A/B Testing: The Scientific Method Of Marketing


A/B Testing is the scientific method of marketing. It is used to test different aspects of marketing techniques your business uses to find out which one is more successful than the other. Lets use the diagram from above as an example. Lets say your business is trying to figure out to gain more traffic to your website through subject lines in your email. You have a Group A (Control Group) and Group B (Test Group).  Group A is going to be your control group, so if you have a subject line that you  normally use or a constant format for your subject line then you would still use it here. For example I am responsible for sending out the emails for my marketing club. Typically I use the subject line “SMA Meeting (Date)” This is what I would use for Group A. Now Group B is your testing group. This is where you use your experimental subject line. For example to draw more members to come to the next weeks meeting I might use  the subject line: “SMA Networking Social”.

After you have your Group A and Group B it is time to pick who should be sent which. This should be completely random. You don’t want to be bias towards who sees what because that could cause your data to be skewed. Some suggestions would be just randomly choosing half and half or creating an excel sheet and choosing a random number and then counting the list till you get to that number. Once you get to that number take that email and start all over again.

Once you have your groups set make sure to set a conversion goal. For example with the email subject line you could use a conversion of how many people open the email or if that is showing little data, how many people go to your webpage through the email link. One thing to keep is mind is that you need to make sure you are testing both of these subject lines at the same time so that  everyone is getting the same information in the email and to minimize the outside variables affecting the users decision to open/not open the email.

When it comes to email a great site to use is MailChimp. Follow this link and it will give you the steps to creating a A/B campaign through their site : http://kb.mailchimp.com/article/how-can-i-run-an-a-b-split-test-campaign-on-my-content/. MailChimp can track how many people open your emails or follow the link on the email and other exciting things! If you are deciding to test variables on your webpage you can easily create a code to embed into your website. Visual Optimizer can take you through the steps  if you follow this link: https://visualwebsiteoptimizer.com/ab-testing/.

So you have set up your conversion rate and now it’s time to get testing! Like I stated earlier, test both groups at the same time.  Make sure you don’t stop your test too early. If you end a test too early than you will not have as much information as possible and you may not be able to make valid conclusions. On that note make sure you don’t end too late because this could begin to make you lose conversion rates all together. I wish I could tell you what the perfect length is for your A/B testing but it really all depends on what your testing and what your goals are.  Luckily Visual Optimization has a handy-dandy calculator that  you can use to figure out a suggestion of how long you should keep your testing going. The calculator is located through this link: http://visualwebsiteoptimizer.com/ab-split-test-duration/.

Now once you have tested to the fullest you get to look at the data. To me this is the funnest part. Being able to analyze data and see if your hypothesis was right. Sometimes the results can be way different from your hypothesis but you do not know best. 


Yes, really. Numbers tell the truth as long as you did your testing correctly. Granted there will be some skewed data and sometimes your A/B test is going to fail, but do not go with your gut feeling. Also if you do not like the numbers that are showing half way through your test DO NOT MAKE CHANGES. That will cause more variations in your data and you would have to throw all of your data away. So once you have analyzed your data the one that reaches your conversion goal the most will be the one you want to go with.  For example if one subject lines gives you 25 clicks and the other gives you 5 clicks, then you are going to want to go with the 25 click subject line.

That is A/B testing in a nutshell. Make sure you keep in mind that A/B testing does not work every time and you should not feel discouraged if it shows no results. You should keep doing tests over and over because you can only improve your marketing techniques. I think it is kind of obvious why A/B testing is so important  for your business. By partaking in this method you are going to improve your websites and your marketing because the users are going to be pointing out what needs improvement without even knowing they are doing it. This is only going to bring greater traffic and leads to your site.  This also makes sure that your business is focused on constant improvement. If you would like to read more about A/B testing and see some successful cases follow this link: http://visualwebsiteoptimizer.com/case-studies.php


The Wonderful World Of Coding

In today’s blog I am going to talk about coding, which I am so excited about. At Western Washington University I am double majoring in Marketing and Management Information Systems. I personally love the MIS major because I am given the chance to learn the ins and outs of information systems.  In the higher-level classes I am learning the basics of coding and it has been so much fun. Currently I am learning Visual Basic. It is very hard and complicated but after I finally get a program to work I feel so accomplished.  I just wish I had the time and money to learn all the different types of computer languages. There is a solution to my problem and it is called Codecademy: http://www.codecademy.com/

