2 Elements to A/B Test on Your Website

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Know what an A/B test is? It’s when you compare two slightly different versions of a single web page against each other.

You’ll make a small change to one page. But you won’t make any changes to the other. The point is that you learn better what your visitors like so more take the action you want on each page.

It can be a painstaking process. You do focus on minutia, testing each element at a time until you find what works best.

What would you test on your local business website? Just about anything. But here’s some of the first, and most major:

  1. Headline

This is the first thing a visitor to any page on your website notices. It bears the most weight on what they do on the rest of your page. So, it makes sense to change what your headline says.

Now, the most important part of headline testing is finding the specific words your market wants to hear. Do they want “HVAC repair services?” Or do they want “HVAC services that make you comfortable?”

Many customers really want “comfort.” So, you’d run a headline including that word, and then see how it does versus one without it.

You see how long visitors stay on the page, how many bounce, and how many call or use your contact form.

Once it’s clear you have a winner, you determine that headline to be the best one that you use from now on.

  1. Call-to-Action

“Just call…” That’s your call-to-action – when you ask your visitors to do something. How you phrase your call-to-action has a large effect on how many people take it.

Many businesses simply phrase it “Call 555.555.5555 for your free estimate.”

That’s better than nothing. But it’s not overly enticing to your visitors.

A couple techniques you can try to boost your number of actions further are:

  1. Highlighting pain avoidance – “To stop sweating and get your HVAC repaired today by a reliable contractor you can trust, call…”
  2. Reminding visitors of the benefits they can get with you – “Want to feel cool and comfortable again? Just call 555.555.5555 today and we’ll have your AC fixed in under 24 hours.”

Typically, the first approach works best. But, you’ll have to try it out to confirm how it works on your website.

You Can Easily Explode Your Conversions

A/B testing done to a website that hasn’t had it before can easily drive your conversions up 50% – 300% or more. The results for each website are totally unique to that website because each website, its design, and the marketing copy are unique.

You can A/B test all you want to drive your conversions up even further. But doing at least a basic round should be done to every website.

You’ll be glad when you do it.

How to Drive In-Store Visits with Online Marketing

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Not getting the in-store visits you want?

Remember how Best Buy had this problem years ago?

In mid-2012, Amazon had pounded Best Buy’s stock price down to $11.99. 5 years previous, Best Buy’s share price was $52.71. At the bottom, there was question as to whether Best Buy would have to cease operations. Today, their stock price sits at a healthy $44.43.

It’s no secret that Best Buy was acting as a “show room” for Amazon. But they managed to recover.

What about you – a much smaller business? How do you keep getting in-store sales and beating your on-line competitors?

Here’s some ideas for driving in-store traffic via your internet marketing:

  1. Make Your In-Store Experience Unique, and Highlight Customer Experiences Online

Take photos and videos of your customers shopping in your store. Highlight those experiences across your social media profiles. Share what your customers say about their experiences. Encourage them to share their experiences on their own social media profiles.

There’s certain things that can only happen in-person, and not online.

  1. Make Special Offers or Promote Certain Items for In-Store Customers Only

You can advertise these online across your website and social media profiles. Don’t do it too frequently because you’ll cut into your profit margins and possibly alienate customers who want to buy online only. However, it is one way to get people into your store.

  1. Train Your Employees for Top-Notch Service

When was the last time you went in-person to any store, and had an amazing customer service experience? Doesn’t happen often, does it? Most employees keep to themselves, not even bothering to greet customers. Or if they do, they’ve been trained to hassle the customer about buying something or signing up for a store credit card.

Train your employees to truly focus on customer interests. They should ask customers what they’re looking for, or why they came in that day. The point of the conversation isn’t to win a sale, but to understand what the customer really wants.

Customers rarely feel “served.” They usually feel interrogated, like just another number on the bottom line. Again, highlight the resulting stories and feedback you get on your social media profiles.

  1. Promote the Benefits of In-Store Shopping

When customers shop in your store, they get what they want now. If they need a return, they don’t have to wait. They get answers to their questions fast. They get to actually talk with a real human being.

