Online Marketing: Your peers’ top lessons from 2010


What worked (and what didn’t) in your marketing programs this year?

On December 8th’s Web clinic, we’ll be sharing our lessons from 365 days of experimentation. I’ll be joined by five research analysts and managers, and we’ll be sharing six case studies. Well, at least that’s what we’ll attempt to do. We’ll try to pack more into 60 minutes than we ever have before on a Web clinic.

But first we wanted to hear from you. Here are a few of our favorite answers…

Email as communication, not sales, tool

Top lesson for 2010 was to use the email list as a communication tool not just for the latest sales announcement broadcast. We found that by offering good content along the way our customers were more engaged in the email process and more likely to open our emails. Our email sales increased as a result.

Ken Geers, President, Sporto Motoring Accessories, Inc.

Excellent customer service combined with search strategies

I have excellent success (4% click through rate, 8.5% conversion rate selling designer jeans) by treating my organic and PPC as part of my website. In addition, I truly practice very high-level customer service since my clients are usually high income earners.

1) I do not practice the SEO shotgun technique of driving as many people to your site hoping someone will be a buyer. I specifically target women interested in designer jeans.

2) I avoid content sites for PPC. Those visitors are interested in learning and are mostly not buyers.

3) I research the top Adwords that will yield higher than a 2% click-through rate and only use them.

4) I out bid all of my competitors for these words. This is fun and easy. Low level people are given budgets. I own the company so I decide how much I will pay for a click through.

5) My landing page, of course, has my keywords on it.

6) I never see discussions about site navigation, content or graphics. My site navigation is intuitive, easy and fast. I use graphics heavily to show what you might look like. Other sites have you land on a page with dancing models and music and you have to skip it unless you want to see that waste of time.

7) If you buy from me twice I call you at home and thank you. To a woman, having an owner of the company especially a man thank them is a big deal. I usually can expand my business fast with those customers.

8) There is no problem too small for me to take something back or replace it.

Fred Held, CEO at FanStorm Entertainment and Director of Stategic Planning at California State University

Test everything

You cannot guess when it comes to Web design / page optimization / conversion optimization. Test everything – and I mean everything.

I’ve had the unique opportunity to work with a group of businesses that all work in the exact same niche market, all in different states across the U.S. To save on costs, they had a website template developed to be used across all of their sites. The only differences between the sites were the brand identity and the copy.

Conversion rates among the sites range from 2%-15%. On some of the sites, shorter content converts better, on some sites videos help, other times it hurts. Keyword conversion rates vary from state to state. Page layouts work differently as well. It was amazing for me to see that identical sites can behave so differently in different markets.

I can tell you first hand, that if we weren’t actively testing and monitoring our analytics closely we would have missed opportunities. The videos, for example. I assumed since it worked well on one site, it’d work on the other, but a co-worker demanded that I test it. And good thing I did, or I would have missed it.

2010 was the year of testing for me. You have to test – if you assume, you will lose. I guarantee it.

Dan Antonson, analyst at SMCpros

Related resources

Top Online Marketing Lessons of 2010: What worked and what didn’t in the last 365 days of experimentation – 4 p.m. EST, Wednesday, December 8

Share Your Thoughts about 2010 for Chance to be Featured in MarketingSherpa’s Annual Wisdom Report

The MarketingExperiments Quarterly Research Journal, Q3 2010

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