This is a FREE resource, where you can learn all of the different computer languages. You can learn it on your own time and it is so user-friendly. It also doesn’t take very long to work your way through the different lessons. They give you step by step directions on each line of code. In less than a half an hour I was able to code my name into bubbles as you can see below:


On the actual website I was able to make the bubbles move around whenever I put my mouse over my name. The fact that I didn’t even spend 30 minutes and was able to do that is so cool to me. Coding is not as hard as everyone thinks. I then moved to learning how to write code for a website. This took me a bit longer to do but  that was because I wanted it to represent me and honestly I got lost in all the fun I was having.


The last thing that I learned how to do in this two hour time span was  create the sun and the earth. The earth rotates around the sun. That was a little bit more complicated but what is so great about Codecademy is there wasn’t a moment where I felt  totally lost.


By the end of spending two hours on this site I had done all three tutorials and had begun learning HTML and CSS. Granted I have a bit of a background in coding,  but it is not as much as anyone else. Yet I was able to accomplish all of this in such a short time. Honestly if I can do it you can do it.  If you haven’t checked it out I really suggest you do, at least to just get the feel of what coding is about.

Now why does this matter to people in the marketing field?

This should not be an area that marketers ignore. You should not be in the dark about what the IT people are doing.  I think the biggest mistake of a marketer is having no idea how the sites you advertise on are created. Now I am not saying that a marketer should be able to code a crazy complicated program but you should at least be comfortable with technology.  Being comfortable with the technology is going to make you more confident and maybe step out of your comfort zone when it comes to working with the website or trying out new ideas.  Another great reason to be comfortable with the coding language is you will actually be able to talk to  and understand the IT people.

Gone are the days where you give the IT people a brief description of what you want and they get frustrated because you don’t understand the limitations and possibilities of what they can do. Now you can learn exactly what can be done and the challenges that IT people have to deal with. Your going to understand them better and that creates more of a consensus.

Really in the end everything you do is programming. Planning what to advertise and when to advertise and where to advertise is programming. You have to decide the process you are going to take and where everything is going to be.  You just don’t see it as programming because you were not taught to see it that way.  By understanding programming I think that you will learn to look even more analytically at all of your processes.

Learning to code is so much fun and it is so rewarding.  I don’t know about you but the feeling that the meme below represents is a pretty great one and if coding makes you feel this way then why wouldn’t you want to learn?



Paid Media: It Has Not Died Out


If you have been following my blog you will notice my posts lately have talking about utilizing owned and earned media. These types of media are essential to the success of your business but you should not stop there.  As a business you should still be utilizing paid media.  As you can see in the above image, by utilizing earned, owned, AND paid media you will create a comprehensive marketing strategy.

Paid media directs traffic to your owned media and promotes the content in order to gain generated earned media.  What is great about paid media is that it guarantees immediacy, has control and scale.  Granted you have to spend money but the amount you spend, if done right, will be nothing compared to how much you will make. Since social media is so popular it has given businesses another chance to promote or sponsor their ads on sites, like Facebook and Twitter. HubSpot, below, is a good example of paid media.


An interesting form of paid media that is extremely beneficial is Native Advertising, which the HubSpot ad above is one of.  This is where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience,  in which it is posted. The goal is to not disrupt the user experience. The advertisers want to offer information that is helpful and similar to the other information on the site, so that the content is engaged and has a higher rate. Currently 62% of publishers and media companies offer some kind of native advertising program and the most popular forms of native advertising are sponsored blogs, sponsored articles and Facebook sponsored updates.

Cracked is a great example of  what good native advertising looks like. Brands work directly with  Cracked to create sponsored content. Currently fifth on the Native Advertising Leader board (http://nativeadvertising.com/#/leaderboard) is their story 5 Real-Life Stories of Twins Creepier Than Any Horror Movie. As you can see Cracked is known for writing funny and engaging material that is written in the same tone as a non-sponsored article.

Forbes is also doing very well in the native advertising land. They have decided to name their native advertising product  BrandVoice.  They do not want it to represent an ad but  leadership. To be authentic is their goal. They want to “foster an environment in which journalists, marketers, and audience could exchange ideas with one another.” Below is a graph representing the growing numbers that Forbes has had in their partners, posts, and page views since joining with SAP and creating their native advertising program.


As you can see Forbes’s digital partnership has been growing and still will be. Like I have been saying content is everything and that is what drives native advertising. Also being transparent is a key player in being successful.  Since native advertising is a form of paid advertising this strengthens my point that paid media is not dead. Paid media is evolving and journalists should make sure to do the same. You should not cross paid or native advertising  out of your marketing strategy and if you haven’t yet started native advertising you should do it now.

Moving on to my last topic of paid media, a quickly growing sector,  is programmatic ad buying. Programmatic ad buying is as simple as it sounds. Businesses buy ads, like you would buy products on Amazon.  This type of buying is of action form and is in real-time.


The only difference is the computer does all the work for you. It is like when you do your taxes on Turbo Tax, a few clicks and your ads are bought and you can go on your merry way.   What is great is that the advertisers buy ads individually so that a consumer is presented an ad tailored specifically to them.  You are enriching the consumer experience with tailored content and it is way easier than the traditional ways of buying ads because it is so quick and easy. You don’t have to buy ads that are tailored to a large segment of individuals with the hopes that some of them will respond and react.

This software does the work that humans just can’t do. This may sound scary because it seems that once again computers and software are replacing the jobs for humans, but that isn’t the case.  Computers can’t run all by themselves. The media buyers will still have jobs but instead of making calls between the buyer and seller they will be analyzing data on a computer screen. This will require that people learn more skills and I know that change is hard but it is essential. People need to be willing to change and learn new tricks. Programmatic ad buying is going to make their jobs easier, once they learn all the skills.

Not only is programmatic ad buying thriving on in the internet but it is moving to television.  This is going to help advertisers avoid the issues of the DVR. Soon ads will be so targeted to the viewers that they won’t want to change the channel.  There are still many bugs that need to be fixed before this becomes reality. Also the ad buying will most likely not be real-time, like it is now, but it will be way quicker.  I’m excited to see how this all turns out.

Below are some links that provide more information on the topics I discussed in today’s blog.





Google+ and Twitter Chats Oh My!

There are two very important items on the agenda for my blog today: Google+ and Twitter chats. I will first begin discussing Google+.


The above meme depicts the feelings of most people I know. I was invited into Google+ in my senior year of high school. No one my age was on the social network and so I never took the time to learn more about it. It wasn’t until the end of my junior year in college that I  re-looked at my Google +. There were more friends of mine on the site but I still saw nothing new. Maybe it is the fear of joining a new network or maybe it is the fact that no one in my social circle is participating in Google+ but I still am not convinced it has much of a future.

From what I can tell and what others  have mentioned is that Google+ has mimicked Facebook, to some extent. They both allow for you to update status’ and the ability to like other people’s posts. You can upload photos and links to other sites. Google+ does have the feature of circles, which allows you to group your friends by your interests but Facebook also gives this ability. You can create groups, pages, and have people with similar interests join on Facebook. The one feature that I feel Google+ has the upper hand in is their Hangout feature.  It is like Skype, where you can video chat with others, but more people can be involved in the Hangout. Also you can share documents and work on them while you are chatting. This is especially handy during meetings. Facebook just happens to have this feature as well but I think Google+ wins this one because you can’t share documents on Facebook.  On top of all of this you can also video chat on your phone through the free Google Hangout app. This is so great when you are in the car or on the go, but have to be in a meeting.

Many would say that a benefit of Google+ is it that you can easily share content across all Google products. Yes, it is great that all these tools are managed in one place but sometimes there is too much of a good thing. I love that I can log into my Google account and have everything at my fingertips but I don’t see how Google+ has benefited it. I would say the main reason I still keep my Google+ is that Google runs everything.  You want to be loved by Google and at school all I ever hear is you want to be searchable.


Google has created their own SEO ranking signal, Google Authorship.  The better and more content that you post the higher you will get in the ranks.   Though I am not a fan of Google+ and am unconvinced by the articles that spout the benefits of it, I will not be getting rid of it any time soon.  I want to be searchable and I want Google to love me and if that means posting and attempting to interact in a copy cat of a social network than so be it.

