Welcome to Week 3 of the Ladder 2017 Marketing Plan execution diary — a weekly runthrough of our marketing plan execution efforts. This week: our second week of testing, and our first week of marketing analytics.
We’ll be looking at both performance of tests from last week, and at executing another batch of 4 tests for the current week. All our tests are being executed and tracked directly in the Ladder Planner.
To read the full marketing plan, click here.
To catch up on Week 1 (January Strategy), click here.
And for Week 2 (Experiments), click here
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Weeks 2, 3, and 4 of our marketing plan are all about taking the tactics we decided on in Strategy Week and actually implementing them. As a reminder, we chose 12 tactics for January based on Ladder’s most pressing growth needs (as determined by a series of audits on our 2016 marketing activity).
For reference, here are the 4 tactics we implemented last week:
- Emoji vs. No Emoji Subject Lines: We’re not yet sure whether emojis in subject lines actually work well with our newsletter audience, so this test will determine that (via MailChimp A/B testing of subject lines).
- Homepage SEO – Meta Title + Description: The idea for this tactic is that we had some wonky SEO problems on the homepage and playbook that needed fixing. This tactic is designed to help us better capture some long tail keywords we use in the Playbook and to have a more relevant meta description in Google searches.
- Hero Copy – Current vs. New Meta Description: We’re writing out a new meta description for Google search results for Ladder.io. Let’s test whether that copy change will drive higher conversion rates on our landing page if we place it as the hero copy. Testing it vs the current version via Google Optimize.
- Scroll Box + List Builder Copy: Our SumoMe Scroll Box + List Builder copy needs a refresh. Let’s test a different approach at gathering emails with the popups across the blog and Ladder.io homepage against what’s currently running. Goal: 10% increase in conversions w/ new copy.
Week 1 Performance
It’s too early to call any of our tests conclusive after just a week of gathering data, but we can definitely talk about data insights based on early performance indicators.
First off, our emoji vs. no emoji subject lines were inconclusive for week 1. What we found was no emoji subject lines got more opens but fewer clicks across two newsletter sends. But the difference was so small that it wasn’t significant in any way.
Still planning on continuing this test, but it’s off to an inconclusive start.
Next up, our Homepage SEO test. This is a long-term SEO-focused test, so we have no hard conclusive data to report on. The effects on organic traffic of SEO tests aren’t usually felt immediately.
According to Google Analytics, we had a 30% boost in organic traffic sessions to Ladder.io compared to the previous period, but it’s WAY too early to tell if that’s because of the new meta description copy, and the sample size is too small.
Shelving that one for now.
On to the next one: Hero Copy. In this one, we changed our hero copy to something matching our meta description. Here’s performance:
Great early results! This one might be a big winner for January. As you can see, conversion rates on our most important lead gen metric (Hero Form Submissions) is up, so we’ll want to keep this running until it’s statistically significant.
And finally: Scroll Box & List Builder Copy. This one’s also performing well so far! The test is showing that our new copy is actually performing well on our homepage! (Note: When setting this test up, I accidentally ended up calling our original Variant B). A huge spike in conversion rate. Pretty happy with this so far.
And with that, let’s dive into week 2:
Week 2: Jan. 16-20
These are the four tests we ran this week:
- Port AdWords Campaigns to Bing: Our AdWords campaign perform well, so we should try to expand them over to a new ad platform – Bing. It’s easy to do – just import directly to Bing with one click. We’ll be using 20% of our AdWords daily cap as budget here as Bing gets 1/5 of the traffic Google does.
- Playbook SEO – Image + Description Tags: The idea for this tactic is that we had some wonky SEO problems on the homepage and playbook that needed fixing. This tactic is designed to help us better capture some long tail keywords we use in the Playbook and to have a more relevant meta description and image alt tags in Google searches.
- Quuu Content Promotion: We have 10 remaining Quuu Promote credits that we can use to drive traffic to different Ladder blog posts, social posts, etc… If we get at least 50 sessions per credit used, then Quuu will be worth exploring further.
- Marketing Strategy Landing Page: Currently, our top-performing AdWords keyword is Marketing Strategy. Our ads lead people straight to the Ladder homepage, but we might get better performance with a more relevant landing page that’s specific to the keyword. If we get a higher CTR and CVR at a lower CPA than the original, we’ll know that the LP is effective and a better alternative to ladder.io.
Here’s our implementation log for each:
This one was dead easy: Set up our Bing ads account and use their automated import feature that lets you take AdWords ads and import them to Bing. Handy!
Took a few clicks and inputting of billing information, and all our campaigns were ready and live.
But one thing need a change. We couldn’t spend the same amount on Bing ads — it gets 1/5 of Google’s traffic. So we bumped down our budget to 1/5 of our AdWords budget and set the tests live.
This was an extension of our Homepage SEO test — another long-term SEO experiment to see if we can get more traffic to high-value content.
For context, our Playbook is where we publish all our fully completed marketing tactics for public consumption. Fully completed means they have full descriptions, illustrations, and other bits of information.
This isn’t our full database of tactics, but we’re working on 1-to-1 parity so we can publish every single tactic in our database in the Playbook.
But for SEO purposes, what we found was that our images all had the same alt tag “Tactic illustration” and many other SEO issues. So here are the changes we made:
All set — a long term test, so we’ll wait a couple months before judging performance.
Quuu Content Promotion
Up next, a content distribution tactic. Our blog posts can use a bit of the juice a distribution platform like Quuu Promote provides.
For context, Quuu is an automation service that pops articles into companies’ Buffer accounts based on “similar” categories.
So a marketing article promoted via Quuu will pop up in any company populating their Buffer feed with hand-curated content.
We had 10 Quuu promote credits, so we decided to run 10 articles. But lo and behold, a limitation appears! Only 2 credits can be used per month. That’s unfortunate and makes this test both longer and less useful than expected.
But I went ahead and ran it anyways, focusing on our B2B marketing and marketing funnel analysis posts. Here’s what that looks like in Quuu Promote:
All set. Test is live in the Ladder Planner.
Marketing Strategy Landing Page
Step 1: Brief
I first sent her a brief of what I needed for the landing page. Here’s what the brief said:
Landing Page Brief: Ladder
Timing: Due Wednesday
Ladder’s best-performing AdWords ad is on the Marketing Strategy keyword. Currently, the ad copy for that keyword covers tech, but we’re trying to sell services, so the LP + copy will be a mix of tech and services.
The idea is to see whether a dedicated landing page for this keyword performs better than sending people to Ladder.io.
We’ll base the LP off the currently existing — http://try.ladder.io/sheworx/ — page and simply make some changes. Here’s what needs changing, section-by-section.
– Center the Ladder Logo
– Fix video so that it loops properly
– Make text below “growth without the guesswork” grey and thin like on hero of Ladder.io
– Make CTA look exactly the same as CTA on Ladder.io
– Make email capture accept only business emails
3 images section:
– Remove “Read about Ladder’s Growth Coaching program goodie for SheWorx100 attendees.” area
– Use 3 images that depict “STRATEGY” ; “TECHNOLOGY” ; “EXECUTION” (see 6-block section on Ladder.io near bottom of page)
– Grey text is currently a bit too light on that background
“Meet Jack” section:
– Replace Meet Jack image with GIF of drag+drop action in Ladder Planner
– Fix font / size issues in text area
– Make “Your marketing co-pilot” a larger header (H2 or H3)
– Make text below “your marketing co-pilot” grey like in hero (IF it works visually)
– Change “Partners that we’ve worked with have graduated from:” to “Trusted by hundreds of fast-growing companies” and make size larger
– Change 4 logos to logos of Travelex, Facebook, 8tracks, and CharityBuzz
– No changes
The Lateral landing pages you built are absolutely gorgeous (http://inquire.lateral-inc.com/labs/) so if you can draw any added inspiration from them that’d be awesome. Maybe brightening up the page a bit?
Optional: Exit Intent Popup Design
If you have a bit of extra time, a gorgeous exit intent popup for this landing page would be straight fire. Again, take some inspiration from your Lateral exit intent popups because those are gorgeous as well.
Simple, straightforward, step-by-step.
Step 2: Receive Final Landing Page
As usual, Natalie killed it. Here’s what we landed on: http://try.ladder.io/marketing-strategy/
Simple and clean, not too heavy on copy. We’re doing well so far.
I set up a goal in Google Analytics to track conversions there.
Finally, I made sure to set up conversion tracking in Unbounce so that we could track conversions in AdWords.
Step 3: Run Experiment
In Google AdWords, you can run experiments where you split ad impressions across two different iterations of the same ad campaign. You can make changes to anything from target CPA to ad copy and more.
In our case, we just changed the target URL.
Here’s how that looked:
And with that, we set the experiment live.
And that’s all for week 3! Some analytics, more execution. All is going well so far in January. Keep up with all 52 weeks of execution by signing up below: