Google Website Optimizer replaced by Content Experiments

If you’re looking to increase sales via your website, then you’ll know that driving traffic to your site is only half the battle, you then need to optimise the landing page in order to convert the visitor. Sometimes it can be something as simple as the positioning of an action button, or the colour of the button that can make all the difference.

Google announced during the week that they were saying goodbye to Website Optimizer and replacing it with Content Experiments.

If you haven’t used Website Optimizer, it was a tool that could be used to test out various versions of a landing page to see which would yield the best results. Visitors would be randomly served one of the versions of the landing page when they visited your site, and over time, you would be able to permanently switch to the best version of the page. The tool was originally released with support for multivariate testing, and then the easier to configure A/B split testing.

The new Content Experiments can be accessed via the Content menu in the Standard Reporting section of the Google Analytics dashboard.

Clicking on this menu item brings up the starting dialog. Upon entering the name of the page you want to test, you can “Start Experimenting”!

While the experiments are generally supposed to be used to test different versions of the same page, we decided we would test whether it would be better to send visitors to our site to the video page or to the blog page.

On the next page of the wizard, you get the opportunity to link the test to one of your Goals within Google Analytics (in our case, the goal is signups to our Beta).

The next bit involves adding some code to the pages (Javascript is used to redirect visitors to the correct page when they land). You can add it yourself, but if you need to get someone else to do this, Google have made it very easy for you! They’ve built an email into the wizard that you can send to your developer or webmaster. This bit is so much easier than the old Website Optimizer.

When you click Next, Google validates that the new code is installed properly on the site, but you can also skip this step if you need to wait for your developer or webmaster to make the changes.

Finally, you get to run the experiment!

It really is that easy (so much easier than Website Optimizer). All you need to do next is wait for some traffic to hit your site in order to assess which page is best. We’ll follow up with a post reviewing the results of our experiment.

Real-Time Google Analytics

We’ve been giving the new Real-Time version of Google Analytics a test run for the past few weeks. Before the new version, as announced on the Google Analytics Blog, users had to wait 24 hours to get their analytics data, unless they went for one of the many paid real-time analytics services instead.

We can’t quite remember what life was like without it. Now it’s possible to check in real-time that everything is working when we’re setting up analytics on a site. You could do what we’ve done and set up a dedicated monitor in the corner to display analytics for your site, but then you’d never get any work done!

Setting Up Company Accounts on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social networking site which is specifically designed for a professional community.

The main difference between a personal account on LinkedIn and a company page is similar to the set-up on Facebook. A company page on LinkedIn is created by an existing user who claims to work for the company. A personal account on LinkedIn allows individuals to connect with others in their professional network. While a company page allows businesses to promote its products and services, advertise and connect with employees and contacts.

• To begin visit the LinkedIn website (http://www.linkedin.com/)

• Create an account by completing the ‘Join now’ directions.

• Once an individual has created an account they can then create a page for a company or business.

• Staff and customers can then interact with the company page and view posts made by the company.

• It is likely that users will interact with the company for networking

Once an account is created both the user and the company can make connections and interact with professionals in their network.

Setting Up Company Accounts on Twitter

Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging site designed for individuals and professionals alike.

The basic Twitter account that is available for personal use can also be used by companies. However, the nature of the Tweets composed by a company Twitter account should differ greatly to the nature of Tweets from a personal account.
There is an option for businesses to pay a fee for promotion on Twitter and for a business Twitter account to be suggested to followers.

• To begin visit the Twitter website (http://www.twitter.com/)

• ‘Sign up’ for an account and simply enter your company name as the ‘full name’.

• In the suggestions of people to follow section enter the nature of your business, for example “finance” or “retail” and so on.

• The ‘settings’ tab will allow you to add more information about your company.

You are then able to begin Tweeting to your followers and following people of interest. This will allow you to see what others are Tweeting, reply to them and to inform your followers of the latest company news and deals.

Setting Up Company Accounts on Facebook

Facebook is a social networking site which is equally suitable for both businesses and individuals.

