Google Adwords: How to Squeeze More Out Of Your Ads

Google Adwords: How to Squeeze More Out Of Your Ads

Chances are that you have a few Google Adwords campaigns up and running as you read this. Or maybe you never tried it at all because Paid advertising requires you to invest upfront for relevant traffic.

Even worse, you tried to do some paid advertising with Google Adwords but gave up after you realized that your budget ends up getting spent faster than the time it takes for you to create a Google Adwords Ad.

While it’s incredibly easy to setup a Google Adwords campaign, it’d be just as hard to deploy campaigns when you have to do it the right way. Most shady PPC agencies don’t bother with it.

Businesses don’t know any better (no matter what they think they do).

It’s been more than a decade since Google Adwords has been around and it’s remarkably stupid if you don’t take the time to setup your Google Adwords campaigns the right way. Here are a few things you should absolutely do to help squeeze more out of your Google Adwords Ads.

Setup Your Google Campaigns Right

 

I know you’ve read this before, but since absolutely no one seems to have paid any attention, this bears repetition: set up your Google Adwords Campaigns right.

  • Don’t start with Google Adwords’ default settings (unless it makes sense, as it happens in some cases). For instance, don’t set the default for “ad rotation” as “let Google show the best performing ads”. You need to rotate ads Indefinitely and start with 2 ads (and not three) so that you can test two ads at a time.
  • Group your ad groups and keywords tight.
  • Run one campaign for one geographic location (unless those countries are close to each other or if the target audiences share similar characteristics — like the United States and Canada, for instance).

Read more on how to setup your Google Adwords Campaigns right.

Do Your Adwords Due Diligence

 

Before launching campaigns, there are certain housekeeping tasks that you’d need to do. You can’t skip this.

Make sure you have specified your audience sources and that you are building your audiences on Google Adwords. You might want to specify your landing page URL as one audience source. You’d have your website URLs as another standard audience source. When you specify URLs and tell Google AdWords to track your audiences, you’d also be already for Google Remarketing campaigns when you want to go at it.

Since you are dealing with Google Adwords, you’d need to track your conversions. To do that, you’d have to install the Google Adwords Conversion Tag the right way.

Watch this video below and learn how to do just that:

 

Add Extensions

 

It’s remarkable just how many businesses don’t use extensions at all. It befuddles me to even think of the lost opportunity with extensions. Google Adwords provides with the following extensions that you can use at campaign level or at adgroup level.

  • Sitelink extensions (link along with descriptions to various pages of your website such as your blog, gallery, reviews, testimonials, product pages, etc).
  • Callout extensions ( little calls to action like “Grab your offer now”)
  • Call extensions (add your phone number please?)
  • Promotion extensions  ( 20% off, 40% off, Buy 1 Get 1 Free)
  • Structured Snippet Extensions ( possible for few cases like Featured hotels, courses, degree programs, brands available, or your service catalog etc).
  • App extensions (Have an app?)
  • Review Extensions (links with your Google+ or Google Business Manager)

Using extensions ensures that you are adding more relevant information to your Google adwords campaigns or ads. Automatically, you also enjoy more real estate on the search engine page than a normal ad would.

See examples here:


Get the match right

 

Setup your keywords with “broad match” and you’ll run out of your modest budget even before your campaign starts (rhetorical).

In some cases (low volume keywords or for generating traffic — and not conversions), broad match keywords do make sense. For all other cases, use Phrase match (add “” quotes around your keywords) and exact match (Put [square brackets] around your keywords).

No Funnels? No Campaigns

 

If you are planning to create an ad to send traffic to a website or an ecommerce store, you are doing it wrong.

Don’t. Ever. Launch. A. Campaign without a funnel in place.

I’ve written about funnels before, so do check out the links below:

Lead Funnels 
Sales Funnels 

Free Marketing Sample: Will You Stop Making Excuses?

As Perry Marshall writes in his Book Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords, you’ll end up paying Google Stupidity Tax if you don’t pay heed to the tips above.

Which of these little things are you doing for your Google Adwords Campaigns?

Here’s Why You Need a Digital Marketing Agency, Period

Here’s Why You Need a Digital Marketing Agency, Period

I work out of a shared office and so there are usually other entrepreneurs around me. For several years, I’ve actively avoided making any sort of small talk or active networking in shared office spaces because I meet many wantrepreneurs than entrepreneurs. The kind of people I meet – I am sorry to say – can only suck your life out of you. I have written about these specific types of wantrepreneurs on LinkedIn earlier.

