Saturday, June 30, 2007

Mid-Year Inventory

"Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in." ~ Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of the France, (1769–1821)
It's the end of June 2007. Next stop 2008.

Am I getting ahead of myself? Probably.

The year is half over. No time to pat oneself on the back, time better spent figuring out how to make the last half of the year more productive. We need more names, higher conversions and more testing. But what the heck, let's reflect a whee bit.

My last Google campaign just ended yesterday. My "10 Low-Priced Stocks to Buy Now" report has gone to greener pastures.

May it Rest In Peace.

What a great report and a fantastic campaign. It helped me bring in more than 50,000 free subscribers since it's launch mid February. It was A/B tested 6 times and multi-variate tested three different times. We ended up with 40 different versions of teaser copy... all leading to one control.

The campaign was battle tested and strong. So much so that on its final day, it took it's last breath with an 18% conversion. That is 18% after 5 months. Only constant testing kept it alive and profitable.

If that doesn't get you to start testing, then just leave now. Stop reading this blog immediately. Walk away and go do something else.

What's next?

I have a campaign launching tomorrow based on "5 Top Income Stocks." This is a more niche effort and I expect the volume numbers to be lower. And that is just fine.

We are looking to bring in more conservative and causous investors to the list. Readers that we can up sell our "value" investing products.

This campaign will get me through the summer. Come September 4th, we launch the next blockbuster. What's the subject?

You'll just have the keep reading, eh?

What else do I have planned this summer?

More time outside digging holes in the garden. Sweating, and sweating more. The pic is the border of the patio taken two weeks ago, with my shy and quiet boy in the foreground. It needs water... but all of Maryland needs water. It never seems to rain here.

After that?

Work...playing baseball with my son... making my daughter laugh... enjoying a beverage with the wife... perhaps a vacation to the Baltic come August.

We'll see.

The one thing for certain is all the while I'll be bringing in names, and thinking of how my efforts can be more productive before 2008 is upon us.


Friday, June 29, 2007

Keywords And Your Noggin

“One way to compensate for a tiny brain is to pretend to be dead” ~ Scott Adams, American Cartoonist, creator of Dilbert
How do you do your keyword research?

Wordtracker? There is a free version as well as a one-week subscription. Lots of data at your fingertips.

Google Keyword Selection Tool? It offers a very powerful free tool in AdWords. Always changing with new features.

Trellian Keyword Discovery? Many in the industry call this the best keyword tool in the business.


I use my brain. I'm serious.

I've seen too many badly optimized pages and poorly performing PPC campaigns put together by so-called SEO professionals that rely mainly on these types of tools and not business logic.

Everyday I ask my four year old son, "Have you used your Noggin today?"

When actually I should be asking these guys that question. Finding words with the best impressions may not be the best words to buy or the best words for your site. A keyword tool won't think for you. It's garbage in - garbage out. Simply mining data based on your input. It's doesn't make a campaign work by using it.

Bottom line.... to find the best keyword for your site or your campaign you shouldn't just "Do the Research"... you should do the following three CVoD initiatives:
Brainstorm with your editors, copywriters, product mangers, etc. Find the best words you can, expand as you go based on your target for success. In other words, come up with a plan that will best attack your objective. Sometimes you may want to cast a wide net and slowly tighten it. Other times you may want to start small and then expand.

Do what is right for you, your campaign and your budget.

If you need help, by all means use these Keyword research tools in addition to your noggin, but NEVER in lieu of.

Keep in mind that these tools do have a time and place and can expand your universe of names. But it's not a panacea.

Lastly, go for it. Don't hold back. Just keep thinking... and doing these Four CVoD principles:
Test Again
You knew that was coming, right?


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Another Good Business Move

"Conquer, but don't triumph"
~ Marie Ebner von Eschenbach, Austrian Author, 1830-1916
Youtube used to say that they streamed more than 100 million videos a day. That is unreal, don’t you think?

However, they don't put that in their press releases' any more. I'd guess it's not because the number went down, but the masterminds at Google just don't want us to know anymore. Perhaps, it might get in the way of our guessing what they are up to next.

