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Venture Stream Blog

PPC to A/B testing to Social, we answered your marketing questions.

July 15, 2014

We would like to thank everyone who took part in last week’s #AskVentureStream including @OBombshellBetty, @Mmpegg,@LaurenDig, @Rcayling to name a few. We loved all of your questions and found them interesting as well as head scratching! You got the cogs turning in Venture Stream HQ and we hope the answers helped.

Here’s a recap of the questions and answers and don’t forget if you’re ever stuck, admitting you have a problem is the first step to solving it – head over to www.analyticsanonymo.us where there is always someone to help!

Answered
by Adele

Do longer or shorter emails tend to work better, or is it all about quality of content?

We would say it’s all about quality of content and the right frequency e.g. sending regularly enough to keep the audience engaged but not too much to make them want to switch off. A good example of this is a Frugi email. Another way to really get to know your audience is through split list testing and segmentation – ASOS seem to have this nailed!

Answered
by Marty

Does #PPC work or is it just for lazy people?

PPC as a marketing channel definitely works! We hear from a lot of potential clients that they’ve ‘tried PPC, but it doesn’t work’ – the truth is, that they just haven’t found a way of making it work yet. When it does not prove profitable it usually highlights underlying issues with either your product, service, pricing, proposition or PPC Strategy. The 3 main pillars of PPC are Brand Protection, Acquisition and Remarketing, and each one is a balancing act of return on investment. We manage The Pen Shop’s PPC account and have found great success in brands, generics and remarketing. As far as lazy people go, we love them! Most web users are lazy, and don’t want to think. Our job is making sure our clients are front and centre when people are looking for their products are services.

Answered
by Andy

Can you recommend any good sites or books on target markets and demographic segmentation etc?

Good question! It’s a bit difficult to answer; you’d normally get to know your target market based on user surveys, demographic information from analytics or from your own customer data. As we’ve seen from the ‘New Coke’ / ‘Coke’ debacle of the 80’s, it’s vital and fundamental to understand your market segments and know who your customers are. If it’s this you’re looking for in particular, then Dr. Malcolm McDonald has some excellent resources at www.malcolm-mcdonald.com.

If you’re looking to understand your customers more in general, we couldn’t recommend more highly a book by John Foreman, Mailchimp’s data scientist, called ‘Data Smart’. We’ve read this at VS towers and it’s a great route into data science and easy ways to get the most out of your existing data which, let’s face it, can be quite daunting initially.

Once you know how to properly work with your data, anything is possible!

Answered
by Marty

A/B testing – tips, hints, advice on what to measure and compare?

Ahhhh, we love a good ol’ A/B test here at Venture Stream! We’ve used a few tools to help, including Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer. Probably the best bit of advice we could give is not to believe anyone’s opinion or hunch anymore – test out assumptions instead and let your customers decide! Another one would be to be bold – test big things – don’t get hung up on button colour or size; you’ll get quicker results and are more likely to achieve sustainable improvements. Oh, and another one would be not to panic if your variation in a test loses to the control – it’s just as important to figure out what doesn’t work, as it is to find out what works. Best things to measure depend on the site, but generally; micro and macro conversions – i.e. click throughs, engagement, bounce rate, leads, sales, revenue, AOV etc. We’ll write a follow-up blog post on the subject of A/B testing in the coming weeks.

Answered
by Marty

After Google changed the way in which you receive customer information how has this affected digital marketing and what have you had to do to adapt to?

Back in October 2011, Google announced their move to ‘secure search’, which meant that when users were logged in to a Google service and searched for something, that search term would no longer be passed to the Google Analytics (or other analytics package) of the website in question. Instead, the terms get grouped under the less than helpful ‘(not provided)’ label. At the time, there was some mild panic in SEO circles, as this meant that there would be no real way of validating where organic traffic has come from, and what keyword people searched for prior to landing on your website. However, I think this exposed an over reliance and unhealthy obsession about ‘keywords’. An holistic and customer-centric digital marketing campaign should not hinge on keywords alone, but on overall search visibility, on online reputation, on conversion rate optimization etc. So I think the move to secure search has forced outdated marketing practices to be left behind, and encourage marketers to think more holistically about their campaigns and approach. There are work-arounds for inferring lost keyword data; including looking at the landing page of those (not provided) visits, but the real impact has been a welcome detour away from keyword reliance, and towards campaign strategy.

Answered
by Adele

Converting social media visitors to paying customers – discuss! How to do it without the hard sell.

Tricky – our view on Social Media is that it should augment your other channels and get people into your sales funnel rather than attempt the hard sell on its own. It’s a great platform for showcasing offers and promotions, but audience engagement is becoming an increasingly important factor in when and where your social posts get seen – and you rarely get engagement by simply hammering your audience with sales messages! Give your audience engaging content and great responsive service via these channels and they’ll be more likely to convert to paying customers.

Answered
by Andy

Are retargeting ads worth the spend?

The short answer is, YES! We’ve found retargeting to be a very cost-effective and profitable channel for our retail and B2B clients. The CPC is generally much lower than search ads, due to the nature of the ad type, and in most cases you’re preaching to the (almost) converted. You can also segment via Google Analytics Demographics & Interests reports and create custom retargeting lists based on set criteria. We’ve done this to great success for Transmit Start-Ups amongst others, targeting on age, gender and affinity categories – so you can get very granular! There’s also dynamic remarketing for retailers, whereby you can target product viewers with those same products as they browse other sites. Can you tell that we’re fans of retargeting?!

If you would like any further help on how to improve your business through online marketing please contact us today and see how we can help.

Written by Adele

Adele is Venture Stream’s Creative Director and co-founder of ecommerce website ThatsChampionPet.co.uk

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