On a random Saturday, I was on a course-taking mode doing nothing but taking all sorts of courses all day long. Facebook Blueprint, Convertkit’s Launch Your Own Business Masterclass, and many others.

One guy casually walked up to the spot where I usually sit and popped this question: “What do you do?”

Me: I run a digital marketing agency.

Him: Businesses don’t need a digital marketing agency, do they? We can do it everything ourselves.

Me: Yes, of course, you can.

Him: You have lots of competition too, don’t you?

Me: In a way, generally speaking, yes.  But I don’t mind competition.

Me: What do you do?

Him: I am creating an app – an aggregator of sorts.

Me: Awesome. Good for you.

Blah..Blah..Blah

The talk was trash. There wasn’t any takeout at the end of it all. I hated every bit of that conversation. One point stood out: his vehement denial that a “business doesn’t need a digital marketing agency”.

Businesses need digital marketing agencies. Here’s why:

You know shit

So this guy, in the middle of the conversation, said everything I was hoping he wouldn’t.

We hire writers to write for our blog. We only pay $1 per blog post. It’s another thing that I’d have to sit down and edit or rewrite everything myself.

I have an in-house team of digital marketers. We run ads on Google and Facebook. We only do advertising for brand recall.

A/B testing? Bah, my business doesn’t need that. We have unlimited funding (Who is the jackass who is funding you asshole?)

The trouble with digital marketing is that absolutely everyone can claim to be an expert at it – knowing whatever they know and clinging on to it like God has spoken.

Sadly, you bring the same knowledge to your business. You throw money. You hire monkeys. You do shit all the time thinking you are doing the right thing.

How many wrongs will you do until you get a right?

You are an entrepreneur, not a marketer

You are in business and it’s your business to manage your business. Unless you are a digital marketing freelancer, SEO professional, founder/co-founder of a digital marketing agency, you wouldn’t deal with marketing on a daily basis. For instance, I am a digital marketing professional and I also have the responsibility to do all the marketing needed for my own agency. So, I have a dual role here.

For tax consultants, lawyers, salon owners, real estate consultants, and all other business owners out there, marketing is not what they are good at.

Some of you try to do it by yourself (and that’s your call) but that’s not what you are good at.

If you attempt DIY, you’ll fail

Even if you happen to “know a lot about digital marketing” it doesn’t imply that you should do it yourself simply because you just can’t.

If you did, you’d not have the patience to do it the right way – the kind of stuff you’d need to do on a consistent basis to ensure that you get the results you seek.

You don’t have to write like Stephen King but you’ll be just as good as him when it comes to the volume of writing (for blog posts, other content) you’d have to do.  You won’t have the time to spend on social media. For many folks, the marketing technology stack – and to deal with it – is enough to make you give up.

Your time is better spent elsewhere

Digital marketing is a full-time thing. You’d have produce so much content that it never ends, technically. You’d then have to spend time (and do the work) for social media, setting up email marketing and marketing automation, build landing pages, manage ad campaigns, worry about conversion optimization, and more.

Do you have the time to do that? If you do, who the heck is going to run your business?

You are your biggest bottleneck

Good digital marketing depends on data. Decisions are made based on trials, experimentation, and a considerable amount of failure.

If it were left to you and I, we’d be making decisions based on emotions. Or based on what mom told us. Or perhaps you have a friend who knows someone who knows someone else who dabbles with digital marketing, and this friend told you something crappy.

In any way you look at it, you are truly a problem for your own good. You are a bottleneck when it comes to your business and digital marketing specifically.

Your opinions and mine, they don’t count.

What counts is how digital marketing helps your business grow.  Do yourself a favor and let professionals and digital marketing agencies do what they are supposed to do.

Digital Marketing Minimalism: When Less Is More

Digital Marketing Minimalism: When Less Is More

What do Joshua and Ryan who run The Minimalists and Courtney who runs BeMoreWithLess have in common?

They are minimalists.

The advocate the need to get rid of all the crap you hoarded in your life.

I followed their advice (what I really did is content for another post)

I’ve forced myself to become a minimalist. It feels good.

But wait, the fetchprofits blog isn’t about minimalism right? It’s about digital marketing, for god’s sake. Why are we discussing minimalism here?

The answer is easy: because you hoard up ideas and thoughts when it comes to digital marketing (just like you end up buying a house you don’t need, a car you’ll buy, and buying yourself a 55-inch smart television set because you choose to).

