Marketing Plan Execution – Week 2: Marketing Experiments

Welcome to Week 2 of the Ladder 2017 Marketing Plan weekly implementation and execution journal. This week, we’re executing 12 marketing experiments based on the 12 tactics we chose for January.

This series is an inside look at how we’re actually running our marketing at Ladder — a primer on how we work with clients and how we’re eating our own medicine by using the same process to grow Ladder.

To read the full marketing plan, click here.

To catch up on Week 1 (January Strategy), 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 12 tactics we decided on:

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Accelerator Interest Audience: Accelerator interest has worked well in growing Instagram via Instagress. Let’s try running actual ads on this audience in Facebook in the UK & US. If we can get 30 leads at a $30 cost per, we know this audience is worthwhile.

  • LinkedIn Startup Founder/CEO Audience: We’re testing out LinkedIn as a platform, and since most of our current clients are startups, targeting founders and C-level marketing execs is a good first stab at a LinkedIn audience. We should get 5 leads at $50 CPA for this test to be successful. We’ll run this test for 2 weeks.

  • “ROI-Driven” Vs “Data-Driven” Ad Copy: “Everybody is data-driven. That means nothing these days. Ladder is ROI-driven.” – common statement around the office. SO! Let’s see if ROI-driven actually performs well with our audience. We’ll test the two copy approaches against one another with the same audience, and we’ll run it on Facebook. We’ll go for 10 conversions at a $50 cost per, and run the test for 4 weeks. If ROI-driven beats Data-Driven, we’ll know if we’re on to something.

  • B2B Marketing AdWords Keyword: We’re getting lots of B2B and SaaS leads and clients, and should try to run some ads on the B2B marketing keyword to see if we can reach this targeted audience.


Week 2: Jan. 9-13


Since we’re splitting execution into three separate weeks, I decided to execute on four of the twelve tactics listed above.

The four tactics I picked for Week 2 were:

  • Emoji vs. No Emoji Subject Lines
  • Homepage SEO – Meta Title + Description
  • Hero Copy – Current vs. New Meta Description
  • Scroll Box + List Builder Copy

weekly sprint

Below I’ll briefly go through the process of executing each tactic.

Emoji vs. No Emoji Subject Lines


This is an easy one — we run our newsletter mailing list via MailChimp, which makes it a breeze to set up A/B testing campaigns.

mailchimp

The principle behind the test is this: We were running all our newsletter campaigns with subject lines that ended with a rocket emoji (?).

newsletter

But we never actually tested whether that SHOULD be a way we’re “branding” our newsletter. What if we’re actually driving lower open and click rates on our newsletters because the emoji looks unprofessional or detracts from our message?

So the goal is this:

Version A: Newsletter Subject Line
Version B: Newsletter Subject Line ?

Which version wins?

emoji subject line

We decided to test this for an entire month (across four different newsletter campaigns) so that we can get a proper amount of data. So I executed the first of these on Thursday of the week and started gathering data.

emoji ladder planner

And with that, I set the test live in the Ladder Planner and moved on to…

Homepage SEO – Meta Title + Description


Our old homepage meta title and description weren’t good enough to tell the right story to organic traffic visitors. We detailed our reasoning in our SEO Audit post, but I’ll refer back to it here as well:

Here’s what our search result looked like:

ladder search result

…not particularly inspiring. Also a little confusing, as we jump from talking about our technology to mentioning ‘services’, without explaining much about what we do.

You should treat the meta title and meta description of your page as an Ad; you need to get across your unique value proposition, include some social proof so they can trust you and handle any objections they have that might stop them clicking through.

Let’s fix this by adapting it to the format we saw that was common to our competitors:

Ladder.io – Growth without the guesswork. https://ladder.io/

Growth marketing agency working with 100+ clients in New York and London. Using our proprietary software with 1,000+ proven tactics, we grow your business quickly and efficiently.

But wait — there’s a problem. That meta description actually lands at 179 characters, far over what is accepted by Google. So let’s shorten it a bit.

Growth marketing agency working w/ 100+ clients in New York and London. Using proprietary software & 1000+ proven tactics, we grow your business efficiently.

Better.

From here, I went into our CMS, where I can directly edit meta descriptions, and uploaded the new version.

ladder cms

As this is an SEO test, it needs to run a bit longer than normal tests so we can properly gauge traffic results, but it should see an immediate improvement over our old version due to increased social proof, larger tactic count, and more.

planner seo

Hero Copy – Current vs. New Meta Description


This one’s straightforward — popping a part of the new meta description into our homepage hero section can help us get an SEO bump due to landing page relevance and possibly increase conversions from our direct traffic and even our blog and ads traffic.

hero copy

Old version: “We’ve spent millions of dollars and thousands of hours learning what works, so you don’t have to.”

New version: “Using our proprietary software with 1,000+ proven tactics, we grow your business quickly and efficiently.”

A modified edition of what we had in our meta description.

For this test, I used Google Optimize to run an A/B test where 50% of traffic is being sent to the original and 50% to a variant that has the replacement hero copy.

If you want to learn about Google Optimize and see how to set up an A/B test, check out this blog post: https://blog.ladder.io/optimizely/

optimizely

And with that, I let the A/B test run. Google Optimize collects data on its own and funnels it straight into Google Analytics, allowing you to connect to specific goals you have set up. So I set up goals for Hero Form and Contact Us Form submissions and let the A/B test run for a good two weeks.

google analytics

Scroll Box + List Builder Copy


Finally, a move to help us grow our email list faster. Our list was growing at a stagnant rate, and chances were that it was because of our copy choices.

Here’s what we had before, running across both our blog and homepage:

sumome popup

And here’s what we came up with instead:

sumome exit intent

I wasn’t sure about how this would perform, but I was ready to see what the data would tell me. SumoMe tracks A/B test results so it would be easy for me to see which variant works better.

Running this test for two weeks should give us enough data to know which works better.


And that’s it for the first execution week! Pretty straightforward — four tests, all set live and ready to go. No ads tests yet, but that’s coming next week.

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