Let’s face it: the first time you put something out there, it’s not going to be your best work. Andy Warhol got an earful of advice from his agent, Ernest Hemingway’s editor made him sound better, and Joan Rivers is still visiting her plastic surgeon for further touch-ups.
And this is absolutely the case for your internet marketing efforts. Quite frankly, your first pass might have the wrong headline, a less-than-optimal layout and probably even a poor call to action. But have no fear, because by trying new variations and seeing how they test for your website, you will test and improve it. And I promise you’ll be amazed by the results.
By implementing this test-and-improve method, you can get more leverage and output from the same amount of input, just by making minor changes. Here are a few basic avenues that have been proven to show results:
1. Different Wording
Honestly, one word really can make a difference; even one letter can. Tests have shown that an ad’s headline that reads “Puts Music into Your Life” instead of “Put Music into Your Life” makes a significant difference. Adding the letter “s” created a double-digit change in response. Humans really are fickle.
Playing with wording presents no additional cost for your company, but it can make a serious and substantial difference to your bottom line.
2. Different Colors
You’d be surprised to find that, sometimes, it can be the simplest things that have serious impacts on your bottom line. A website or ad’s background color can be the defining characteristic that determines whether it will stand out or hide behind the clutter.
My good friend, Ryan Deiss, has tested background color and has seen a 31 percent increase when using robin’s egg blue on some of his sites. Who knew such a soothing color could create such excitement?
3. A Variety of Banner Ads
Using free tools like Google Analytics, any company can measure how many people an ad sends to their website. Another friend of mine, Jeff Mulligan, did an extensive testing program on his banner ads’ targeted pilots. They tested over 20 different creative approaches to find the top handful. The results were huge. Mulligan said, “Some of our best ads would perform four or five times better than the middle of the pack, and ten times better than the worst. When you find a winner like that, it stretches your media-buying dollar four or five times further because you are getting such better results with the same expenditure.”
The company also learned that they were constantly surprised by the results. “You never know what is going to work until you put it in front of people and measure their responses.” You think you know your client base well – good luck. You won’t know until you get data.
A Truly Mad Example
Even the most basic elements on your website, like forms, can be changed to increase your conversions.
My favorite example is Luke Wroblewski’s blog. He used the style of a Mad Lib to help make his forms more conversational. Mad Libs are the things you might have filled out as a kid, where you pick a part of speech, like a verb or an adjective, to fill in blanks. For example, a line might read, “I would like to use (service) and I want my username to be ___________ and my password to be ___________. “
The new form bumped up responses up to 40 percent. Like playing hooky and eating too much cotton candy, there are just some childhood things that never get old. Take advantage of these novelties.
You never know what small change might have a huge impact on your online marketing presence. The only way to find out what works is to test and then improve. Knowing that you’re bound to fail – and eventually get better – makes the experiment that much more exciting.
Yanik Silver has built multiple successful online businesses, one of which being Maverick MBA, even though he still considers himself a “techno dunce.” He has successfully bootstrapped 8 different product and service ideas hitting the million-dollar sales mark from scratch without funding, taking on debt or even having a real business plan. His newest book, “Maverick Startup” will be available from Entrepreneur Press April 1st.