Like paying video creators for their content on youtube.

What... you didn't know that?

Yep, without fanfare Google announced that it's youtube property will pay it's "most popular and prolific" up loaders. A select group of popular posters will be offered a cut of ad revenues.

Have I peaked your interest?

Don't get too excited because Google giving away advertising revenue, will just make more money for Google.

Don't believe me? See this CVoD post called Take Control Of Your Index. All Google ideas are about more profits for Google disguised as benefits to its users.

The Google/Youtube traffic machine hasn't fully explained how its revenue sharing will work, in fact they don’t list any details about how to get your video featured nor even how to be revenue share "partner."

Id’s suspect it’s probably something like the model at Revver is a video sharing website that like hosts user-generated content, but Revver shares all ad revenue 50/50 with the creators from pay-per-click ads appended at the end of each video.

Revver claims to have “hundreds of regular creators, some are making as much as $10,000 in a month, some make $1,000 a week, some make lunch money."

Very cool.

Lunch money for doing something you’d do anyway. Wow... what a great way to create loyalty from the posters, eh?

So Google sees an opportunity to start creating loyalty and jumps on the revenue sharing bandwagon. This should keep the current loyal youtubers happy AND yet I know Google at the same time also hopes that it pulls some business away from its competitors.

It would bring me in. Seriously.

If the goal is to monetize content, why wouldn't you go to the site with the most traffic?

And youtube has the traffic. Heck... I think you'd have a better chance to monetize your video with them then on your own small site, eh? (depending on your traffic and page views)

Now I see why Google investors are still optimistic. Think about the big picture here...

This revenue share is a further way for Google to sell advertising on the thousands of independently produced videos uploaded to its site each day, which besides the AdSense compontant, will help it make good on its $1.65 billion acquisition.

It also smells of goodwill and good public relations. The big bad, "I want to dominate the World" Google-Monster, won't be seen as unfairly making money from youtube and its video creators hard work. On the contrary, Google will be giving back to the community with a revenue share program.

It's pure evil genius.

But that is not all.

Paying video creators will encourage more people to create quality content that people want to watch — instead of simply posting home videos and all that other crap you see constantly.

Waiting for the other Prada shoe to drop?

Here it comes... generating more high quality content, will attract big time advertisers with big budgets to spend. Major brands with more major dollars going to Google. Google looks good; Google makes money; Another good business move.


People mainly upload content to Youtube because of ego. I see it like waving when you know a TV camera is near by, or those people that stand out in the snow to get seen on the Today show. It's kinda sad but we all know people who do it.

Now in the summer of 2007, it's not TV but the Internet, and it's not morning network programming but it's youtube. That's the prime vehicle used to get airtime. And people are crazed for it - they crave the attention. Be it good, bad, or self-deprecating, they all want to be on youtube. (Companies too!)

And now with money on the line, they will probably like it a whole lot more. Video postings should rise and traffic should go up.

Poor Google.

Oh, and if you are thinking of grabbing a camera to start posting & hoping to cash in... Please remember again, that Google has not made it clear what is takes to get a featured video which will get you tremendous page views nor will the explain any ground rules of how to become a revenue share "partner."

This keeps posters in the dark... guessing. Do you think most of them will wait for instructions or start posting more immediately?

I told you... evil.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Thanks Content, Part 1

"I feel a very unusual sensation - if it is not indigestion, I think it must be gratitude." ~ Benjamin Disraeli, British Conservative Statesman and Literary Figure, (1804–1881)
What is the Placement Performance Report?

You haven't heard? It's a gift from the gods.

With Goolge PPC, many marketers (like me) are able to bring in names in bunches. Names with an acceptable CPA AND ROI.

But it's always been a catch-22. You see Google has always provided full online statistical, conversion, and financial reporting for the "Search" side of Google AdWords program. The volume is low and steady, but with those reports you can really bring in affordable names.

On the other hand, the best way to bring in the volume with Google has been via the "content" network in addition to the search results. Yet, Google wouldn't release any statistics on this network. In other words, you know your ad is showing up somewhere on the Google network of properties but you couldn't track the keywords or the sites that the names were acquired on. Was it youtube, Gmail, or some very small AdSense site?

We weren't given a clue. Until now.

You can now run what Google calls a "Placement Performance Report" to view metrics for ads that are running on the content network.


We can finally start to see some transparency on these content network campaigns. With this new report we can now see the Domain and the actual page URL which your ads are placed, then the corresponding impressions, clicks, CTR, Avg CPC, Cost, Conversions, Conversion Rate, and CPA.

We are no longer flying totally blind - Thank you Google.

Now if we could only get a keyword break down per URL and then, most importantly, to be able to pick and choose the content network sites, then I would be ecstatic.

Sure, I know that is asking alot but if you don't ask you don't get, right?

Nonetheless, this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

So Take It Easy

Moderation is the center wherein all philosophies, both human and divine, meet. ~Benjamin Disraeli
Designing a new web site?

Good... your current site looks old, stale and needs new life. I'm not being mean just keeping it real, eh?

Websites often stay well past their prime... no worry, you're ahead of the game since you're doing some thing about it. But... what is this I here about you making the entire site in flash?


Macromedia Flash is an awesome tool to add animation and visual interest to a site. But you shouldn't use it as the platform to build a site. AND if you do... your new site probably won't be as crawlable as it could be. Go back and read the CVoD issue Are You Google Visible?

When designing a new site you must,
"Think of the mind set the Google bot has... it's not giving you points for great colors, or a flash intro... you must think like a computer. Think substance over glitter, shine or sparkle."
Yes you want your new site to look stunning. But it must be easy to use and easy to be indexed in Google.... otherwise you'll have a website that no one can find.

Practically speaking... yes, you can get a Flash site indexed, (actually several years ago you couldn't), but it's harder to get it ranked high. Harder than virtually the same site in HTML. I read you can over come this by getting more back links. How many?

Good question... not sure anyone knows. Let's just say more than the normal. Please understand that if you design an all Flash site you are creating a lot more unnecessary work for yourself.

The way I look at it, if Google won't rank the Flash site as high as a similar HTML site, without that extra work, then why would you ever want to build your site in Flash?

Exactly, don't.

It is unfortunate, but many creative website designers just don't have a clue about SEO. Before hiring a design firm, talk about these issues... insist on a written provision in the agreement detailing how the firm will construct the site to be crawlable. Talk about the need for SEO and how the design should fall in the middle... between aesthetics and SEO function. It's a partnership.

My advice is to do the site in HTML, XML, Javascript, and/or AJAX.

And Flash?

Use that in cool Maps and other design features within the site. Keep it in moderation.

If you MUST have a flash site... then create two versions of a Web site: Flash and HTML. Let visitors select their preference on your home page, AND make sure the home page isn't a splash page.

Oh, and only submit the HTML version of a site to the search engines.

Not sure why you would NEED an all Flash site but hey... people do things all the time online that I don't understand.

In my world...

Flash is like an ice cold beer on a summer day. It's great and can really hit the spot. Just take it easy and don't over do it. Listen to Tommy Boy...
"Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health." ~ Thomas Jefferson

Friday, June 15, 2007

Make The Complicated Simple

"Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity."
~ Charles Mingus, American jazz bassist and composer, 1922–1979
So you want to test a video ad?

Cool, let us know the results - I’ll post them.

What did you say... you don’t want to spend a fist full of hundreds on it?

Not to worry. You don’t have to.

I've seen a lot of slick video pre-rolls on the web that are in most cases actually just edited version of TV commercials. You don’t need that. More and more industry people are saying the edited down commercial is too slick for a pre-rolling web video. I see it as a case-by-case thing, but nonetheless, it's not the only option.

Do it yourself.

Don’t be afraid... you don't need high technology, just some creativity, good content and/or copy. Do it "low-fi.

What I mean is... you don't need a fancy studio. The available off the shelve technology is amazing. From digital video and cellular camcorders to laptop editing systems, and royalty-free music. You can do it all... desktop video production.

