A/B Split Testing
Marketers need a way to determine whether their marketing strategy is effective. A/B testing is something that marketers borrowed from science. It’s all about testing a treatment group against a control and seeing if there’s a difference.
Let’s say that you want to test the effectiveness of two PPC ads that appear in Google search results when a user types in a particular keyword. You want to find out whether users are more likely to click on a headline worded slightly differently from another. The original headline could be the “A” in the A/B split test, and the new one, the “B.” You then use the advertising software to randomly assign users to either advert A or advert B to see which wording is most effective at generating clicks.
The idea of A/B split testing is to optimise your ad content over time. You may find that certain combinations of words or different art styles produce a variety of results. Some do exceptionally well, while others do poorly.
Some companies find it helpful to educate their customers about the benefit of a particular product before getting them to hand over the cash. The idea is to show people the real value of a product or service before trying to engage in any traditional, garden variety sales pitch. Customers read a blog, watch a video or listen to a podcast with a distinctly educational tone, and then come to a conclusion themselves that this is something that they want.
Businesses engaged in attraction marketing use a variety of methods to achieve their ends. The top priority is to educate in a way that builds trust. Firms doing this type of marketing want to avoid anything that sounds traditionally “salesy.” The goal is to create a sense in the customer that they need a particular product and then to be ready, waiting to make the sale, when they take action.
Trust is essential in the equation. The customer needs to believe that the person from whom they’re buying is authentic and not just appearing to educate them when the real goal is to make a sale. It’s a tricky balance to get right, but one that business leaders and marketing experts are trying more often in a saturated digital space.
Today, the term marketing automation refers to software tools that take the labour out of digital marketing efforts. It’s things in the middle of the conversion funnel that automates posting on social media, sending out marketing emails and building ad campaigns.
Why the middle of the funnel? While marketing automation takes a vast amount of the work out of processing customers once you have leads, it does nothing to attract customers in the first place or close a sale. Automation marketing enables companies to process potentially hundreds of thousands of individuals with little overhead. It won’t, however, rescue firms who do not have effective ways of nurturing prospects, nor will it improve conversions directly in most cases.
Companies that use automation marketing the best are those that use it to add value to customers. Automation helps to target individual prospects better, provide them with regular updates, and manage their data more effectively. It won’t, however, create the content itself or find channels to attract customers automatically.
An autoresponder is a computer program that replies automatically to emails (and sometimes chat messages). In the early days of autoresponders, responses were pretty simple. A customer would email a customer services rep, and the email might reply with something generic like “thank you for your enquiry. A customer services rep will be with you as soon as possible.”
Over time, however, autoresponders have become more sophisticated. Today, many companies use autoresponders as a form of automation marketing. A customer signs up to something on the firm’s website, handing over their email, and then the autoresponder creates and sends a message to them automatically. The message can be tailored to include and use information that the customer reveals about themselves. The most basic example is the autoresponder software using their name at the head of the email because they entered it into a form on the website. The most sophisticated autoresponder software using the user’s browsing data to tailor an email with specific content most likely to entice the customer to buy.
The bounce rate is a measure of what users do when they arrive on your site. Specifically, the bounce rate is the proportion of people who arrive at your site, view one page, and then return to search results.
The bounce rate is important. It’s an indication that there’s something wrong with your site that’s causing users to back out or you’re attracting the wrong visitors. If there’s nothing wrong with your site’s appearance, loading speed, content or navigation, a high bounce rate could be an indication of issues with your marketing strategy. If you’re advertising to the wrong type of person, they won’t want to stay on your site or buy your products.
Business blogging is similar to regular blogging, except it’s designed with the needs of business in mind. Most business blogs try to funnel the people reading the content towards a sale. Companies will often blog about something related to their services and then include a call-to-action at the end imploring people to use their services.
Business blogging doesn’t have to be sales-focused, though. Many companies use their blogs as tools to educate their customers and get them pumped about the industry in which they operate. Car dealerships often run blogs about the new tech on the latest models of vehicle that they sell.
Businesses also use blogging for SEO. Companies will frequently approach writing agencies and ask them to create a series of blogs that include select “keywords” designed to appeal to search engines. The idea is that the more relevant content there is on their site, the higher they’ll rank on Google.
A buyer persona is a fictitious representation of a particular category or customer. The purpose of creating buyer personas is to give marketing teams a better idea of the type of individual you want to sell to. It provides a template that they can use to get inside the heads of particular kinds of buyers and develop effective marketing strategies.
Most firms create buyer personas based on a customer’s demographics: things like their age, gender, and where they live. More sophisticated companies will also include things like the work they do, interests and ideological persuasions. At the end of the process, the marketing team should have a clear idea of the type of person interested in the stuff that their company sells, whatever that happens to be.
So, what might a buyer persona actually look like?
Let’s say that you’re trying to sell package holidays to families. You might decide that your buyer persona is a man in his thirties on an average income with kids who wants to save as much money as possible. Your advertising would then focus on things like dealing with all the details of the holiday and keeping the costs as low as possible.
CPA stands for “cost per action.” It’s a term that marketers use to describe the cost to them of getting a user to do something that they want them to do, like click a link or buy a product. While CPA might sound generic, it’s actually used most frequently in the world of affiliate marketing. An individual or a company will market the products of another firm on their behalf, taking a commission whenever customers do what the firm wants them to do. The CPA is the commission that the firm creating the products and services pays to the third-party marketer.
CPA marketing falls into two general categories. The first is marketing specific physical products. An affiliate marketer for Amazon, for instance, might get paid $100 commission for selling a $2,000 digital camera. The second category is the marketing of digital products. An affiliate marketer, for instance, might get paid $5 every time a customer pays for and downloads a $20 book. In general, commissions tend to be more significant for digital products in percentage terms than physical products, simply because there are fewer people to pay. (In the case of the digital camera, you have to pay the retailer, manufacturer and so on).
CPC stands for “cost per click” and is a measure of what you pay every time a user clicks on one of your advertising links. While you could calculate cost per click for any online advertising platform, the majority of the discussion around the topic is couched in terms of Google’s pay per click advertising platform.
Working out how much you should pay per click is a relatively complicated process. If you’re competing against other Google advertisers on Adwords, then the cost per click is distinct from your maximum bid for any particular keyword. The price per click is what you ultimately end up paying, depending on the competition from other advertisers. To complicate matters, it also depends on something that Google calls its “quality score” and the rank of your closest competitors.
The cost per click that you should pay depends heavily on the industry that you occupy. Banking, for instance, has a higher CPC than the dating industry by quite some margin. Knowing the average CPC for your industry helps you to work out whether you’re paying more than you need and whether there’s an issue with your targeting strategy.
CRO stands for “conversion rate optimisation.” It’s the idea that there are specific actions that you can take that make it more likely that your customers will buy from you. To take a simple example, imagine that you’re trying to sell cameras to people interested in photography. You have a limited ad budget, and so it makes sense to target adverts towards people who have indicated their intention of buying a camera. Conversion rate optimisation, therefore, would include doing all of the things necessary that you target the people who stand a good chance of purchasing and ignoring the best.
Marketers often talk about CRO when they’re worried that a business is spending a lot of money on marketing, but not attracting the right people – those with a genuine desire and ability to buy the product. But this isn’t all that CRO means. It’s also about improving the experience of the customer as they make their way towards the sale.
A customer, for instance, might click on a PPC advertisement that appeals to then. However, once they reach the site, they find themselves disappointed. The page doesn’t answer their questions, deal with their pain points, or show them what to do next. CRO, therefore, is as much about displaying relevant content as it is about improving the customer experience as they move from advertising links to the final sale. You can think of Amazon’s “one-click” purchases as a kind of CRO since it helps make it easier for customers to buy.
In the world of digital marketing, a designer is somebody who creates the artistic appeal and appearance of websites, blogs, and advertisements. A designer is primarily concerned with aesthetics – or the way things appear – in the digital space, not how they work.
Web designers tend to work with a group of artistic principles to enhance their work. Typically a designer will focus on things like balance and consistency. They will attempt to create a site with a particular theme, typeface, and image style. They will also try to perfect the ratio of white space to other elements on the page to make something that is attractive and easy-to-understand.
Designers may also draw upon Gestalt theory or the idea that individual visual elements can help to organise information on a page.
While the terms web designer and web developer are often used interchangeably, they are, in fact, two distinct things. A web developer is somebody who delves into the programming structures that make the website possible. They edit at the program-level, instead of at the visual level. A web designer, for instance, might use a high-level website builder tool to adjust colours and text boxes. A web developer could do that too, but they would probably do so at the level of the code.
What’s more, a developer can custom-build website functions that don’t appear in generic website builder packages. So, for instance, they might use HTML or PHP to build advanced website pages that serve the needs of particular businesses. Much of their work is around building so-called integrations where specific website features appear native instead of bolted-on by a third-party.
Direct marketing is a category of marketing where agents who represent a business approach customers through a variety of channels to get them to do something. A firm, for instance, might use sales reps to approach customers in-store or at a trade show. Companies might also use “direct marketing” in the form of an email campaign, imploring customers to buy their products or services. So, for example, a consulting firm might approach a client that they believe stands to benefit from their advice via an email or letter.
Usually, the goal of direct marketing is to make an immediate sale, but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes, the goal is to capture leads by collecting email addresses and other contact information for further marketing. Business-to-business firms often have extended lead times, making the direct sales approach less effective.
Companies need to find ways to attract customers and get them interested in what they’re selling. Plastering the internet with banner adverts isn’t necessarily the most effective strategy. A lead magnet is a term that marketers give to any device that does something that drums up interest in your products and services. In the traditional marketing world of the past, a lead magnet might have been something like handing out free samples. In the digital world, it can include all kinds of things, including competitions, ebooks, guides, small giveaways and membership perks.
The purpose of a lead magnet is to get people to the start of the sales funnel. Companies need to collect people who might have an interest in buying and then continue to market to them until they’re in a position to become a paying customer. Lead magnets can help companies collect customer information and data, making it easier to market to them in the future.
The open rate is the proportion of people receiving some kind of marketing who go ahead and view the content (instead of ignoring or immediately deleting it). While open rates could apply to any form of message that you send to customers, you see it most frequently used in the realm of email marketing. Marketing teams want to know how often prospects open their emails so that they can tailor campaigns and make them more relevant.
All kinds of things can affect open rates, but the most important factor is usually the headline itself. The headline provides the customer with important details about what they can expect from the content and why it’s valuable to them.
It’s worth pointing out that the open rate is different from “total opens” – another term that marketers like to use when describing the effectiveness of email campaigns. Total opens refers to the absolute number of emails opened in any given campaign or period of time. Open rate is the proportion of total opens to total emails sent.
Relevancy And Quality Score
Just like you, major internet advertising platforms want to serve up adverts that are relevant to users. As such, platforms assign a relevancy or quality score to your adverts as a way of letting them know whether they should display them or not. While the general gist of the idea behind the score is to serve up ads that show customers related products and services, platforms also care about the overall quality of the advert. If they think it’s good, then they’re more like to show it.
Why does quality score matter? The main reason is that a higher score enables you to cut the cost of your adverts versus those of your competitors. While the amount you bid to display an advert is important, so too is the quality score. If you can convince an advertising platform, like Facebook, that you have a great ad and offer amazing products, then they will privilege yours above those of your peers. The result? Higher rates of conversion and more sales at a lower cost.
Remarketing is a generic term that refers to showing customers adverts of your products that they’ve shown an interest in before, but aren’t currently searching for.
Suppose, for instance, that a customer searches on Google for mule shoes and arrives at your site and views your product. The next day, they sit back down at their computer and search for something completely unrelated. Remarketing is where you show your mule shoes adverts to customers even if they’re not currently searching for them. Remarketing usually takes the form of banner ads on third-party websites, and social media feeds.
