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September 2014 archive

Web Seminar Recap: A/B Testing with Google Analytics Experiments

What’s the easiest way to become a more successful in-house marketer? The answer is simple: A/B testing. A/B testing compares two things to see which one performs better. No more making changes and then holding your breath hoping for the best. A/B testing takes the guess work out of it all. And if you’re not testing, you’re losing money.

A lot of conversion optimization companies out there are going to try to talk you into buying some fancy A/B testing software or hire their agency to run A/B testing for you. Yet for a lot of us in small organizations, the outrageous price for these services and software just isn’t doable. But fear not, there is a solution. And wait for it…IT’S FREE!

On September 24th ASPE’s own Digital Marketing Specialist, Traci Taylor, and VP of Marketing, JT Moore, presented the free web seminar, “How to do A/B Testing with Google Analytics Experiments.” In this one-hour presentation Traci and JT discussed the different types of testing marketers can do on their site, gave a thorough explanation of A/B testing and it’s benefits, A/B testing best practices and different things to start testing with A/B testing. Traci and JT wrapped up the seminar with a live demo showing how to set up an A/B landing page test in Google Analytics Experiments.

Missed the seminar or want to share the presentation materials with friends and co-workers? Grab a copy of the slides and recording from our Web Seminar Archives.

When Do You Send More Email?

This content was originally posted in Direct Marketing News.

The debate about email is still raging in the marketing realm but a recent article found in Direct Marketing Magazine is going to provide some clarity of when to send an email and when not to send an email.

Every marketing company or marketing department always struggles to balance between keeping in contact with their contacts and contacting them too much with emails. But sending multiple emails a day does not necessarily mean that you will scare customers away. There are just very specific times when more email will help and very specific times where more email will hurt:

When it helps:

  • email marketingWhen you have a clean and segmented list:
    • Being able to segment your lists and even schedule workflows dependent on a specific action is the perfect example of when more email can turn into more revenue dollars. These workflows and segments are also the perfect way to indicate where your customer is in the buying cycle. For example, you could break your contacts into three main groups according to the sales/marketing funnel.
      • Lead: This category would indicate that the customer is maybe interested in your product and would mean that they might have opened one of your emails in the past month
      • Prospect: This category means that your customer knows who you are, knows your product, and would have opened 1 email in past 2-3 months.
      • Customers: This category would show that your customer has identified a need and that your solution might be right for them or that they are a preexisting customer who might be ready to buy again. These customers open nearly all mail you send them and even click on the content inside an email.
  • When you are leveraging scarcity or urgency
    • If you have a certain deal or promotion running that is nearing its expiration then this is the perfect time to put some more mail in a customer’s inbox. You can tap into a customer’s sense of urgency with wording such as “last chance” or “sale extended.” A lot of times these words will push customers to speed up their buying process just so they can get your current promo or discount.
  • When you have the right content:
    • Many companies sell tons of different products. However, this does not mean that one customer is interesting in ALL of your products. Sending your customer what they want to see if a great way to personally reach them and influence them to buy. For example, if you work for a health and beauty company and a customer has clicked on nail polish in a previous email. This is when you would want to hit them with some nail polish specific emails and not hair care products or self-tanning lotion emails.

When it hurts:

  • When customers are making big ticket purchases:
    • Fact of the matter is that most people are not buying multiple cars or houses in one year. These are also items that require significant consideration before making a purchase. So reaching out to previous customers who just purchased would be a waste of time. Even if they haven’t purchased yet, it can be good to give your customers some space to mull over the purchase decision they have to make.
  • If they aren’t receiving your emails
    • If all of the emails that you send to one contact are bouncing then you know it is time to delete them out of your database. Sending emails that never even reach its intended destination is not a good use of your resources. This is why it is so vital to keep your lists clean and updated. Also, a follow up phone call never hurts and it can also identify people who might have switched jobs or got a new email address that you were unaware of.

All in all, more mail does not always hurt. However, it is just essential to first identify those customers who will benefit from more mail. This technique can prevent customers from going to competitors and enable you to send the right content to the right customer. Just be careful before you press that send button. Make sure you have updated contact information and aren’t bombarding a customer who needs time to consider their purchase.

