Blog

November 13th, 2013

2013Nov12_BusinessValue_CTesting is an integral part of any project. It usually  happens near the end of the development cycle and is important in helping businesses figure out what works best and what customers will react best to. One of the more common tests used by companies the world over is the A/B test. While invariably useful, is it really all it's cracked up to be?

A/B tests defined

The concept behind A/B testing is to release two different versions of  what is being developed, to see which performs best. This can cover a wide variety of business processes from traditional direct marketing to websites and even email marketing.

A good example of A/B testing would be developing an email marketing campaign where two different versions of an email are sent out with the goal of getting people to visit a page on your website. Version A may have slightly different content and images from version B, and half of your list would receive A with the other half receiving B. You then track the responses and visits to your site to see which version has worked better.

The information gained from this type of testing can then be used to improve future email campaigns or products and zero in on what is really effective in getting clients to do what you want.

A/B tests can actually vary in purpose. The most common being testing the difference between two versions of the same idea. Other times version A is a current version, while B contains improvements and is sent out to gauge customer reactions to these new developments.

What benefits can a business gain from A/B tests?

Compared with other testing methods, A/B testing offers four concrete benefits:

  1. It's cheap - While it may incur costs developing different versions, most of the time this is fairly minimal, with small differences between them. And, when it comes to testing, you can usually just split the groups in half, with no need to develop completely new groups for each version. Finally, when the test is complete and data has been gathered, it is usually not time consuming or costly. You can usually just decide to use the one that performed the best - with little need to invest in any big changes.

  2. It can accurately measure performance differences - A/B testing makes it easy to measure performance differences between two options. You really just have to collect the relevant data and then compare the results. Beyond that, this type of testing makes it easy to measure the difference between two options, even if this is small.

  3. It measures actual behaviour - During the development stage, it can often be difficult to accurately guess how products or different versions will fare when released to the public. By employing A/B testing, real customers are the ones who are testing, so you can better judge and see how your target market will react. This can go a long way in helping you create desirable products and services that will be well received.

  4. It can resolve trade offs - When unsure about wording, strategy and outcomes you can conduct an A/B test to see which option works best. A good example of this is offering a coupon. Do you offer it in the email or do you put a code on your site? If you include this in an email, other customers may react negatively if  they don't get the same discount. A/B testing can help you figure out what style works best, while minimizing problems.

When should they be used?

When A/B tests are used correctly, they can be a valuable tool in helping you add value to your business. That being said, they aren't great for all types of testing situations. In general, A/B tests are most successful when they are applied to projects with these three parameters:

  1. There must be only one clear goal - A/B tests work best when there is only one goal or outcome to measure. For example, which version of an email gets the most clicks, or which page gets the most amount of visitors clicking on a 'call to action'. If you try to measure more than one goal at a time, the results can get complicated.

  2. The outcome must be measurable - If you cannot measure an outcome easily from this type of test, then you likely won't be able to pick an option that works best. For example, it is difficult to easily measure satisfaction from A/B tests compared to what customers prefer.

  3. Designs need to be complete - A/B testing works best when you have a complete, or near complete, product, email, etc. The key here is to conduct A/B testing and possibly make minor changes to implement the option that provided the better results. The options are viewed to then be the final version employed.

If your project meets these requirements, then A/B testing will likely be useful and could help you improve your business profitability. To learn more about harnessing and gathering data from these and other types of testing, please contact us today.


Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

July 26th, 2013

BusinessValue_July22_CBusinesses of all sizes are becoming increasingly invested in social media. One of the reasons for this is because they have seen how content that has gone viral has helped increase the name and value of brands and spread a marketing message. Businesses looking to replicate this usually have no idea about how to go about viral marketing though. However, there are actually tips you can follow to make your content more likely to go viral.

If you are looking to create content that has a higher chance of going viral, there are a number of key things you should be aware of.

