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35 Key Principals to Boost Your Marketing Campaigns: 2015 Web clinic year-in-review

As 2016 rapidly approaches and I near the end of my first year with the MECLABS Institute, what better time to reflect on 2015?

As Managing Editor of MarketingExperiments.com, one of my primary responsibilities over the year has been producing our monthly Web clinics. These clinics have historically given us the chance to share discoveries from MECLABS’ research efforts with the marketing community at large. With a legacy dating back over a decade, I had large shoes to fill when taking over these online events, but thanks to the outstanding mentoring of my dear friend Taylor Kennedy and the support of the incredible team around me, we’ve had another great year of Web clinics to add to the vault.

On Wednesday, we’ll be hosting a special 60-minute year-in-review Web clinic. This clinic — The Top 5 Marketing Discoveries of 2015: 12 months of research in just 60 minutes — will revisit some of the most surprising, actionable discoveries that we’ve made during the year when looking into the question of what really makes our customers say “yes.” These simple principles will help you to quickly improve multiple aspects of your digital campaigns — from subject lines and calls-to-action to visitor engagement and mobile design.

2015 has been a busy year for marketers, with 77% of companies increasing their digital marketing budgets over 2014, per an Oracle report. In case we missed you for any of our Web clinics this year and you would like to dive deeper into any one subject than our 60-minute recap will allow, I also wanted to provide a brief, scannable recap of this year’s topics, as well as replay links should you desire to watch (or re-watch) the clinics.

Feel free to bookmark the page for future reference, as the 10 clinics below cover 35 key, actionable principals to help you boost nearly every aspect of your campaigns — from email and landing pages to PPC ads and mobile  to branding and beyond.

 

January: Increasing User Engagement: How one company tested its site navigation and increased clickthrough by over 35%

What if you could more effectively influence visitors’ actions on your website? In the January Web clinic, our research team revealed three proven tactics that can boost engagement on your website as well as a case study demonstrating how one company tested navigation structures, resulting in a 35% increase in clickthrough rate.

 

March: Incorporating Video in Your Mobile Strategy: 2 key principles that helped one company boost mobile conversion by over 50%

How do you determine the most effective way to incorporate video in your mobile strategy? In the March Web clinic, the research team shared two key principles for leveraging the use of video to increase the performance of digital collateral, including a test where one company increased mobile conversion by over 50%.

 

April: The Power of the Properly Sequenced Subject Line: Improve email performance by using the right words, in the right order

In the April Web clinic, the research team shared three observations on crafting effective subject lines gleaned from two tests, including an experiment that resulted in a 26% increase in clickthrough rate.

 

May: Harnessing Customer Motivation: How one company increased conversion by 65% by aligning page elements with customer desire

For May, the research team shared two key principles on understanding and harnessing customer motivation taken from two tests and four questions to ask when evaluating your own customers’ behavior on your site.

 

June: Branded Design Tested: How simple changes in page element aesthetics led to a 51% increase in subscriptions

Brand strategy has never been more important. The logos, colors and design of a website have the power to immediately orient customers and prospects when they land on your site. In this Web clinic replay, the research team shares strategies for testing your way into a balanced site as well as a test on branding that resulted in a 51% difference in conversions.

 

July: Does Seasonal Messaging Really Work? How one company’s wrong assumptions led to a 25% decrease in clickthrough

Many marketers attempt to remain relatable with seasonal campaigns, such as winter holiday campaigns or events like back-to-school. However, seasonal campaigns might not be the best fit or might not be appropriately executed in all industries. For the July Web clinic, the research team revealed strategies for striking a balance between clarity and seasonality and shared a test from one company that resulted in a 25% change in clickthrough rate.


August:
 Personalized Messaging Tested: How little changes to an email send led to a 380% change in response rate

In August, special guest Tim Kachuriak, Chief Innovation and Optimization Officer, NextAfter, flew cross-country to share his expertise from working with nonprofit organizations on email campaigns. Tim and the research team analyzed specific ways that you can generate interest in an email and strategies you can use to move forward with testing your way to successful campaigns, including an example test that lead to a 380% increase in revenue per email.

 

September: How to Write Headlines That Convert: Key discoveries from a meta-analysis of 15 years of behavioral research

The headline is a simple element to change on your site — you don’t need any special coding skills or additional technology to make it happen. Yet, they require serious attention. In this Web clinic, the research team shared a case study in which a headline change resulted in an 816% increase in conversion, just from understanding the cognitive psychology of the primary customer.

 

October: Optimizing Email Capture: How a simple form change led to a 364% increase in leads without sacrificing quality

Customers have become untrusting, using junk email addresses and other creative tactics, which makes each new subscriber increasingly important for marketers in maintaining a healthy list size. Because the email capture form provides marketers with the opportunity for specificity, segmentation and the ability to qualify leads, it is essential to ensure that the right people are getting on your lists. In the October Web clinic, the research team shared tests and actionable tactics to improve email capture, including one test that resulted in a 364% increase in leads.

 

November: Strengthen Your Copy in 35 Minutes: Proven strategies to boost the effectiveness of your words

As marketers, we are under constant pressure to quickly pump out copy, often under seemingly impossible deadlines. Without always having the time to test, how can we give our copy the best chance of actually being effective? In November, the research team shared tests and revealed actionable principles that answered such vital questions as, “How long should your copy be? What format should it take? What specific points should be emphasized? What order should your copy be arranged in?”