Following the ideas and thoughts, you’ll also end up doing a little too much with your digital marketing.

  • You spend hours and days perfecting things you shouldn’t have to.
  • You fuss over words and sentences when writing for your blog (or when others write for you)
  • You stick to your stupid opinions, whims, and fancies when designing landing pages for your campaigns.
  • You refuse to believe that ugly looking websites — along with ugly logos — still bring in the revenue (just see my logo and the website you are on right now).

You shouldn’t have to hoard up stuff into your digital marketing workflow. It’s time you go minimalistic with your digital marketing.

Allow me to simplify it for you:

For organic marketing,

  • You’ll need to write and publish high-quality posts on your blog regularly. Throw in a dash of personality (just be yourself) and link to other bloggers and research while you are at it.
  • Share what you publish on social media. In addition to that, connect with others (small talk, say hello, say wow) while you are there.
  • Give something away for free (or for less) and grow your email list. Why? Because you can nurture your list of subscribers who’ll eventually buy from you.
  • Repurpose your blog posts (in other formats like video, slide decks, and infographics) for a few other platforms where your potential customers hang out at.

For paid advertising

  • Choose an appropriate platform for paid advertising (Is Facebook advertising right for you or is it Google advertising?
  • Think of an offer you can make. Build your campaign around that offer.
  • Always create ads in pairs (for testing them out). Likewise, create landing pages (again in pairs) to match those ads.
  • Collect leads — make sure you integrate your landing pages with your email service provider (like Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor, and Drip)
  • Nurture leads (10:1 ratio — which means that for every 10 emails you send out, only one or two emails have soft pitches or direct sales content).
  • Sell and track your sales.

Admittedly, it’s not as easy to implement all of the above as it is to read. The point I am making, however, is that there’s nothing more you need than this.

Here’s how exactly you should approach digital marketing with a minimalistic mindset:

Content Creation: Focus on quality & efficiency

Quality is subjective; efficiency is not.

Normally, many bloggers and businesses do believe in producing quality content. They forget efficiency though. Fussing over grammatical mistakes, worrying whether or not you should use specific words or sentences, spending 7 days on editing a single blog post, and banging your head on the wall to determine a publishing frequency — these habits slow you down.

Develop a process for content publishing, social media, and for sending out emails. Automate what you can and stop worrying incessantly about the quality.

You’ll get better with time.

Take emotions out. Put data in

I like red. Use red.
I want video on top. Content at the bottom. No copy. Button should say “I am a button”.

Too many businesses spend too much time (and waste it) over stupid things like button colors and landing page layout.

Those are important things only if your continued A/B testing results push you to that conclusion.

Worry about buttons when your data tells you to.
Care about graphics when your previously used graphics don’t seem to deliver.

Take emotions out of copy, design, and implementation of your digital marketing workflows.

Use data to make decisions.

Don’t over complicate Stuff

I want to use Wix with Sumo.
I want to use Unbounce to build a website with 76 pages full of content.
Build my website on Wix. Then, make it load fast.

Platforms have limitations. Everything has limitations.

If you find yourself choosing one platform over another, prepare to sacrifice something for something else.

Wix, for instance, doesn’t work with Sumo. It just won’t.
Unbounce is a tool to build fantastic landing pages; not for building websites.
If you use fully-hosted platforms like Wix, how fast your websites or e-commerce stores load is not really in your control (and Wix websites aren’t that fast).

But then, there are fully-hosted e-commerce platforms like Shopify for instance that load fast and come with tons of features.

Choose your platforms with care, and realize that you are limited by those platforms. It helps if you don’t shoot for the moon.

Campaigns: Keep them simple

Learn to make good offers. Test offers out. Keep making new offers.

No one perfected the art of making offers or pricing yet. It’s always been part art and part science. Some individuals and businesses do it well. Others struggle.

When you launch paid campaigns, don’t overthink your offers. Don’t make your campaigns more complicated than they ought to be.

Basic campaigns look like this:

campaign workflows

How many complications do you want to add to this workflow?

Stick to Lead nurturing basics

I tried everything on the market, and I already the homework for you. Don’t waste time reading reviews.

Once you pick and run with an email marketing service provider, all you need to do is create emails.

