Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why RADICAL Redesign Should Be the FIRST Step In Web Page Optimization

Yesterday afternoon, I tuned into a webinar sponsored by Marketing Experiments. Tagged Rapidly Maximizing Conversion: How one company quickly achieved a 53.9% lift with a radical redesign, the webinar was hosted by MECLABS Managing Director Flint McGlaughlin.

The basic message was this: When attempting to achieve a web page response lift, do not test individual components of the landing page. Rather, go for a radical redesign of the whole web page.

Why? Because testing one variable at a time is very very slow. For example, an average web page redesign experiment might test the headline, color, call to action, three dimensionality, video, copy, etc.

Instead, begin with a radical redesign and work backwards to achieve the necessary fast conversion improvement that marketers are looking for.

How do you know whether or not you need a radical redesign?

First, Evaluate your results to date to identify any of the following failures:

1. Your website is significantly under-performing.
2. You are experiencing unimpressive test results.
3. You have trouble getting a valid test.
4. The market you are appealing to has shifted in macro or micro directions.

Second, review your conversion index and customer profile analyses to determine specific structural [categorical] problems. [More about "categorical problems" in item #2, below].

The Six Key Principles

Based on a variety of independent theories -- decision theory and game theory, for example -- radical redesign urges marketers and web page designers to adopt six key principles.

1. Understand how to utilize radical redesigns to determine your optimum page "category."

a. A radical redesign is one in which the experimental approach is "categorically" different from the control.

b. Various perceived problems in the page design -- for example, weak headline, jumbled layout, ineffective call-to-action, a value proposition buried in links, poor thought sequence, poorly performing form field, too many or too few graphics, questionable perceived value, multiple steps to get to the buy process, etc. -- will all be changed and tested in one move.

c. From the point of radical improvement, then you can go back and look at individual variables.

2. Radical Redesign is aimed at determining our "best page" category. This is accomplished by taking into account structural elements inherent in a given communication archetype (for example, long copy vs. short copy, graphics heavy versus copy heavy, etc.)

Through radical redesign, you learn as soon as possible everything about how to get a lift. You are able to test such structural website attributes as image-heavy structure v. text heavy design; sales tone emphasis v. to academic tone; a 3-column layout v. a 1-column layout; structure that shifts from process value to product value, etc..

3. Use Radical Redesign to get to single-factor testing.

First, figure the structural communication categories [see#2 above], then move to such single-factor testing as an a/b split.

3. Hypothesize solutions.

• How might it work to simplify the multiple steps in the buy process?
• Suppose you eliminated as many cart steps as possible?
• What would be the effect of replacing a single call-to-action with radio buttons aimed at product selection?
• How might change copy to clarify and highlight the underlying value proposition.

4. Design alternative treatments.

Test as many treatments as your traffic will allow, then test the differential between the control and the treatments.

5. Analyze and interpret test results.
Look for enough actions and enough variants to allow for statistical significance and be sure to run tests full cycle. Don't assume anything too early in the testing cycle.

At this point, the learning begins. Now you must convert how much and how many into why and what can I learn about my customer? for example:
a. Is my customer's motivation sufficient to maintain momentum through longer cart processes?
b. Is the customer confused by multiple calls to action?
c. Is the customer ready to click the call-to-action button only when they have read and understood the value of the product?

6. Plan iterative tests.
a. Once you've tested into the correct category you can challenge the control enough to generate a significant difference. The objective now is to test the highest performing variables and increase channel specificity.

-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

Friday, January 6, 2012

Why Use ONE Video When 22 Will Do?

My December 12 blog post was titled "2012 Is [Definitely] the Year of Video. If a promotion I recieved from Borrell Associates on Wednesday is any indication, I may have underestimated video's impact this year.

Borrell Associates took video marketing to a new level in promoting a line-up of 22 conference speakers via video!

On March 21-22, the Local Online Advertising Conference in New York City will feature a host of industry stars. The promotional landing page for this event gives us a few minutes with all of them.

Check it out here.


-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Marketers' Best of 2011

Allow me to throw my “Best” hat into the ring. Here is a list of marketing developments that hit top grade in 2011.

1. Best marketing ebook: Newsjacking. This little gem by David Meerman Scott underscores what savvy PR folks have always known: for expansive media interest, tie your own stories to major news events. Scott tells us how.

2. Best marketing concept: content marketing. The wisdom of using information to influence consumer attitudes and purchasing came on strong in 2011. This not-new practice got a catchy new name -- content marketing -- and attracted conferences, seminars, books, and other how-to paraphenalia. Best advice? Get a writer.

3. Best emerging communications tool: the infographic. USAToday popularized the modern-day information graphic when it featured small, color-rich, quick-look graphics on its front page. Click-hungry marketers took the option to a new level in 2011, scrambling to develop content-rich infographics that could go viral and drive consumers to websites.

4. Best marketing channel: video. Video is nothing new, obviously, but in 2011 the masses jumped in to create millions of simple little videos that sell everything from “how-to” to “why not?” In 2012, no smart marketer will leave a website without video.

5. Best direct marketing innovation: pURLs. Personalized landing pages came on strong in 2011. Associated with the massive increase in digital marketing of all kinds (email, in particular), well-designed, content-specific, response-targeted pURLs became the must-have element in every sophisticated marketing campaign.

6. Best prediction: the rise of mobile. All the experts said 2011 would be the “year of mobile.” They were right. “App” became a common term and mobile devices – from smart phones to smart tablets – now rule consumer and B2B communications alike.

7. Best direct marketing innovation that didn’t catch on (yet): QR codes. Marketers love "quick response" [QR] codes, but as AdAgeDigital recently observed, so far consumers aren’t much interested. The codes are too confusing, too many apps have spoiled the broth, and irrelevant code spamming has turned off would-be users. Expect better response in 2012.

8. Best unpredicted marketing powerhouse: coupons. Who knew that 2011 would be the year of coupons? Direct mail couponing flourished when online mega coupon pushers like Groupon and Specialicious made coupons awesome all over again.

9. Best potential technology: location based marketing. This technology may hold the most promise for retailers, but marketers' ability to grab people where they stand is certain to grow in 2012. Consider the 13 possibilities in this article from Mashable.

10. Best “the time has come” technology: cloud computing. With booming sales of low-storage-capacity, but easy-to-cart mobile devices, the demand for creating and storing information “in the cloud” will explode in 2012. Millions of new consumers armed with more affordable smart tablets [see #11 below] will get familiar – and comfortable – with cloud computing.

11. Best new product: Kindle Fire. And, yes, this does belong on a “best of marketing” list because – at $199 – this little tablet is on fire. Some people are calling it the iPad killer. That’s not precisely true, since there will always be snob-appeal marketing for the expensive version of anything. In terms of mass use, though, the Kindle Fire does everything needed. Meanwhile, Forbes has an interesting take on where tablet explosions might take marketing. In “Advertising as an App,” contributor Roland Deal writes,” What if you approached the development of your marketing/advertising campaigns as you would in developing an app?”

What if, indeed …

-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo