Posts in How To

A/B Testing with Google Analytics

A/B testing consists of having two versions of whatever you’re testing like two landing pages that are very slightly different. You then divide the traffic between the two versions and see which one converts at a higher rate. It seems simple enough but most marketers don’t even do it, even though it has shown time and again that website owner who conduct proper A/B testing experience higher conversions and a higher return on investment than those who don’t. You can do this testing with Google Analytics.

Create the Marketing Collateral

Whether it’s a sales page, newsletter landing page or something else entirely, create the designs in twos. You want to create two landing pages (A and B) that are slightly different. For example, perhaps each page has a different image on it, or a different headline, or perhaps a different buy/call to action button.

Upload the Pages to Your Site

You’ll need the URLs of the pages that you want to test. Make sure when you collect the URLs that you name each test page so that you know which one each URL is assigned to. Keep track of it all to ensure that you don’t get mixed up so that your results will turn out accurately.

Set Your Goals

Obviously, your goal is to make more money and increase your return on investment. But, you will have many different conversion goals, such as newsletter sign-ups, freebie downloads, sales and more. Choose an “experimental objective” within Google Analytics to create your goals. You can find this under Behavior and Experiments. Just click “Create Experience” to get started.

Name Your Experiment

Choose names for your experiments so that you can identify which page is working best during the testing. Once you’ve done this you can set your goals under “objectives for this experiment”. You have several choices such as AdSense, eCommerce, and many other goal metrics. Choose the best one for your test.

Run the Test

Once you have it all set up and uploaded, you can let it run. Keep checking up on your statistics as often as you can; at first, you may want to do it daily, then maybe weekly. Let it run long enough that you’re positive on which test, A or B, worked better.

Pick the Best Conversion Page

Remember that conversions and clicks are nice but money is the point. There are always possibilities that the most clicked and trafficked page is not the one that makes the most money. Therefore, it’s imperative to run the experiment long enough with enough variables to notice. For example, don’t sign people up for the same list even if the series is the same; that way you know which list is filled with either A or B respondents.

When you know what your goals are, and test to find out how accurate you have been designing sales pages and landing pages for your audience, you’ll soon get better at converting and making more money. Testing with Google Analytics is free and well worth it.

How to build a Website

I’m going to recommend the use of WordPress to build a website, simply because it’s easy, quick, has pretty decent built-in SEO, and has tons of customization options available for appearance, security, functionality, etc. I’m not going to give you a step-by-step guide to building a site with WordPress, because there are thousands of those online already.

Just search Google or YouTube if you need a tutorial on how to build a site with WordPress. It’s a lot easier than you probably think!

You’ll need the following:

    • A domain name purchased through NameCheap or another registrar
    • Hosting purchased through NameCheap, HostGator, or other
    • WordPress, free and easy installation often included in hosting
    • A WordPress theme, free or paid

Once you have a basic website built, all you have to do is start adding content. You can create this content yourself, or hire someone to do it for you. Just make sure the content is well-written, grammatically correct, and interesting because Google has become a lot more strict about the quality of the content it indexes. We’ll talk more about content creation in the next section, so let’s move on.

Content Creation

The content on your site is probably the single most important element of this system for many reasons. Because you won’t be focusing solely on getting traffic from Google and sending that traffic straight off to an Amazon product, the content on your site must attract the right types of traffic and grab and keep their attention and interest. We’re going to take a look at a few different factors regarding the content on your site.

Content Quality

The quality of the content on your site will have a lot to do with its success—more so than ever before. Not only are web surfers more in-tune with what quality content should be like, but Google also uses quality as a ranking factor.
Google does check the overall content on your site to make sure it’s relatively free of typos and errors, so it’s important to make sure your content is well written.

In addition to this, Google also pays attention to the average length of time a visitor spends on your site, and whether or not they visit other pages of your site. This is known as “bounce rate”. If you have a high bounce rate, it means people are leaving your site without looking at any other pages, which Google takes to mean your content isn’t what people are looking for. This will hurt your rankings.

Google wants to see the average user staying on your site for a good length of time, as well as visiting other pages. Make sure your content quality supports this! Keep in mind that visual content like videos and photo slideshows, along with interactive content like quizzes and surveys, are more likely to go viral and bring in a lot of traffic, as well as getting people to spend more time on your site.

Make sure you include relevant images in your articles, too. Images are vitally important these days. Not only do they make your article more interesting to visitors, but they provide a great way to let people share your content on social media and bring you more traffic. If you don’t include relevant images, you won’t see anything show up on social media, or you’ll see only your site’s logo or background, which could be worse than having no image at all.

Content-Length

The length of your content goes hand-in-hand with its quality, at least in the eyes of Google. While it’s been proven that the average surfer these days has a very short attention span, Google seems to think that very, very long content is “quality”, and short content is not.

It used to be that putting up ten 150-word articles would bring in far more traffic than putting up one 1,500-word article, but those days are gone. These days, content should belong—the longer, the better. Not only that, but Google seems to favour content that is actually updated on occasion—meaning it’s better to add a bit of content to an older article than to create a new one—at least once your site already has a good amount of content on it.

Generally, articles should be at least 500 words, and up to 3,000 (perhaps longer in some cases) is even better. Who knows why Google seems to be so adamant about longer content considering declining attention spans, but as it is length matters.

Content Variety

Another important factor is making sure you create a variety of content, including various forms of media such as videos, slideshows, and even downloads. You don’t actually have to create videos yourself. You can just embed other people’s videos in your pages. But if you can create your own, it will help you get additional traffic from places like YouTube and Facebook.

Having a variety of posts on your site will help you get more traffic and make your site more interesting, so try to include some different types of content for variety. Aim for having at least ten posts on your site before you attempt any type of promotion or add any affiliate links. This will help you rank in Google, as well as giving visitors additional content to visit, hopefully lowering your bounce rate.

How To Optimize Your Landing Page

Landing pages are the foundation of great inbound marketing strategies. These pages literally serve as the location of your prospect “land” on your website. If you are trying to generate new leads or sell products online, landing pages are the place to that happen. And in a world where the average attention span online is about eight seconds, it is critical that our landing pages are optimized for instant conversion.

With such a short time to make your first impression, you need to ensure every piece of your landing page is well-planned and working correctly. In addition to that, many repeat visitors will come across your landing page. Optimizing your landing page will ensure these folks continuously see the information they expect, helping them become your brand advocates!

What Is A Landing Page?

Even in an intermediate guide, it is best to start with the basics. Let’s begin with a quick review of some core concepts in landing page optimization. A landing page is a web page that allows you to capture a visitor’s information through a lead form. It is where your visitor “land” after clicking on a call to action button. This is the crux of your inbound marketing strategy. It is the point on your conversion path where you collect the information that generates a lead.

As a rule of thumb, a landing page usually includes a compelling header, interesting copy, minimal navigation, and an optimized form. In addition to good design, a good landing page employs a great strategy. The best landing pages target a particular audience, such as traffic from an email campaign to promote a particular offer or visitor who clicks on a Pay-Per-Click Ad to promote a specific campaign.

It is important to build a unique landing page for each offer you create. You can build landing pages that allow visitors to download or opt-in to receive your content offers such as coupons, e-book, gift or sign up for offers further down the funnel such as free trials and product demos.

Why Is A Landing Page Important?

As I explained above, the landing page is where you capture your leads or sell your products. Therefore, designing an outstanding landing page experience is critical to effectively converting a higher percentage of your visitors into leads and sales. Landing pages make it much easy for your website visitors to receive an offer since they are taken directly to the offer itself rather than having to navigate around your website to find it.

Landing pages also help to clarify what visitors must do to receive your offer. The best marketing is about delivering the right information, to the right person, at the right time. That’s how you create marketing that people love. By directing your visitors to a landing page, the exact page with the offer and the form they must complete to get it, you increase the likelihood that they will complete your form and convert into leads.

Types Of Landing Page

Since landing pages play such a critical role in driving leads and consequently, revenue, many online marketing firms are building entire consulting arms with the sole aim of optimizing company landing pages. However, there is one thing you need to know. You need to know the type of your landing page that suits your website. Landing pages come in three main flavors.

Main Site

The landing page might be part of your main corporate website. Such pages have the same navigation and page layout as all of the other pages on your site. The specific landing page might be buried several layers deep within your site organization, or it might be your home page.

Microsite

The landing page is part of a microsite specifically designed for a single audience or purpose. A microsite usually has one main call to action and all of the information on the site funnels the visitor back to this desired conversion action. A microsite usually contains a few pages of supporting information that allows a visitor to make an educated decision about the topic in question, and request further information or buy something.

Such information includes a detailed description of your product or service, buying guides or wizards, downloadable whitepapers, comparison to similar products or services, case studies, testimonials, and other validation. A microsite can be branded as part of your main company or can have their own stand-alone brand.

Stand-alone

Some web pages are specifically designed for a particular marketing campaign. Such pages usually have specific information related only to the offer or action that you would like your visitor to take. Usually, there is a clear, single call to action. If the desired action is not taken, stand-alone landing pages may employ an exit pop-up window with a second desired action, or a repeat of the original call to action.

The type of landing page that you deploy is largely dictated by your traffic source, as well as the type of product or service that you offer. Ideally, your traffic can be specifically directed to a particular page and tracked in significant detail. For example, a PPC campaign allows you to specify the exact landing page for each keyword. This information can be tracked through the conversion process and allows you to calculate the ROI at the keyword level.

Such traffic should generally be directed at the goal-oriented, stand-alone landing page. The advantage of stand-alone landing pages is that they are targeted. They do not overwhelm your visitor or distract them with irrelevant information. This usually results in the best bang for the buck and highest conversion rates.

Understanding Your Landing Pages

So now, what parts of your site are mission critical? Mission critical activities on your sites can easily be identified. All you have to do is ask yourself the following question. Does the content create a meaningful transaction or deepen your relationship with the visitor? A meaningful transaction does not have to be your ultimate conversion goal. It can be a small incremental step that creates psychological momentum toward that goal.

Deepening your relationship means that you have been given a higher level of trust by the visitor. Tangible evidence of this includes spending more time on important parts of your site. So does increase page views of key content. Of course, the most important indicators are the sharing of information by filling out forms, calling or chatting; downloading written materials or computer programs; signing up for free trials and promotions or actually buying something.

Besides, this will be an important question that you will need to ask yourself which is, who is your target audience? Your business attracts a number of possible visitor classes to your site. These may include prospects, clients, current business partner or investors. The usual practice is to provide a comprehensive view of your company and to give each of these visitor classes equal billing.

The company is often portrayed along product lines or as client-facing functional departments. Your landing page should be modified to best serve the mission-critical visitor classes. Everyone may want real estate on the home page, but they do not necessarily deserve it in equal measure. Conversion actions are measurable events that move a visitor toward the mission-critical activities that you have identified. Examples of conversion actions along with their measurement and efficiency metrics follow.

Advertising

This includes advertising online, such as banners, text ads and sponsor links. Measuring advertising effectiveness usually involves tracking the number of times that an ad was seen or clicked on. Another measure is the average advertising revenue per page view for alternative ad page layouts.

Education

Some websites have ultimate conversion steps that require a lot of up-front education. They provide resources and online guides to fully explain their products and services. If the education of visitors is your primary goal, the key metrics are the time spent on your educational pages and the number of page views.

Purchase

Many companies measure sales efficiency by looking at their sales conversion rate, or their shopping cart abandonment rate. In many circumstances, the revenue per visitor and profit per visitor are more useful metrics. For example, if you sell multiple products at widely varying prices, you can bias the mix of products that you sell intentionally.

This may mean that you choose to lower your sale conversion rate to focus on higher-ticket items. Conversely, you may seemingly raise your sales conversion rate by emphasizing smaller-ticket items. The merit of the trade-offs involved in such situations can be evaluated by focusing on the revenue per visitor metric.

Understanding Your Audience

We are all familiar with the Golden Rule: “Do onto others what you want others do onto you.” This ethical guidepost exists in many variants the world’s major philosophies and religions. But it is missing an essential component by presupposing that everyone is the same. Moreover, it makes your behavior and believes the standard by which all conduct should be judged and measured.

“Do onto others as you would have you do onto them.” The Platinum Rule, by Dr. Tony Alessandra. I ran across this more powerful formulation at a sales training workshop many years ago and it resonated deeply for me. Here was the missing component: empathy. People are not all the same. If we want to understand them, we should try to step outside of our own needs and experience the world from their perspective.

Like a solid news report, you must understand the basics of the story and be able to articulate the following particulars about your audience. Let me further explain.

Who Is Your Audience?

The who of your audience is defined by their demographics and segmentation. Because you can’t meet every visitor to our site in person, you re limited to use aggregated information. You understand the traffic source hitting your website and the specific landing pages. Exclusive information is also available about these visitors and their behavior.

From a landing page optimization perspective, it is important to exactly determine what subset of your traffic will be used for the test. You should pay particular attention to its stability and consistency over time.

Where On Your Website Does The Interaction Occur?

As you learned in the previous chapter, the “where” of your landing page optimization test should occur on your previously identified mission-critical landing pages. Sometimes the where may be an offline call-to-action such as a phone call or an in-store sale, but the mechanism for it (e.g., displaying a special dedicated toll- free number, or creating a printable coupon for redemption in a store) is still part of the website.

When Do Your Visitors Make Their Decision?

The when should be seen not as a specific time event, but more generally as a position in a decision process. Some visitors feel a vague unease about a concern that they may have but have just begun to look around and try to formulate a response to their problem. Others know exactly what they want, and may only be concerned with completing whatever transaction is required to obtain their specific product.

Why Do Visitors Behave The Way They Do?

You do not have intimate and accurate information about your individual visitors. The “why” can be understood by imagining the categories of behavioral styles.

What Is The Task That You Are Asking Them To Complete?

The “what” is the specific task that your visitor is trying to complete on your website.
How Does Your Site Operate In Order For Visitors To Complete Their Tasks?

The “how” is the actual design of your website or landing pages. It is medium through which each task must be accomplished. Specific page elements include layout, organization, and emphasis of key information, text copy, the call-to-action and hundreds of other factors. All of them combined to influence the effectiveness of your landing page.

Information about your site visitors comes in two main flavors: objective and subjective. Because almost everything on the Internet can be logged or recorded, it provides a wealth of objective information. The goal of the effective online marketer is to determine which specific metrics are good predictors of success and to monitor them properly to focus your programs in the right direction.

As with all numeric information, you should treat demographics with proper respect and be aware of the following issues:

Data-gathering Methods And Limitations

Depending on the exact technology used, software packages will track the activities of your visitors differently and come up with different numbers for the same metrics. Be aware of the limitations of the software that you choose.

Gathering Enough Data

Many online marketers do not wait to gather enough data before making decisions. Just because one out of the first four visitors to your website bought from you, it does not mean that you have a 25% conversion rate to sale. Wait to gather enough data to get statistically valid answers.