  • Create autoresponders as first messages that go out when your leads signup for an offer (including welcome messages).
  • Launch more emails to follow up with the first email. These emails should try to develop a “relationship” with your subscribers. You do this by providing value in the form of information.
  • Add a basic RSS-to-email campaign (the email that goes out to everyone on your list with your latest blog posts published the week previously).
  • Occasionally, pitch your products and services.
  • Track important email marketing metrics such as open rates, click rates, and sales.
    Ignore unsubscribers.

This is all you need, really.

Which of the above is missing from your marketing efforts?

How to Put Your Digital Marketing Game Face On

How to Put Your Digital Marketing Game Face On

The problem with most of us is that we conveniently believe that we are always doing the best we can with respect to everything.

We barely even scratch the surface of what we can really do. When it comes to digital marketing, we have a tendency to stick to what “seems” to work rather than what we should be doing to make things happen for our business.

While the basics of digital marketing are easy enough to grasp, it’s incredibly hard to make it all work together to get you the results you seek.

  • Merely blogging away on a schedule isn’t enough if you aren’t promoting your posts just as well (if not more).
  • A passing presence on social media won’t cut it for you anymore.
  • Sending out a few random newsletters or even basic automation won’t be enough to nurture and engage your subscribers enough to get them to buy from you (and then buy from you again and again).

The bar is constantly being raised as you read this. The hard work you put into developing content as a part of your digital marketing efforts now competes with some of the world’s best companies committed to make a difference and to use digital marketing as a way to grow their businesses.

If all that you think you are doing isn’t enough, what are you supposed to do? How do you compete in this, “I do better than you can ever hope to” world? Here are a few tips:

Stop getting intimidated

All that you are doing with inbound marketing is to use information to draw readers in. Then, you’d want your readers to like you and trust you enough for them to buy from you whenever “they” are ready for it.

You don’t have to produce content that’s better — or more powerful and engaging — than that of Tim Ferris or Seth Godwin. You’d only have to do enough to make a difference for “your audience”. Something you wrote about teaches them something. Or something that you tweeted about gives them “food for thought”.

Everyone started somewhere, and we really have no Shakespeare’s winning the game of content today. Successful folks, you see today are ordinary people, from all over the world.

Consistency is the name of the game

We place too much emphasis on “quality” — so much that we do it at the cost of consistency. I’ve often read how some popular bloggers insist on working just one blog post per week in the name of high-quality blogging.

Some others like blog intermittently, like Chris Lema does.

It might work for them, but it won’t work for you.

Now, Chris Brogan rarely even communicates on social media (chances are that he won’t reply to you) all the while he swears by the efficiency of social media as a medium built for modern day networking. But Chris can afford not to talk.

If Gary Vaynerchuck doesn’t reply soon enough (or not at all) to any of his potential customers, it’s alright. Gary built enough clout and goodwill to make his customers wait.

You can’t. You are not Gary Vaynerchuck and you aren’t Anthony Robbins.

For you and I, it’s quality plus consistency that works.

Compete with the best

Dan Norris, writes about how to benchmark yourself against your competition in his book The 7 Day Startup.

Anytime you feel yourself wondering if what you are doing is good enough, compare it to the best:

Don’t ask your friends to pick between three logos. Instead, compare them all to Apple.
If it’s nowhere near as good, try again.

If you write a blog post, compare it to one on KISSmetrics.com. If it’s not as good, rewrite it.

If you launch a website, compare it to bench.com or simple.com. If it’s nowhere near as good, then you can do better.

It’s often asking a lot for a small business to reach the levels of an established leader. You will be compared to leaders, and if you don’t measure up, then people will notice. By comparing yourself to the best, you set higher expectations for yourself, and you will be better for it.

It’s compelling to be mediocre; it’s hard to deliver the best you can. If we are doing something, we might as well be the best at it.

Do everything You Thought You Couldn’t

Does it feel intimidating to reach out to Copyblogger, Kissmetrics, Mashable, Marketing Profs, Moz, Forbes, and Fortune to get your guest blog post published?

Trust me, it scares the shit out of me. I already think guest blogging is a pure waste of energy and time for the measly returns it provides. To reach out to any of these publications would mean not only battling with my own fear and insecurity.

To be honest, though, I don’t think the bar is as high as we think it is. In fact, with the exception of Moz and a few others, most other blogs have lost their sheen. The content produced nowadays isn’t any better than any of us can produce.

It’s just these editors maintain the high-handedness. If we can ignore their unnecessary attitude, I am sure we can start publishing in those publications too.