 

December: The Top 5 Marketing Discoveries of 2015: 12 months of research in just 60 minutes

We look forward to seeing you all on Wednesday for MarketingExperiments’ final Web event of the year and, as Managing Editor of this site, I just want to take this opportunity to thank our readers for coming along with us for another year of discoveries from the MECLABS Institute here at MarketingExperiments.com.

 

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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5 Key Traits of the Best B2B Influencers

Traits B2B Influencers

Traits B2B Influencers

Marketers are still asking, what is B2B influencer marketing? Here’s a definition I’ve been using over the past 5 years or so:

B2B influencer marketing is activating internal and external subject matter experts with engaged networks to advocate and co-create content of mutual value that drives measurable business goals.

As the groundswell around influencer marketing rises and becomes a normal part of the B2B marketing mix, the volume of information and misinformation on the topic also increases.

One of the most popular questions people also ask about B2B influencer marketing focuses on what makes a good business influencer? By now we all know that popularity alone does not make someone influential. It’s certainly important, it's just not the only thing.

As B2B marketers mature in their understanding of the role influence plays and how the dynamic of brand content co-created with industry experts plays out with customers, they begin to realize that other factors matter. Topical relevance matters of course as well as resonance of the topic amongst an influencer’s community.

B2B Marketing Influencers

The intersection of individual expertise, how well that expertise resonates with followers and the size of network creates a baseline of characteristics when evaluating whether a certain influencer might be a match.

But there’s more than that. Understanding what makes a great influencer is both art and science, soft and hard skills. The success of identifying, qualifying and engaging influencers is also directly tied to how they will be engaged and to what end.

Some people reading this might think that influencer marketing isn’t the magic pill some are playing it up to be. There’s a reason for that, because it’s not magic. It’s more like alchemy.

The reality is, there’s no one formula for the perfect B2B influencer, but there are some common characteristics that B2B brands should look for in varying proportions according to what’s important to a program or activation. I call those characteristics:

The 5 Ps of B2B Influence

Proficiency - In B2B marketing, the vast majority of those considered influential possess deep expertise in the field they work in. This is a significant difference from many B2C influencers who are often self proclaimed as influential with clever media creation skills.

As B2C influencer content and engagement tactics evolve, some are crossing over into B2B with a trickle of opportunists successfully creating influence amongst B2B audiences not solely for their expertise, but for a combination of adept social media content creation skills and some expertise. B2B marketers who do their due diligence will be able to filter accordingly.

Popularity - While network size is not the only thing, nor is it the most important thing, it is definitely a metric to consider. Some marketers swing in the direction of ignoring audience size altogether because of lower engagement rates with popular influencers. This is simply foolish. All things being the same, I’ll take 2% engagement of an influencer with a million followers over 2% from someone that has 1,000 followers.

What matters is how network size factors in with the type of influencer you need. For example, popular influencers aka “brandividuals” are often best for top of funnel content. Niche domain expert influencers are better for middle and end of funnel content. Engaging a brandividual and expecting conversions is just naive.

Personality - If you’ve worked in B2C influencer marketing and been exposed to all the characters there, B2B is going to seem a bit dry. Now there are some colorful characters in the B2B influencer community, no doubt. But personality is often a trait that needs to be uncovered when you’re working with some types of business influencers.

The good news is that savvy influencer marketing practitioners know how to plant the seeds that can grow and blossom within an otherwise introverted influencer. You don’t need them to be a colorful character, ripe with personality per se, but you do want them to connect with the passion they have with their craft and how their expertise can help others be successful.

Publishing - Content is the media that conveys the ideas of influence and while B2B influencers are not expected to produce the same types and quantity of content as in B2C, it is ideal when there’s a platform where the influencer publishes. At a minimum, that would be social networks but to be a B2B influencer, it’s most likely that also includes articles contributed to publications if not research, books and presentations.

Promotion - The value a B2B influencer brings beyond adding expertise and credibility to brand content is the ability to share what they helped create with their network. Trust of brand content is at a low, especially with advertising. Customers yearn for authentic content and the right kind of influencer collaboration can give them that, delivered via the influencer’s own distribution channels. That means social networks for course but also potentially blogs, email newsletters, podcast, LinkedIn Live, contributed articles or columns in industry publications.

I know some people reading this are thinking there could be even more P’s like being Prolific, Persuasive or Passion. Yes, there could be so many more but we have to draw the line somewhere! It's important to be able to manage the data and insights necessary to factor these characteristics into selection, qualification and engagement.

Some of these traits will not fully reveal themselves until you work with an influencer on a few content activations. Others will fluctuate over time and that is normal. It's important to understand that influence is a temporal thing. It is not fixed or permanent. It’s important marketers realize that before they disengage an influencer in the short term due to lower performance. The same goes for high expectations after great performance.

Organic influencer engagement is a little dynamic and what you don’t spend on paid influencers like an ad buy you will (in part) need to invest in relationship management, education and even tips that will help the influencers be more effective.

B2B brands with high influencer churn or low performance often apply “ad buy” perspectives to a what is actually a relationship driven effort. Mismatched expectations are not helpful for anyone, so think about the 5Ps as you evaluate and nurture your influencer community. Consider where of each your ideal influencers need to score on the 5 Ps in order to be a good match for the kind of activation you have in mind.

When there’s 5P alignment, there's happiness: for customers, influencers and your B2B brand.

The post 5 Key Traits of the Best B2B Influencers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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