Too much for you? Ok...

There are “make your own commercial” online video services available like Spot Runner which claims to be the first Internet-based ad agency that makes it easy and affordable for local businesses to advertise on TV.

Spot Runner offers commercial production, media planning and media buying in a single turnkey, self-service system at a fraction of the traditional cost. This opportunity is in the middle, eh?

If this is the right fit for you - go for it. I just want you to understand that it's not necessary to rent a studio or use a media company to be successful with online video. Why?

Simply put, the idea of low-fi video is hot. Its time has come. Low-fi is not seen as amateurish, it’s “Indie”. AND that, in today’s media culture is way cool.

Keep in mind, really low-fi used on equipment from the 80's is crap. The concept of low-fi doesn’t give you license to go make a crappy hand held video ad, nor does it mean you should produce a daily news service on your site. But it does mean you can be successful on the web without a big hundred thousand dollar investment.

Success on the web will always come down to landing page copy for web sites and creative copy for video. Regardless of the medium it’s a quality content and copywriting world.

We apply all the CVoD rules with video the same as with anything else on the web. You must produce something of value and your ads must be providing a benefit to the video watcher. I'll say it again... the marketing has not changed only the medium has.

But with video... you need to look at one more thing. Context.

A 30 second slick edited TV pre-roll may not work placed before a low-fi music video. But it might work in front of a commentary on the currency markets. You want to match the slickness quotient of the pre-roll with that of the video content.

Better yet, you just need to test it.

Nothing has changed regarding testing either... do it early and often.

We live in the viral video age… in the world of youtube and myspace. Low-fi is found much more, (and accepted), than the highly produced, and as such, everybody can now join the party with online video.

So don’t pass up a video test because of the perceived lack of funds. Use your best copy and/or content and do it yourself.

Go cut your own cloth...


PS - And now for something completly different...

For no other reason than it made me laugh out loud, the final scene from The Meaning of Life (1983):
Lady Presenter: Well, that's the end of the film. Now, here's the meaning of life.

[Receives an envelope]

Lady Presenter: Thank you, Brigitte.

[Opens envelope, reads what's inside]

Lady Presenter: M-hmm. Well, it's nothing very special. Uh, try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations. And, finally, here are some completely gratuitous pictures of penises to annoy the censors and to hopefully spark some sort of controversy, which, it seems, is the only way, these days, to get the jaded, video-sated public off their fucking arses and back in the sodding cinema. Family entertainment? Bollocks. What they want is filth: people doing things to each other with chainsaws during tupperware parties, babysitters being stabbed with knitting needles by gay presidential candidates, vigilante groups strangling chickens, armed bands of theatre critics exterminating mutant goats. Where's the fun in pictures? Oh, well, there we are. Here's the theme music. Goodnight.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Future Thinking Video

“All of the books in the world contain no more information than is broadcast as video in a single large American city in a single year. Not all bits have equal value.” ~ Dr. Carl Sagan, Astronomer, Writer and Scientist, 1934-1996
Are you thinking of using video on your site?

Many industry insiders feel the web is moving from a medium built on text to one centered on video. I'm not willing go climb out on that limb yet, but I do think all web marketers should look into it.

Video can make your site more sticky, increase the visitor time on site, bring in more eyes to your advertising and give your visitors an alternative method of viewing your content. All good things… not to mention the benefit you may receive due to the new Google universal search model.

But I'm not going to kid you… it can be really expensive.

Is it worth the investment? Are there ways to keep the costs down? How do you test with video?

All good questions, and I’ll be addressing them over the next few blog posts. But first, here is some good background information on video and it’s impact on the web.

Last week the Online Publishers Association (OPA) released the results of a study discussing the factors which affect video advertising. The research included surveying and concept testing 1,422 online video users.

OPA focused on four ad attributes that impact video advertising: duration (15 v. 30 sec.); placement (pre-roll and post-roll); companion ad (with/without); and, advertising type (original online v. repurposed TV).

Here are some of the key findings...

