Tuesday, March 15, 2011

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Great Marketing Water Relay Race

I was never particularly athletic. But as a kid, there was one event that my team usually won. The Water Relay Race. You and your teammates stood in a line, and when the whistle blew, the first member would run like crazy to the full bucket of water, dip a glass in, and then carry it back to the team’s measuring jar. You then passed the glass to your teammate. The team with the most water in the allocated time, won.

Why we used to win this I don’t really know. I do remember providing the strategy of covering the full glass with your hand while running back, but surely other teams picked up on this quickly enough.

Anyhow my observation for today is that a Marketing Activity is very similar to a water Relay Race.

Here’s how it goes:

You are approached for a product or an event offer. It so happens that the offer interests you and you sign up for the event.

Hopefully, the next team member then calls you. The marketing strategy, is twofold: a) confirm your information is correct, b) remind you of the event.

You attend the event, and the third team member gets an idea of how interested you are in their product. If he uses the “hand over glass” strategy, he/she is noting down whether you can afford the product, when you are likely to buy it, why you need it, and which competitors you are checking out.

And so this Marketing Team wins the blue ribbon in the Water Relay Race.

It is a very simple allegory. And I haven’t even gotten to the “make the sale” part.

The marketing person in me enjoys watching where other Marketing teams drop the glass. Here are two examples in my personal experience:

Kaya Skin Clinic Free Check-up:

I SMS-ed my interest after watching a TV commercial (this remains the only time I have ever done this), which I think says a lot for the commercial.

I get an SMS confirming my application.

I get a call asking me a date and time, then telling me my time was not available, then telling me the time and date that was available. (I was already half-hearted at this point). Let me add here that it goes against the grain to go see a skin specialist who’ll then closely examine your face under a bright light and proceed to tell you all about your flaws.

I only imagine the above because I never went. I simply forgot my appointment.

There was no further news from Kaya of which I’m rather thankful.

Apple Workshop:

I was approached outside Chennai CitiCentre with an invitation to an Apple Mac Book Pro workshop. I signed up, chose a date and time.

I later received a call and asked if I would attend, which I said yes to, but the time mentioned during the phone call was different from the one I signed up for. I asked the lady if she could confirm the original time I signed up for and she said she'd call back.

She never did.

Rather sad in both cases, since Kaya Skin clinic is walking distance from my house, and my husband does fully intend to buy an Apple MacBook Pro, we just don’t know when.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

When content design makes a difference…

My last few posts have been about landing page content, but since content strategy is a part of this blog, I’m going to discuss what strategic changes you could make to start improving conversions on your landing page.

First of all by content strategy, I’m referring to decisions regarding what kind of content, where it goes and how to say it. If you think you’ve covered everything you need to say in your landing pages, but are not getting the results you expect, consider the following:

Do the subheads tell you the story?
Face it. Your users scan, so make the content flow of the page as clear as possible.

Just by looking at your page can they “see” your product/offering?
Screenshots, pack shots, special offer… what is it? They want to see it, not ready about. And if there’s a nice, large call-to-action button right next to it, the more enticingly irresistible is your action. Warning: Don’t overdo it. A page with screenshot after screenshot of the results of your software product isn’t going to work. Use images which communicate or show the product in a visually-appealing way.

Does every page fold have a call to action?
If not try to rearrange your content or page elements so that a call to action is always visible (it can be the same “Sign up now!” button, or multiple methods of inducing the same action, or even different desired actions).

Are you using your space wisely?
Users obviously go from top to bottom, (and largely focus on the right hand side content) but that doesn’t mean they don’t come back up. So is that blank space under the left navigation necessary or could you be capturing emails addresses?

Can you communicate with more than words?
Ever read through a long list of benefits? Ha ha ha…. yeah right! So try spicing up your content by adding icons that can visually communicate your benefits, and attract eyeballs to that (most crucial) part of the page.

I’ve recently had some success with pages where the content was great, but the page itself simply needed some design improvements. The points above have helped me ensure each element on the page is working towards moving that conversion needle up.

Hope it does the same for you!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Hitting the Landing Page Jackpot

Yesterday, after two months and a dozen iterations, I tasted what I can definitely describe as success through content. A landing page for an analytical product suddenly began to perform.

Here’s how it went:

Recognizing the Initial Problem
We had something I could term as a Master Landing Page. It simply had everything anyone needed to know about two of our products, and was used extensively across a majority of our campaigns. This means whether a person was searching for “analytical reporting tool” or “database report” or “report writing” they would come to the same Master page. And over time, as the page showed some success, it had generally been extended to other campaigns as well, until about 60% of our campaigns were pointing at this one page regardless of the keyword.

By studying the results of these various campaigns over a period of time, it became clear that only a couple of campaigns were actually converting from the Master Landing page, while a few like Analytics were performing rather poorly.

Creating a Focused Landing page
We first created a landing page, with new content and supporting material (case studies, brochures) that focused completely on analysis and what our product could do. What we also did was tailor the page content towards corporate analytical requirements, as our product was mainly an enterprise product.

It didn’t work.

Redesigning the Page
We then enhancing the visuals that supported our content, sample analytical reports, screenshots of the product, graphs charts etc. I had the download buttons placed regularly across the page so that our call to action was always visible regardless of how much a visitor scrolled.

It didn’t work.

Making the Content Personal
While reviewing the content, it seemed to me that the language was not direct enough. Talking on an enterprise level tends to be a little impersonal, and so we rewrote the content to be more on a first-person basis.

It did slightly better, but not really the success I was looking for.

What are my Competitors Saying?
I then went into research mode (something I should’ve done first) and looked at what our competitors were doing and adopted some of their good points into my page. Some of these activities included, making the page headline more visible, increasing the size of the download buttons, putting some important keywords/phrases in bold, linking to flash demonstrations.

Performance still average.

At this point it must be noted, that point of comparison was against the Master Landing Page. When I say performance was average, visitors were downloading, but no more that they were on the Master Landing Page.

What do visitors want?
Having also redone a lot of the ads (with much greater success) I was familiar with both the keywords and headlines that were bringing visitors to my page. So I went back to the basics: What can I say that answers/reemphasizes the headline that they clicked on? How do I bring the top keywords into the content? How do I make the content (which by now was a VERY long page) short and succinct?

After answering these questions, I finally began to see the results I was looking for.

So what worked? No doubt about it. ALL of the above.

The Winning Combination…
Getting the right content on your landing page is a process. You have to try multiple ideas, and even harder, combinations of these ideas to see what’s going to work for you.

This is what I think worked for me: focusing and personalizing the content, making the visuals and buttons larger and accessible, adding supporting material like flash demos and screenshots, ensuring top keywords were clearly visible on the page, and bringing the page content down to a single scroll.

…Trial & Error
It always seems obvious when we list it out like that, but when I applied these tactics to another poorly performing page… it just didn’t work, so here I go again.

It’s tedious and frustrating to say the least, but when you hit the jackpot I can assure you, it will be worth it.