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Frustrated With Website Marketing? Use This 4-Letter Word

Dec 29, 2007
When I set up my very first website, I must admit I used some 4 letter words. Struggling with HTML, tracking down an elusive web designer, wondering who really had answers...yes, I had many reasons to expand my vocabulary of colorful words.

And when I had slow weeks, I agonized. I asked friendly acquaintances. I paid consultants. Which domain name would be best? Which headline?

Everybody had an opinion.

"Your web colors are too bright."

"Jazz up your headline."

"Forget the website and market off-line."

But nobody ever yelled the 4 letter word I needed to hear: "Test!"

When I first heard of testing and tracking, I must admit I didn't pay attention. It seemed so complicated..something only the gurus did.

But after dipping a cautious toe into the Pay-Per-Click water, I was shocked. It wasn't that hard. It's not that expensive (if you do some homework ahead of time). And it was cheaper and more accurate than the opinions of acquaintances, including some pricey self-proclaimed gurus.

Now I believe testing is an essential part of website marketing. I've adopted the fanaticism of the new convert.

What to test? You can test headlines, specific words used on a website page, background colors and a whole lot more.

(1) How do I name my book, product or website?

Tim Ferriss used Pay Per Click to choose a title for his best-selling Four-Hour Workweek. You can test your domain name, e-book title, keywords and more, all with google adwords or another pay per click system.

Even a small change can make a huge - and surprising - change in response from website visitors and Internet surfers.

For example, I tested two versions of a title for a product targeted to men and women in the 40-60 age range. I found "mid-life" attracted 3 times as many clickthroughs as "midlife."


I also compared 2 sales letters with identical content, headlines, body copy, font -- everything. I just tested two different background colors. One color pulled twice as any signups as the other.

(2) Do I need more traffic or better conversion rates?

On some web pages, I find the conversion rate surprisingly high -- but almost nobody comes. On others I get great traffic but few clicks.

The results help you figure out your next step: do you need to attract traffic or work on the copy to increase conversion rates. When you guess, you just waste time, energy and (usually) money.

(3) Do I need a picture here?

Should you add a graphic with your book cover? Your own photo?

You've been told you'll get more sales if you had a photo. Or you consider adding a graphic of your book cover to your sales page.

But no rules hold 100% of the time. Sometimes adding a picture actually reduces buyer interest. You have to test.

And after you realize you can sell your product or service, it's time to test price. Some product actually sell more if you raise prices. Some die if you add a penny to the price. That's another article.

Two facts you don't have to test.

(1) Testing takes time. Some professionals fine-tune their marketing materials over a period of months and years.

(2) It's worth it.
About the Author
Testing is just one of the "Secrets of Websites That Really Attract Clients" by Cathy Goodwin. Download free and get weekly tips to increase the marketing potential of your own website.
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