Most remarketing campaigns attempt to show customers products that they previously revealed an interest in. So, for instance, the mule shoes that the user initially searched for will reappear on subsequent sites that they visit. Often items can appear on a carousel, showing the original product and a bunch of related products, all with individual links to specific pages.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a method for improving the ranking of webpages in search results. Many companies find that they rank poorly for relevant keywords when they first launch their websites. The purpose of SEO is to optimise marketing spend to boost rank in search.
While SEO might be simple in concept, it’s complicated in practice and involves all kinds of different activities which, on first blush, don’t appear related to one another. SEO agencies – companies that promise to boost your website rank in exchange for a fee – split the activity up into two smaller components: on-page and off-page.
On-page SEO refers to any activity on your website itself that could boost its ranking in search results. Most of the time, this means including relevant keywords in the headings and body text of the site so that Google and other search engines know that the content is appropriate. It can, however, include things like speeding up the loading time of webpages and making websites mobile-friendly.
Off-page SEO refers to all the things that you can do outside of the website itself to boost its position in results. SEO agencies often provide “link building services” designed to increase the number of links to your site, for instance, a method that signals to search engines that your pages are valuable to other internet users.
While the term “SSL” might not be familiar, you will have undoubtedly experienced it at some point in your travels on the internet. SSL is a data file that binds a cryptographic key to the details of an organisation. When a company puts an SSL certificate on its server, the user’s browser displays a small padlock symbol in the top left corner, next to the URL, showing that the connection is secure. The padlock means that all data travelling from the user’s computer to the server and back again is encrypted and can’t be intercepted and decoded by anyone else.
Companies traditionally use SSL to protect customer sensitive data, such as passwords and credit card details. Most customers know that they should only type confidential information into a website that uses SSL, so it’s actually a good marketing technique as well as a security necessity. What’s more, even if customers aren’t aware of the meaning of the padlock, their browsers are, and will often warn them if a site’s security certificate is invalid or expired.
Thank You Page
As a company with an online presence, it’s vital to have a thank you page. A thank you page is essentially just a page that you display to users after they’ve taken an action that you want them to take. Suppose, for instance, that you want customers to sign up for your monthly newsletter. Displaying a thank you page after they submit the details is a nice touch that shows that you’re grateful to them for what they did.
You can use thank you pages for all types of other things, such as handing over contact information, completing a survey or buying a product. Many firms use thank you pages to market additional products that users might be interested in or get them to take the next step towards a new conversion.
Marketing experts often use the term “traditional marketing” to talk about marketing activities companies used before the advent of digital or online marketing. Traditional marketing includes things like radio and TV commercials, billboard advertising, and cold-calling. It also includes things like using sales reps to approach people on the street or using advertising banners at a trade show.
The dividing line between traditional marketing and digital marketing is becoming less clear-cut in the modern era. A poster – a form of conventional marketing – might contain a QR code that customers can scan to forward them to a website landing page – a type of digital marketing. Alternatively, a digital advert on Google could direct people to attend a physical event based on traditional methods.
Most large companies use some combination of traditional and digital marketing to appeal to their customers.
WordPress is a website and blog building tool. It’s a set of services that make it easy to set up a website and publish it online.
WordPress is currently the most popular website builder in the world and has been for quite some time. Estimates suggest that around 34 per cent of all the websites on the internet are based on the platform. The reason for this success has to do with its versatility. You can build websites on WordPress without knowing the first thing about programming, or you can use the tool to modify the source code in as much detail as you like. It’s both a high-level tool for complete beginners and a website building tool for absolute experts.
You’ll often see commentators referring to WordPress as an “open source content management system.” WordPress is open source in the sense that anyone can use it and modify the base code of the system to their ends. It’s also a “content management system” in that you can use it do things like post blogs without knowing how any of coding that makes it possible works.
You can use WordPress to make all kinds of different kinds of website. While it’s famous among bloggers, it’s also a favourite of e-commerce stores, forums, social networks and premium membership sites.