The difference between a business account and a personal account on Facebook is that business accounts are aimed at individuals who want to use the site as an administrator and run advertising campaigns. Business accounts do not operate the same as personal accounts. A business account’s administrator does not have access to all information available on Facebook. They can only see comments, events or ads that are on the business page or are created by the business, they will not be found in search and they cannot send or receive friend requests.
For a fee, businesses can set up Facebook pages which include advertising and promotion across Facebook.

• To begin simply visit the Facebook website (http://www.facebook.com/)

• At the bottom of the page, under the sign up section for personal accounts, click on the link titled ‘create a page for a business’.

• Creating a Facebook business account involves two stages. Firstly, the business has to create a ‘Facebook ad’. Secondly, the business has to create a ‘Facebook page’.

• The business can then proceed to ‘sign in’ to Facebook.

You are then able to begin interacting on Facebook by adding comments, photos and information to your business page.

What to Write About on Social Media Sites

It can be difficult to know what should be posted to company social media sites. It is important to keep followers and customers interested while informing them of your products and services.

The main reason for creating a social media account for a business is to inform others of what the business does. This is exactly what you should do on these sites: INFORM.
Post information on the latest offers, new products, business news and what is going on in the company.

Boasting about company achievements or adapting a ‘we are the best’ approach is an extremely bad idea. This will come across as arrogant and singing your own praises is not a good approach to take when trying to attract potential customers or suppliers or when trying to maintain current ones.

Posting about topical issues and current disputes or breakthroughs in your field of expertise is an excellent way to keep contacts interested in what your company has to say. However, while it is advised to address topical issues it is important to avoid portraying strong views on these issues. Any views expressed can be perceived in the wrong way by viewers. Once something is posted it is too late to take it back. It is best to discuss the facts and inform followers on what is happening rather than be seen to be taking sides on an issue.

The nature of the site that a post is being made to should be considered when deciding what topics to address. An excellent example of this would be that LinkedIn is a professional site, with business associates and potential clients. Posts made to a professional network like LinkedIn should differ to posts being made to a more informal site like Facebook or Twitter.

The main point to consider here is to post relevant and interesting material on social media sites and not to post material for the sake of it. Fans and followers will lose interest and once they are lost the chances are they will not interact with your company again!

Which Social Media Sites are Best Suited to Your Business

When choosing a suitable social media site for your business it is important that it is in fitting with the type of attention that you are hoping to attract to the site. As is the case with any product, service or promotional campaign it needs to be positioned in the right place, at the right time and to the right people in order for it to be a success.

To demonstrate this point further let us look at the example of the potential advertising campaigns of a business. The business in question will need to analyse what are the most effective ways of reaching their target audiences for their products and services. Depending on the type of business, the type of product or service being offered, the demographics of the target audience and the impression the business wants to make they will opt for different advertising tools. This can range from television ads, newspaper ads, billboards, sales promotions and the many options available online. It makes no sense for a business to advertise in a local newspaper if their target audience are mainly reached online and so on.

The same principle applies to social media sites. Some social media sites are more suited to particular types of businesses than others. A business will hold a clear advantage in the market if it is present on the correct social media sites, this being the same social media sites as their target audiences.

Facebook offers an excellent opportunity for businesses to avail of Business to Consumer (B2C) opportunities. The main audience that businesses target on Facebook are consumers or individuals who use the site. Facebook is an excellent means of developing awareness of a brand or product.  Facebook also offers consumers the chance to interact with a brand or company by having the opportunity to post queries or observations about a brand or product online and have the unique experience of having their query answered directly by the company.

Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn is a professional network and involves Business to Business (B2B) interaction. LinkedIn consists of purely professionals, therefore it is the perfect method to generate product, service or brand awareness among other businesses. LinkedIn offers the opportunity to create groups and this is an excellent way of involving customers and to advertise to people that you feel will benefit from your product or service.

Twitter can be used by businesses along with Facebook or LinkedIn or as a sole means of social media representation. Twitter allows business to keep consumers or other businesses up-to-date through short posts. A company’s presence on Twitter can be hugely beneficial if it is monitored correctly and updated regularity. It allows regular posts to be made and encourages interaction and feedback from customers. On the one hand, the very public domain of Twitter may not be advisable for businesses that do not respond well to negative posts. On the other hand, it is a priceless opportunity for businesses to respond successfully to negative posts and display their customer service skills.

As a general guideline of what social media sites to choose for different types of businesses the following examples will hopefully help to shed some light on the choice.

TYPE OF BUSINESS RECOMMENDED SOCIAL MEDIA SITE
Local businesses
Local shops
Small businesses… selling local produce, food, drink, services and so on
Facebook / Twitter
Professional services companies
Business accountants
Software programmers
Web site designers… selling specialised highly skilled products to other businesses
LinkedIn / Twitter
Businesses looking to promote their goods and create a buzz online while increasing their customer levels Facebook / Twitter
Businesses looking to network, create contact lists, find suppliers and buyers LinkedIn

Hopefully the above tips will help you to determine which social media sites are best suited to your business and help to successfully establish your business online.

Why are Social Media Sites Necessary for Your business to Remain Successful

It is safe to say that almost everything imaginable has developed some form of online presence in recent years. It should be no different for your business. There is a huge amount of activity online and it makes no sense to be missing out on what could be the start of something huge for your business. Social media allows contact between businesses and customers to develop into a two-way communication process with businesses not only promoting products and services but listening and responding to customer feedback. It is essentially about the customer’s experience and how a company can make itself as appealing as possible to the both current customers and potential customers online.

FACEBOOK

LINKEDIN

TWITTER

What is it? Facebook is a social networking site which is equally suitable for both businesses and individuals. LinkedIn is a social networking site which is specifically designed for a professional community. Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging site designed for individuals and professionals alike.
What does it do? Facebook allows users to create a profile, send messages, upload photos and videos, advertise to determined demographics, and to create and promote public pages around specific topics. Members can establish networks with people that they are professionally linked to. LinkedIn displays members’ professional criteria including employment and education history. Twitter allows users to create posts no longer than 140 characters long, which are known as ‘tweets’.
Privacy Requirements Privacy settings are an optional extra however, remaining as a ‘public page’ will allow a company’s Facebook profile to remain searchable. LinkedIn requires that members confirm how they are connected through selecting a number of possible options The default settings on Twitter are public so anyone can follow a Twitter profile without being accepted to do so.
Cost A Facebook membership is free of charge. A basic membership on LinkedIn is free. However, it is possible to pay for a membership which offers more to users. Membership on Twitter is free. Although there is an option to pay for a ‘verified account’.
Advertising Advertising is available to businesses on Facebook with different price ranges depending on the size of the advertising campaign. Advertising on LinkedIn is available to businesses. Twitter has an option for ‘promoted tweets’ which is available to businesses for a small fee and is a means of advertising on Twitter. It ensures that posts are high ranking in relevant searches.
Advantages As people share a huge amount of personal information on Facebook it is possible to target users by specific demographics.Users choose to interact with a business so your posts and messages will only be viewed by those who have chosen to interact with you. You can be confident that your posts are reaching the right audience. Advertising on LinkedIn has proven hugely successful as all members on LinkedIn have established either their employment or education status. This makes it possible to target specific demographics and ensure it is your target audience that are aware of your campaigns. Posts on Twitter are saved to the Twitter website and are both searchable and public. Twitter allows customers and members of the public to interact instantly with a company and likewise allows businesses instant access to communicate with customers.
Important Points Facebook users can choose what pages and businesses they ’like’ and interact with.It is essential a company or product Facebook page is monitored to ensure positive feedback with customers and any negative comments made can be acted upon. Connections can only be created on LinkedIn with individuals with whom existing relationships already exist. These relationships will need to be verified before a link can be made. It is important to note that the public element to the Twitter application allows posts to be made freely by members of the public regarding businesses and products. It is vital that company Twitter accounts are constantly monitored, and customer queries are responded to as soon as possible.

When deciding on what social media outlet is best suited to your business it is important to first understand the purpose of the different social media outlets available and then decide which is best suited to generate awareness of your company online.

It is important to choose the social media site that you feel is the most appropriate for the type of service and products that your company offers customers.

The only thing left to do is to sign up and see how these social media sites can benefit your business!