Why content goes viral Before creating content that will hopefully go viral, you need to be aware of how and why content goes viral in the first place. At first glance, it would appear that this is determined simply on luck alone. In truth, however, although luck can be a factor this is only part of the reason. Content goes viral because it's shareable. Think of the last time you were told about a viral video or ad. Chances are, you heard about it on social media, and if you didn't the person who told you likely heard about it from there.

So, in order to go viral, content needs to be shareable, but not all content is share worthy. The question is, how do you create content that people will want to share? There are four factors you need to incorporate:

1. Content needs to be seen to be unique The vast majority of viral content is unique, as it often offers something new. If viewers of your content get the feeling that what they are reading is something different, they will be, a) more willing to consume it, and b) more apt to share it, if they like it. An important reality to realize is that most content on the Internet is not wildly original - someone has done something like it before. Therefore, if you read an article or see a video that interests you, maybe try thinking how you can improve on this and make it more interesting, relevant and practical for your audience. The content likely won't go viral world-wide, but it could go viral amongst your viewership, which is what's important, as this consists of your customers and potential customers.

2. People share what makes them look/feel smart There is a term associated with social media - social currency - that defines how a piece of content will make the sharer look. For the most part, content that makes the sharer look better, smarter and like they have something to contribute will be shared at a higher rate.

3. Content needs to be a trigger In general, humans rely on triggers for action. These triggers are stimuli, like sight and sound that evoke memory and association with products. A good example of this in action happened during the 2013 Super Bowl, where the stadium lights went out for the better part of half an hour. Because it was dark, people didn't know what to do. Oreo tweeted a picture that said, "You can still dunk in the dark." This tweet was retweeted over 10,000 times in less than an hour - going instantly viral. This was a clear message that it is highly likely that the next time this happens at a sporting event, people will remember Oreo. What Oreo managed to do was capitalize on a trigger - it's dark, reach for an Oreo.

In other words, if you can create content that capitalizes on common triggers, there is a higher chance that your content will go viral.

4. Content needs to be consistent It is important to realize however, that not all content will go viral; there is still some aspect of luck involved. To further improve the chances of your content going viral, you should strive to be consistent. What this means is posting on a regular basis and ensuring that whatever you post is consistent quality wise. If you do this, your content will come to be seen as valuable over time, and more likely to be shared.

If you take small steps to make your content generally more shareable, you will see the number of shares increase, bringing about more business, or at the very least cementing your brand image and reputation.

Looking for more ways to get your business name out there? Contact us today and we'll share our ideas with you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

October 26th, 2009

twitterTwitter, the microblogging service used by CNN, Oprah and none other than President Obama seems to have taken the world by storm, and is fast becoming an indispensable tool for many small and midsized businesses as well

Twitter allows company owners to share short “tweets” or posts a maximum of 140 characters each to give quick, live updates to “followers” on the Twitter service. A few days ago, the Wallstreet Journal published an interesting article on how Twitter has become a life saver for many business owners in a crisis. One company used the service to update customers when their website went down because of a hacker. Another study from Warrillow, a consulting firm, says that small businesses are also using the service to search for deals and promotions online. In fact, according to the company, they use the service a whopping 7 times more than other social networks.

It’s interesting to learn the many ways that businesses are using services such as Twitter to their advantage. How about your business? Are you using it as well? Let us know!

Related articles:

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
October 2nd, 2009

social networkingSocial Networking websites are usually associated with consumer services such as MySpace and Facebook. But did you know that there are literally dozens of social networking websites out there specifically targeted toward businesses? InsideCRM.com’s editors have compiled a list of the top “50 Social Sites That Every Business Needs a Presence on” which is available online at their website.

This list is divided into five categories:

  1. Social-Media or Social-Bookmarking Sites, which allow users to share their favorite websites or track and vote upon various online articles and resources.
  2. Professional networking sites, which allow networking among organizations and individuals for business purposes.
  3. Niche sites, which target a specific community of users in a particular industry, profession, or with specific shared interests.
  4. General social media sites, which have business applications such as the popular Twitter service.
  5. Job sites, which are geared towards recruitment and talent management.

