In search especially, people want what they want and they want it now. Google is constantly working to break their own speed records by giving users their search results even a fraction of a fraction of a second faster.
They tested networked PCs vs. powerhouse servers and found they could serve search results faster with the networked PCs. So they use networked PCs.
The old search algorithms were being pushed to their limits, so search couldn’t work any faster (or so said others). So Google re-wrote their search algorithms.
They’ve shaved every bit and byte and computer decision away until they’ve become a lean, mean, search-serving machine. And arguably the fastest search engine on the planet.
But how does this apply to your business?
First — how fast do customers get product after they order it?
I recently was given the choice between a couple places to buy a book and my deciding factor was based on shipping time. One gave a free upgrade to priority shipping, while the other shipped ground when you paid for ground.
Guess which one I chose…
That’s right — the one that delivered my book faster.
Look for ways to deliver your product faster — even, I’d argue, if it cuts slightly into your profits. It will build customer loyalty and increase the lifetime value of your customer.
Maybe all it takes is adding an overnight delivery option, that the customer can optionally pay for. The customers that want instant gratification will pay for this premium and be happy about it.
Some service businesses may have trouble figuring out exactly how to do this.
But think of this. Some auto mechanics offer an “oil change while you wait” vs. you having to drop off your car in the morning and pick it up at lunch or at the end of the day. Some even change your oil without you having to get out of your car. Which is more convenient? If the price is the same, which do you choose?
If you’re providing business consulting services, maybe you offer an on-site intensive session early in your relationship with a client. That way, you can give them actionable strategies they can start applying right away, while you go back to your office to develop a more thorough plan for their business.
Just use a little creativity and look at ways you can give the client or customer the gratification they need sooner.
This year Tom Leung — Google’s product manager for Google Website Optimizer — presented at Ken McCarthy’s System Seminar. As Tom spoke, System faculty member Sean D’Souza scribbled away a few cartoons to illustrate the points Tom was making.
The points include:
Testing can help you win the tortoise-hare race by helping you make more effective landing pages than your competitors.
Bad landing pages are like crash zones!
It’s easy to get really excited — overzealous? — about testing, once you get into it. (“Guilty as charged, your honor!”)
If you want big results, then test BIG, BOLD changes.
Don’t act too quick on early results.
Yes, the 80/20 rule applies to testing too — it’s often better to do a couple quick split tests, rather than doing too-advanced, too-complex multivariate or Taguchi tests. Getting in, getting out, and getting results is profitable!
To see the cartoons, check them out on the Official Google Website Optimizer Blog:
Here’s another video on Google Website Optimizer — covering some of the best things you can test on your e-commerce website. Testing is a “garbage in, garbage out” process. That means if your ideas of what to test are bad, you’ll get bad results. But if you’re ideas of what to test are good… the sky’s the limit!
The better your test input, the quicker your profit boost will be.
This video can be used as a yardstick to measure your testing ideas against — and you can know with certainty what you’re testing has the power to bring results, quick.
It features Tom Leung, Google’s Product Manager for Google Website Optimizer, plus Bryan Eisenberg from FutureNow and GrokDotCom.
The video shows you a number of different options that can be tested to increase your web page and landing page conversion rates, including:
Where to start for maximally profitable testing.
Two simple things you can identify about pages on your website, to decide in seconds which pages can be turned into the most profitable tests.
“Idea Spectrums” you can identify for testing — and where to place your test inputs on the spectrums to get the biggest bumps in conversion.
Easy experimentation ideas.
Best practices in scientific advertising and marketing experimentation.
A bigger strategy for testing — why “thinking big” when testing will give you the most long term growth.
Four types of buyers — including how quickly they make the buying decision, and whether they use a logical or emotional appeal.
What people look at when they hit your web page — knowing this will tell you exactly what to test first.
The hierarchy of optimization, and why persuasion should be one of the last things you think about testing on most websites.
Five formulas for online marketing success.
How decreasing “flashiness” can increase your profits (expensive web designers — beware!).
Three easy headline tests that could boost conversions 50% or more.
Twelve website copy tests that can actually make a difference.
The point in the buying process when your prospect is the most fickle — and how to build confidence and close the sale.
Eight variables contained in just the “Add to Cart” button.
How “The Golden Rule” applies to testing your marketing.
Two carpenters are asked to build a table. They’re given identical sets of tools, and identical pieces of wood. They’re given two days to complete the task.
At the end of two days, one carpenter comes back with a rather plain, simple table. Nothing fancy, and certainly nothing that would stand out as exceptional compared to all the other tables you’ve seen in your life.
The other carpenter presents a table, the very sight of which takes your breath away. The table is sure and solid, with fine construction. And the details… magnificent! The legs are decorated with intricate carvings that seem as if they’d have taken years to do. The surface is smoother than glass. Every inch of the table was carefully considered, creating a masterpiece table if ever there was one.
The carpenters above were given the same tools, and the same material to work with. Yet they came back with drastically different results.
This also applies in online testing.
One of the biggest myths about testing your online marketing is…
If you’re given the tools, you’ll see instant improvement. This comes from the assumption that the tools are responsible for the increase.