Now moving on to the next topic of this post: Twitter chats. Today I had the experience of being involved in a Twitter chat. Before I started I was very confused. First, I had no idea what a Twitter chat was and second I had no idea how to get involved.  My digital marketing professor was very kind to give us the link to a list of scheduled chats: http://tweetreports.com/twitter-chat-schedule/. Here you can find all different types of chats that are  going on throughout the week on all sorts of topics. I thought this was incredibly cool because there were so many topics that I was interested in. I found this chat called #BizForum. This was supposed to be a weekly chat with business professionals about trending marketing topics.  To enter a chat you just have to add the hashtag to your comment and you can see all of the  other people commenting. Sadly when I entered this chat it was dead. There was only one other person in the chat room, who just happened to be another digital marketing student from Vermont.

Though I didn’t get the chance to really take part and experience a Twitter chat I am not going to stop trying. I think these chats are great experience and great networking. You get the chance to speak with business professionals without that awkward face-to-face situation. Also while in the chats you can look up the people you are speaking to and get to know more about them, and vice versa.  These are great for businesses as well because they can talk to their customers and build authority at the same time.  You also get to stay informed about what the customers are saying about your company and your brand. This is beneficial because people feel more comfortable saying their feelings behind the computer screen and they feel like you are really hearing them and really care.  This is just another great and fun way to grow your brand, authority, and popularity.

More ways Google+ is mimicking Facebook: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2012/04/google-redesign-further-mimics-facebook/

Want to learn how to get involved with Twitter chats and the benefits they have for your company? Click below!

How to Participate in a Tweet Chat

5 Ways Twitter Chats Can Help Your Business

Tools And Etiquette For Using Social Media Effectively

Social media is not just for  tweeting your thought of the day or updating your status about the “amazing” lunch you just had, which  you just had to take a photo of. It can  be used to further enhance your business and get your customers more involved in your company than you ever thought possible.

I have never been a “social media guru” and have usually attempted to stay off of the social media “bandwagon” because I never appreciated the value that it can bring to ones image. I was very wrong with this mindset because there are so many different things that can be done with the different platforms of social media and  every business can stand out in a crowd, if used correctly.

The different types of social media that  is out there can be a bit scary to comprehend when you first jump into the online world, but they all follow a similar etiquette when it comes to promoting your brand and gaining leads. Like I have been saying in my last few blogs, it is all about content.

Your content needs to be informative but humanized. Don’t worry about always selling your brand and your product. Give the customers something fun and interesting to read. There are many different tools out there that will help track what your customers are talking about and what they found particularly interesting that your company has shared with them.

Google analytics(http://www.google.com/analytics/) is a great tool that can be very handy when it comes to tracking your blog or your Google+. It is a free analytics tool that will help provide insight into your user’s behavior, the traffic that your page receives, and the behavior on your website. This tool will help you by providing useful data that will help you get to know how you can better serve  your customers.

Pinterest, I feel, is very unacknowledged for its promotional benefits and generation of leads. All a business has to do is pin a picture and link their website to the picture. If you pin it to the right board and promote it to the right audience than you generate many leads. One thing to keep in mind, when it comes to your audience, is the gender that the site is most likely to be used by. For example,  women are five times more likely to use Pinterest than men are, while men are supposedly  more likely to use Google+. By knowing this you can customize your sites to bring in the right type of audience. Pinterest has many tools that you can use to get the fullest advantage out of your boards; Curalate (http://www.curalate.com/) helps measure your pin and board engagement. It helps find advocates and generate traffic. This is a great tool to use because it can  find out what types of pins are becoming popular and what are not.  This tool can also be used for Instagram. Currently in beta testing for Pinterest is promoted pins. These pins work like any other pin,  but have a little icon in the right hand corner. This icon is clicked on by the user and they are given more information about the pin and the company that it came from. What I feel is great about this type of promotion is that it is not pushed into the customers face and the people clicking on it genuinely want to learn more about the product and business that it came from.

This leads me into the next etiquette rule that you should always follow on any social media site: Don’t be pushy. Update continuously but know when to promote and how much to promote. If you tweet all of your information at the exact same time then you are going to flood your customers feed. They are going to eventually get bored and then ignore what you are trying to say.


There are many tools out there that will help you with the scheduling of your posts. For example, Buffer is a scheduler for LinkedIn. This tool lets you schedule your posts, while also giving you a basic click/reach analytics for all of your pages.  HootSuite ( https://hootsuite.com/) is also a great tool for scheduling your posts. This allows you to post to many different websites at the same time. You can choose to schedule your posts or have them decide when would be the prime time to post a status. Scheduling is extremely important  because you don’t want to post something on your page when no one is paying attention. A fellow blogger, Belle Cooper, and team member of Buffer wrote  a blog about the best time to tweet, post, email, and blog. http://blog.bufferapp.com/best-time-to-tweet-post-to-facebook-send-emails-publish-blogposts

In this blog she stated some interesting facts like, the engagement rate for Facebook is 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays and Twitter engagements for brands are 17% higher on weekends.  As you can see there is a bit of a trend here. More people are engaged near the end of the week, but that isn’t the case for blogs.  Mondays are the highest traffic days for an average blog. Not only should you focus on the day that you are posting but also on the time.  You want to post when there is the most users are one the site but at the same time you don’t want to be lost in the feed. Belle provides more information about the best times to post in the link I posted in the paragraph above.

One last very important rule of etiquette that you should always follow is: stay engaged. Don’t forget about the users and don’t ignore them either. If you allow for your users to comment on your pages then make sure you answer them back. I would answer back in 24 hours, if possible. You want to keep building and maintaining that relationship with the customer and make sure they know that you care about them and what they have to offer your company. If you leave a comment ignored that can result in the loss of a customer, but also make sure that when you do comment back you do it appropriately.

A bad example of responding to customer comments would be the very famous Applebee’s  incident.  Long story short a picture of a customer’s bill was posted on Reddit, making fun of the “10% tip for God” that was left instead of for the waitress. This picture went viral and Applebee’s responded by firing the waitress responsible, for violating the customer’s privacy. People were very angry and felt that Applebee’s was being hypocritical because they post positive feedback from customers on their page.  Negative opinions flooded Facebook and Twitter.  It didn’t get better from there because an Applebee’s employee decided at 2am to respond to the comments. Not only did they respond at that time but they made it a comment and not a Facebook status. They then being tagging people in their comments and ended up arguing with the customers.


Applebee’s lost a lot of customers because of this incident and hopefully the employee who did this was fired. If they had responded at an appropriate time with an appropriate message and not have fought with the customers then they may have been able to salvage their image. This just goes to show that you need to make sure you are engaging with your customers in a well-mannered way and at an appropriate time. If you would like to read more about this incident and see some of the customer responses follow this link: http://rlstollar.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/applebees-overnight-social-media-meltdown-a-photo-essay/

There are of course more social media etiquette rules that you should follow but I highlighted the ones I felt were the most important to know. I would like to give a shout out to the people at MOZ. They just put out this very lovely beginners guide to social media, which is filled with techniques and tools you can use to further enhance your social media presence and your business.


Content Marketing: It’s Kind Of A Big Deal

The time for content marketing is now. Traditional marketing, ads on television, newspapers, etc…, is fading away. The internet is where everyone has turned to find information, whether it be sports, news, communication, gossip, etc… The fight of gaining a customer’s attention has become immensely harder. No longer do they have to sit through television commercials to see what they want but they can just click off a page, or skip an advertisement and goodbye to you and whatever your business was trying to sell.  So how do you attract customers long enough to get them hooked?

You put CONTENT into your marketing strategy!


Not just any content though. It needs to be relevant and valuable to your defined target audience. You want to be able to attract, acquire, and engage your audience.  This is tough with the ever-changing needs and wants of consumers. You need to be consistently producing quality content that is going to change or enhance consumer behavior. In return the customer is going to give your their loyalty and hopefully their money. 🙂

Some of you must be wondering well what does content marketing look like?

What I’m doing right now, blogging, is content marketing. I’m providing you with relevant and hopefully intriguing information twice a week. I’m marketing myself and what my thoughts and opinions are about the marketing world, with the hope that what I have to say is of interest to a few.

 You should have a blog. If you do not have one get one RIGHT NOW!

