digital marketing, experience, automation, developer

6 months between posts – use-case thoughts

There I was showing a co-worker my “wordpress” site. I was learning the core differences between Drupal and WordPress. Besides the obvious difference – one is for building sites one is for writing inane posts… like this.

So where does a corporate site go for it’s cms-light site? Drupal gives you a site, but not much social savviness. WordPress gives you the blog with addtional pages. Both setups still need a solid creative and development effort to bring the site to life. It’s not until post-launch that the client get’s to update content. Even then, the agency needs to provide the top 3-5 use-case scenarios for the client.

Each use-case gives the client a roadmap to their top site-updating needs. And it allows the development team to polish up those sections and make them as user-friendly as possible.

It’s refreshing being able to apply basic UX principles to projects. And make site updates palatable for the client.

I may have to break down and build a fan page on facebook

Yes folks, i admit it. I don’t have a fan page for madtm. Quite honestly I’m not sure what value it would bring. I’ve read several posts on b2b companies profiting from their facebook fan pages, like this article on mashable. And b2c especially CPG’s must build a fan page, if they haven’t already.

So what does a freelancer, with a full-time job need with a fan page? I tweet, or more like, I RT all day long. I find this a great way to learn and swap information with other geeks. Then there is this blog. I send a tweet about any blog post. Maybe it’s time I publish them on a fan page as well. Hmm…, I think i’m catching on to this Facebook fan page trend after all.

Stay tuned!

spam comments – what is their true value

Why do spam comments keep hitting my blog? Are they getting responses? They must be, or I wouldn’t receive the spam in the first place. As a marketer, do i want the spam to stop? Yes… errr… maybe?

I understand marketing. I even know the fancy acronyms like ROI, SEO, ASAP (sigh), and EOD vs. EOW. Marketing industry smarties like Seth Godin, SEOmoz, marketing sherpa, etc. say you should be happy with a low response rate. The very diluted average is 1-3%. I based this off of my personal experience, a swath of marketing studies, and a WAG. Using this WAG, if I send out direct advertising to a list of 100,000, I should expect to receive 100-300 responses (did i get that right? i always mess up the decimals).

For the record the 1-3% is an average response rate (and i’m sure this number will change once i post this). The average is determined by factors such as industry, advertising vehicle, brand recognition, etc. And it’s always debated. I found a way-back-Marketing Profs forum enlightning.

Someone dared to ask “Hi, does anyone know what the industry average response rate for direct mail AND email campaigns in the high-tech (B2B) space?” The answers are all over the place. In fact it’s quite humorous considering their post was back in 2005. Would they dare ask that question today? But i’m getting way off point, sort of.

So i receive spam comments. I’ll assume they spam not just me but thousands of blogs. Does the spammer assume they’ll get a 1-3 responses per 1000 spams sent? Or maybe the scarier question is in fact, do they get responses? I assume they do, or they would have stopped spamming me.

Now bear with me, as I take this thought process one-step further. What happens when the spam stops? Before you start cheering (especially those of you in the ad industry), think about it. Wouldn’t that mean that advertising is next? In a way, spam is a metastatic form of advertising. It’s annoying, inbox-filling, and virus-laden, for sure. But it’s a form of direct-marketing advertising, nonetheless.

With that i guess i’ll keep hoping for spam comments to hit my blog, bots to follow me on twitter, and ever-stranger spam to fill my inbox. I’m afraid of what would happen if it stops.

Google Website Optimizer

Google Optimizer Code – or How I learned to survive the “test”
I was fortunate enough to have a client in need of comparing two callouts on one page. Like most clients, they use Google Analytics. They wanted to run the Google Optimizer tool on a couple pages. This is also supposed to enhance SEO performance.

Initially they wanted to try two different layouts of one page. So we ran a simple A/B variable test. After running the test live, they found that users interacted with option B almost twice as much as A. These were great results.

Developing and refining the code was not so simple. There are several forums out there that helped me determine the correct way to implement the test. There are at least 4 different ways to integrate the optimizer code into the existing GA tags. Each integration depends upon how the tags are included on the page – SSI’s, hard-coded – and the type of server – apache, jsp, .Net.

Google provides a “testing” page to check your code. It has to pass the test in order to be recognized by Google. I finally finagled the code into the existing GA tags. And it passed the Optimizer testing page.

The client was happy and now wanted more testing. This time they wanted to see compare callouts on one page. In other words, 1/2 the users would see callout A on page 1 the other half would see callout B also on page 1. Now I really had to flex some code muscle.

I built the two versions and ran them through the Optimizer test page. After several modifications, I still couldn’t get a “pass”. So I had to delve into the world of “multivariate” testing.

I’ll save the gory details, and just say that it took a good week of development to successfully build the pages. I think i held a small party when the Optimizer test gave me a “pass”.

The client could see click-thru rates on the same add with different wording. A very granular test with amazing results. Who knew that a couple words could change a buyers’ mind so drastically.

After surviving such a code-intensive workout, I kept all the clips, bookmarks, and trial code for future use.

If another client decides to test, I’ll be ready. Let’s just say, it wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.

I would like to add that other sites use the A/B testing as well. Just saw this note from Nieman Lab about how the Huffington Post uses A/B testing for their headlines. Pretty cool stuff. Then again Nieman Labs is just plain amazing!