhance your content and to let your content do a majority of the selling for you. For more tips, listen to the entire webinar: Feed Your Marketing Machine: Create Content that Generates Leads.

Looking for other tactics to increase sales, generate leads and drive revenue? Contact Launch Marketing today! Be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to keep up with the latest B2B marketing tips and trends.

It’s no surprise that out of 246 senior B2B technology marketing executives surveyed, 86% say measuring and monitoring marketing analytics to take appropriate performance-improvement actions is extremely important to the success of their digital marketing initiatives. And in doing so, 65% say that effectively using analytical data has helped increase their organization’s sales revenue by more than 10%.

Utilizing analytics tools, technologies and detailed reporting across all your marketing activities can help you achieve a number of objectives:

  • Improve marketing performance and ROI
  • Gain better visibility into your sales funnel, process and conversion ‘best practices’
  • Draw correlations and make predictions for future programs and activities
  • Attribute marketing effort effectiveness across channels
  • Enhance customer lifecycles
  • Accelerate interpreting results and deriving actionable insights from initial data collection efforts
  • Gain executive level buy-in and support for recommended budgets and programs
  • Improve competitive analysis

What marketing activities to continuously measure

Email marketing is, understandably, the most tested and tracked tactic, with 100% of survey respondents measuring email campaign effectiveness. Content comes in second with 86% of respondents analyzing the performance of different topics, types and placements of content and how it affects ongoing engagement programs and conversion rates. Marketing tactic metrics that are most often analyzed and used for performance improvements are captured in the following chart.

3.19 pic 1

Most valued capabilities in measuring performance

In evaluating and measuring marketing activities, 82% of B2B marketing respondents said they prefer tools and technologies that provide a cross-channel view of results and 68% said predictive and prescriptive analytics is of critical importance. The following chart represents the most important factors and capabilities to consider when evaluating marketing analytics tools and technologies according to survey respondents:

3.19 pic 2

Need help setting up your analytics strategy, choosing the right tools and technologies and/or creating and analyzing reports? Contact Launch Marketing today! Be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to keep up with the latest B2B marketing tips and trends.

 

Source: Regalix State of B2B Marketing Metrics and Analytics Report, March 2015.