Online video users tend to watch clips fairly frequently, with the majority viewing videos at least once a month. Forty-four percent reported that they watch video at least weekly while 73% do so at least once a month.

What do they watch?

News is the most popular online video category, (14% watch daily), weather ranks second, (11% watch daily), followed by humor,(9% watch daily). Looking at the data weekly, 45% watch video news, while 39% watch humorous clips.

These videoheads aren't yet hooked on mobile video. Just one in five (18%) say they watch clips on mobile devices or MP3s. Those that do - do it regularly, with 41% reporting viewing mobile video at least once a week.

I am very impressed to learn that the study found consumers will respond to a video ad call to action.

It found that of the 80% of viewers that have watched a video ad online, 52% took some sort of action, whether it's checking out a website (31%), searching for more info (22%), going into a store (15%), or actually making a purchase (12%). AND visitors to information publishing sites, (magazine, newspaper, cable, broadcast, etc.) were more inclined to act upon the video ad than visitors to larger portals or content sites.

One of the biggest factors causing positive results was ad length. A 30 second pre-roll video ad outperformed 15 seconds ads. The 30 seconds ad produced a 30% lift in ad relevance and a 23% lift in brand consideration.

This is really big news since prior studies have found 30-second spots were too annoying. But times have changed, eh?

With the growth of youtube and the video search engines the audience must now be ready. Perhaps like how the free e-letter readers are use to our inserts and dedicateds, eh?

(Side note: Most of the results I've seen talk about branding rather than sales... that could be troublesome. It means the data is tracking "likability" rather than conversion. Just keep that in mind. It's not a study that would cause me to invest $250,000 in equipment but it is very positive nonetheless.)

The study also reinforced something called the "halo effect" which means the successful selling and/or branding of one product can help in the selling of other products on the site. In other words, brand awareness and brand loyalty.

If a prior consumer with a brand affinity watched and liked the video content, the brand awareness jumped 61%. If the consumer's initial attitude was neutral or negative, it still rose 21%.

In sum, based on this study... online video ads are showing extremely positive results. So why not test a video ad?

I don't know if this will work for your site… but I think it is worth a test. Rather than just have your site teaser copy be the only call to action, if you can afford it, you should test a video call to action.

I know that is a huge "if"... but we have to think about the future, right?

If a video can increase the clicks to your site links then I think it can be called a success. In fact I'd create a formula, prior to launching, to see how much of a lift you'll need to make the ROI positive based on the overhead involved.

So let's see if a video ad can indeed convince the reader to order or read your promotion.... be it pre-roll, post-roll or in the middle of a long video, perhaps breaking up two segments.

I say - test it and find out.


PS - Pam Horan, president of the OPA states, "There's been a great deal of discussion in the market that less is more… But the key here is it all comes down to great creative. If you're looking to drive key brand metrics, 30-seconds should play a significant role."

Ah yes, it landing page copy or video creative it all comes down quality copywriting.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Hit Often, And For Average

“I am open to the guidance of synchronicity, and do not let expectations hinder my path.” ~ the Dalai Lama
I'd like to end our discussion on testing by examining two important points. They are really more theoretical than practical but may just be more important in the long term than the previous hands-on procedures we discussed.

Let us begin with expectations. One of the mistakes young marketers make is to not manage expectations.

Often marketers understand the concepts I've discussed, and have gone off to start testing. Then to my dismay, after one or two tests, they stop.


Perhaps the testing was too much work... or the tests resulted in no changes so they just gave up. Bad, bad marketer.

It's true that many tests turn out to be duds. Really... many times you have a good idea, you implement it, and you don't see any change in the response. Guess what?

That's OK. It's normal.

A good marketer must be patient... and try again. And most importantly, make sure your team understands it's OK if a test bombs.

The fact is most tests produce null results.

This is often true because, in most cases, your current marketing control represents years of thoughtful improvement, as such many new alternatives won't test better. They won't beat the control.

AND the more successes your testing program obtains, the harder it becomes to move the needle. This is absolutely normal.

On the other hand, if you have never tested... you may hit some big Home Runs from the very first tests. You might even quadruple the control. Of course if that happens... it means you never really had a control to start with and that was probably some really bad copy you had been using.

But it's all good... just be happy it's gone. And celebrate the fact your conversion will now be going up AND you now have a real control. YEA TEAM!

Oh, ...and don't expect that next test to achieve the same results. With a real control you won't. But keep trying.

If you can't beat your control does that mean you stop testing?

No way... should the difficulty of hitting Home Runs every at bat stop you from stepping up to the plate?

Not at all. If your tests have a .300 average - you're in the big leagues.
Don't ever stop. You can always improve. Like hitting the curve ball... if it was easy everyone would be Barry Bonds!

So when is the best time to test?

Ah... right now.

Seriously, if you don't have a control or you've had the same successful control for years...the time to test is now. A common mistake is to delay testing new concepts because "our control is still working."

By this reasoning, you wouldn't test new concepts until the control takes a dive. Yikes... too late. That's a disaster for cash flow. Instead, test from strength, not weakness.

I've seen too many companies have sales dry up because of lack of copy. They should have planned ahead and had new copy ready, and tested before the old control lost it's legs.

Don't be that marketer.

So in review... keep testing even if you don't see Home Runs. (As a side note: if you don't see the results you expected... review the test itself. Is it big enough? Is it statistically valid?) AND test all the time. Don't wait. When you have a control is the time to start.

Lastly, I'd like you to remember that every mailing, and every page is an opportunity to test... and all your copy, where ever you use it, can always be made better.

Just because your results are strong today doesn't mean they'll be strong tomorrow. In fact I can virtually guarantee it's not going to be as strong tomorrow... so you better find something else.

And if some blow hard executive says, "Well what's the cost of all this testing?"

Respond by saying...

"What is the cost of not testing our online strategy"?

Tell him...

"We are testing to track customer behavior... replacing hunches with science. Testing gives us the numbers to see if we are wasting our time and money. It will allow us to improve our conversion rate and acquire subs at a lower CPA, thus improving our ROI. It more than pays for itself, time and time again."

Oh, and do it in a nice way. ;-D

I'll end my soapbox with two more quotes. Keep testing.

“I know half of my advertising budget is wasted.
I just don’t know which half.”

~ John Wannamaker
“Nearly every test will in time bring back the entire cost.”
~ Claude Hopkins

Friday, June 08, 2007

Judging The Written Word

"Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them." ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, 19th century American novelist
Copy is King!

We've seen that over used phrase everywhere, right?

But it's true... I absolutely believe that copy is the key to your marketing be it online or offline. Your copy is still the difference maker.

But what is good copy?

That's simple... good copy is copy that sells, right? Doh!

Seriously, how do you recognize good copy? How do you judge the good copy vs. the bad?

I know some marketers that use former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's test when trying to classify good copy by saying they can't define it, "but I know it when I see it..."

That may sound cleaver... but it's a cop out.

It won't help your marketing, and I don't see it improving your conversion. Instead, let's define good copy and create a test... and then apply it.

Sounds cool, eh?

Great... so when reviewing headlines I suggest applying the "4 U’s" of copywriting. This means your copy must be:
1. Urgent
2, Unique
3. Ultra-specific
4. Useful.
I think this was originally developed by Michael Masterson and Bill Bonner for developing powerful headlines, but it can also be applyed to e-mail subject lines, bullets on landing pages, teaser copy, etc.

The 4 U's are designed to create headlines that hook the readers interest, tempts him with a promise or benefit, establishes credibility, and encourages him to read on for more.

The perfect headline should leave the prospect thinking, "Boy, that's really interesting. I'd like to know more about it."

Now if you do that... that's good copy.

Let's define each "U":

1. Urgent. Urgency gives the reader a reason to act now instead of later. You can create urgency by using time. For instance, "Make $200,000 in your spare time this year" is more urgent than "Make $200,000 in your spare time." I also like to use a time-limited special offer that makes the reader take action by a certain date.

2. Unique. Your headline must says something new or different. The product or service must be different - in some way - from anything the reader has heard before.
"Why French women have beautiful skin" is more unique and different than saying "Save 10% on Parisian Bath Kits." Good copy should make the offer more real.

3. Ultra-specific. Be as precise as possible, stating facts and figures. For example, "A $5,000 investment will makes you $1,235,987.76" The world revolves on specifics and not on generalizations, as such, so should your copy.

4. Useful. Lastly the headline must offer a benefit. A promise that has value for the reader. For example, "An Invitation to Dine & Save," gives the reader the benefit of saving money while going out to dinner. The benefit must be real and the stronger the benefit the better.

Once you have written your headline, (or you just received it for posting), ask yourself how strong it is in each of the four U’s. Use a scale of 1 to 4 (1 = weak, 4 = strong) to rank it in each category. Apply this test to all your headlines.

Rarely will your copy rate a 3 or 4 on all four U’s. AND if your copy doesn’t rate a 3 or 4 on at least three of the U’s, it’s probably not as strong as it could be — and can benefit from some rewriting.

So just don't sit there... try your hand at rewriting what is missing, making it stronger by applying the missing U's.

A common mistake is to defend weak copy by showing it's positive past performance. "Look everyone, it gets a 6% conversion and that's great!"

The good marketer doesn't think that way.

You must say, "6% conversion is good... but imagine what it could have made with the 4 U’s. Lets re-write it and shoot for 12%!"

Apply the 4 U's with all copy..

I guarantee you'll double your conversions in the first week!

Nice headline, eh?

How does it rank? Apply the 4 u's...


Monday, June 04, 2007

Your Institutional Memory

“It is not deeds or acts that last: it is the written record of those deeds and acts” -- Elbert Hubbard, American philosopher and writer
How's was your weekend?

A well needed rain fell on the Baltimore area cooling the air and soaking the plants. It didn't stop me from continuing my vegetable garden project. I was just forced to work on it in a steady rain. I'd say it's 90% complete... with just the finishing stones to go on top. The planting is the easy part.

Let's get back to testing... Today we're going to discuss two more tips.

First off, it's important that you clarify what you are testing before getting started. The best way to do this is to begin by documenting what you want to test.

The what, why and how.

A short pre-test summary will keep you from repeating mistakes or wasting time on questions already answered. It will also avoid any confusion as to the sole purpose of the test.

AND after writing it down you may realize you are testing too many things or you're not testing enough, i.e., meaning the test may not be big enough.

So I suggest before the test, write down a clear hypothesis of what you're trying to prove or disprove. Here's an example:
Test #6, October 2006: Need to improve the click through rate of Google PPC ads - A/B test new teaser copy. Test “Free Research Reports” headline vs. control.

A) 2007 Best Stocks To Buy
10 Low-Priced Stocks You Must Own
Free Report on Profitable Stocks

B) Free Research Reports
2007 Best Stock Recommendations
10 Low-Priced Stocks You Must Own
Before the test, you should also record your decision metrics and the roll-out plans.

The next thing, as if you couldn't guess, is to record the results.

Once you have statistically value data... record your date, sample size, numeric results, your interpretation, and suggestions for the next steps. For more on the validity of testing data, please read the CVoD issue Statistically Valid Data.

For example:
Results: 4,812,768 impressions - The “Free Report” headline did not beat control. The control “2007 Best Stocks To Buy” is a clear winner. See results below:

A) Impressions 2,436,124, clicks 4,854 (0.20%)
B) Impressions 2,376,644, clicks 1,237 (0.05%)
Many marketers also like to record the results in terms of dollars and cents instead of percentages. You can't spend percentages, and it's not always a valid comparison. Note it as a cost savings or improved ROI... after all it's all about making money, right?

I like to put both these summaries in one notebook. It's the diary of your day in and day out testing.. in a sense it's your marketing department's shared institutional memory.

The testing diary will also help you implement test results. No one will forget the results... or what was tested. It's here for all to see. Black and white, easy to reference and easy to learn. AND no one will take the knowledge away with them when they move on.

What more can you ask for?

Just like rain on a June weekend...