An example of a great blog is the Event Blog by Cvent: http://blog.cvent.com/

 They  were awarded gold in the 2013 Content Marketing Awards. Yes, there are awards for content marketing.  If you look at their blog you can defiantly tell why they deserved the award. The homepage alone has so much different information that there is something for everyone. Also the topics in general are fun and draw a customer’s attention. For example one of their blogs is called “I Ain’t Following you on Twitter: 3 New Twitter Follow Rules of 2014.”

Another great avenue of content marketing is video. You can make them fun and informational at the same time, which will intrigue your consumers. Federated Media Publishing took home the gold in the category of best branding video for the CMA’s for their Levi’s Curve Fit branding video. They shot five short documentaries of women bloggers. Here is one of the videos:

What Levi did here was brilliant. They had every day women give testimonials about how great their jeans are. Levi is demonstrating their expertise in jeans by showing that these jeans are for every type of women and by having most of these women be very dedicated to fashion it gives them authority in the fashion world.

Authority is one of the 7 steps in Scribes “7A” Strategy Framework to building an audience.  Scribe says that “Authority is central to a smart content marketing strategy.” You do not just get authority over night. It has to be earned and granted. Levi has defiantly earned that authority and that is why they are so successful to this day. One benefit of authority is that your content is going to be linked by other sites.   Like what I have been doing here and linking Levi’s content in this blog.  Not only are the people going to love you but so is Google. The more authoritative and important your site is the higher Google is going to place you in the rankings. Don’t think that you can fake authority though, like I said it needs to be earned and you do that with great content.

Other types of content marketing that I would suggest you look into are:

Social Media, Case Studies, Photos, E-Books, White Papers, Infographics, and Apps

Remember as  you are creating content always focus on your audience. Always focus on their needs and sales should not be your main goal. Be informative and creative. If you gain the consumers interests you are going to generate leads, increase the traffic on your site, and build a larger loyal audience. Eventually your sales will rise with hard work, but it is worth it.


Scribe ” A Content Marketing Strategy that Works”


If you would like to see the other categories and winners of the CMA’s here is the link:


Search Engine Optimization For Dummies


Search engines are a vital part of our lives. We spend every day searching for answers and information to help increase our knowledge but how many of us actually know how it works? Today I am going to teach you the basics of how search engines work.

Search engines have two major functions:

  1. Crawling and Indexing
  2. Providing the answers

What is crawling and indexing you may ask? Well there are little automatic robots called “crawlers” or as some people call “spiders.” You input your keywords to the search engine and these little things will crawl ALL OVER the world-wide web, following links from page to page. Below is a video that shows what these “spiders” would like and do if they were real.

So once these “spiders” find the pages, the code is deciphered and stored into massive hard drives. There are data centers all over the world that hold all of the information, making it possible for users to gain answers in a fraction of a second.

Next the search engine must answer your inquiry. The articles and links that you are given are not pure randomness. The pages that are presented to you have been assigned a score, with the highest ranking ones being the first ones for the user to see. There are very complicated algorithms that are used to establish the rankings, that I will not be getting into,  but relevance and popularity play a large role.

Now you must be thinking “Well how can I use Search Engine Optimization to my advantage?”

If you combine SEO with Search Engine Marketing  (SEM) you will increase the amount of traffic and exposure to your site by leaps and bounds. SEM, as stated in Wikipedia, means:

“The process of gaining traffic by purchasing ads on search engines. It is also called paid search and sometimes referred to as CPC (cost-per-click) or PPC (pay-per-click) marketing, because most search ads are sold on a CPC / PPC basis.”


Both SEM and SEO have the same bottom line and goal: To give users information they are looking for. Though SEO is free that does not mean it is better than SEM. They should be used together because no matter you want the customer coming to your website and it shouldn’t matter how.

In my last blog I talked about how inbound marketing is all about the user and how relevant content will improve your traffic. By using SEO and SEM together you are going to gain customer attention. If your website is user-friendly and uses  keywords that are most likely to be searched, then “spiders” will be able to easily find the link to your page when searched for. Whether it is through an “organic” search or through paid links the user will still be seeing your information and coming to your site, thus  improving your traffic. By using social media tactics, like Facebook and Twitter, your links are going to become more popular and  you will become more searchable. I don’t believe you can have a successful website if you do not participate in both SEM and SEO. 


If you would like to learn more details about Search Engine Optimization please follow this link: http://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo.

Below is a link to my blog about inbound marketing, in case you missed it.