Copy from others Who’ve made it before you

There are some remarkable people in this world. Sticking against the odds, working off their asses, some individuals have done what some companies still struggle with. Here are about 11 bloggers who can give any company a run for their money — all thanks to their sheer commitment to blogging, for instance.

You don’t always have to follow Rand Fishkin, you can learn a lot from regular bloggers, social media superstars, and email marketing pros — that’d cover the basics of what you need to do with digital marketing.

How are you putting your digital marketing game face on? What are you trying to do to get heard, to make an impact, and to help your customers?

Digital Marketing: Shocking Crap I Hope You Don’t Believe

Digital Marketing: Shocking Crap I Hope You Don’t Believe

Oh, the bogus they teach all over the place in the name of digital marketing.

I had been to a meetup on digital marketing yes ‘day and I was shocked by what they teach others in the name of digital marketing.

In India, there’s a term for reverse engineering: Jugaad.

That’s what it was.

How do you do SEO?

Pick keywords, throw them all up on your website. You’ll be on top of Google

How do you start with Shopify?

Grab a few images from AliExpress. Put them up. Do Facebook ads. Make millions of dollars.

How to do Facebook ads?

Create multiple accounts (because you are certainly going to be banned). Launch ads. Make use you use Bit.ly to shorten links (because your full-links is going to make Facebook come down hunting for you). Use Video ads. Point ads to your store.

How does Facebook track visitors?

Oh, there’s this thing called the Facebook Pixel. Once you visit my website, I can keep targeting you for life.

How do you find images for Facebook ads?

“Find them on Google”

How do you allocate ad budget for Facebook ads?

“Start with $2000 per month. You’ll only make positive ROI if you run ads long enough”

What other advice do you have for us?

“Always use big, green buttons on your Shopify Store

How do you handle product returns?

“Use a virtual address and have no such thing as returns. If customers don’t like it or if they got damaged products, let them keep it”

Really? Nice strategy you got there.

It’s sad that this is what these “self-appointed experts” teach complete newbies. Every question was followed by a shocking answer that was either completely wrong, unsubstantiated, or at best, it was a half-assed answer.

This is unfair. Everyone deserves to learn better. Stop telling yourself lies. Don’t trust anyone who says “I know digital marketing like the back of my hand” or “I made a million doing SEO”.

Very few people can claim this for a fact. Everyone else is just lying.

Digital Marketing takes skills, efficiency, and commitment. Either you are in it or out

Here are some absolutely ridiculous things others are telling you or those that you believe or perhaps your neighborhood “expert” taught you:

Digital marketing = SEO

You got legs? You need two legs to walk. An engine needs anywhere from 1 – 12 cylinders for it to work – and all cylinders have to fire.

Digital marketing is vast and it has many things working together to make it work for a business. SEO happens to be just “one” of them. At the time of writing this, it’s only getting harder.

The right digital strategy is to fire all those cylinders together. You have to ALL of the following:

That’s it.

Limping on a Leg

It’s remarkable how so many businesses just want “one leg” to work. Websites look like they’ve been built in the late 1990s. They load extremely slow. There’s no content marketing strategy in place. There’s nothing else working in your website’s favor. Your domain is rather new.

Yet, you are willing to pay idiots to make your website show up on “top of Google”. You thought Google was an easy lay?

SEO is not about writing crappy articles that you outsourced for $2 or less. Heck, even $125 for a single post of 1500 words still won’t guarantee any SEO success. Even if you do guest posting, it might not work as well you thought it’d.

Plus, making SEO work is a long-term strategy and it takes time. If you were expecting short-term results, you’ll be sorry.

If you still think you are doing it right, you are only hurting yourself. You just don’t get it.

Chasing Shiny Objects

There was this one young chap who happened to “quit his job” to start full-time blogging. Stars in his eyes, passion surging from within, but absolutely clueless as to how to go about it all.

He arrives looking for answers. Because he doesn’t know any better, he is looking at the wrong sources for information and he isn’t getting any of it. He can’t make sense of what’s being talked about and he doesn’t like my answers (because those aren’t what he is prepared for).

He thought full-time blogging is like,

“Start blogging, will make money from next month”

That’s not going to happen.

He wasn’t the only one on a deluded path though. There were newbie affiliate marketers, bloggers, business owners, and many others.

There was this particularly interested, vocal, and an active man from a business background who was chasing “the micro-niche dream” – I’ll set up a blog on micro niche and make $100 per month.