It’s impossible, and in other cases difficult, to get these same benefits online. However, you have to keep talking about those benefits for them to remain important and beneficial to your customers.

Yes, You Can Beat Amazon

You’ll certainly never beat Amazon in volume. But, you can offer an in-store experience and quality products they can’t match.

That’ll keep you in business in any economy.

How Qualified is Your SEO Traffic?

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Rankings and traffic are often the most important indicators of web search success to small business
owners.

Sense a “but” coming?

Here it is:

But, you have to think about those metrics in the context of your business and your own SEO.

Typically, they’re a good indicator of search marketing success. But, take a look at some of the ins and outs before you sit back and relax, thinking everything’s okay:

  1. What’s the Source of Your Traffic?

No website has 100% perfect traffic from awesome sources. None. Spammers hit every domain on the web to some extent.

Take a look at the source of your traffic in Google Analytics. You will see some sources that come from foreign countries where you’d never possibly do business (like Russia or China).

We’re guessing you don’t want any HVAC customers from that area.

That’s an obvious example.

But, it gets less obvious. Again, if you’re an HVAC company, how valuable are certain keywords and phrases like “fix your air conditioner?”

You have to be a little careful with some of your traffic sources.

  1. What Keywords Do You Rank For?

Just like traffic sources, you have to know what keywords you rank for and consider their context. If you have great rankings for keywords that aren’t really relevant to your industry, those rankings really aren’t valuable at all.

It’s hard to find all the keywords you rank for these days. Google’s concealing that data, making it harder to access so you move over to their profit center they call “Adwords.”

  1. This Is Where Experienced SEO Companies Come In

Technically, your SEO is never done. You can always do another thing or try something else to grow your business online.

The web is so complex. And it changes so fast.

Some SEO companies are better than others at finding the right keywords for your niche. And that’s really where their experience makes a difference for your company.

Other companies can find keywords that will drive you more business. However, they may miss some of the best opportunities.

That’s why you want to go with a company who’s been around in the SEO game for a long time. They’ve navigated the murky waters of SEO. And they know how to choose the highest-converting keywords right away.

It’s some helpful advice that you must keep in mind to ensure your success online.

How to Combat Fake Content in 2017

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Yes, it’s here: fake content. And it’s here in great supply. Some web experts speculate that machines may be able to write as convincingly as humans in the near future.

So, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can counter the various types of fake content out there so you don’t find yourself getting burned by competitors who cheat.

  1. Fake Reviews

Ahh…nothing looks better on your company or product than a nice 4-5 star rating. Fall below that magic 4-star threshold, and you start to lose a lot of credibility and customers.

Fortunately, you don’t have to find yourself falsifying reviews to keep up. Not only would you feel guilty, but some websites, like Amazon actually sue customers who knowingly engage in such practices.

90% of consumers say they’ll happily leave a positive review when you offer a good product or service. So, it’s really just a matter of asking.

  1. Fake Viewing of Your Ads.

Did you hear about the Russian “Methbot” scam? It involved multiple hackers creating “bots” (software programs) that accurately mimicked consumer behavior on the web. The amazing part of the scam was that it was done in such a sophisticated way that fraudulent activity was difficult to detect.

The software attacked hundreds and thousands of websites. The websites attracted ad algorithms, which then showed the ads. The bots clicked the ads, generating revenue for the hackers. Current reporting states about $180 billion were stolen.

It’s hard to protect yourself from this one. But, you can look for unusual traffic spikes in your advertising platform. Your suspicion should go up exponentially if you notice a number of these spikes in a short time span.

  1. Fake Business Listings

Yes, your competitors do know how to create call centers, complete with a local Google map listing, that make it appear as though the company is owned and operated locally. This is true for local professional services like plumbing, heating, locksmithing, and carpet cleaning. To top it off, they often send in professionals who aren’t competent and charge excessively high prices for their services.

Google nails these from time-to-time. However, they pop up quickly to the point where even Google can’t keep up.

You can keep yourself safe by displaying photos of your storefront and referring to local neighborhoods you serve. Plus, you can also report the fake listings to Google.

