If you’re a marketer who also is the leader of a small business, you'll enjoy this interview with technology evangelist Ramon Ray. In addition to being an expert about using technology strategically to grow small businesses, Ramon is a journalist, event producer, speaker, and the author and editor of Smallbiztechnology.com. His most recent book is “Technology Resources for Growing Businesses.”
In this interview, Ramon discusses the three marketing technology myths most small-business leaders believe, and he suggests specific technology solutions to help make it easier to correct the mistakes.
Myth #1: Segmentation can be done with spreadsheets.
Audience segmentation is a basic marketing concept, yet many business leaders feel lucky just to have gotten their email newsletters written and out the door. But once profiles have been created, your email list can then be segmented appropriately. To make the segmented list easier to activate, Ramon says, you should move your email list off a spreadsheet and into a CRM system, such as BatchBook, which enables you to tag individuals and create targeted lists based on the tags. Segmentation also adds another level of sophistication to any split testing you want to do.
Myth #2: A/B split testing of email marketing is hard.
Most email systems have completely automated the process of A/B testing email marketing efforts, says Ramon. Why A/B test? It lets you identify a “winner” between two options. Do this enough, and, over time, you can hone in on what works best for your business.
“If you haven’t looked at the features that your newsletter provider offers lately, take a few minutes and poke around,” advises Ramon. The best systems enable you to test “from” lines, landing pages, creative copy, layouts, times, days, offers, calls to action, and, of course, subject lines. Testing is easier than you think. And if it’s not, it may be time to consider changing email providers. (Ramon especially likes Constant Contact, VerticalResponse, and MailChimp.)
Myth #3. Monitoring website content performance is optional.
The only way to know if your content is effective is to see what is happening with it, says Ramon. The easiest way do that is to use Google Analytics. The installation of Google Analytics code on websites is now a standard operating procedure. (If it’s not, it’s time to re-evaluate the skills and knowledge of your Web developer!) And you have to do more than open the Access Analytics page once in a while and stare at the Visitor’s Overview. To extract the real value from Google Analytics, you first need to be clear about the purpose of your site. Do you want people to share your content? Sign up for your newsletter? Fill out your contact form? Once you know what outcomes you want, Ramon says, then you can use the Google Analytics tool to track those behaviors.
Where to start? Well, Google actually offers a Google Analytics 101 course to its AdWords customers (for $499). Also check out the Google Analytics support page and a link to beginner topics. MarketingProfs also has Take 10s for Google Analytics: How to Set Up Website Profiles on Google Analytics, How to Set Up a Multivariate Experiment in Google Website Optimizer, and How to Set Up an A/B Experiment in Google Website Optimizer.
The strategic use of marketing technology can provide small-businesses leaders with a distinct competitive advantage. And the payoff for implementing marketing technology is even higher.
(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Pegasus)