Articles in the Custom Data Solutions Category

November 26 2008

The top 15 things to test on your website

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It’s been a long time since I’ve talked about testing (which I love and encourage you to embrace with open arms as I have). I like to use Google Website Optimizer whenever I have an experiment to run, but you can use any program, such as Omniture Test & Target. As long as you are testing, you are “in the game” (and, if you are not testing, why not?).

I found an article within the Google Website Optimizer help section that I’d love to expand upon, called “The Top Five Elements to Test“. This help section article lists 15 specific elements, but it does not cite any examples, which I feel help visualize each point, even though some of them are very obvious. So, I have beefed up this very good list of possibilities below. Enjoy, and, seriously consider testing as many of these 15 things as you can:

1. Title -Short versus Long
Short: High-Quality Product
Long: High-Quality Product that will last for generations to come!

2. Title – Question versus Statement
Question: It’s 10 PM – Do you know where your kids are?
Statement: It’s 10 PM – Your kids are in bed.

3. Title – Formal versus Informal
Formal: Good Evening, Sir / Madam.
Informal: Yo, what up, dogg?

4. Title – Emphasizing selling point A versus B
Selling Point A: 100% Recycled Material!
Selling Point B: 100% Money Back Guarantee!

5. Image – Big versus Small
Big Image: Takes up half the screen
Small Image: 100 x 100 square in the upper-right corner of the page

6. Image – Photo versus Illustration
Photo: A nice, vibrant stock photo, or photo taken by a professional
Illustration: A nice, vibrant drawing, sketch, or animation created by a professional

7. Image – Customer versus Product
Customer: Happy customers, smiling and laughing on a warm sunny day
Product: Close-up picture of your awesome product against a smooth background

8. Layout – Long sales letter versus multi-column layout
Long Letter: A very long page outlining every possible detail and customer testimonial about your product
Multi-Column: A table with visible rows and columns displaying tidbits of information and statistics about your product

9. Layout – 3 page pitch versus one dense page
3-Page Pitch: Three pages, including the landing page, with “Click for More” or “Continue” buttons at the bottom
One Dense Page: All of the information contained in the three-page pitch on one single page

10. Selling Proposition – Quality versus Convenience
Quality: Made with 100% Imported Leather!
Convenience: Never buy another pair of boots again!

11. Selling Proposition – Features versus Service
Features: 256GB of Disk-Space!
Service: 24/7 Customer Support!

12. Selling Proposition – Make Money versus Save Money
Make Money: Make $100 for every friend that you refer!
Save Money: Save $100 on your next trade-in!

13. Conversion Incentives – Free Shipping versus Money Back Guarantee
Free Shipping: We offer Free Shipping to every city in the United States!
Money Back Guarantee: We will refund 100% of your money if you are not satisfied.

14. Conversion Incentives – List All Incentives versus None
All: List every possible incentive imaginable on Landing Page
None: Simply promote the product price, image, and / or availability on Landing Page

15. Conversion Incentives – Telephone Order conversion versus online form
Telephone: Call us at 1-800-555-1234 and get started today!
Online: Fill out our simple online form and get started today!

November 11 2008

Three of my favorite Advanced Segments with Google Analytics

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Ever since Google Analytics officially released Advanced Segmentation about a month ago, I haven’t been able to stop using it. How can you blame me? It’s awesome to slice and dice data in ways I could never have sliced and diced data before – and the things that I can learn about my website’s data are invaluable.

Here are three of my favorite advanced segments (so far) with Google Analytics. In parenthesis below, I outline what each segment means. The first segment is a default segment; while the second and third segments are custom advanced segments (The names of the second and third advanced segments are also “custom”):

1. Visits with Conversions / Visits with Transactions
(All Visits that have converted / made a transaction at some point in a visitor’s history with the website).

As I mentioned above, this Advanced Segment is one of the “default” or “pre-packaged” Advanced Segments that Google Analytics provides, without having to create your own. And, it’s one of the best ones. With it, you can see how visitors that have performed the actions that you have defined are behaving, what pages they are landing on, how often they return to your site, and anything else that you wanted to know, but were afraid to ask. You can learn a lot about your converted visitors with this segment (and get insights and ideas on what you can do to get them to convert again).

2. The Power of your Brand
(Dimension: Keyword; Condition: Contains; Value: the first word of company name; AND Dimension: Time on Site; Condition: Greater Than or Equal To; Value: 30; AND Dimension: Pageviews: Condition: Greater Than or Equal To; Value: 3)

Would you care to know how strong your brand name is, and how engaged visitors are that used your brand name or company name as their search term? This segment can give you excellent insight to your customers or potential clients who already know you by name, which means they are well beyond trying to find you, and are most likely closer to reaching out to you, or buying from you.

