Studies show that 54% of small businesses have a challenge creating engaging content. And even the ones that don’t think it’s a challenge probably haven’t tested their content to optimize it.
That’s no small matter. Content is an important part of any online business or any business for that matter. It’s content that attracts traffic, content that engages and nurture leads, and content that converts them into customers. If your content is not on point, you’re leaking sales.
The problem is, you don’t know what content converts best. Sure, you have to test, but what do you start with? You need to have the right headlines, website copy, and blog content in the first place before you start testing.
Traditionally, most marketers simply do keyword research and create that content. But that era is long gone. Today, it’s not about keyword stuffing. It’s about understanding your target audience.
That’s where qualitative research comes in. You talk to customers, understand what their needs and problems are, and then answer their concerns on your website and blog. You use their feedback to form an idea of what content will convert future visitors.
But what if you don’t have the time or resources to do all that? What if you need to quickly come up with some new blog ideas, or you have to redo the copy on a page before the tight deadline your client or boss sent you. Where can you get instant feedback from?
Your top of the funnel A/B tests.
If you’re running social media, advertising or email campaigns, you’re probably doing some A/B testing on them to optimize the click-through rates. That’s direct feedback right there about what messages resonate well with your visitors! Let’s have a look at how you can use this in your website and blog copy.
Google and Facebook Ads
The headline is the most important element in your copy. According to Ted Nicholas, “73% of consumer’s purchasing decisions are made at the point of the headline.”
Every landing page on your website needs to start with a captivating headline. The bulk of your visitors will look at it and determine whether they want to spend more time on your page or bounce. Nail the headline and your conversion rates will increase.
If you’re driving traffic to your landing page with something like Google or Facebook ads, you can test different ad messages to see which ones result in the highest click-through rates. Both come with some A/B testing tools, but you can also use tools like AdEspresso to speed things up.
If one message is outperforming the rest, it means that visitors are more likely to buy into that message. You can then use the winning headline to create your landing page headline. You may even take the ad text, and use it for writing your subtitle.
In the conversion rate optimization world, this is called message match. This basically means you’re following up on what you promised in your ad with the same message on your landing page.
Here’s a real world example from a campaign that the Royal Bank of Canada ran on Facebook. Here’s what one of RBC’s ads looked like –
They then used the headline and copy from this ad to optimize the copy on their landing page –
If RBC wanted to further optimize the content on their landing page, all they need to do is test more message variations in their ads. The benefit of this is that their ad campaigns see more visitors than their landing pages because they are a step before in the funnel. More visitors mean more data points and quicker to reach statistical significance.
You’re sitting on a goldmine. You’ve got customers, leads, and subscribers in your email lists, yet you’re struggling to figure out what copy to create for your web pages. These are people who have already bought your product, or are likely to in the future. Use them to test your copy!
With email tools like GetResponse, you can test up to 5 different messages at the same time. Create multiple versions of your copy and split them amongst your email lists. Highlight Feature A in version 1, and Benefit B in version 2, and so on, and see which email results in higher click-through rates. The winning variation should determine what to put on the actual page.
Of course, the rules for writing a winning website copy are not set on stone. Feel free to tweak it and craft something better, but use your winning email body copy as a solid foundation.
Naturopathica is an e-commerce store that sells organic and natural cosmetics. Their customers are typically very picky about what products they buy and usually require a lot of information before they make a purchase. That means the copy and content on their site matters a lot.
To start collecting more information, Naturopathica sent out a survey to their lists asking them why they liked the products. They received a lot of great feedback and found that even the survey emails resulted in sales. They then decided to A/B test emails that contained all the reviews they collected.
They found that emails with testimonials and reviews had an increase in open rate of 6% and an increase in click-through rates of 25%. This indicated that customer reviews influence purchasing behavior and so they started adding them to their website.
Social Media Management
Just like headlines matter for landing pages, titles matter for blog posts. The better your titles, the more readers you’ll get.
Now, there are tools that can help you A/B test titles for each post, but they have limitations. A faster way to optimize your blog post titles is using social media.
With apps like Oktopost or Hootsuite, you can schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook Google+ and other social networks in advance. You can then send multiple messages over the course of a few days, each with a different title but linking to the same post, and then track which ones get the best response. Your conversion rates will be the number of clicks per 100 views. Use the winning message as your blog post title.
But, what if you want to figure out what title to use even before you want to publish so that when you do publish you’re already starting with the best title? Well, you can use the same tactic, except this time you’ll have to link to your blog homepage. It’s a little misleading, but it will help you gather valuable information.
This concept even extends to figuring out new blog post ideas. You may not know what post to write yet, so take a cue from your social media messages. See what’s already working and write about that.
You should always be gathering qualitative and quantitative feedback from visitors and running A/B tests on your site. But, sometimes, you just need quick results. By using data from your ads, emails and social media, you can optimize the content on your site.
Try out some of the suggestions here and let us know what happened in the comments.Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community