The question for this episode is how can we improve our marketing and advertising performance? It comes from Anna in Lincoln, Nebraska. Thank you for your question, Anna.
Again, the more detail you can give us about your business, the more specific we can get in our answers. Up and to that point, we can answer in general. I’m only taking questions right now that I can answer in general because all of my answers would be, “Well, it depends on your business.” When we ask, “How can we improve our marketing and advertising performance?” there is some very baseline information I can give you on this, and it is never going to be an answer that you really want to hear.
Marketing and advertising and doing it well and doing it well consistently requires a lot more time and effort than people want to imagine. They think they produce a commercial or they produce a post or they produce a piece of content and suddenly, they’re off and running. That is just not true. It almost always requires some level of testing, modifying, retesting, modifying, until you can dial it in. This isn’t something that you can just do, “Well, I’ll try it out today, see what happens today. Then I’ll try something different tomorrow.”
This is something you need to be able to do and get an audience in front of for a period of time to see if the A of your AB test is working, or your B of your AB test is working.
It takes time. I have seen results from an AB test on, let’s just say, a form. The structure of a form is really important. I’ll just give you a little background information on here. When somebody fills out a form online, on a website or in a social media post, they’re only comfortable with giving you an amount of information that is in line with what they’re going to get out of you from filling out that form.
If you want somebody to sign up for a newsletter, you’re probably looking at maybe a first name and an email address. Sometimes, just an email address would be better. I can’t ask first name, last name, phone number, address, gender. You can’t do that. No one will ever fill out that form. You might want to AB test a form that says, “Provide your first name, last name, email address,” versus, “Provide name and email address,” versus, “Provide an email address.” You will see over a period of time which one is going to cause more people or at least invite more people to fill out that form.
The idea is to get more people to fill out the form in this example. After time, once we have those people on board, we can get more information from them in a very mutually beneficial way. For something like a newsletter, get them on board and prove to them that you’re going to give them a lot of value, and then maybe you can creep the amount of information up a little bit. I shouldn’t have used the word creep because sometimes, getting information from people and giving people information is a little creepy.
What I’m just saying is you’re going to inch up this idea of, “I want a little more, I want a little more, I want a little more.” You never want to be inappropriate. Let me just say that while personalization, and I’m getting way off-topic here, but while personalization is very important now, that I can go to a website and it says, “Hey, Kale,” the “Hey, Kale” part is not nearly as important as is the idea that you’re providing me the content that’s important to me. You knowing my name doesn’t mean anything.
Marketers really need to get out of this habit that, “I need everybody’s first and last name.” You don’t. You just do not. Of course, the more information we have on people, the better, but knowing their first and last name is only important if ever we’re going to meet with them and I want to know who I’m talking to. Other than that, if I’m sending you information, I don’t care what your name is. I’m not saying that I don’t want to get to know you. It’s just that you don’t need to provide me personalized information in order for me to provide you value.
Stop thinking the more information you get, the better things are for you because the worst things are for them and they’re probably not going to give you information. Collecting just an email address for a newsletter is fine. We can get more information from them down the road if we need it. Now, as far as marketing performance is concerned, let’s be clear on marketing versus advertising performance. Real quick, mostly we’re talking about advertising performance. We interchange the words marketing and advertising all the time. I’m not going to get into that right now, but we’re talking about advertising.
If I put out an email, for an example, how am I performing and how can I improve upon that? That’s what we’re talking about here. In that regard, you have to always be testing. In almost every situation, the other thing that kind of sucks is that the amount of things that you can and probably should test is a lot. I hate to say this and it sounds daunting and a lot of people are going to throw their hands up in the air, but I’m sorry, it’s a lot. Everything from the artwork you use, to the headlines, to the call to actions, there’s room for them to all be tested and they probably all should be tested if you really want to dial in.
A great episode I did with Robert Rose who is a guru in content marketing, will tell you that there’s no magic formula that says that when you put a piece of content out, no matter how awesome you think it is, that it’s going to work. Now, a different headline on that piece of content that you wanted to work might have done the trick, different artwork, the time of day you sent it might have some impact on how that thing is going to work.
The general answer is you can improve your performance by testing and by dialing things in. Really, the bottom line to me is you can improve your performance by omitting your expectations right upfront and just adding in as part of the process this idea that you’re going to put the piece out there, be it an email, be it an ad, a display ad, whatever it might be. You’re going to put that out there, you’re going to have to test it, test via digital and test maybe even via social media where the platform itself is free. When you can dial that in overtime, then go to print, then go to TV, then go to your bigger mediums where it’s more difficult to change the content.
In short, the best way to improve performance, period, is to be prepared for the amount of time and effort it takes to test and dial things in. Thank you, Anna in Lincoln, Nebraska for your question. If you have a question, stop by totallyhyped.com and fill out the question form.