9 Things You Should Know About Universal Analytics

Google Analytics

Although Universal Analytics was out of beta in April of this year, many people are still unsure what the difference is between Universal Analytics and Classic Analytics.  The good news is that this new version does provide more information about visitor behavior on different devices and it also offers more tools for measuring site performance.  At some point, everyone has to upgrade to Universal Analytics since Google is not providing any additional features for the Classic version of analytics although they will support it for two years.  Here’s a few things to know about this new version.

New Tracking Code

First, let’s start with the basics.  Are you wondering whether your site is even using Universal Analytics?  Take a look at the source code of your website.  You can do this by right-clicking on your site and choosing “view page source”.  Do a search for “analytics.js”.  This is the Universal Analytics code.  The classic analytics code had “ga.js”.  If you’re still on the old code, keep reading anyway so you know what to look forward to when the upgrade to Universal Analytics is completed.

Referral Exclusions

Many site owners have seen self-referrals in their analytics reports which can be a pain to troubleshoot.  Now self-referrals or sub-domains can be added to the Referral Exclusion List which means they are no longer reported as referral traffic.

User ID


Web Seminar Recap: The 7 Things Every Great Checkout Page Needs

It doesn’t matter how much traffic comes to your site or how great your design is if you can’t make a sale on your ecommerce site. No matter the industry, there are 7 things every checkout process should possess in order to make an appealing user experience.

There are so many sites out there that do this completely wrong. As an industry, ecommerce has matured greatly compared to other online entities. People are accustomed to having things a certain way, and feel confident when their user experience is something that they are comfortable with. In this web seminar covered the following topics:

• What is the right number of form fields to use in your checkout process
• How to change your visitors mindset
• One long page of check out information vs. multiple steps
• Does live chat really work

These topics and many more were covered in-depth during this one hour web seminar, The 7 Things Every Great Checkout Page Needs, hosted by Cedric Williams on Wednesday, September 17th. Attendees walked away with the skills to do a quick audit of an ecommerce site and implement those improvements that are tried and true on any ecommerce platform.

Missed this seminar? Download the slides and recording to catch up!

How Much Do You Hate blogging?

Ah, blogging.  Some love it.  Some hate it.  It can be a big chunk of time even for people who enjoy writing.  If it’s done well, it can show off your expertise.  And if it’s done poorly, it will be just another time drainer.  Here are some suggestions for developing or improving your blog strategy.


Make sure you don’t get caught up in promotional content.  People may come across your blog in an internet search, having never heard of your company.  If they don’t know who you are, they won’t be interested in your new product line or expanded services offering.  What they will care about is quality how-to articles and best practices.   Provide information, not a sales pitch.

Don’t get too cute.  You absolutely want to show you have a human side and even a sense of humor, depending on your specific industry.  For example, an entertainment brand will probably want to have a little fun while a legal practice should keep things serious.  The point is to make sure you have posts that are related to the type of work you do and make sense for your industry rather than including random comics or jokes just to get attention.

Get some help


So Your Content Marketing Kind of Sucks…

Now how are you going to better your content marketing strategy?

In January, a man named Mark Shaefer wrote a particularly inflammatory post called “Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy.” The post’s essential argument is that although the amount of online content – from webinars to social media posts to videos to blog posts – is expanding nearly exponentially, our ability to consumecontent marketing overwhelming? all of that content is not. Too much content in front of a consumer’s eyes will result in “Content Shock,” and nothing will resonate. Eventually, we will reach a point when the supply of content today will outpace demand, resulting in an environment in which no marketer’s content will necessarily do any better than another marketer’s content. It’s not a sunny picture.

Shaefer’s post received nearly 400 comments both for and against his arguments, and I’m sure it’s not hard to guess why. 2014 was supposed to be the year content marketing came into its own. “2014 is the year when the content marketing category finally matures and newer players in the space — brands, agencies, startups — help us achieve real scale,” wrote Mashable in December of 2013, a year during which the marketing world celebrated the content strategy genius of Red Bull.

Shaefer mentions Red Bull in his blog post, but as a word of warning. “In 2009, Red Bull was a beverage company, not a media company,” he writes, and “Chipotle was making burritos,” referencing the food company’s clay-mation videos. Nowadays, that celebrated Red Bull genius is fast becoming the norm.

What does this mean for me?

If content marketing is sinking into a world of little payoff, should marketers stop putting so much effort into creating content? Absolutely not! I wouldn’t be writing this blog post if I thought it would be pointless. (more…)

SEO Nitrous: Do you have it?

