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Welcome to Josh Baker's Practical Advice for Optimizing Your Internet Marketing blog. Here you will find internet marketing optimization and online strategy articles full of tips, tricks, discussions, and thoughts to help you take your marketing and business to the next level of success.

Archive for Marketing Basics

There are many free Twitter tools and apps available today to help make Twitter more productive for yourself and to help you integrate it into your marketing strategy, even allowing you to produce analytical data on Twitter usage on yourself, your followers, and even non-followers in the Twitter universe.  If Twitter isn’t an active part of your strategy already, you really need to start digging in now to become part of the conversations going on about you, your business, your industry, your products, and your competition.

Here is a short list of Twitter tools and apps to get you started or to help improve your already existing Twitter usage and results:

 

  1. bit.ly– tracks clicks on your links in Twitter & also transforms your long URLs to a short URL’s
  2. FriendorFollow.com– lets you know who’s following you that you’re not following & vice versa
  3. MicroPlaza.com – groups tweets with links that fall under a single topic
  4. NearbyTweets.com – see Twitters & tweets from people in your area (great to use at a conference or convention)
  5. OutTwit.com – use Twitter from Microsoft Outlook
  6. Tweet2Tweet.com – enter in two Twitter user profile names and follow their conversation
  7. TweetBeep.com – keep track of who is tweeting about you or your products via email alerts
  8. TweetDeck.com – get control of Twitter, split your Twitter feed up, search and group those you follow
  9. TweetLater.com– track & schedule your tweets. Auto follow & un-follow those who do the same to you
  10. TweetScan.com – search tweets and user profiles
  11. TweetStats.com – graph Twitter stats by hour, month; timeline & reply stats
  12. TweetVolume.com – enter in a word or phrase and see how often it appears in Twitter
  13. TwerpScan.com – check the number of followers of everyone on your contact list, the number of people they are following, and the ratio between those
  14. TwitResponse.com – schedule Twitter messages to be sent whenever you want
  15. Twitter.PollDaddy.com – create polls that you can send to your followers
  16. Twitterfeed.com– posts your blog’s RSS or Atom feed to popular microblogging websites
  17. Twitterless.com – alerts you when someone stops following you, graphs follower history
  18. Twitterurly.com – tracks, groups, and ranks what people are talking about on Twitter

 

Feel the need for more tools or apps, or just haven’t found just the right ones for you yet? Here are two huge lists that will occupy you for hours:

Have any Twitter tools, apps or lists you think should be added to this? Let us know in the comments.

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If you’re like most Internet Marketers you use bullet points in your marketing copy whether it’s on your landing pages, in your emails, your newsletter sign-up pages, your lead generation pages, or just about everywhere else. You probably also use bullet points because you either want to break up the visual appearance (i.e. monotony) of the page; draw attention to certain features, benefits, or ideas; or want to aid in influencing those who are skimming or scanning your page to take an action. 

Are you truly planning, writing, and using bullet points in a manner that will allow you to receive the most benefits from them?

Bullet points perform well because they allow you to clearly and concisely put the most important and powerful pieces of information that you the marketer want noticed directly in front of your target. And since we know that the majority of visitors to your page won’t read a page in its entirety and usually will either be first looking to see if the copy is of interest to them by skimming or scanning the page to see if the page answers their question or solves their problem that brought them to the page in the first place.

A great set of perfectly written and properly used bullet points should ultimately aid you in influencing the website visitor to either go back and re-read the entire page (or read a higher percentage of the page than they normally would read) or even better, as a marketer selling a product, idea, or subscription, it can help in influencing them to positively respond to the call-to-action you have presented them with such as a purchase, sign-up, contact, download, etc.

 

The 4 Basic Marketing Bullet Point Tips that Get Results:

  • Line lengths should be balanced and proportionate between each of the bullet points. It’s easier for your visitor to read them if there is symmetry in presentation between each point – i.e. 1 line each, 2 lines each, 3 lines each and so on.
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  • Complete sentences not required. When writing copy for each bullet point, think of each bullet point as an individual headline used to draw interest to aid in the influence or persuasion of that pages goal.
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  • Do not mistakenly organize bullet points in simple order of importance from top down. Studies show that your readers’ eyes see the first two bullet points, ignore the middle bullets, and then go on to see the last bullet point in your list. Organize as such.
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  • Place keywords and keyword phrases of major points first in each bullet’s copy. Start each bullet point with a different word. Using different and major keywords helps to differentiate each point, breaking monotony when scanning; increasing influence.

 

It also matters what content you choose to write copy for in your bullet points that in combination with the above rules determines their success. If your marketing a car,and you choose to present bullet points on the color of the hidden electrical wires, or that the bottom of your floor mats stick better than your competitors, you probably wont have as much success as bullet points that state the 50 miles per gallon that the car gets, or that it can go 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds.

For me, I find it easiest to write out bullet points off the top of my head to get the ideas flowing in a manner similar to a brainstorming session. Then, I rework them to fit into the above 4 rules while simultaneously tightening them up for maximum performance and impact such as removing unnecessary words.

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If you are new to online testing and not sure what page or area to test on your website or just need that kick-start to get those testing adrenaline rushes back…

Here are 3 important areas to start pulling data for to get you going (or going again) on the forward path to optimization success.

1. The most visited pages on your website. Things to think about for each page – what’s the pages purpose, what’s the conversion rate, what’s the bounce rate, where are the leaks, what’s the average time spent on the page by your visitors, any coding errors hindering performance, page load time, special plug-ins needed for visitors to get full functionality.