3. Social Media Awareness
(Dimension: Sources; Condition: Contains; Value: The name of any social media site: Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, etc…)

Measuring the traffic that your website receives from social media platforms is becoming increasingly important towards these last few months of 2008, and you can expect Social Media to really become important in 2009. This advanced segment puts you in the game by allowing you to see all of the traffic from the more popular social media websites that are out there. Monitor this segment over time to get a feel for how interesting and engaging your social media initiatives are – if they are interesting, and if you have a strong social media presence, traffic will start coming your way before you know it.

BONUS Advanced Segment:

4. Are You Experienced?
(Dimension: Visitor Type; Condition: Matches Exactly; Value: Returning Visitor; AND Dimension: Days Since Last Visit; Condition: Less Than; Value:7; AND Metric: Time on Site; Condition: Greater Than; Value: 180; AND Metric: Transactions; Condition: Greater Than or Equal To: Value: 1)

This Advanced Segment excludes all pretenders, rookies, and newbies, and focuses on allowing you to analyze what your most experienced, best customers are doing. Use the clues that you find in your reports after applying this segment to learn what makes your best customers tick, and compare that against your customers who do not engage with your website at this level.

There are thousands of different possibilities with Advanced Segmentation, which means that once you start creating your own, you’re bound to come up with an advanced segment that will meet your specific needs, answer your specific questions, and become favorites of your own.

September 22 2008

The Trinity Strategy – Learn it, Live it, Love it

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When I met the now legendary Avinash Kaushik for the first time at the Google Mountain View campus in November of 2007, I brought along my copy of Web Analytics: An Hour A Day for him to sign. I was very shy to bust it out in a room of over 100 people, but I finally got the guts and asked him to sign it, which he did! Now the question is: how much is a signed copy of Web Analytics: An Hour A Day worth on eBay? 🙂

The signature, much to the disbelief of every one of my co-workers here at MoreVisibility, does not say “To my #1 biggest fan of all time!”. Instead, a much more valuable, two line exclamation is found: “Trinity Rocks!”. Sorry Tigers, but Avinash was referring to his Trinity Strategy, not the University located in Texas.

The Trinity Strategy is, basically, a way of thinking about Web Analytics in today’s Web 2.0 world. The purpose of this strategy, or mindset, is to obtain actionable insights and actionable metrics from the wonderful world of Web Analytics – specifically, your web analytics data.

As you probably predicted, there are three components to the Trinity Strategy:

1. Behavior – Behavior refers to the analysis of the piles and piles of Web Analytics data that we all collect on a daily basis. A long time ago, in a planet far, far away, marketers would simply want to know how many “clicks” or “hits” their website pages received, and their analysis pretty much ended right there (you remember all of those hits counters at the bottom of website pages, don’t you?). The Behavior component of the Trinity Strategy is intended to get you to look at your Web Analytics data at a different level, and, as Avinash loves saying, to “…take a leap of faith…” and make some educated guesses as to why people did what they did on your website (remember, Web Analytics can tell you the what and the when, the why, and sometimes the how is another story).

2. Outcomes – How well is your website ultimately performing? You wanted 40 leads a month from your pay-per-click marketing campaigns, or 5 sales from the new Banner Ad that you have running out there. Are you getting there? Where (and how) are you falling short? The outcomes component of the Trinity Strategy is to get you to look at your bottom line and really take a look to see if your website is fulfilling its objectives.

3. Experience – Experience is all about a term that is starting to gain popularity in 2008 – VOC, or “Voice of Customer”. What do your customers like or dislike about your website or shopping cart? Which pay-per-click landing page works better than the rest, and which one converts higher than the rest? What frustrations did your customers have on your website, or what made them happy? The Experience component of the Trinity Strategy exists to get you to be a man / woman of the people, with the ultimate goal of improving your website for both your financial benefit and your customer’s web experience.

When you put it all together, you have a strategy – a mindset – that should help your business, your online presence, your email marketing campaigns, and so on. It’s a great strategy if you don’t already have a plan of action, or if you have a plan, but it’s not working and you need to change for the better. And why wouldn’t you want to change for the better?

Take Avinash’s Trinity Strategy, and see if you can apply it to your current online business model. Even if you can’t apply it all at the same time, try at least one part of the Trinity, and see what it can do for you. I promise you won’t be disappointed. At a minimum, you have allowed for a different way of thinking about your online business and presence – although it may not seem immediately useful, the seed of knowledge has been planted.

The Trinity Strategy – Learn it, Live it, and Love it.

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