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.

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.

New iOS 10 Features Will Grab the Attention of Email Marketers

Annual marketing meetingMany marketers have anointed 2016 as “the year of email marketing.”

Yep, email marketing isn’t just alive and kicking…it’s thriving.

You might think that since we have all these new social media like Periscope, Snapchat, and Instagram that email might be falling by the wayside.

But it’s not. And one of the main reasons for that is you can be so personal and specific in email. Plus, it’s something quick you can check when you’re on the go during the day.

And of course, Apple’s right on top of everything in the market. Here’s what iOS 10 does that email marketers should care about:

  1. Makes It Easier to Unsubscribe

Popular email apps like Outlook and Gmail have long had an unsubscribe button that allows their app to unsubscribe you from a list.

Apple just added that button, and it’s at the top of an email.

Previously, you had to sift through to the bottom of the email and find the sender’s unsubscribe link.

With “unsubscribe” being that much easier to find and use, email marketers have to be at the top of their game delivering the most value possible so iOS users have no reason to leave their list.

  1. iOS 10 Users Now Instantly Know Which Messages are From a Mailing List

At first, you might be sent for a panic with this one. If iOS users know which emails come from a list or a personal contact, won’t they be faster to unsubscribe?

Probably not. They’re already familiar with you and your company. They gave you their email for a good reason – because they liked what you offered.

So why would they suddenly become so anxious to press “unsubscribe?”

If you continue to deliver exceptional value in your emails, you’ve got nothing to worry about. And besides, it’s better to have someone unsubscribe from your email list who doesn’t want to be on it anyway. Better to know they won’t make a good customer now than it is to find that out later on.

  1. Emails Now Have a Threaded View

Previously, iOS required users to press the next and previous buttons to browse through a multi-message email conversation. Now, multiple emails in the same conversation can be expanded and collapsed without any scrolling.

  1. New Filter Button is Now Available

A filter button now appears on iOS 10’s email list page. This filter button allows users to:

  • Show only unread emails
  • Display messages from certain inboxes
  • Show flagged messages
  • Find attachments
  • Show only messages from VIP contacts

Are any of these changes anything to be overly alarmed about?

No.

Because as you learned, Outlook and Gmail have had them for some time already.

And if you keep delivering amazing value, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Spend your time learning what makes your list subscribers open your emails, read them, and take the action you want.

3 Overlooked Competitive Advantages in Digital Marketing

Competitive Advantage Road Sign

Digital marketing, or SEO as you could also call it, moves fast. You could exploit an opportunity that your competitors close in on in just 30, 60, 90 days, or even 6 months. None of those are a long time in the internet marketing world.

But, what if you could create a competitive advantage that other companies simply couldn’t reproduce anytime soon? For example, it would take years before they could find a way to execute something similar themselves.

They do exist online. And when you find them, they’re huge. Because then, your customers have a reason to do business with you, and not the other companies who do the same thing.

Take a look at some ways of making this happen:

  1. Creating the Perception that You’re an Authority

Becoming a perceived authority, or leading expert, takes a lot of time and effort. Think of Bob Vila, for example.

You can do the same online by getting published at reputable blogs. You might also have many video or podcast interviews.

It takes time to create the perception that you’re an authority. But once you have it made, it’s going to take your competitors the same amount of time, or longer, to catch up.

  1. Making Vastly Superior content Your Competitors Can’t Match

This one’s a little harder to pull off because people typically see content published on authoritative blogs as having more credibility than content posted on your own blog.

But, it’s simpler to do. Check out what your competitors have in place for content. Then, do them 10 times better. Go so far into depth that you become the encyclopedia on your subject.

Yeah, it’s a lot of work. But remember this: the quality of your content determines the quality of the customers that come to you. So, do a quick job of it, and you’ll get low-paying customers that complain or avoid paying entirely.

Work hard, and you’ll get the customers who buy based on value and look for long-term relationships.

  1. Be the First to Do Something New or Different with Content in Your Niche

Any time you use the words “first, new, different” in business, you’re on the right track. Now with content, it’s hard to pull off because there’s so much of it.

And you really have to study what everyone else does so you do what would be “new” or “different.” It could be creating detailed videos of how to perform maintenance on various types of air conditioners and posting them on your website.

Keep in mind at this point that you don’t need to have these videos look “perfect.” They simply need to be clear enough so your audience can see what to do. Your smartphone would suffice.

None of these tactics is fast or easy. But then again, nothing that works well in business ever is. Make sure you keep them in mind to win the internet marketing war.

3 Reasons Why Your PPC Ads Get Low Click-Through Rates

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Some experts say that the best measure of marketing’s performance (which is often hard to analyze) is how many people you get to take the next step. That shows commitment and willingness.

Compare that to vanity metrics that don’t have much meaning, which include things like followers, likes, and shares. Just because someone engages with your company, that doesn’t mean they have much of an interest beyond that.

However, if they take the next step you ask them to, that’s a much more powerful sign of interest. So, when you get a good click-through rate (CTR), that’s likely going to indicate decent sales on that keyword too.

Check out these reasons why you may not be getting the click-through rate you want:

  1. Ineffective Ad Titles

The first thing any searcher sees is your ad’s title. It’s big and blue – possibly right at the top of the search results. Every word you use counts. And the precise words you say can greatly affect clicks.

Even if you communicate the same idea, you can get dramatically different results with various words. Aim to use ones that your customers might use to describe the products and services you offer for best results.

  1. Bidding Too Low

It’s nice when you find a keyword you can bid low on, and yet still rank high for that key term. If you target lots of keywords, you’ll undoubtedly have a couple where you have to adjust your bid upwards.

Remember, Adwords is Google’s big moneymaker, so they’re going to do everything they can to make sure those bids stay high and keep Google profitable.

  1. Not Using Ad Extensions

“Ad extensions” let you make little improvements to your ads that actually can boost your CTR quite a bit. However, they only show when you rank in the top two positions for your target keywords.

A call extension, for example, lets you put your phone number directly in the text of your ad. “Sitelinks” let you promote additional links on your ad.

Small, but powerfully helpful for your CTR. And there’s many more extensions than just these.

This guide is a very simple overview to boosting your click-through rates. But, implementing each of these ideas can shoot your CTR through the roof.