This blog was originally posted on

When Google announced last month that it was giving a minor SEO boost to sites with SSL certificates, we were over the moon. Besides confirming what we had already experienced with our own clients’ sites (those with SSL certificates were receiving higher conversions and lower bounce rates), this ranking factor makes a big push to beef up online security for website users across the board – something that bodes well for companies looking to improve consumer confidence in the modern digital age.

If you haven’t implemented the SSL certificate yet…

Fortunately, it has only been a few weeks since the official algorithm update, so you likely are not far behind the majority of websites. However, your competitors may have already jumped on this opportunity to boost SEO rankings, which means you can’t afford to wait any longer.

SSL certificates are not hard to acquire, nor are they very demanding of fiscal resources; however, the installation can be complex, so we recommend turning to an experienced SEO consultant for guidance.

If you have implemented SSL for SEO…

We want to know about your experience thus far. What changes have you noticed in your search engine rankings? How long did it take for your new pages to get indexed? Are you in line with your competitors, or did this SEO update allow you to get ahead of them?

Let us know in the comments.

How to Trick People Into Reading Your Copywriting

magicianOkay, so you’re really not “tricking” people into reading it. And if it’s quality content, they’ll want to read it anyway. But for your content to be read, it needs to be found. When creating content for your landing page, no matter how great you think the page is, it won’t help your business unless people can find it, understand the purpose and see what to do next.  This process starts with keyword research which will help you build the type of content that gets found by searchers who need what you are selling.

One of the simplest keyword tools available for research is  Let’s say you are a marketing agency and writing copy to showcase your expertise, try this Google search: “allintitle:+marketing+agency”.  What results is all the pages that Google is aware of that have these words in the page title.  Even without doing that search now, I’m sure you can guess the competition is pretty steep for those terms which means it may be difficult to get top ranking for that term if it’s what you focus on in your copy.  However, you can still use your preferred words as a starting point and try different variations to understand which terms will increase your chance of ranking on the first page.

Once you’ve determined the keywords you want to include in your copy, you then want to be sure you incorporate those terms into your page content.  Keyword density is about how much your word occurs in the content of the page.  Experts will give you different percentages to aim for, which are generally in the low single digits, anywhere from 2%-7%.  So if your keyword is “marketing agency” and that phrase makes up 30% of your content, it’s pretty obvious to search engines – and to people – that you are keyword stuffing.  It’s clear that your copy is an attempt to trick the search engine rather than provide quality content for visitors.

In addition to this simple Google search for the terms you associate with your business, remember to put yourself into the mind of the consumer.  We’re all guilty of using our industry lingo and acronyms that don’t mean anything to the everyday person.  Think about what the problem is you are trying to solve and discover how your consumer describes the problem.   Sometimes this can be as simple as inviting feedback on your social media pages or doing a synonym search on your keywords.


Web Seminar Recap: How to Use Content Marketing for a Boring Industry

You know by now that the right dose of content marketing can result in huge impacts for brands and communities. We have seen blenders and axes take off like hotcakes just because of the right marketing campaigns (we will show examples of these during the web seminar). It’s no secret that the right content to the right audience will propel your business into instant online marketing success.

This web seminar will focused on those industries that are boring to most but exciting to you. Can you imagine the discussion at the marketing table: “We have a blender to sell, now how can we be different than everyone else and make this memorable?” Some topics in this web seminar will included:

• Why do uglier industries have a better chance of making it in content marketing?
• What is the one thing that is more important than traffic?
• What is the most important element of content that draws people in?

This one hour web seminar, How to Use Content Marketing for a Boring Industry, held by Cedric Williams will get your creative juices flowing and gave that head start needed when marketing your product in a boring industry (or even an exciting industry!). Even if you have a fantastic product now, chances are you will eventually hit a wall or even worse, wind up working somewhere else. Attendees are now better prepared for all areas of product marketing after this web seminar.

Missed this seminar? Download the slides and recording here!

Photoshop Tutorial for Non-Designers: Removing a Background

Design for Marketers

As marketers, we’re asked to wear several hats. Occasionally, one of those hats is designer. But without the right Photoshop skills, your graphics can come out looking…well let’s just say you were better off paying a designer. With our series of “Design for Marketers” demos, you will be provided with a complete toolbox of design skills needed to wow your manager with your next HTML email, image ad, or website banner.

Next up in our series is a step-by-step demo on how to remove the background from and existing image.