Good luck with that, asshole.

Everyone was chasing the dream. They were all after shiny objects (micro niches? Products no one knows about so they have potential when you sell them on Shopify?).

Dreams aren’t bad. Chasing something worthwhile is worth it. Except that there’s no strategy, plan, or resources behind any of those dreams.

Those dreams then, are worth shit.

Cutting corners, everywhere

Put up Facebook Ad, and then point to a website.

So, where the heck are the landing pages? Where’s your strategy to collect leads and then nurture them?

When I suggested that email marketing strategy is critical for success, I am told that:

“Email marketing is old”.

Who told you that for something to work exceptionally well, it has to be “new”?

“Retargeting is the new method that makes you millions”

Agreed that retargeting is awesome and that you should do it. Without the right strategy, assets, and a way to make it all work together, it won’t work.

“Spy on others and build your ads that way”

How do you know those ads even work? When asked, I was told that you’ll know how successful ads are when you see the engagement level on those ads (comments, shares, and likes).

But that doesn’t tell you how much money those ads really made. If there were any sales at all, you don’t know the Return on Investment. See?

Every single point being made felt like the world is in a rush to cut corners and find the shortest route possible.

People are chasing gimmicks, tricks, shortcuts, and crappy workarounds.

If your business is as cheap as tissue paper, go ahead and twist it all you want. There are at least a million scam artists to help you with that.

How important is your business to you?

I don’t care what you think but if you are cutting corners, going cheap, working with tricks, and looking for magic bullets, you don’t deserve to run a business. Go back to that day job and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Your entrepreneurial chutzpah depends on a lot, starting with that leap of faith. It starts with an idea.

Everything about you will be tested.

Your ability to sustain the vagaries of entrepreneurial uncertainty, your ability to get educated about what’s right and what’s wrong, the way you bring in finances to fund your business, your finesse of managing clients (employees, vendors, contractors, and investors).

Getting results with digital marketing depends on who you hire to help you with digital marketing or the choice of your digital marketing agency, the knowledge you choose to implement, and how you bring it all together.

I’d understand if you said it was all overwhelming. I can hear you out if you told me that all this is hard to manage. I’d empathize if you told me that it feels like you are putting a mountain that won’t budge.

What I won’t accept is that you choose to listen (and actually believe) all the nonsense that’s written on digital marketing, on business, and everything (or everyone) who is influencing you to do injustice to the very business you started with so much love, passion, and energy.

I won’t let you trample on your own dreams. Period.

Email Marketing A/B Testing: Why Bother & How It Matters?

Email Marketing A/B Testing: Why Bother & How It Matters?

Exactly 1 out of 143 clients in the last 3 years have bothered with email marketing A/B testing. It’s not surprising since many clients don’t even have “absolutely anything to do” with email marketing itself.

I mean, who the heck bothers with the old and boring email marketing when there are really hot social media platforms out there.

If you ignore email marketing, everything else you do with digital marketing is you sweating the small stuff and doing exactly that you shouldn’t be doing.

Why bother with email marketing A/B testing?

Assuming that you are convinced that you should do email marketing (hopefully), let’s look into the “why” of email marketing A/B testing.

  • You do A/B testing because you want to find out what works best for your business
  • Data-driven marketing is the only kind of marketing you want to depend on.
  • When an average email marketing campaign delivers 4300% ROI, it just makes sense to fine tune and optimize one of the most profitable digital marketing channels out there.
  • As always, you never know what subject lines, email copy, delivery timing would work the best with your audience.

Now, coming back to Email A/B testing; it works just like it does while you do A/B testing with ads, landing pages, websites, and others.

With email marketing A/B testing specifically, you can test:

  • Subject lines
  • The “from name” or the way sender details are presented
  • The content of the email
  • A particular segment or a set of recipients
  • Time zone that the emails are sent on
  • Particular weeks of the day the emails are sent
  • Recipient Group size, and more.

According to MarketingSherpa, here’s a full list of what you could do email marketing tests on:

email marketing tests

The winning emails are decided on a criterion you can setup. Some of those criteria could be open rate, click rate (total unique clicks), total clicks on a particular link, and more.

Most email marketing service providers like Mailchimp, Drip, and Campaign Monitor give you the tools for you to do A/B testing.

The only reason why you aren’t running email marketing A/B tests are because you weren’t aware, you thought it was fancy, or maybe because you genuinely didn’t get around to do it yet.

