If you’re like the average company, you spend a lot of money on media and marketing, such as:

• Broadcast TV ads
• Newspaper ads
• Magazine ads
• Outdoor advertising, such as billboards and transit advertising
• Radio ads
• Internet advertising, such as banner ads and pay-per-click ads
• Inbound marketing techniques like webinars and blog posts

Why Do Companies Spend So Much on Advertising?

Of course, marketers are spending that money to sell a product or service or get a lead. However, they aren’t truly selling a product or service at all … they’re usually really spending that money to drive customers to a website as the call-to-action.

Even when the ad doesn’t specifically include a URL, ad-inspired branded searches drive many customers to a website as the next logical point of contact.

In other words, you’re spending a lot of dough to funnel traffic to your website.

Essentially, if you’re spending all of this money to drive potential customers to a website, investing just a little to increase conversion on that site (to get more leads, for example) can have an outsize impact on ROI since the website tends to be fairly deep into the funnel.

And as Joe Stanhope, senior analyst, Forrester Research, said in the video below, that ability to test and optimize goes way beyond ecommerce sales. “You can use testing to optimize anything that can be registered. So you can optimize registrations. You can optimize for customer satisfaction. You can optimize for lifetime value. Even if you’re not directly transacting on your website,” he said, “it’s certainly an option for you.”

Testing Your Value Proposition

One example of how non-ecommerce sites can use testing and optimization is to test value proposition. In fact, as you can see in the following chart from the 2012 MarketingSherpa Website Optimization Benchmark Report, ecommerce marketers are among the least likely to do this kind of testing.

 

Testing to Improve Conversion

While value proposition can be valuable in the long run, conversion testing is always popular since it can show clear changes in a KPI. Here is an example of a non-ecommerce conversion test that we’ve published on MarketingExperiments. You can view more experiments in free, hour-long Web clinic replays that also show you how to replicate the principles from those experiments in your own business.

CASE STUDY: Lead rate increased by 197% for returning visitors

Background: After a successful content marketing campaign with Sermo, a MECLABS Research Partner, the MECLABS team wanted to run a follow-up test on the company’s landing page to extract more leads from traffic coming from Fierce Pharma, an industry news site the company had partnered with to conduct surveys

Goal: To increase lead rate on the content marketing landing page

Primary research question: Are users more likely to convert with only one article featured or multiple articles?

Approach: A/B multifactor split test

The control followed many so-called “best practices” of landing page optimization.

Control landing page

However, Jon Powell, Senior Manager, Research and Strategy, MECLABS, and the team decided to add multiple calls-to-action for Sermo’s many other reports.

The team hypothesized that the perceived value of the individual reports would increase when presented alongside a larger selection of content.

To test its hypothesis, the team developed this treatment.

Treatment landing page

Each call-to-action drove visitors to alternative reports they could view. The sidebar also gave visitors the option to directly learn about the main offer.

Results: By increasing the number of available reports, the perceived value of the individual reports may have increased, which offset the increase in friction on the page for returning visitors.

To learn more about this experiment, to see a case study of the content marketing campaign that preceded this test and reduced cost-per-lead by 90%, and to learn principles to help you improve the effectiveness of your own content marketing campaigns, watch the free Web clinic replay—“5 Steps to Effective Content Marketing: How to extract the maximum revenue from your content.”

And you’re invited to participate in MarketingSherpa’s 2013 Marketing Analytics Benchmark Survey. You will get a free Special Report for sharing your insights.

Daniel Burstein is Director of Editorial Content for MECLABS. He oversees all editorial content coming from the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa brands—helping our team of reporters dig for actionable information while serving as an advocate for the audience. Previously, he was the main writer powering MarketingExperiments publishing engine—from Web clinics to Research Journals to the blog.