Head out to InsideCRM.com to find out more.

Related articles:

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
September 19th, 2009

More SMBs usingA recent study by the Kelsey Group reveals that more small and midsized businesses are using digital media, specially the Internet, to promote or advertise their business. Their study, conducted with research partner ConStat, indicates that the penetration of digital/online media increased from 73 percent in August 2008 to 77 percent in August 2009, while that of traditional media such as TV, radio, and print decreased from 74 percent to 69 percent during the same period.

This is a clear indicator that the Internet has become an important source for many businesses to generate and manage their business. Potential business can come anywhere – from their website, queries in search engines, online ads, and lately even social networking sites. According to the study, for businesses that track lead sources, the percentage that does so using the Internet has increased from 22 percent in 2008 to 30 percent in 2009.

Although the Internet can often be a scary for many SMB’s and their prospects place with threats such as spam, malware, phising, and more, this study reveals that it is still a source of tremendous value for those who know how to use it effectively.

Related Information:

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
September 10th, 2009

I read a very interesting article in this month’s Wired magazine (which can also be found online) about the “MP3 effect”; i.e. the current trend towards cheap and simple being good enough.

It’s been coined the “MP3 effect” because MP3s are a classic example of the principle in practice: Digital music files have become popular to the point where traditional studios have had to rethink how they distribute music or risk declining sales, even though CDs offer a far superior sound quality to MP3s. As the article says, “we now favor flexibility over high fidelity”.

Topic Articles
August 31st, 2009

email_marketingEntrepreneur magazine columnist Gail Goodman offers an insightful look into email marketing and its relevance in today’s social network marketing-crazy world. She argues that despite the rise of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, blogging, and other Web 2.0 tools for direct marketing, she argues that they will not likely displace email soon.

Goodman points out several arguments in support of her case. Among them: email is still valuable for relationship-building and meaningful interaction and dialogue with customers. Also, social networking has its place as a complementary channel to the marketing mix, and research from MarketingSherpa seems to bear this out. Another is that young people continue to use email despite their fascination with social networking sites.

If you rely on Internet, email, or direct marketing in your business, then be sure to continue using email as well.

Related articles:

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
May 21st, 2009

A few years ago I was conversing with someone older and wiser than I. We were discussing some issues with the technology industry in general when, in response to one of my comments, this senior executive said to me “actually, that’s a great point – it’s very insightful”.

Immediately I knew what she meant because as I was speaking the words I had this warm fuzzy feeling – a moment of enlightenment perhaps. In my quest to impress her, I’d ultimately had a deep and intuitive understanding of the issue. I was inside the issue and had clarity of all its facets.

Click here to read the rest of this blog post on Small Business Daily.

Topic Articles
April 27th, 2009

Social Media such as Blogs, Micro-blogs, Wikis, and Social Networks are not only helping many people communicate and connect, but are also powerful tools for business as well. They can be used to promote your products and services, engage customers in meaningful conversations, network and develop new relationships, or simply to distribute information about your business online. Recently, the media has been awash with reports about Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, but many of you may be unclear about the concept, or unsure of its relevance to your business activities. Learn more about this new media online. Get to know how these tools can benefit your business or contact your IT Consultant for advice.

Related articles by Zemanta:

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles, News
April 3rd, 2009

Never before have startup entrepreneurs and small business owners had access to so much marketing advice and tools as we have today on the Web.  There are hundreds of free or near free tools out there that you can use: from sites that help you create your own logos, print your own business cards, set up your own website, even make your own marketing swag. There are literally hundreds of even more sites that in turn give advice on how to use these tools to market your business more effectively such as Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Fast Company. Its easy to use your PC and Internet to help you grow your business—so get started today!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic News