Smart Audience Profiling Methods

Smart Audience Profiling Methods

Audience Profiling

“He’s Called Bob!”

10 Easy Ways To Research Your Market And Better Understand Your Buyers!

Knowing Your Market

How well do you know YOUR market? Even though there are plenty of sources and resources you can go to online for information in this respect, it’s a fact of life that many products are released with little to no prior research at all. It’s no big surprise then that without proper audience profiling, some of them fail to make many sales. The creator is left wondering what went wrong when they “knew” they had a sure fire winning idea behind their product.

Does this sound familiar? It’s easy to assume you know what your target market wants. However, unless you do your research first, you’ll never know for sure. That gut feeling you had could be letting you down big time.

So let’s ditch the gut feelings and assumptions and discover how you can find out everything you need to know about your market. This is the good news – your market is ready to tell you what it needs and wants. In fact the information is already out there. You just have to know where to look and how to find it.

With all that information available at your fingertips, it’s like mining gold!

So without further delay, let’s get started.

Using Data Mines To Infiltrate Your Market

You’ll notice we mentioned ten easy ways to research your market and do audience profiling in the title of this report. We’re going to get started now by covering five essential sources of information in this section.

1: Alexa | http://www.Alexa.com

Known as the ‘web information company’, it would be a real shame not to take advantage of the huge amount of data they have to share with you. On the home page you’ll see a box where you can type in any keyword or specific website address you want to look for.

Let’s say you’re thinking of writing an eBook on low fat cooking. Simply type ‘low fat cooking’ into the search box and hit the search button.

The results will reveal the popularity of your search term (i.e. how many people are looking for it), the amount of competition for it in terms of ads, as well as the specific URL results. In other words you’ll find out whether your idea really will be the sure fire success you thought it would be or whether you should move onward, or go back to the drawing board.

One of the great things about Alexa is that underneath each URL result you’ll see a series of keywords. You can click on any one of these to reach another page full of information for that search term.

This includes search popularity, the competition you’d likely have for it and the competing sites that get the lion’s share of the traffic.

Depending on what you see here, you can consider whether your idea is a bust or whether to pursue it further. Alexa alone can be a huge time saver – not to mention an idea generator.

2: Compete | http://www.Compete.com

The Compete.com website provides detailed analytics for any website you are interested in researching. Maybe you want to see just how well your competition is doing – you can find out here. You can sign in for a free account and see a month-by-month graph of unique visitors for the websites you want to look into in more depth.

Compete.com also provides a competitive rank feature that shows you how the top competitors for your chosen site are ranking in relation to it. You can see too whether the website is up or down on traffic for the month and year respectively.

You’d need to sign up to get a more accurate and detailed picture of the information they have available, but if all you need is basic figures on the other competitors in a particular area, you’ll probably find this gives you everything you need. When you use Compete.com in conjunction with the other sources given in this report, you’ll be well ahead of your competition.

3: Google Trends | http://www.Google.com/trends

Are you interested in keeping up with the latest trends, hot topics and current events? Google Trends makes it incredibly easy to research your market and get to know WHO your buyers really are and what they are most interested in.

Google Trends is a search engine with a difference. If you want to know more about your buyers you can find out what they’re looking for by using this source of info from Google.

For example, I looked up the general term gardening to see what popped up. The map shows me which areas of the world are most interested in looking for information about gardening, which in this case are the US, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

You can limit your search term(s) by using the options at the side of the screen. It defaults to a web search but interestingly you can try a product search too. This could be useful if you’re thinking of launching your own product on this topic (or any other topic that you are interested in).

You can also limit your search to a specific country or pick a specific category to look in. This all helps refine your information from a general search to a more specific one.

But the bit I love the most, is the related terms section. Here, the word gardening gave me related terms including organic gardening, container gardening, square foot gardening and landscape gardening. Any one of these could be mined for further information.

Click on ‘rising’ and you’ll also see the most popular gardening related searches right now, indicating any new and improving areas worth looking into.

In short, a couple hours on Google Trends could give you plenty of ideas to meet the needs of your audience.

4: Google Adwords Keyword Tool

This free keyword tool is gold when it comes to finding out what your target audience is really interested in. All you need is the basic audience you’re after and you can mine it for as much information as you need.

Let’s take a look at an example so you can understand how powerful this is. If we perform a very basic search using the word ‘cooking’ we can see how useful it is to generate more potential ideas.

Simply change the match types on the left to indicate an exact search instead of a broad search, and sort your results by Global Monthly Searches. You can then look down the list and see what people are searching for in this area.

Among the results are cooking games, chicken recipes, slow cooker recipes and crock-pot recipes. You may not have thought of any of these possibilities without the use of the Google Adwords keyword tool, and yet here you are with a list of topics to consider for your next product.

You can also see how many times people are searching for these keywords each month, which is useful when it comes to gauging whether or not there is an audience worth aiming for in your area of the marketplace. It’s an inspiring tool and since it’s free, it should be part of every marketer’s armory.

5: ClickBank | http://www.ClickBank.com

Did you ever think of Clickbank.com as a source of market information? Nor do a lot of other people, and yet it’s a superb source of information worth looking into.

It’s easy to start using too. You don’t need to be a member to delve into the marketplace here – the link for it is at the top of the site. You’ll see a list of categories on the next page, so you can select the one you’re interested in and go from there. The results given for each category are automatically sorted by popularity, so you can see which ones are selling best in each area.

Of course, you wouldn’t copy any of these products – that’s not what this kind of research is all about. No, the idea here is to see what is selling and what other people are making a good deal of commission on. It also tells you what these items are selling for, which in itself is worth knowing if you’re unsure about setting prices for any of your own products.

Perhaps more tellingly you can also sort by low to high for popularity, so you can see the products that aren’t selling. There could be many reasons for this but it gives you another source of information that could prevent you from making some costly mistakes.

It’s a marketplace fairly packed with data and it’d be a shame not to benefit from it, wouldn’t it?

Mining Feedback Gold:

How To Create Winning Products For Your Market

One easy and very powerful way to do audience profiling and find out more about your potential customers is to find out what their opinions are. Sounds difficult, doesn’t it? And yet all the information is right there online for you to access.

Once you have a product area in mind, you can delve into feedback given on similar products in that area. Let’s focus on a few sites where you can do this.

6: Amazon | http://www.Amazon.com

This is perhaps the best site of all to use. Amazon feedback is easy to access and easy to understand, since it uses a five star rating system. You can read all the reviews for a particular item, or choose to focus on all the five star reviews (or those attributed to any other star rating if you wish).

The great thing is lots of people will happily give in depth reviews of all kinds of things. This is akin to having your own test audience to ask questions of. Perhaps more importantly they’ll tell you what the product doesn’t do and doesn’t achieve. They’ll even go so far as to point out what they’d really like – and this is pure gold when it comes to product creation.

The trick is to look at several products in the area you are interested in, and think about what they tell you. Looking at one review won’t give you the information you need – although it will help – but looking at plenty of reviews will give you a picture of whether you have an idea this audience will love.

Don’t shirk on your research in this situation – there is gold dust liberally sprinkled all over Amazon.com, so make sure you devote the time to finding it and making good use of it. It’s a great tool but you can bet few of your competitors will be using it.

7: Twitter | http://www.Twitter.com

If you’re familiar with Twitter, you’ve probably never thought of researching your market on there before. But since there are millions of users on there, you can be sure part of your target market is on there as well. All you have to do is connect with them.

The easiest way to do this is to look up search terms related to your market. So for example if you’re thinking of publishing that Kindle book on low fat cooking, try looking up terms related to it.

You might have to try a few different keywords to get a good set of results. Try the hashtag as well, so for example you can look up #lowfatcooking and see if anyone else has used the same hashtag. Sometimes you’ll come up empty but other times you could hit on a hashtag that really helps you.

Twitter also trumps Amazon in that it’s easy to get into a conversation with people. Instead of simply looking for tweets written by other people, think about writing a few of your own too. What do you need to ask to get the answers you want? By getting into a few conversations, you can gather more information than you would have had otherwise.

So you can see Twitter is a two way street. It can help you fill in any gaps you may have in your knowledge about your target market. Monitor your account regularly and look for any hashtags you’ve identified. It’ll help build the picture you want to have.

8: Facebook | http://www.Facebook.com

Where would we be without Facebook? The good thing about this social media site is that many big brands are on here updating their own pages. People follow them and interact with the brand – and each other – giving up useful information as they do so.

Of course, it’s not just big brands that have lots of information to provide. You can do a search much as you did on Twitter to find the most relevant pages to work from.

Perhaps the most powerful thing about Facebook is that different users get into conversations with each other, debating all kinds of things about your area of interest. When you find and observe these conversations, you can learn a lot from them. You may even find your audience is discussing things you hadn’t thought about, expressing problems and issues you may be able to solve with your next product.

In fact if you want to use Facebook as a source of new product ideas and areas to explore, you could do a lot worse.

Try it now – spend just a half hour exploring the site and finding people and businesses that are related to your area of interest. You might be surprised how much useful information you can get after a half hour.

9: Other Social Media Platforms

It’s not just Twitter and Facebook you can explore when it comes to harnessing the power of social media. There are plenty of other sites out there you can look into as well; some more pertinent than others depending on the market you’re interested in.

Pinterest, at http://www.Pinterest.com might suit you if you’re into practical solutions, while Google+ has made great strides in recent months and is as good a place as any to find out what people think of a certain topic.

There are dozens of other lesser known social media and networking sites around too, so don’t be nervous of looking for ones few people will have heard of.

Some of them appeal to a particular demographic, and if you happen to be marketing to that same demographic you might actually get more info from an obscure site than you would from Facebook. It’s not just the number of members that matters – it’s the focus of the site too.

10: Target Appropriate Forums

Just as there are many social media sites in the world, so there are plenty of forums too. In fact, this could be one of your most powerful sources of information when exploring a new market to make money from. Forums exist for all kinds of people and subjects.

If you are thinking of making a product for dog lovers, you can bet there are plenty of forums out there focusing on this very group of people. Similarly, if you want to write a book on saving and making money, well, you can be sure of finding groups of people wanting to do just that in specific forums as well.

A quick Google search using the words ‘forum’ coupled with your particular area of interest will turn up some fruitful results. It’s up to you whether you want to sign in and become a member of these forums or whether you want to lurk from the sidelines, or not. However, it’s often best to become a member – they’re free after all and you can initiate conversations that can get you the information you want.

Just be sure you add value to the forum if you do join. It’s not good to tell people you’re creating a product or using them for research purposes. Becoming a regular member of the community will actually get you better results in the end than acting as if your from the outside doing research on it.

One final word here – don’t be tempted to join too many forums. It can get difficult keeping up with them all. Find one or two of the top forums with the highest memberships and most active user bases and stick to those.

Final Words

If you are really intent on making the most of your market research, make sure you use all the above methods to get the best free research you can. If you do this prior to launching any product – particularly if you’re aiming at a brand new market – you can be assured of getting much better results.

Before you started reading this report you were probably a little skeptical about whether you could get free information from the Internet in this way. Market research has to cost money, right?

Well no, it doesn’t, although it will cost you a little time.

All the information you will ever need to help you research your market and create the products that your target audience really wants and needs is out there – all you have to do is tap into it. As we’ve seen, there are a number of ways to do that.

We put the data mines section first for a reason. This is where you should always start if you’re literally on step one – finding out which market you want to target and which audience you need to be aiming at. Once you’re armed with that information you can go on to step two, which involves finding out more about that specific market or audience. As you can see, it doesn’t pay to rush things.

As time goes on and you try this method a couple times, you’ll come to realize it is an important step in your product creation strategy. Why pay for expensive market research services when there is just no need to?

Try it with your next project and see what a difference it will make in both your creativity and in the actual quality of your products. When you know your market, you know exactly how to dominate it!

Good luck!

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Forum Marketing -The Smart Approach

Forum Marketing -The Smart Approach

Forum marketing the smart way.

Pretty much everyone on the internet has visited at least one forum, and most have visited many of them. Although Facebook has replaced forums for some users, a lot of people still prefer the standard forum format.

Reddit is one of the world’s biggest online forums. For years, they have been receiving millions of unique visitors per month, and they have consistently been in the world’s top 100 websites. They are just one example of how much traffic and money there is to be had from forums.

The trouble is, if you’re not careful, you can do something that can cause irreparable harm to your forum. Running a forum successfully is not the easiest thing. In fact, even Reddit has learned this the hard way. A combination of politicking, ham fisted moderation, and server problems, has recently caused Reddit to drop from over 15,000,000 unique visitors per month to around 6-8,000,000. It was a sudden, massive drop, and it could have been prevented.

In this guide, you’re going to learn how to do forum marketing the smart way. We will discuss how to run a successful forum, from choosing a platform and setting it up, to populating the site with posts, to getting traffic, and preventing the loss of that traffic.

So let’s begin!

Forum Software

The first thing you must do is decide which forum software you’d like to use, and there are a lot of options to choose from.

One website has a wizard that will help you choose which software to run by answering a few questions:

> http://www.forummatrix.org/wizard.php?d%5Bgo%5D=1&x=72&y=8

The site also has comparisons and information about most of the popular forum platforms, so you can choose the one that is right for you.

Some of the most popular forum platforms include:

>> https://www.phpbb.com/

>> https://www.mybb.com/

>> https://vanillaforums.org/

>> http://www.simplemachines.org/

If you use one of the popular cPanel hosting companies, they will often have an installer program that will make it easy to install your forum software with just a few clicks. Ask your hosting company if they have something like Softaculous.

You could also hire someone to install the software for you if you don’t feel like you can handle it yourself. Search Fiverr or another freelance website for “script installation” to locate someone who can do this for you. Just keep in mind that if your host offers something like Softaculous, you can easily do it yourself.

You may also want to hire someone to create a logo and theme for your forum if you can’t find one that is right for you. Most forum packages have some free themes available, but a custom theme will go a long way toward making your forum stand out. People prefer visiting sites that have good layouts and are easy on the eyes, so that is one way you can attract more users.

Initial Posts

Once your forum is up and running, you need posts.

No, not traffic. Posts. Sound odd that you need posts before you even get traffic?

Just imagine going to a forum with no posts. Would you want to be the first one to start a conversation, not knowing if anyone will ever even see the post, much less respond?

Most people wouldn’t want to do that. They prefer to jump into threads that are already active rather than start a new thread, especially if they see very little activity on a particular forum.

The biggest attraction to get people to sign up to a new forum is activity, so you need a few users posting on a regular basis in order to get others to join the forum and participate.

The best way to accomplish this is to hire people to post for you. You could do that on a place like Fiverr, or you could use a service that specializes in forum posts, such as PostLoop.com.

> http://www.postloop.com

PostLoop.com is a broker that has a large number of people ready and willing to posts on your forum for pay, and it really doesn’t cost much. Most of the users are students, disabled individuals, stay-at-home parents, etc. They really don’t need to earn a great deal of money, so you can get posts very inexpensively, and usually very quickly.

The site even screens applicants to be sure they can post intelligent discussions and use proper spelling and grammar. They don’t have to be perfect, but they have to be at least as good as the average forum user, so don’t worry about getting a bunch of incoherent posts from people who barely speak English or just paste a bunch of translated nonsense.

You want your forum to look busy, so it’s a good idea to have at least 10-15 individuals posting, and to have at least 10-15 different topics in each area of your forum, as well as several posts in each thread. You want the forum to look as busy as possible.

You, as an owner, should also be active. Make sure users see you posting often, because they want to know you care about the forum before they invest their time into it.

Once you have a good number of posts and your forum looks active, you can start looking for real users for the forum.

Getting Traffic

Okay, your site is running, and you have a good number of initial posts to get the discussion rolling. What next?

It’s time to find some people to come post on your forum, and that can be easier said than done. Not only do you have to find people who are interested in the subject of your forum, but you also have to find a way to convince them to start posting!

One of the easiest ways to start doing this is to raid other similar forums. Look for people who post often and seem pretty knowledgeable on the subject, and people who rarely, if ever, have conflicts with other members. The last thing you want is a bunch of rude personalities chasing off other potential members!

NOTE: Before you do the following, be sure to check the forum rules to be certain you won’t get banned for it!

Send those people a private message and let them know you have started a forum, and that you are extremely impressed with their posts and you would be very pleased to have them post on your forum in addition to their current forum.

You might also set up a gamification system in which top posters are given prizes each month or are entered to win a nice prize. This is a great way to encourage users to stay active!

Another way to get traffic is to create a blog in your niche and link to your forum from as many spots as possible, potentially mentioning your monthly prize(s) in order to get more people to click.

Ads are a near sure-fire way to attract new posters. Facebook ads are particularly effective if done correctly, and you can even mention your prizes in your ad to attract attention. Ads are easy to target in most niches, so you can locate the people who are most likely to be interested in your forum.

Moderation

Moderation is a critical element of running a forum, and it can be very time-consuming if you choose to do it all yourself. You don’t necessarily have to read every single post on the forum every day, but you need to be ready to act quickly if you receive any complaints about a particular post or user.

What type of complaints are you likely to see?

  • Arguments, name calling, and other personal attacks
  • Spam
  • Pornography or other offensive or illegal content
  • Hate speech or threats of violence
  • Plagiarism (yes, it can happen on forums)

In order to keep your visitors happy and returning, it’s important to take care of any of these issues quickly. Allowing tempers to flare further will only end up in the potential of additional members becoming involved and taking sides, and even more users possibly leaving the forum.

You should institute a clear policy for repeat offenders. You might, for example, give three warnings before a ban, unless the user commits such a bad offense they must be banned immediately. Always consider the severity of the issues before deciding whether or not to ban a user. Every member is important unless they are causing nothing but problems.

If you find you cannot keep up with moderation on your own, you have two choices. You can hire one or more people to moderate the forum, or you can ask for volunteers from your member base.

Before inviting someone to be a moderator, there are a few things you should consider:

  • Are their posts always helpful?
  • Are their posts always fair and kind?
  • Do they get along with other members easily?
  • Have they been posting long enough to be trusted?

You want your moderators to be fair and impartial at all times, and you want to be sure you can trust them not to make decisions that could hurt the forum, or worse, to damage it on purpose. For this reason, you might want to avoid volunteer moderators until your forum has been active long enough to have members who have enough history on the forum to be trusted.

Avoiding Problems

Forum members can be very quick to abandon a forum if there are a lot of problems, so it’s vital that you keep a close eye on potential issues so you can cut them off before they chase away your key members.

Moderation is one of the essential keys to avoiding problems, but there are a few other issues to be on the lookout for.

First, make sure you keep your forum software updated. Hackers are constantly looking for new ways to exploit different software, and they could find a way to hack your site. If you keep your software updated with the latest patches, you’ll be less likely to suffer such a breach.

Also, be sure you use a good hosting company. If your server goes down a lot, users will grow frustrated and abandon the site. This is one reason the traffic at Reddit has declined, because the servers have had issues and people have grown tired of the downtime.

It’s important to listen to your members and give them what they want whenever you can. If you make changes to the forum that upset a lot of users, be sure to apologize, politely explain your position, and then reverse your decision if you can. If you aren’t able to, you should explain why, and let them know you’d have preferred not to make the change, but it was absolutely necessary. Communication is essential if you want to keep members happy!

Making Money

Once the forum is running and has a decent number of active users, you can consider monetization methods. I wouldn’t even worry about making money with the forum at first, because ads and other monetization methods may slow the forum’s growth. Instead, keep the forum mostly ad-free until its growth has begun to slow.

There are many different methods you can use to make money with your forum. Some monetization methods may work well with one forum and be disastrous on another, so it’s important to test various methods.

The most common form of forum monetization is advertisements such as Google AdSense or other ad network placement. The majority of forums use this as their main (or sometimes only) monetization, but this is not usually the most profitable form. Eventually, visitors will become “banner blind”, and will begin to ignore the ads. (And most people are already banner blind to some extent.)

You could also sell advertising to individual buyers. You can do this on a flat-rate basis, charging a flat monthly fee for each ad spot, or you can charge by the impression, click, or even sale.

You could also market affiliate products to your users. This could be especially lucrative in niche markets where there are a lot of passionate users. For example, golfers are extremely avid, and are likely to buy a lot of products over the years, such as balls, gloves, clubs, bags, tees, and how-to products.

Amazon is a great place to start. While it may seem like they don’t pay much, purchases can really add up. Plus, even if you only sell a $6 fishing lure through your affiliate link, you’ll also earn a commission on anything they purchase for the next 24 hours. That means if they decide to purchase a $500 fishing raft, you’ll get commission on that item, too! Their cookies used to last much longer, but 24 hours still gives you time to cash in on multiple purchases.

Amazon has a massive number of products you can promote in just about any niche you can think of, so they’re a very good place to start.

ClickBank and JVZoo also hold a wide variety of products, and because they are all digital products, the profit margins (and thus commissions) are typically high. If you can find a product that would appeal to your members, you can potentially make a lot of money with information products.

Another good option for some forums is charging a small fee for membership. This could be a monthly fee or a yearly one, and it could be for the entire forum, or just a section of it. You could also make membership optional, giving members that pay some kind of special benefit.

The Warrior Forum (http://www.WarriorForum.com) has a number of ways they make money. They charge for a membership, which is required if you want to access certain areas of the forum and if you want to post ads on the site. They also charge for posting an ad in their Special Offers section.

Dirty Discourse (http://www.DirtyDiscourse.com) has a forum that charges a small monthly or yearly fee for access. Members must pay if they want to use the forum. Because their market is relatively small, they don’t have a lot of good competition, and members feel they need to access the forum’s information in order to be successful in self-publishing, they are successful with this model.

Keep in mind that not every forum is well suited for a membership model. If there are a lot of active forums in your niche, you may find that people will just go elsewhere if you decide to charge for access.

You must find a way to get your members to see the value of paying for membership without upsetting them, and without making them flee to another forum.

If there are plenty of forums in your niche that offer what your members are looking for, you might want to keep most of your forum free for public access and have a separate paid area for in-depth discussions, or perhaps have a membership level that is voluntary, but offers some kind of benefit, such as a forum rank, or the ability to post advertisements.

Finally, there’s the option to sell the forum once it has a decent number of active members. Sites with large user bases have the potential to sell for thousands of dollars on a site like Flippa.com.

Conclusion

Running a forum is no easy task. Although the initial setup is relatively simple, it’s the daily maintenance in the form of seeking new traffic, managing ads, and moderating the forum that takes time.

Despite the effort required, running a forum has the potential to be extremely lucrative. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort into forum marketing, you could end up with a forum that makes you a significant income each month, and that could potentially sell for thousands of dollars down the road.

In fact, WarriorForum.com was acquired by Freelancer for a whopping $3.2 million in 2014, so you can see that active forums can sell for a lot of money!

Once you have some trusted moderators to handle most issues, you really won’t have to invest a lot of time in forum marketing, or your forum anymore and it will practically run itself. All you have to do is update the software regularly to ensure the forum stays secure, and be sure to keep in touch with moderators to be sure they’re doing their jobs correctly.

Good luck with your new forum! I wish you much success!

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Snapchat Marketing – The Basics

Snapchat Marketing – The Basics

Snapchat marketing. Here are the basics.

Snapchat is a social network that allows users to send “Snaps”—pictures and videos—to their followers. It’s a bit like Instagram in some ways, but in other ways it’s definitely not. We’ll talk more about how the app works later, but the closest thing I can think of to describe it to you is sort of like a cross between Instagram and Periscope.snapchat marketing

Think Snapchat can’t help your business? Think again. Take a look at some of these statistics:

  • Over 150,000,000 people use the app daily
  • Over 10 billion videos are watched on Snapchat daily
  • 41% of 18-34-year-olds in the U.S. use the app daily
  • Over half of new signups are over age 25

Not only does Snapchat get a massive amount of traffic each day, it’s also incredibly effective. Their ad platform did a study that tested things such as eye tracking, emotional responses, and surveys, and the results were impressive.

It found that Snapchat ads:

  • Got twice the visual attention of Facebook ads
  • Got 1.5 times more visual attention than Instagram ads
  • Were 1.3 times more effective than YouTube

Let’s take a look at what makes it successful.

What The Heck Is Snapchat?

Okay, I get it. Snapchat is one of those social networks that a lot of people don’t “get”. But remember, Twitter was once also misunderstood by a lot of people, and now it seems most people have a Twitter account.

A lot of people think it’s only for younger audiences, but a pretty big chunk of Snapchat’s user base is actually 30 . It’s definitely not just for teens and tweens, nor is it just a sexting platform like so many people seem to think.

As I mentioned before, the best way I can think of to describe Snapchat is a bit like a cross between Instagram and Periscope. (Periscope, if you haven’t tried it, is a live broadcasting app where your content disappears after a short period of time.)

Snapchat users post “Snaps”—photos or videos—to their followers. Users only have 10 seconds to view those snaps before they disappear forever, but they can take a screenshot during that time. There are tools that can automatically save all the Snaps you post so you can post them on other networks like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. So don’t think that just because Snaps appear for only 10 seconds that they’re not worth posting!

Better than Snaps are Stories. Stories appear for 24 hours, and they are much more effective than simple Snaps.

Think of a Snap as being a bit like a television commercial in the days before DVR and rewinding live TV. You watched the commercial, and once it’s gone, it’s gone (at least until the next time it aired). If you wanted to write down a phone number or address, you had to be quick. But those commercials still accomplished a lot!

Snapchat isn’t some “perfect” marketing method by any means, but then again, none of the social media sites are “perfect” for marketing. Each one has their own set of flaws that makes them tricky to use. You just have to learn how to make the most of each one.

Fortunately, Snapchat is ridiculously easy to use. If you’ve struggled to get the hang of sites like Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook, don’t worry! Snapchat is crazy simple.

It’s also a lot more effective for marketing than you probably think, especially if you want to appeal to the coveted under-30 age group, which makes the bulk of the Snapchat user base. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, there are plenty of users over the age of 30, too!

They also have an ad platform, but they are reportedly asking for $750,000 per day to advertise on their platform. Fortunately, marketing on Snapchat for free can be just as effective, and that’s what we’re going to focus on in this guide!

So let us begin.

Getting Started

The first thing you need to do is download the Snapchat app. It’s available for both iOS and Android, so if you have a fairly recent smartphone, you’re probably good to go. The app is free, and it’s available on the iTunes app store and Google Play.

Once you have the app, you’ll need to create an account. It’s important to choose a good username, because this is how people will identify you on the site, and you can’t change it. For this reason, be sure you type the username you want correctly.

Most people either choose some form of their name as their username, or they use the name of their website or company. You’ll want to choose whatever you want to brand with your Snapchat marketing—whether that is you personally, or your company or website.

Many people use the same username on Snapchat as they do on Twitter to keep things consistent. It’s easier for people to remember to message you @yourname on both Twitter and Snapchat if they follow you on both platforms.

You’ll also probably want to get an email address specifically for Snapchat, such as snapchat@yourdomain.com or yourdomainsnapchat@gmail.com.

Once you’ve signed up, you need to find some people to follow. You can tap the ghost logo at the top of the screen to bring up the user menu, and then click “Add Friends”.

On this page, you can add people in different ways:

  • Add by Username – This lets you look people up by their Snapchat username, but you either need to know their username to add them, or search for it and hope they used an easy-to-find username. For example, to find Taco Bell on Snapchat, you just enter “tacobell” without quotes and tap the button to add them once they show up in the search results. See why it’s important to choose an easy-to-remember username?
  • Add from Address Book – This will search through your contacts and let you add any of them who are on Snapchat.
  • Add by Snapcode – Snapcodes are those little yellow squares that fuction like QR codes. You can take a picture of one or download one and then choose it from your camera app to add that person on Snapchat. Apps like GhostCodes help you find people to add by interest, and you can download their code to your phone and upload it in the Snapchat app to follow them.
  • Add Nearby – This will use your current location to find other Snapchat users and add them. But be aware that other people will see your username locally, so if you’re worried about privacy, don’t use this feature.

Once you’ve added some people, you’ll want to make sure your settings are ready for marketing.

To find your settings, tap the ghost icon to open your username page. Then tap the cog at the top right. This will open your settings.

The first setting to look for is “Contact Me”. This is set to “My Friends” by default, but you might want to set it to “Everyone” to allow more people to contact you about your products or services.

Next, under “View My Story”, you’ll want to set that to “Everyone”. This way, if your friends share your stories, other people will be able to see them, getting you more views.

Finally, in “See Me in Quick Add”, you might want to be certain this is on. This way, you will appear to the friends of your friends, thus potentially garnering more followers with no effort.

Don’t forget to add a picture to your Snapchat code! To do this, just tap the ghost icon, then tap the yellow QR code thing. This will let you take a picture (it will be animated!) to show up inside the ghost on your code. Most companies use their logo here, but you can also use a moving picture of yourself. Be prepared, because it will take a couple of seconds of video to create the animation. If you want to show your logo, hold your phone still while the image is taken.

The previous image is an example of what a Snapchat code looks like once it’s been customized. GrubHub has simply used their logo.

Don’t forget to announce your Snapchat on your blog, website, and other social media accounts. You can either post your Snapchat username so people can manually add you, or post your Snapchat code so people can download the image and scan it within the app.

 

Snapchat Marketing Plan

Creating a marketing plan for Snapchat is actually extremely important, because it’s just so different from other social platforms. When you send a user a Snap, it’s generally a lot more personal than media on other platforms, because you must send Snaps directly to users. This gives it a much more personal feel, which increases engagement and response.

Let’s take a look at some of the types of content that have seen success on Snapchat:

  • Behind-the-scenes footage
  • Real-time news and updates
  • Contests (especially flash contests)
  • Short instructional content (mini-tutorials)
  • Product previews

These are a few examples of the types of things you can share on Snapchat, but just about any type of content can work as long as it fits within the short format.

But remember, content must be memorable to be useful on Snapchat. Because content disappears so quickly, it’s vital to post only content that will really capture attention and interest.

When you create a marketing plan for Snapchat, it’s a good idea to observe some other successful brands on Snapchat, such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Sour Patch Kids, and Gatorade. These brands have had some truly inspired campaigns that really got their companies a lot of attention, increasing their profiles considerably.

Make sure you have clear goals in mind when you create your campaign. Snapchat’s strength isn’t direct selling, so it’s best to use the platform to increase your profile on other outlets, or just your brand in general.

For example, you could hold contests to increase your follower count on various platforms. Or you could just post silly behind-the-scenes pictures and videos as a way to connect with potential customers and increase brand awareness.

Goals will help you choose the best types of promotions to add to your Snapchat marketing plan.

Sending Content

There are two types of content you can send on Snapchat—Snaps and Stories. Snaps are single pictures or videos that can be up to 10 seconds long. Stories are basically collections of pictures and videos, and they can be viewed multiple times over a 24-hour period.

Sending Snaps

Snaps come in two varieties—pictures and videos. To take a Snap, you either tap the circle in the center of the screen at the bottom to take a picture, or hold down the circle to take a video. Remember, videos can only be a maximum of 10 seconds.

Once you take your picture or video, you have the opportunity to delete it if you don’t like it. Just tap the “X” at the top left of the screen and you can then try again.

To change the length of time someone can view the content before it disappears, tap the clock icon at the bottom left. This will let you choose any length of time up to 10 seconds for your Snap to be viewable. Remember, people can take screenshots during this time!

If you want to write on your Snap, tap the center of your screen. Then you can type a caption for your picture. You can move the text around on the screen by holding it with your finger and moving it around.

You can also draw on your Snap (yes, even videos) by tapping the pencil icon, or add stickers by tapping the square sticker icon (that has a peeling corner). This is a great way to get more attention to your photos or videos!

If you like the Snap, you can also download it for use on other social media sites by clicking the download button, which looks like an arrow pointing downward into a box. This will save the Snap to your camera so you can use it elsewhere.

When you’re ready to send your Snap, tap the white arrow on the blue circle. Then you can choose a recipient (or multiple recipients) for your Snap.

Snapchat Stories

The other form of media you can use is called Stories. Stories are collections of media that appear in your account for any of your friends to view for 24 hours from the time you create them. They can be watched by anyone who follows you an unlimited number of times during that 24-hour period.

Stories are great, because they allow you to send multiple related pictures and videos all at once instead of spamming your followers with a bunch of individual messages. These Stories can be much more powerful than individual Snaps, but they must be a cohesive unit to be effective.

So what makes a good Story, and when should you use a Story instead of a Snap?

Well, Snaps are great for quick, one-off images, such as a picture of a new menu item at a restaurant, a new clothing item you just bought, or a picture of your current location.

Stories are meant for things such as live events (like concerts, for example) where you’d like to add multiple photos or videos, or for things like instructional content where you could take photos or short videos of the various steps involved, such as for a craft project or recipe.

HubSpot has a great article on stories here if you want more information on using stories:

>> http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-create-a-snapchat-story#sm.0000hi1p2z7uzdd2t1q1hb8f82oek

Conclusion

As you’ve learned in this guide, Snapchat has a massive user base of millions of users who are active on a regular basis. Over 150 million people use the site daily! With this kind of built-in user base, it’s hard to keep ignoring it as a valid marketing channel.

Not only is there a massive user base, but the platform is also remarkably effective as a marketing tool. Snap Ads are reported to be extremely effective and profitable. Engagement is much higher than other platforms, and although direct selling isn’t one of its strong suits, raising brand awareness most certainly is!

Considering it only takes a few minutes to post content on Snapchat, and it’s free, there’s really no reason you shouldn’t be giving it a shot. What have you got to lose?

Remember, content should be short, and grab attention quickly. Snapchat is all about short and sweet, kind of like Twitter. If you don’t capture attention immediately, your ads will be ineffective.

All you have to do to get started is download the app. It’s free! So go download it and get started!

Best of luck!

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Speed Writing Skills

Speed Writing Skills

Speed Writing Skills

No matter what type of business you’re in online, you probably have to do at least some writing. Whether you’re a blogger, a website builder, an indie book publisher, a freelance writer, or even an online shop owner, chances are you need to write content of some sort.writing skills

We all know that time is money, and when you’re writing for your business, the faster you write, the more money you can potentially make. But can you really develop writing skills? Can you really change the speed at which you write? Yes!

You’ve probably heard of speed-reading, but did you know you can actually learn to write much faster, too? Some people can write up to 10,000 words per day, or even more, without spending every second of their time doing it. Would you like to learn how?

That’s exactly what you’re going to learn about in this guide. You’re going to learn how to write any type of content faster, no matter what it is you’re writing!

You’re going to learn about things such as the importance of outlining, how to do research, how to improve your typing speed, and much more. All of these techniques will help you develop your writing skills. You will learn how to write more quickly, and without all of the stress and frustration that can so often go along with the writing process.

Let’s begin.

Research

The first step to writing quickly is to gather as much of your research as possible before you start writing. Even if you’re writing fiction, you may need some research before you begin. For example, historical novels must be as accurate as possible, so research is critical. Reviewers are likely to tear you to shreds if you make mistakes in your research! And with nonfiction, research is just as important.

Research may consist of:

  • Internet searches
  • Books, magazines, newspapers, etc.
  • Notes you create for character profiles, etc.
  • Physical objects you may need to describe

In fact, research could be nearly anything as long as they pertain in some way to what you’re writing. Just be sure you keep your research organized, as it can be distracting and unproductive to have to keep looking for the information you need while trying to write.

You may still need to do some research during your project, but pulling together most of what you need before you start will help eliminate a lot of distractions that can take you away from actual writing.

Try to anticipate the information you’ll need before you start, and hopefully you’ll only have a minimal amount of research to do midstream.

Outlining

Once you have all your research gathered, you can start outlining your work. Even if you’re just writing a short email for your mailing list or a simple blog post, an outline will help you remember all of the key points you wish to make.

An outline doesn’t have to be extremely detailed. Some people work better with simpler outlines, while some prefer more complex versions. Find what works for you. Start with a simple outline first, and if you find yourself constantly facing writer’s block, you may want to move on to a move complex outline.

Your outline will probably be much more detailed for in-depth work like books or long-form articles, because more information is needed.

You don’t even have to put it in a standard outline form. The traditional outline has tiered bullet point or numbered lists, but that isn’t necessary unless you happen to prefer that type. Instead, it can simply be a list of points you wish to make in the order you believe makes the most sense.

You can always edit your outline later, but it’s important to write down all of the most important elements of your work before you begin so you aren’t as likely to experience writer’s block. Writer’s block is one of the number one speed killers, and an outline can significantly reduce it.

Typing Speed

It may seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of people never even try to work on improving their typing speed, and that’s a real shame. In fact, you could potentially double your writing speed just by increasing the speed at which you accurately type.

There are a lot of programs you can use to assess your typing speed and improve it. Any program will work fine as long as it also takes accuracy into account, because you need to learn to type with both speed and accuracy, as typos can really slow you down.

It’s actually recommended that you write without editing and go back and do your editing later. Editing midstream can actually cause writer’s block in some people, but if you are a persistent midstream editor, learning to type with both speed and accuracy can reduce the number of times typos distract you.

Practice Often

Even if you think your typing speed is up to snuff, it can probably still be improved. Even if you have a brain that works quickly and the ideas flow rapidly, it won’t do you any good if your fingers can’t keep up to get those words down on the page! Keep practicing your typing and measure and track your results. The more you improve your typing speed and accuracy, the better your writing skills will be, and the faster you’ll write!

Dictation

Another great way to improve your writing speed is to use a dictation like Dragon Naturally Speaking to turn your spoken words into text on the page.

You can check the program out here:

> http://www.nuance.com/dragon/index.htm

Dragon Naturally Speaking (and other similar programs) will allow you to speak your words into a microphone and it will dictate the speech onto your screen.

So what makes dictation so great?

Well, most people speak faster than they type, so it is more natural for many users to speak what they want to write instead of having to type if. Some people double their words per hour, or even more, once getting the software trained to properly understand their voice.

Keep in mind that text written with dictation software will often need heavy editing to fix any mistakes the software makes and improve the punctuation and grammar, but editing is generally easier than the initial writing.

A few people find they do better when typing because they feel self-conscious speaking aloud even if they are alone. You might be one of those people, and if you are, don’t worry about it. You can either keep trying—training yourself to work well with dictation software—or just keep typing.

Remember, though, you’ll never be able to type as quickly as you speak, so learning to use dictation software is the best way to dramatically increase your writing speed.

Eliminate Distractions

Distractions are a huge problem for any writer, and they can come from many different sources. Children, pets, family, friends, Facebook, Netflix, video games, television… the list of potential distractions just goes on and on, and they can be extremely detrimental to the writing process.

The key is to train yourself to eliminate these distractions so you can truly concentrate on your writing without letting anything take your attention away from your writing.

One important key to remember is that you don’t have to write constantly all day long. Instead, you can break your writing up into smaller segments during the day. You can write at the times that have the fewest distractions, thus naturally improving your writing speed.

In-Home Distractions

If you live with other people, or even animals, those around you can definitely hinder your progress. You’ll even have to deal with phone calls, random visits, and other such distractions.

The first thing you should do is make sure you have a quiet place you can go hide when you want to write. This may not always be possible if you live somewhere without any privacy, such as a one-room apartment with multiple people, but if at all possible, find that private place to write, even if it’s a closet or bathroom!

It’s also important to sit down with the people around you and let them know how important it is that you aren’t disturbed while you’re writing. Bring up the fact that they wouldn’t interrupt you at a traditional job to ask where their jacket is or point out something on television, and that they can’t do it to you while you’re working at home, either.

Software

There are a number of different programs you can use for distraction free writing. Some can be programmed to take over your computer so you can’t do anything but write with it for a certain period of time. Of course, it will still take discipline to avoid being distracted by your phone, the television, the refrigerator, etc. But these programs will help with that by giving you set time limits for writing.

If you’re in a groove, you can always keep writing after the timer expires!

One program that can help you with distraction-free writing is Blank Page. They have a simple system that is easy to use and really works.

Check out Blank Page here:

> http://www.blankpage.io/

Writer’s Block

What should you do when you experience the dreaded writer’s block? Well, the solution differs based on your personality. Some people prefer to just step away from the work for a while, while others find it useful to do some free writing as a way to recapture their mojo.

If you find yourself forgetting where you were when you step away from your work for a while, and it takes you a while to get back into the groove, then taking a break is probably not right for you. Instead, you might want to do what is known as free writing.

Free Writing

Free writing basically means you write about anything you feel like writing, not necessarily on the same subject you’re currently working on, though it could be, without worry about spelling, grammar, or even making sense. You just write whatever comes to mind, and you keep writing without stopping for a defined period of time, such as five, ten, or up to thirty minutes.

Free writing can help you break through a writer’s block by freeing your mind from whatever is blocking it. This could mean writing in a separate document on the same subject you’re trying to complete, or it could be some entirely different subject—whatever works for you.

Here’s a quick example of a short free writing session just to let you see how completely nonsensical and useless it may appear to be:

I have writer’s block so I’ve decided to write about a flower. I’m writing whatever words come to me as I picture a red tulip swaying in the breeze. I’m not going to stop writing about this flower until I decided I want to, and even if I feel blocked I will keep typing words on the page until my session has lapsed. The flower is swaying as a bee dips from the sky and crawls between its petals. As it disappears, I wonder… (END)

The point is not to write something useable, but to kickstart your brain and get the ideas flowing again. So you truly can write about anything as long as you keep those words flowing!

Switching Subjects

Sometimes you can clear writer’s block simply by switching to another topic for a while before going back to the original one. This could mean writing a different fiction story, choosing a different subject to write about, or even just researching your next project for a while.

Often, writer’s block happens because of burnout. If your mind burns out on a particular subject, sometimes taking a step away to write something else will help clear the block so that when you return to your original work.

This may not work for those who tend to quickly forget what they were working on before, but for a lot of people it really can help.

Conclusion

Writing is never a simple task. It takes a lot of preparation, thought, and time. Fortunately, you can significantly reduce the time (and potential frustration) by following the tips we’ve covered in this guide.

Remember these important points:

  • Gather your research before you begin writing.
  • Create an outline to help you stay on track.
  • Work on increasing your typing speed and accuracy.
  • Use dictation software to write quicker.
  • Eliminate as many distractions as possible.

If you use these techniques and consistently practice, you will be able to write faster and faster until you reach a point where you’re more productive than you ever thought possible.

Whether you’re writing articles, blog posts, emails, short stories, books, or even poetry, these tactics can significantly increase your production and reduce a lot of the frustration that goes along with writing.

I hope you’ve learned a lot, and I hope this guide will help you write faster than ever!

Best of luck!

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Split Testing Made Easy

Split Testing Made Easy

Split testing made easy!

Split testing (also known as A/B testing) is one of those things a lot of marketers neglect to use, because they think it’s overly complicated or isn’t really necessary. And it’s understandable. It does seem like it would be a bit technical, but it’s actually a lot easier than you probably think!

split testing

As far as necessary—well, it’s as necessary as any other element of your business, and you’ll learn why later. Trust me, it is a vital component of your business. You might be able to succeed without it, but you could have even more success if you do use it!

So what is split testing, anyway?

It is the process of testing multiple versions of a particular piece of copy in order to find out which one converts best. For example, you could test multiple versions of a page’s headline, or multiple color variations of a sales page.

You can do this manually by simply running one version for a while and tracking results, then making a change and allowing it to run for a while and comparing results, or by using a special piece of software that shows the different versions to visitors on a rotating basis.

In this guide, you’re going to learn why this type of testing is so essential, and how you can use it to benefit your business.

So let’s begin.

Why Use Split Testing?

Perhaps the biggest argument people present when they try to explain why they aren’t using split testing is that they just don’t think it’s necessary. Why bother with something that might only increase your conversion rate by a percent or two?

Well, in the beginning, it might not seem like that big of a deal. If you’re only making $100 per month, it might not seem like such a huge thing to your bottom line.

BUT…

Don’t think I’m saying you shouldn’t use split testing just because you aren’t making much, yet! Just because it won’t add thousands of dollars magically to your income doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it! Let me explain why.

First, it could actually double your income with very little effort. Yes, that’s right… I said it could double your income! The reason I said it might not seem like “that big of a deal” is because doubling your income from $100 to $200 might not seem that big, but when you consider you doubled your income practically overnight, it’s bigger than it seems! And if you’re making more than $100 per month, the potential is even more powerful.

Another important reason you might want to use this type of testing right from the start is to make sure your products convert as well as they can in order to attract affiliates.

If you create your own products, chances are, you’re going to want affiliates to promote those products for you. After all, it’s pretty much “free money”. Affiliates do the work, and you get paid.

But affiliates aren’t going to want to promote a product that doesn’t convert well. And if they try a product you create and it doesn’t convert, they will probably never promote another one of your products.

Starting to see why it actually IS a big deal, even in the beginning? Even if you’re not too worried about conversion rates for your own income, you have to worry about making sure your products convert for the sake of your affiliates!

As you can see, this type of testing isn’t something you should continue to ignore. No matter what type of business you’re running, split testing could help you increase your profits considerably!

Types of Things to Split Test

There are tons of different things you can test. Most people think of things like headlines and designs, but there are so many elements that can be tested.

Let’s take a look at some examples of the types of elements you could perform this test on. This will vary depending on the type of page you want to test, of course.

Things you should consider testing:

  • Headline (text, color, size, font, etc.)
  • Pricing (including base price, upsell prices, payment plans, etc.)
  • Article titles (clickbait)
  • Call-to-action (type, text, color, placement, etc.)
  • Offers (eBooks, videos, webinars, etc.)
  • Copy (different elements of your actual copy)
  • Form fields (name, email, other information)
  • Design of a lead-generating pop-up
  • The page as a whole

Things you should not bother to test:

  • Minor changes to text
  • Minor changes to appearance, such as a change of bullet graphic
  • Things visitors can’t always see, such as whether a site is mobile friendly. (Your site should always be mobile friendly!)

It should be fairly instinctual to figure out which elements are most important for you to test on your page. Whatever you’ve agonized over the most, such as price, headline, or design, is probably the first thing you should test.

Multivariate Testing

A/B testing refers strictly to testing two versions of a single element to see which one performs best. Sometimes you may test three versions of the same element, such as the headline, but this is usually only effective when you have a lot of traffic. If you don’t have much traffic, it’s important to limit the number of variations in order to get an accurate result as quickly as possible.

Multivariate testing is different, because you’re testing multiple elements concurrently. For example, you could test two versions of the headline, two versions of the price, and three versions of the call-to-action. These tests are all run side-by-side to uncover which version gets the best results when combined. For instance, the first headline might convert best with the third call-to-action and the second price, but that first headline might convert badly with the first call-to-action and the first price.

Multivariate testing is best done when you have a significant amount of traffic, because with so many versions to test, it’s difficult to get a statistically significant number without quite a lot of traffic. You’d need to get thousands of hits per day for multivariate testing to truly be effective for you.

In this guide, we’re specifically going to focus on A/B testing, because most people don’t have the level of traffic needed to conduct accurate multivariate tests.

Split Testing Best Practices

Testing can be a little technical, but as long as you follow the standard set of best practices, you should have little trouble.

Let’s take a look at the most important guidelines to follow:

  1. One Test at a Time – If you’re testing manually, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you should only perform one test at a time, because you want to be certain which element it was that caused the increase or decrease in conversions. You can perform concurrent tests if you’re using automated software, because the program will detect which element was served and keep the results separate, but on your own, it’s not possible to run multiple tests simultaneously while getting accurate results.
  2. One Variable at a Time – Unless you’re using automated software that lets you test multiple variables in a very controlled way, you should only test a single variable at a time. For example, test two different headlines in a single test, but wait until that test is finished to test two different calls-to-action. Again, automated software will let you test multiple variables at a time, but keep in mind that the more variables you test concurrently, the longer it will take to get statistically accurate results.
  3. Test Small Stuff – A lot of people think only things like the headline and call-to-action are important to test, but even the smallest things can lead to better conversions.
  4. Test The Whole Thing – While sometimes a single element on a page can make a big difference in conversions, making an entirely different version of a page can also make a huge difference. For example, once you’ve tested a couple of headlines and found one that converts, you can then test that headline in a completely different version of your page’s design.
  5. Test Your Whole Funnel – A lot of people stop at testing the lead capture page or the sales page, but did you know that one lead page version might convert better, but result in fewer sales? It’s a good idea not only to test to see which version gets you the most opt-ins, but also which one results in the most sales later.
  6. Send Quality Traffic – A lot of people think it’s okay to just send thousands of untargeted visitors to a page for split testing purposes, but this isn’t going to work. You need to drive truly targeted traffic to your pages when testing, because any sales from untargeted, low-quality traffic could be completely random and have nothing to do with the elements you’re testing.

Manual vs. Automated Testing

There are two main ways to perform the tests—either by hand, or with the use of software.

When you perform it by hand, you simply need to leave one version up until you have a statistically sound number of results, say 1,000 unique visitors, and write down your conversion rate. Then put up the second version you want to test, wait until you have another 1,000 unique visitors, and write down the conversion rate for the second version and compare the two.

This is a fairly complicated process, because you have to monitor your traffic carefully to ensure you don’t let the test run too long or not long enough, and that you’ve accurately counted the conversions generated only within each testing period.

Fortunately, there’s a better way to perform split testing. Software like Split Test Monkey make is easy to perform testing on a hands-off basis.

There are two ways to do this. You can either do A/B Dynamic testing, which tests individual elements on the same URL, or split URL/web page testing, which tests 2-6 completely different pages. This is done using a rotator link that you’ll send visitors to, showing visitors different versions of the page. Cookies are used to ensure visitors will see the same version of the page if they return later, too.

This is the type of thing that would be practically impossible to do by hand, and it saves you a ton of time, in addition to ensuring more statistically accurate results.

Can you imagine how long it would take to test just one different version of the headline, one different version of the call-to-action, and one version of the price of your product? You’d have to test the original version for a few days to get your control results. Then you’d have to test your first variation for a few days. Then your second. Then your third.

It could take you a couple of months to get accurate results for this many variations if you do it manually, especially if you’re not getting that much traffic.

That’s why software like Split Test Monkey works so well. You don’t have to spend so much time changing out pages and tracking results manually. It does everything for you.

You can take a look at Split Test Monkey and see what all you can do with it here:

>> http://www.splittestmonkey.com

Other popular tools for split testing include:

>> http://www.optimizely.com

>> https://vwo.com/

>> http://www.qubit.com/

>> https://en.abtasty.com/

>> http://www.adobe.com/marketing-cloud/testing-targeting.html

Real World Examples

Now that you’ve learned about the basics of split testing, let’s take a look at some specific examples in which split testing has yielded real world results for companies.

NuFACE is a skin care company that was getting good traffic, but people were abandoning their shopping carts at an alarming rate. They decided to do a split test to figure out if offering free shipping would decrease abandonment, and the results were astonishing!

They found that by offering free shipping, they increased their orders by an incredible 90%, and also increased their average order value considerably. Those are some pretty amazing results!

Electronic Arts decided to test a promotional offer for a pre-order of their new version of the SimCity game. They originally had a huge banner at the top of the screen offering $20 off the customer’s next purchase when they pre-ordered the game, assuming this would increase conversions, but what they found was exactly the opposite.

Their test revealed the variation with no promotional messaging actually drove 43.4% more sales! If they’d simply assumed the promotional offer would increase purchases, they would have lost a tremendous amount of money.

Express Watches (a UK-based watch retailer) added a “Seiko Authorized Dealer” to their product description pages to help boost buyer confidence that they are buying authentic brand-name watches. This boosted their conversions up to 107%!

ComScore decided to run a test with different variations of their testimonials in order to see which one got more attention and helped increase conversions the most. As you know, testimonials are great social proof. But the way those testimonials are presented can actually have dramatically different results.

ComScore found that using a vertical layout with the customer’s logo at the top increase conversions on product pages by 69% compared to their original version. Again, huge results!

As you can see from these few examples alone, split testing has extraordinary potential to increase your bottom line!

Conclusion

Split testing can be a little technical, but if you can create a website or blog—and you probably can since you’ve read this guide—it’s worth the little bit of effort it takes.

Even if you “only” manage to increase your conversions from 1% to 2%, you’ve doubled your conversions (income or leads) practically overnight! Not only is this beneficial to your own bottom line, but to any affiliates you might have, as well. No affiliate wants to send their hard-earned traffic, or even paid traffic, to a page that hasn’t been proven to convert well.

No matter what results you’re looking for—sales, email opt-ins, etc.—split testing can help you maximize those results.

And remember, you don’t have to do it all by hand. Split testing solutions like Split Test Monkey (http://www.splittestmonkey.com) make the job a quick and painless process, handling nearly every aspect of the process for you, while you just sit back and wait for the results!

Please don’t think that split testing is something reserved for the “big dogs”. Even if you only get a few hits per day, you can perform split testing. It may take a little longer to get the results you’re looking for, but it will still be worth it in the end!

Best of luck to you!

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