To the Bat Cave! Your Own Secret Conversion Marketing Laboratory

Sometimes it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission

Warning: this information will make you a more successful marketer, but may also put your immediate job in jeopardy.

science experimentTo be a true hero, you must have two things:

        

  1. An arch nemesis
  2.     

  3. A secret

Unfortunately for those of us in marketing, our nemesis is often the organization in which we work; that Dilbert inspired, plodding structure full of people that think they know how to market. Such a beast is often resistant to our most powerful weapons, such as positive results.

The best way to defeat such a daunting foe is through patience and stealth. As marketers, we must build our strength, our knowledge and our skills.

Your Secret Lab

I propose that you consider building your own secret laboratory, your own Xanadu. This is the place you go to explore new marketing strategies and ask questions that others may not have the guts to ask.

Questions like:

        

  • What if we used more copy on our landing pages?
  •     

  • What if we tried an interesting headline?
  •     

  • Would audio or video increase our conversion rates?
  •     

  • Will social media work in our business?

These are the questions that take time to sell internally, especially when you don’t have the data. These are the concepts that IT is designed to thwart.

It’s time to unshackle yourself. Build your own conversion laboratory.

Rules of Engagement

Now, as heroes, we want to do good in the world. This means doing no harm to our organization’s brand. We don’t want to work against our organizations already plodding attempts to communicate.

We want to minimize cost – most of us aren’t Bruce Wayne – and maximize automation. This will make our time in the lab most productive.

I cover all of the guidelines in my Search Engine Land column Setting Up Your Own Conversion Lab, Part 1.

Beakers, Bunsen Burners and Mass Spectrometers

We are fortunate to have many of the tools needed in our lab available for free or at low cost.

You will need tools to:

        

  • Create and host content of many types.
  •     

  • Put measurement equipment in place
  •     

  • Heat up your experiments with traffic sources
  •     

  • Select the right content management system to host your experiments

I make specific recommendations in Your Secret Conversion Lab, Part 2.

Cape and tights are not required

It may be tempting the done a hero’s uniform once you begin to feel the power of what you learn in your lab. Honestly, It’s best to stay under the radar.

Let us know which tools you find in your lab in the comments, and please share any interesting results you get from your experiments.

P.S. Want to know what to test in your lab? Get my Notes from the Lab and see what I’m up to.

Photo courtesy hberends

  • Agree with the points you made above Brian. Quite insightful.

  • VoiceTranscribing

    Thanks for the article Brian. Yes, more and more of our clients use our transcription service http://voicetranscribing.com to transcribe their podcasts, webinars, interviews and generate content for blog posts.

  • Hi Kristi,

    I can respond with a lengthy comment, arguing the futility and wastefulness in running A/A or A/A/B etc. test, but I’ve already done an article on that back in 2014, so I’ll just share that: http://blog.analytics-toolkit.com/2014/aa-aab-aabb-tests-cro/ If you’d like to check it out and, hopefully, respond to it I think it will be beneficial for the readers of this blog.

    Kind Regards
    Georgi

    • Thanks, Georgiev. When you have a test setup that spans multiple domains, servers and security features, an A/A test is critical. We have been saved by A/A tests. In response to your excellent article I ask, “Which is more wasteful: Running a series of A/A tests or running a series of A/B tests that result in the wrong decisions?” The latter can impact sales for months or years.

      • Sounds like an unusually complicated test setup there, Brian. What kind of problems did those many A/A tests reveal? Randomization issues? User experience uniformity issues? Statistical engine issues? I’m just thinking there has to be a better way to detect & debug most of these, but the statistical engine ones…

        • We never really found the smoking gun, but we suspected cookie persistence issues, iframe security delays, page load times, etc. We redesigned the approach and verified the setup with an A/A test.

  • nrennie

    Thanks for removing my comments @bmassey:disqus.

    Surely constructive criticism is part of making things better, and excluding a market leader from your “Top tools” was exactly this?

    So my valid point was why not include Maxymiser? It’s a huge gap in your post.

    • Cut the sarcasm, @nrennie. It’s never appropriate. You commented on the wrong post here. I assume you meant to post on “The Most Recommended AB Testing Tools by Leading Experts”. I’ll reply to your comment there, but we didn’t list Maxymiser because nobody recommended it. Our team used it for one client and found it lacking on several key features.