Don’t Neglect A/B Testing Opportunities

A/B (or split) testing refers the practice of comparing the effectiveness of two versions of a web page. Typically when we talk about A/B testing it’s in the context of a PPC, email, or other campaign designed to drive traffic to those pages. There’s no doubt that this sort of testing can yield valuable results and improve the effectiveness of your campaigns. However, A/B testing outside of a specific campaign can be a valuable tool to improve both the user experience and the content on your site.

I’ll use a example from a website that I manage. I was tasked with the creation of a new section of the website for a new medical service. I’ve done this sort of task many times in the past but this project was unique because this service was available to both men and women but in very different forms. With this in mind, this new section of the website had to appeal to both men and women and encourage them both to engage and click through to other pages to learn more.

I decided that the best way to appeal to the different audiences was to split them up from the beginning. I created a landing page for the new section that immediately made it clear that women should follow one path and men should follow another. My idea was that both groups would really only be interested in what specifically applied to them.

In the interest of ensuring that I was creating the most useful pages possible, I decided to run some A/B tests against a page that took a different approach. On the second page I started off with more generic information about the service. There was an overview and a few paragraphs discussing the key benefits of this new service with the opportunity to dive in to specifics based on gender following up toward the end of the page.

After setting up the testing I sat back and waited for Google to tell me that I was right. 🙂 As it turns out I was completely wrong. The visitors that came to the second page were much more engaged and went on to spend more time on the site and visit more pages than those that landed on the first version. It appeared that the general interest in the technology drew more interest than specific information for the particular user. In the end, being wrong wasn’t a bad thing since I was able to correct my mistakes and develop the most successful page possible.

I went on to test video content and headlines and further optimize this particular section of the website. The end result is content that is more engaging and relevant to the user. This in turn drives more leads and a better return. If I hadn’t done that testing then I never would have known what I was missing.

I would encourage you to not just think about A/B testing when you launch a new campaign. Look for opportunities on your site to improve the user experience and see what you can learn about your customer and how they engage with your site.

How consistent is your public face?

Many businesses have graphic identity guides. Some guides can fill up entire binders going into minute detail on every possible design scenario. These guides are an important piece in consistent branding, however, there can be a gap when it comes to individual ad campaigns.

I’ve recently been noticing inconsistencies in what I’ll call spin-off pieces created by clients (not just my clients, but many businesses). Spin-off pieces are created in-house by client teams and, with the best intentions, are designed to fit with the current ad campaign. These could be things like newsletters, email marketing or employee communications to name a few.

The problem is that without a clear guide for the current campaign, small changes can creep into the designs. Sometimes the wrong weight type is used in the headline or a photo is reversed to better fit a particular application. These initially seem like minor details but soon you have half a dozen pieces that are all slightly different from eachother. These projects typically happen away from the eyes of the agency and the small variations can leave the original campaign diluted.

Will the client notice the problem? Maybe, maybe not. Will the consumer notice? They probably won’t put a finger on the details but I believe that it does make a difference in brand perception.

The solution isn’t difficult but it does require deliberate action. Agencies and designers need to talk to the client about possible in-house spin-off projects that may borrow from the campaign. If such projects are a possibility then the creative team can develop a simple one page guide that covers basics such as type weights used in copy, tagline placement, color palettes (with color values for print and screen) and any other details specific to the campaign. A brief guide will be simple to follow and will actually make things easier on the client.

However, the responsibility can’t all be left to the creative team. Clients need to be aware that design choices are made for a reason and it’s important to remain consistent throughout communications. Without client buy-in the guides will be ineffective.

As an art director I’d love to be able to sign off on every single piece of communication that a client puts out. Unfortunately that’s not realistic. The next best thing is developing a clear set of guides that can be followed so that future pieces can build on the work of the initial campaign and create a stronger brand.

The Power of Authenticity in Content Marketing

Gone are the days when a simple marketing campaign with a spun message could sell the consumer. Consumers today are looking for a much more sophisticated and high quality marketing strategy before they take the plunge and trust a company. If you want a successful marketing campaign in 2015, you’ll turn the attention away from marketing gimmicks and towards transparency and authenticity.

What Authenticity Means for Your Brand

Authenticity is a difficult feeling to achieve in content marketing, particularly for online businesses. It’s not easy to connect with consumers when you can’t talk to them face to face about your company. However, there are still ways to understand and speak to your audience in a way that inspires connection and brand trust.

Brands have been choosing the authenticity route for years, reaping significant benefits. One recent marketing stunt that has shown a genuine desire for consumer connection is Coca Cola’s Share a Coke campaign, which now includes personalized labels. It gives the feeling that Coca Cola knows your name and wants to share the love with you.

Another great example is the Austrian National Tourist Office, who ran a marketing campaign in which they invited 16 travel bloggers to share a once-in-a-lifetime experience #inAustria. They created a video montage of the experience to showcase the memorable and inspiring event for consumers. The success of the video has been overwhelming, and the Austrian board is experiencing incredible feedback.

Both of these examples clearly show what happens when you choose to deliver authentic content. It allows you to go on a journey and determine exactly who you are as a company and what you have to offer the world. You’ll want to define your purpose, mission, and landmark goals. Once you’ve understood who you are, you can interact with your clients with confidence and kindness.

The result? Powerful relationships between your brand and most loyal customers. Being authentic means looking past the incoming revenue and looking towards the customer experience. If you can create an authentic customer experience, your revenue, customer retention, and brand trust will increase exponentially.

How to Bring Authenticity to Your Content Marketing Strategy

When you seek authenticity and customer connection, you’ll likely need to change several attributes of your strategy. As human beings, one of our main goals is to connect with others and create lasting relationships. Once that relationship is formed, it becomes a mutual agreement of give and take, allowing both to benefit and prosper. The same is said for your content marketing strategy. The more human you can make it, the more you’ll experience benefits. Here are just a few ways that you can create a more genuine content marketing strategy.

  • Be human. To begin with, authenticity in content production means ditching the robotic ways and turning towards more human tendencies. When you write content, you’ll do so with personality. When you create videos, the purpose will be to make human connections rather than convert customers.
  • Tell a story. The human race has been telling stories since the beginning of time, and it is by far the most lucrative form of entertainment – and marketing. Though not every piece of content needs to tell a story, you should have several inspiring pieces that take the reader on a journey.
  • Respond to customers on social media. Social media has more impact on customer relations than you might think, particularly if you’re engaging with them consistently. Customers want to connect with you, which is the reason they comment on and share your content. If you want to make connections, you’ll respond with kind comments, promises to do better, and gratitude. Being truly genuine as you cultivate customer relationships will take you to the top.
  • Treat customers like friends. One of the best ways to add more authenticity to your campaign is to throw out the idea of customer/client relations and introduce the idea of treating customers like friends. Sometimes this means sacrificing a little to create a great experience for the customer, and sometimes it means practicing a little tough love to help the customers learn and grow with your company. As you work to treat your customers like your friends, you’ll see the power of authenticity for yourself.

Why You Need Long Term Food Storage

Many people find themselves in need of food based on different challenges that they face. Lots of families build up a little bit of food storage, but they usually don’t get long term food storage. Make sure to buy some survival food as food storage to have long lasting food.

Long term food storage allows you to overcome any unexpected challenges that your family may face. By getting enough to last you a couple of months, you can overcome those challenges. If you don’t think you need it, then continue reading to know why you do.

Why Get Long Term Food Storage?

Emergencies and a financial crisis can hit your family without warning. They tend to arrive without any time for you to prepare, so it’s important to prepare before something happens. This is where long term food storage comes in. You can make purchases and have food ready in case of an emergency.

Emergencies can happen at any point and can last longer than expected. If you don’t have food storage, then you could find yourself in a dangerous situation. By maintaining food storage that will last multiple months, you can avoid this issue.

Keep in mind that large scale problems could occur too. If any crop failure occurred in your country, many people could be without food. This would cause problems, and even if you had money, you wouldn’t have access to food. Food storage avoids any of these issues.

Common Emergencies

You will come across different emergencies that may prevent you from purchasing or obtaining food. The most common ones are natural disasters, loss of finances and everyday emergencies.

Natural disasters can cause issues to a community or lock people in their homes. If this occurs, then a family could face serious problems if they don’t have food storage. By having food storage ready, your family doesn’t have to worry about finding food outside of their home.

Many people lose their jobs unexpectedly, which can cause issues for a family. Without a way to gain income, you can’t go to the store and make purchases. If you prepare food storage ahead of time, you can avoid unnecessary stress for you and your family. This way, as you continue your job search, you can know that your family isn’t going hungry.

Everyday emergencies can occur and you can save yourself some money and time. For example, if you run out of ingredients for dinner, you can grab some from your food storage. This way, you don’t have to drive all the way to the store to pick up the ingredients.

Conclusion

Food storage can provide extra security for you and your family. No matter what issues you face, you can rest assured that you and your family have food to eat. This prevents any unnecessary problems for you as you overcome whatever challenge your family currently faces.

Never assume that you will never lose your job or face a natural disaster. Life has unpredictable moments, so you need to prepare for them. You can’t guarantee that you will never face those challenges, so prepare your food storage so that you always have food. As you prepare, you can minimize worries and problems in your life.