Fake content will continue to be a challenge to deal with. But you can beat it with the help of these tips.

3 Reasons to Use Bing Ads Instead of Google Adwords

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When you think of online marketing, you usually only think of Google. It’s your only option, isn’t it?

Sometimes yes, and others no. Of course, it’s going to be your primary channel for marketing because that’s where most of the web’s traffic goes first.

But, in the case of PPC ads, you may be better served with Bing. Here’s 3 reasons why:

  1. Bing Ads Cost Less, While Still Helping You Drive Revenue

Google makes somewhere around $60 – $70 billion in revenue from Adwords. It accounts for 75% of the company’s annual profit. Google’s interest lies in keeping prices for PPC ads high…and hiding organic search data so paid search becomes more attractive. That’s precisely their strategy.

With Bing, you pay far less for the same (or even better) ad placement. And you still drive revenue because people do use this search network. You can’t beat Bing, speaking in terms of value.

  1. Bing Doesn’t Force You To Use Closely Related Keywords

Google recently forced all Adwords accounts to have their ads show up for terms with common misspellings of the target term, plural versions, and grammatically-related variations. Of course, you can see how this would cause you to get more clicks. But you may not want those clicks because they don’t actually drive revenue. But, Google gives you no choice.

Bing, however, does give you the choice. You can only appear for the exact terms you want.

The result? You spend less money and make more sales.

  1. Who You Can Access with Bing Ads

If your target customer is women 45+, Bing is the search network you want to chase. As you might expect, Google’s market skews towards younger males ages 18-44.

As a result, you can reasonably infer Bing’s audience is more likely to have children. They’re generally less tech-savvy than their Google counterparts. And, as an FYI, they tend to be more blue-collar than Google’s white-collar audience.

Is Bing Really Better?

Technically, you can’t say which paid search network is better. It really depends on who you want to market to. You have to evaluate which search network best fits your business model.

If you’re not sure, Bing’s at least worth a test. You can save quite significantly on your PPC costs.

Google Adwords Hides Search Volume – What Now?

During summer this year, search internet marketers began to notice an odd thing: Adwords startedThis is going to be one of those days Google’s shown specific numbers ever since anyone can remember, so of course this got everyone’s attention.

And what’s more, the ranges themselves are broad. In fact, they’re too broad to really be useful. SEO communities, of course, didn’t like this change at all.

You can debate on why Google did this. But, the simple fact remains they did it, and there’s nothing anyone can do to change it.

So that leaves the question: what now?

Time to Solve for Customer Intent

Looking at search volume is really just one indicator of the usefulness of a keyword. It’s certainly not a bad thing to do. But, it misses the point if that’s all you look at.

What matters even more is solving for the intent of the keyword. For example, every person has a goal when they type in a key word or key phrase. They may just want to learn, share, or even buy.

An Example of Intent in Action

Take a look at an example to see what I mean:

A searcher types in “HVAC contractor.” Well, it’s pretty clear what they’re looking for. But, we’re not sure how ready they are to buy at this point. They’re definitely evaluating HVAC companies, but we’re not sure they’re committed to purchasing just yet.

Eventually, that searcher types in “HVAC company in Plano.” Here, you know they’re getting warmer because the searcher has searched at a location near their own. They have a much higher chance of buying.

Finally, they search for “HVAC company Plano comfort.” Now, very few HVAC companies have “comfort” anywhere in their company name or web pages. But, the consumer really knows they want to be comfortable, and they want a company who gets that. They also know that most HVAC companies don’t talk too much about comfort.

Long story short, this will be a highly targeted search. Just a handful of HVAC companies know to focus on comfort. So, ones that discuss comfort have a high chance of winning the customer’s business.

Relax, Not Knowing Search Volume Won’t Hurt You

Not knowing search volume isn’t the end of the world. It’s annoying. It makes search internet marketing more difficult.

But it’s far from a deal breaker. Plus, there’s tools that can help you get fairly accurate readings on search volume available too.

Learn more about building content that matches searcher intent and how you can benefit from it.