(That couldn’t be more wrong!)
So… if it’s not the tools… how do you get breakthrough results?
The secret I’m about to teach you is the #1 most important thing to know, when you’re testing your marketing online or offline. It’s how you’ll create incredible results — independent of whatever tool you’re using.
It’ll turn you into a testing expert capable of creating big increases in response. Today, if you choose to apply it.
And it works whether you’re using Google Website Optimizer, Vertster, Optimost, Split Test Accelerator, or one of the other marketing testing platforms out there. It even works for testing offline marketing.
This secret is universal.
Summed up in the shortest form possible, this secret is:
“Test big differences.” Let me explain.
When your prospect sees your ad (online or offline) you have — at best — 3 seconds to convince them to stay. If what you’re testing can not be seen in 3 seconds or less, you’re not going to create any big difference in response.
So the solution is to present large differences that can be seen in 3 seconds or less. Test changes to the elements of your ad that are front and center when your prospect first sees it.
Testing these big differences will get you…
Big differences in response (whether they’re for better or worse).
Once you learn the “Test big differences” principle, you’ll start to see great differences in your test results. Some of your tests will flop (that’s okay). Some will soar (whoopee)! And some will stay roughly the same (that probably means the element of your ad that you’re testing is minimally influential, and you should move on to testing something else within the ad).
But the first step is to learn to test big differences — differences that can be identified within 3 seconds of looking at your ad.
This will change your life. Here’s how…
Using this principle, some of the tests will fail, and you’ll return to using your control package. But some will lead to increases in response far beyond what you’d ever expect — increases that can literally change your life forever by creating more customers, more sales, and more profits.
As you use this principle, creating these breakthroughs will become easier and easier.
That’s the #1 secret for breakthrough marketing testing — use it and you’ll become the carpenter that gets exceptional results, using the same tools everyone else can only manage to create nominal improvement from.
If you want to learn the most advanced method of online testing — Taguchi marketing testing — head on over to http://www.TaguchiTestingHandbook.com to buy the ebook I wrote with A-list copywriter Bob Bly on the subject.
You get 90 days to try it risk free, and you’ll get a couple bonuses just for trying it out: The Kowalick Taguchi Spreadsheet for running free Taguchi testing (using the methods I lay out in the book), and Bob’s special bonus report Online Marketing That Works.
It’s easy to get excited about testing your marketing. The prospect of increasing conversions from 10% to 2,000% or more is really motivating. But when you get in there to actually do the testing, it can be a little confusing — what should you test to get the best results, and why?
In my ebook — The Taguchi Testing Handbook — soon to be released with Bob Bly‘s CTC Publishing, I cover this topic in a lot of detail. Much more detail than I can cover in a blog post. But I’ll share some of the basics here, to get you started on the right track.
Test high probability areas
On your landing page or other web page, there are inevitably a few areas that jump out and attract the eyes from the moment you load the page. These probably include your headline, any image at the top of the page, the first paragraph of body copy, the first list of bullet points… the list could go on, and is different from page to page.
When I’m looking to run a test, I want to know the first couple things that jump out to any visitor to the page. Why? Because these are what almost every visitor looks at, and what will probably have the most impact in testing. When there’s something that every visitor to a page focuses on, even for a split second, it has the potential to increase conversions through testing.
Once you’ve picked out the two or three most prominent page elements for testing, you may wonder what else to test (especially for Taguchi testing, which requires many more than 2 or 3 variables). Here’s a list of landing page elements that qualify as “high probability areas” — they’ve been influential in quite a few of the tests run:
The main headline
The subhead right below the main headline
The greeting (“Dear friend,”)
The offer (Including bonuses, packaging, delivery method, etc.)
Guarantees (30-day, 1-year, 100% money back, 100% money back + $100 donated to a charity in your name)
P.S. (restate offer, restate guarantee, a mini FAQ, etc.)
Reinforcement copy in the checkout process or on the order form
These may or may not be influential variables on your landing page. And they may not be the only influential variables on your page. But each is worth testing because just one could increase your response by as much as 2,000%. And by testing multiples the increases will stack up even greater.
Once you’ve decided what to test, you need to decide what your different input will be. This is the most crucial step of the testing process. I’ll cover that in my next post, so make sure you’re registered on the right for updates.
The blogosphere has been buzzing with news of ConversionUniversity.com, Google’s recently-launched site on how to make your website perform better — in SEO, SEM, PPC, Analytics, website testing, and more. So what’s the deal?
What’s Google up to?
Why do they want to give all this free information on how to make your website make you more money (even if it’s not an e-commerce site)? Why aren’t they charging for this info?
Here’s my take.
Google — for as long as they’ve been in business — has been all about giving users the best possible experience. It’s been the secret to their success.
Every time Google changes their algorithms — the infamous ‘Google Slap‘ — it always works out in the favor of the website owners who are already giving a superior customer experience, and punishes those who diminish the customer experience.
They really want you to have a good customer experience on your website — and one way for you to do that is to have increased traffic, and increased conversions. Increased traffic means your site is more relevant to visitors — it appears to fill their need when it shows up in the search engine (either paid or organic). If Google shows searchers sites that are more relevant to what they’re searching for, Google’s doing their job, and they’re happy.