With email marketing workflows off a fully-customizable and automated tool like Drip (and also with other ESPs), you can also measure actual ROI of your campaigns with A/B testing.

I know you. It’s not going to be easy to convince you about something as obvious as this. So, here are a few examples of how simple email marketing A/B Testing experiments got these businesses results:

Weddingwire

Weddingwire is a comprehensive website with everything related to wedding. It lists out vendors, has planning tools for weddings, has a list of wedding venues, photographers, Djs, planners, managers, and much more. Weddingwire also provides a ton of insights, inspiration, reviews on individual wedding related services, and a lot more.

Weddingwire’s newsletter, however, was one those things you could easily do the mistake of “just letting be”. With millions of subscribers, who’d care if there was one social button that doesn’t seem to work as well as it should?

It does matter. When you send out emails to 24 million people or more, everything matters.

While Weddingwire had no problems with people clicking on their main CTA, they were concerned as to why no one was clicking on the regular list of social media buttons.

Of particular concern was to find out why their Pinterest button wasn’t clicked on – from within the newsletter – as much.

The reason why Weddingwire worried about Pinterest was because their users were active there and Pinterest also makes for a great place for information and inspiration on anything to do with weddings.

The regular “social button array” faux pas?

So, when Weddingwire started including pins from their already active Pinterest account, here’s what happened, according to a case study from MarketingSherpa,

“WeddingWire saw a 141% higher Pinterest growth rate compared to the brand’s average, as well as an average lift of 31% on re-pins from email. Top articles reached as high as a 180% lift in re-pins.”

All that traction just for including pins that click through to Pinterest within a newsletter.

You bet.

The Obama Campaigns

Everyone knows how successful email marketing was for Obama’s election as the president and the following re-election too (all this and you still need convincing that email marketing is critical for your business?).

This also includes the famous “I’ll be Outspent” campaign or the one subject line that says “Hey”.

Everyone knows this. Joshua Green of Bloomberg has a fantastic piece on the Science Behind those Obama Campaign Emails.

But then, there was a ton of detail that was being tested behind the exact same email marketing strategy that helped raise more than $500 million in donations.

Thanks to David Moth of Econsultancy and Amelia Showalter – Obama’s Directory of Digital Analytics in 2013.

Obama’s team found out that a sequential form that asks for information, one detail at a time, worked better than a single, long-form. This produced a 5% lift in conversions.

Obama Email Campaigns

As Amelia puts it:

“For example, in one test on subject lines Showalter’s team found that the most effective iteration would raise $2.5m in donations, while the worst performing subject line would bring in less than $500,000.
Similarly, the team achieved a 5% uplift in conversions by A/B testing a long online donation form against a sequential format that asks for a little bit of information at a time, with the latter proving to be more effective.”

There were many more tests on the same campaigns for Obama.

 

For instance, Obama’s team boosted their donations conversion rate by a whopping 20-30% by a simple change of wording from “Save your Payment details now to make the process quicker next time” to “Now save your Payment Information”

Obama’s team also had a lot of insights that most people (marketers and businesses) wouldn’t get:

  • The team fostered a culture of testing
  • Ugly designs outperformed pretty looking ones
  • The test results were shared internally
  • Grabby subject lines proved to be worth millions of dollars.

Who would ever think?

Optimizely

It’s nice to see a company that makes A/B testing as the basis of its existence actually run A/B tests (and email marketing A/B tests, at that). Allison Sparrow of Optimizely ran a total of 82 email A/B tests as on 2017 with only 30% of those tests being significant.

How many calls to action should you have within an email? Any sensible marketer would tell you this: one.

But then, do you know for sure? You won’t know until you test.

In Optimizely’s case, they ran a test for 1 CTA vs Multiple CTAs with their existing customers.

The goal was to simply check in on the clicks for the CTA buttons.

The result was that one focused CTA was more effective (by 33% increase in clicks) than multiple ones.

If you are interested in reading more about Email Marketing A/B Testing, here are a few subject lines A/B test ideas from Sujan Patel on MailShake. 

But then, most A/B test results won’t even give you any meaningful results. The folks at MixPanel tell you why A/B tests give bullshit results

“So if you’re sick of bullshit results, and you want to produce that 38% lift in conversions to get that pat on the back and the nice case study, then put in the work. Take the time to construct meaningful A/B tests and you’ll get meaningful results.”

Are you doing A/B testing for your email marketing campaigns?

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