Commit to Experimentation
There is much more to marketing than SEO, and it’s often a challenge to balance the new and existing marketing channels to get an optimal mix.
Also, there is more to simply driving traffic through SEO as once the visitor is on your site, you still have to help find a connection between your product or service with the customer.
The only way you’re going to find out what the optimal mix of SEO, Sponsored Search, Social Media, E-mail Marketing, Content Marketing, Display, Sponsored Posts, and so much more, can be summed up in one word – “Experimentation!”
Message Testing is going to be familiar to webmasters who have performed A/B testing on their pages: here the principle is the same, but instead of a webpage we’re dealing with any medium which conveys a message, e.g. email, display ad, or whatever medium you are using.
By using a control message which acts as your baseline, you then use variations of the message to isolate single issues which improve the outcome. For instance, make the CTA’s bolder, include a toll-free number or not, or reposition an image and so on. If you get a positive result from a change, you then make that your baseline and reiterate the testing which provides you with a refined ‘optimal’ version.
How much can you charge for your product or service? If you increase the price, will demand go down, will it stay the same or will it even go up? Again, we are able to use A/B testing to determine price level ranges and what this will do to demand levels. By using price A as your benchmark, adjust to price B for your sample and see how that performs – reiterate and adjust as before.
Do not automatically assume that an increase in price means a decrease in sales! This is a common misconception of how supply and demand works in practice: there are some products for which demand will actually increase as the price rises.
While some testing is inevitably going to be performed using your live site, it is a best practice to test in a sandbox, i.e. an isolated platform which shields your investments from the possibility of any material adverse effects of your testing.
Google offers “Content Experiments” which allows you to change content to see how visitors interact, allowing live visitors to see the test pages and Google provides free tracking options too, although it’s fairly restrictive in what and how you can test. Learn more here:
UX or ‘User Experience’ testing helps to understand how visitors navigate your website and interact with your content and overall process throughout your site. This should be a never-ending practice, essentially, this is where user needs and business needs overlaps.
Fortunately, there are numerous UX tools and services which can help your ensure your site’s effectiveness. Do you want to know if the CTA button converts better in the top left corner or the top right? Should a “Buy Now” button be red, yellow or orange? Long-form checkout –vs- short-form, etc.. Check out UserTesting.com, which is a helpful, trusted consideration.
Make 2013 the year that you help take your website to the next level: experimenting with multiple techniques and controlled testing environments, and how you employ them together, should be an always-on commitment to increase overall effectiveness and ROI.