Another way to improve your customer experience is actually to sell more — increase your conversion rate. Here’s how this works. If you’re converting more of your website visitors into customers, that means a higher percentage of website visitors actually found what they wanted when they visited your website. If Google directed them to the site where they could find what they wanted, then Google did their job, and they’re happy.
Similar to selling more and getting more traffic, just keeping traffic on your site longer with more and better content keeps Google happy — again, if you’re keeping the people who found your site through Google happy, then Google is happy too.
And finally, the hidden profit motive.
Google knows that if they educate you about how to do better in SEO, SEM, PPC, Analytics, website testing, and everything else they have their fingers in, that you’ll be more likely to use their paid services such as AdWords.
It’s an old law of persuasion and selling — the law of reciprocity. When someone gives something to us without an obvious motive of getting something in return, we feel obligated deep down to actually return the favor. It’s the secret behind all educational marketing (and it’s something you can use too).
Google’s flooding us with information on how to profit more by using their services. This, in turn, encourages us to use their services. And they profit more.
Anything wrong with this?
I don’t think so. They’re using these persuasion principles in an honest and ethical manner. And if you ask, they’re pretty open about why they provide so much education.
Maybe there’s something we can all learn from this…
Just watched the 2nd video posted on Multivariate Testing for Google Optimizer.
Thanks again for the information. Again, the video was integral in allowing me to set up the experiment in a little time as possible.
In fact, I successfully installed all code all tracking code the first time. I now have a home page with 83 variations! I guess I went nuts.
I felt bad for the guy because he’d put in a lot of work. But because his website is not super high-traffic, I had to burst his bubble. (It’ll save him some pain down the road.)
Here’s my reply:
Glad the video was helpful! But…
83 variations is a lot if you don’t have tons of traffic. You’re going to need between 100 and 1000 people per variation in order for you to get good results. That means as many as 83,000 visitors (maybe even more than that!) will have to see your website before you know the results of your test.
Unless you do get that type of traffic (or plan to spend enough to start getting it) you’ll probably want to look at what’s really important to test, and re-start your test focusing on the top 2 or 3 things you want to test, with no more than 3 variations each.
What I often do when I use their multivariate tool is test 3 headlines and 2 each of 2 other variables. That gives you 12 total variations and gets you results quick enough you can move on. Much more than that and you want to start getting into the advanced stuff like Design Of Experiments (DOE) and Taguchi to really maximize the improvements you can get from the same amount of traffic — but that goes beyond what Google Website Optimizer does natively (Bob Bly will be releasing an ebook I wrote soon that shows you how to do it with Google Website Optimizer).
Sorry if this throws a wrench in your cogs… I just don’t want you to be bummed a few months from now when you haven’t gotten conclusive results on your tests yet!
Let me know if you have questions, or if there’s anything else I can do for you.
This is a common mistake. With Google Website Optimizer’s multivariate testing, you can create and test over 4,000 combinations of elements on a web page. But… since each combination will need between 100 and 1,000 visitors (or more) before you can really learn anything from it, you’re going to need a lot of traffic to make this successful — as many as 4,000,000 visitors!
You’d be better off testing 6 headlines against each other (and probably get better results quicker). This way you have 6 total web pages to test, and in 6,000 visitors or less you’ll know which is the most effective! Then you can test other elements in the page.
Another alternative that gives you 6 options is 3 headlines and 2 of another element. That’s a good test as well. There are a lot of options that keep your total number of tests around 15 or below, which is a good number for most websites. This gets results quickly, with a smaller amount of traffic.
Much more than that and you may want to call me for Taguchi testing. (I can help with the smaller split tests and multivariate tests too, if you’d like.) 541-543-1438
Take a look inside everything that happens on your site. This free service lets you track where website traffic comes from, where it goes, and how long it stays. If you do nothing else I suggest, use this free service!
Tracking your traffic is one of the first steps you have to take if you want to have success online. Google’s made it easy with a free tool that someone with even mere hours of web development experience could install. Do it!
Pay for how much traffic you want. If you want a flood of traffic to your website and can afford it, you can get it very quickly. If you want to test a new idea cheaply, you can do it. AdWords lets you pay per visitor, for a price you set (you compete with other people bidding on the same traffic). (This is called pay per click, or PPC.)
All online advertising experiments should start with an AdWords campaign. It should be one pillar of your overall marketing strategy. Google just has too big a share of the search market to ignore. This is how you can capitalize on their traffic and make it yours.
Once you have traffic to your website, you need to get visitors to do what you want. You can guess, or you can know with scientific certainty how well different parts of your ad influence the conversions. Google Website Optimizer (another free tool!) lets you know with scientific certainty.
Use this tool to improve conversions and profits from your website. It’s easy. It’s powerful. And it pays off in spades.
Are these the only three tools I use? No.
Are they the three best? Maybe.
Are they essential? Yes!
Try them out. And if you can’t quite figure out how to use them, you have two options:
1. I’ll provide more how to info soon — register on the right to get it.
2. I offer consulting on each of these tools — call me: 541-543-1438.