As marketers we should always be looking to better our content, ads and sales so the results we obtain for ourselves and our clients are the best possible. In this day and age of the web it is so easy to launch a new landing page, micro site, campaign or video, that it’s just a matter of having the right content to get the job done.
With that said, content, advertising and sales should all be working from the same sheet of music, but in the case of so many small companies and nonprofits, it’s not.
Look at yourself as the conductor, content as the woodwinds and brass, advertising as the piano and percussion section, and sales as the string section. If they work together in harmony, you hear and experience a wonderful symphony. If they don’t, your ears are begging for mercy.
The Makeup of Modern Marketing
Today we use terms like content, inbound and digital or direct response marketing. Each of these terms reflect a different aspect of marketing, but what they all have in common is they consist of creating content that drives people toward your business by asking them to take an action. That could be calling a phone number, engaging in online chat with someone at your company, filling out a form, signing up for a newsletter, downloading a resource, even opening an email. When a user takes an action, we call that a conversion because an unknown, anonymous person has chosen to interact with your company—they’ve converted into a lead.
I once heard a veteran direct response marketer say, “A sale is a very fragile thing. It can break at any time.” This is truly the case, especially now in our current business climate. We must therefore be more accountable and vigilant with the money and resources we have, and that’s why testing and measuring are so important. We are looking for results that equate to or ultimately lead to sales.
Testing your content is one of the best ways to determine what is working and what is not. Like I said in part one, why guess when you can test? The vast majority of businesses, ministries and nonprofits I’ve encountered over the years have never really tested or measured any of their marketing, let alone sales processes. By not testing and measuring, they are missing out on important insight that could make their marketing more effective and bring a greater return on their investment (ROI).
Testing and Measuring Content
If you are spending money on any kind of marketing, advertising, public relations or sales outreach, you should be testing and measuring. And yes this applies to both offline and online marketing. Once you test, then you can measure the effectiveness of the content you have created, distributed or shared.
The Tools of the Trade
Measuring is just as vital as testing. You can test until the cows come home but without effective measurement and data, you’re wasting time and valuable resources.
When I say measuring your marketing, what I really mean is this: You have to measure, otherwise you’ll never really know how far you’ve come and what’s working. Measurement is what gives you the data details, and the details are what allow you to drill down and perfect your marketing. Measuring the effectiveness of your content can be the difference between a well-attended event or one that has a trickle of people walking through the door. Based on test data collected, you can tweak and ramp up your campaign with content that draws people in and increases event attendance.
Today testing and measuring have been very much simplified with search engines like Google and social channels like Facebook. Both have analytics built in so you can measure the effectiveness of your webpages, videos and ads. Facebook has an array of analytical tools they offer their users. Article directories, blog and video sites have their own unique set of tools you can utilize. To measure and collect data effectively you’ll most likely have to purchase software or use the free versions that Google and other web platforms offer.
The Value of Sampling
In the vast majority of businesses and organizations, you will not be able to test and measure your entire market, but what you will be able to do is achieve a sample size. This sample will then allow you to determine the needs for outreach, content creation and budgeting. Your measuring will then further determine which pieces of content, and ads if you are running any, are working.
Again, in an A/B split test you are looking to create quality content, measure the results and keep on refining until you have what’s called a “control.” This control is what you put your best content up against to see if it can be beat it. So if you have a great lead-generating video that is bringing in a constant 7-15 percent conversion, then create another video with the goal to increase conversions by 5-10 percent. (Remember, conversion is when a user takes an action you want them to take. This includes opening an email, clicking a link, signing up for your newsletter or other offer, etc.)
The process of measuring and refining may take you through three or more tests until you finally find the content and ads (if you are running them) that bring in the most solid results. In the case of content, the process of testing allows you find the primary piece of content to utilize in a specific channel to drive traffic, engagement and sales.
Testing and measuring go hand in hand. And you must be patient plus pay attention to the details, or else you’ll waste time and resources. Your first test and measurement experiment should include headlines, open and click-through rates. Which headlines are working? Which calls to action are bringing the biggest response? Which offers are converting the best?
Kinds of Measurement
- Headlines: long vs. short
- Calls to action: chat field engagement, clicking on phone numbers, filling out forms, etc.
- Purchase buttons and links: for example, “register now” or “buy now”
- Email engagement: subject lines and click-through rates
- Sales engagement: response to letters vs. phone vs. email
With detailed metrics and analytics you can measure just about anything and correlate it to your content and its performance: time of day, locations, minutes viewed, people reached—the list goes on and on.
The more you test and measure, the more you’ll be able to know if your content and offers are pulling or pushing. Just remember that the web and digital landscape are ever changing, so you’ll need to stay on top of it all. Test and measure everything you do and watch closely how your budgets and engagement change over time.
Stay tuned for part three in our series, Testing, Measuring and Tracking Your Way to Success with Content. We’ll dig into how to how to create effective tracking for your content and not get stuck in the weeds.
About the Author
|Dave Krygier is a veteran content producer who on any given day can be found producing, directing, wordsmithing and crafting stories for businesses, ministries and nonprofit organizations. His content creation journey began in the 1980s as a musician, producer and marketer in the recording and live production industries. He is also a published author and the creator of the Content Gathering System available at ContentGathering.Solutions
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