2. Your Conversion points – Pull conversion data for each of your sites conversion points, how much revenue does each conversion point contribute, order each conversion point by revenue from producing the most to the least and look at the opportunities starting at the top of the list – a 100% increase in conversions on a page that only produces $50 won’t produce the same result as a 5% increase on a page that produces $10,000 in revenue – it’s a good place to start.

3. Your most popular visitor paths – Review data for your most popular visitor paths. Where are the leaks that visitors are exiting or straying from your desired end goal that you have designed for them?  What are the opportunities to optimize and keep your visitors on the desired path? Can you shorten the path if need be, work on your call-to-actions, add a newsletter signup box, and so on.

4. Bonus – Combinations of the above, i.e the most popular visited page with a conversion point, sorted by lowest conversion percentage with theoretical greatest chance for improvement.

Of course this is not the be all end all of what to look for or what to test in each area, but merely a good  refresher for those who need it, or a guiding hand for those confused with all the potential places to start testing first. But remember, it’s important to consider the opportunity costs in testing one area, page, path, etc. versus testing another.

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You’re probably curious to know what content your visitors are downloading the most on your website. I bet you’re also interested in knowing this data for multiple reasons including gauging interest, popularity of each downloadable file, and to learn what the best page and the best page position for the links to each download are. Of course there are a multitude of reasons for your interest, but no matter the reason, it all boils down to wanting to learn more about how your website visitors interact with your downloadable files.

 

Example: Tracking PDF Media Kit Downloads
You just completed your PDF media kit for potential advertisers to download and you can’t wait to start getting all that advertiser revenue.  You put the media kit online and three weeks later you can’t believe it – what’s happening? Three weeks and you have no phone calls or emails of interest. Is it the media kit itself, the information presented in it, or maybe no one has downloaded it yet? You’re confused because you know that people are visiting the page that the link to the media kit is on, it’s your most popular page. If only you were tracking the number of downloads of the media kit could you narrow down what just might be wrong.

 

 Or maybe you would like to:

  • Track your MP3 or Wav Podcast downloads across your web site
  • Track to learn what your most popular .doc, or excel .xls file, or .zip file is
  • Track your Catalog downloads
  • Track clicks of links to external sites

 

Since your links are directly linked to a file and there is no actual page to put analytics tracking code on, you have to track it differently than you would a webpage itself. Luckily, most analytic software packages offer simple ways to get to track and extract this data.

 

With Google Analytics, it’s as simple as adding some additional JavaScript code to the link that goes to the downloadable file:

For example, if the link to your Media Kit was:
 < a href=”http://www.example.com/mediakit.pdf”>


You would add the trackPageview() JavaScript code to it as follows:
< a href=http://www.example.com/mediakit.pdf  onClick=”javascript: pageTracker._trackPageview(‘/downloads/mediakit’); “>

You could change /downloads/mediakit to whatever directory names that you would like, but clicks to your Media Kit would be found in your Google Analytics website profile in the Content Section under /downloads/mediakit in this example, or whatever directories you place in the code – each link that you want to track, if you want to track each downloadable file individually (which you would), you would name uniquely such as /mediakit1, /mediakit2, and so on.

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A marketing test hypothesis is a powerful and necessary part of your marketing optimization program when running tests. I am going to take you through creating a simple hypothesis.

A hypothesis clearly states:

  • What you are testing 
  • What your control and experimental groups are 
  • What outcome you predict will happen (based on an educated judgment) 
  • What is the alternate outcome 
  • What you will need to track specifically in order to prove or disprove your test prediction.

 
Let’s look at a hypothesis more closely.

A hypothesis is clear and specific, testable, and can be proved right or wrong.

Look at these differences between a prediction, a question, and a hypothesis:

A Test Prediction: Not asking for a phone number on my registration form will increase registrations.    
A prediction is the outcome you expect – more or less your educated guess of what will happen.

A Test Question: Will not asking for a phone number on my registration form increase registrations?

A Test Hypothesis: Paid Search traffic reaching my registration form that does not ask for a phone number will  produce more registrations than Paid Search traffic reaching my registration form that asks for a phone number.

A hypothesis states with conviction what results you expect to see from your test, both from your control and your experimental group – it is here that you will state your test prediction.  And since we know that a hypothesis has to be able to be proven either right or wrong, we only have 2 possible outcomes – either my registration form that does not ask for a phone number increases registrations over my control that does ask for it, or it doesn’t produce more registrations(or a tie).


And finally, let’s break down the above marketing test hypothesis to show specifically what it explains:

  • Paid Search traffic reaching my registration form that does not ask for a phone number is the experimental group
  • Produce more registrations is the outcome we expect from the experiment and what we want to track
  • Paid Search traffic reaching my registration form that asks for a phone number is the comparison or control group.

If you wanted to run this test with multiple panels each having a different form field requirements (size), you could in reality replace phone number with less fields:

Paid Search traffic reaching my registration form that has less than 7 fields will produce more registrations than Paid Search traffic reaching my registration form that has 7 fields. ” 

You are still testing your hypothesis of that less fields will produce more registrations than your control of 7 fields, but you will determine from your testing which length is optimal to rollout with if your hypothesis is true.

With your completed hypothesis you can now execute your marketing test to your website visitors and let them prove or disprove it. If they prove your hypothesis to be true then you did a great job with your hypothesis’s prediction, if they disprove it, you still have learned something (make sure you take away lessons from each test!) – The test is not a failure, just try again after formulating a new hypothesis.

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