9 Marketing Experiments You Can Use to Grow Your Business
Shifting your mindset from one where you “succeed or fail” to one where you “conduct experiments” can be a gamechanger for your business.
It helps you try things without getting hung up by a fear of failure.
If there’s no failure, then there’s no embarrassment, no self-doubt, no urge to protect yourself from further harm.
Instead, you can approach things like marketing yourself or offering a new service with curiosity.
“What would happen if I were to try this?”
That becomes your guide. And, that’s so much better than thinking, “When I do X, I’ll get Y … and if I don’t, that means I’ve failed.”
I can talk about the value of an experimental mindset all day long, but part of experimenting is taking action … actually doing things.
So, a fair question is, “What kinds of experiments should I be running?”
Well, I’m glad you asked, ‘cause I have a few ideas …
Experiments to Generate Traffic
If you have a professional website, a blog, or a Money-Making Website, then I’m sure you wouldn’t mind having more traffic. To that end, here are three Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experiments for you to try.
1) Add FAQ sections to your most popular pages.
A lot of websites have a page for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). It’s usually a single page with a long list of questions and answers.
But, there are other ways to approach FAQs. For example, you could add answers to frequently asked questions about a specific topic to the page on your website that’s most relevant to that topic.
Let’s say you have a blog post about how to write effective subject lines for emails. At the end of that post, you might add four or five common questions about email subject lines and open rates … along with your answers, of course.
When doing this, make each question a subhead before giving the answer.
To know how well this experiment performs, before you begin, you’ll need a baseline of your site’s monthly traffic — easy to get, if you have Google Analytics installed.
Then add an on-page FAQ section to your top 10 pages.
Over the next six months, track how your monthly traffic changes.
2) Add a list of your 10 favorite experts.
This could really be a list of your 10 favorite anything — websites, email newsletters, YouTube videos, social media profiles, books, events … you get the idea.
Create a blog post where you gather your 10 favorites, each with a paragraph or two on why you made the pick. (Don’t make this a “10 Best” list — that invites people to argue with your choices. Sharing your own personal favorites is usually safer territory.)
Share your post far and wide … and make sure you let the people whose content made the list know about it, because they’ll likely share it, too.
Over the next month, watch how the post performs. Does your traffic increase? What about your social media connections? What about your network — has it grown?
3) Do a “Here’s What Happened” challenge.
Make a commitment to do something for the next 30 days. It should be something meaningful, something that stretches you, and something you’re interested in. It should also connect with your site’s topic — otherwise it won’t be relevant.
For example, you might decide to write 100 headlines over the course of 30 days. Or, you might decide to publish to your blog every day for 30 days.
Whatever challenge you choose, start by publishing a post with your intent.
Take notes each day on how your challenge is going. Share to social media each day about your progress. Update your post on a weekly basis, noting what you’ve learned, what’s been hard, what’s been surprising … that kind of thing.
At the end of the 30 days, update the post again to provide a summary of the lessons you learned, the initial changes you’ve observed, whether or not the challenge was worth the time and effort, where you struggled … all of that good stuff.
And then, share the post like crazy.
Thirty days after that, do a follow-up post offering additional reflections, and share that post like crazy, too.
Again, watch how traffic to this post matches up to a typical post. Does it blow your average post out of the water? Does it underperform? Think about what you’ve learned from the experiment and how you might change it, if you were to do it again.
Experiments to Build and Nurture Your List
Whether you have an email list or not, you can run some experiments with email marketing. The three experiments I share here could help you land clients, build your list, or get to know your subscribers better.
4) Send out a “Peak Need” email message every day for a month.
Here’s how this works …
During each day, read up on news in your industry or peruse the business sections of several local or regional publications. What you’re looking for is any business making a big announcement.
Big announcements — like product launches, new partnerships, or expansions — tend to mean an increased need for marketing materials. And often, companies find themselves in need of a little extra help to get everything done.
So, once each day, send a message to the Marketing Director of a company making a big announcement. Congratulate them, express an understanding about how busy they must be, introduce yourself and your services, and invite them to contact you if they need extra help.
Do this for 30 days and see if you end up with a new project. If not, see how many new leads you come away with.
If it was worth it, do it again for another month. If not, review what you learned and move on.
5) Hold a contest.
This is a strategy you can use to build your email list. Think of something your audience values — for example, it might be a physical product, a consultation, or an ebook. That’s the contest prize.
Announce that, at the end of the month, you’ll be holding a random drawing to award the prize to someone on your list. You can share the contest to social media to attract new subscribers.
There are even software programs available that will award subscribers with extra entries each time they share a link to the contest.
To determine the success of the experiment, measure how much your list has grown by the end of the contest.
6) Start segmenting your list.
When you segment your list, you essentially tag subscribers based on their interests. Then you can target messages to the subset of subscribers with a certain tag.
Marketers who practice good segmentation have higher engagement and conversions.
A good way to start segmenting your list is to create two or three content upgrades. These are special reports offering valuable information relevant to a specific service you offer. So, if you write email newsletters for your clients, you might create a report on five ways to grow your email list. And, if you also offer email lift notes, you might create another report about three things every promotional email needs to do.
You would then send messages to your list inviting anyone interested to download the report for free. When they do, they’ll get tagged, so you’ll know they’re interested in email newsletters or email lift notes.
Going forward, when you have a special offer for one or the other of those services, you can send it only to those people who’ve expressed an interest.
Try segmenting for six months. Measure success by the increase in client inquiries you get through your email list.
Experiments to Extend Your Reach
Social media is a great way to make new connections, find new resources, and grow both your network and your influence.
And, it serves as an excellent sandbox for trying things to see how they work.
Here are a few social media experiments you might enjoy …
7) Post daily with the same hashtag.
In the beginning, hashtags were useful on Twitter. But, they didn’t serve much purpose on other networks.
Nowadays, Instagram uses hashtags … LinkedIn uses hashtags … and you can find hashtags on Facebook and Pinterest.
So, why not experiment with hashtags?
Give some thought to the phrases from which you’d like to be found on social media. You might use “your niche + writer” for example. So, #AccountingWriter or #IndustrialCopywriter. Or, you might go broader and use a popular hashtag for a topic you talk about often. For example, #EmailMarketing or #ContentMarketingStragegy.
For one month, post something every day that’s relevant to your chosen hashtag … and then use your hashtag with that post.
Before you begin, take a snapshot of your followers and your engagement. After a month, look at what’s changed.
8) Conduct a survey and share the results.
This is a fun experiment … because, if it goes well, you can extend your reach on social media, grow your list, and learn about your audience.
It involves conducting a survey (you’ll need a tool like Survey Monkey), doing a simple analysis of the results, putting the results into an infographic (a tool like Canva or Venngage can help with this), and then sharing the infographic to your list.
Start by thinking of a survey topic — it should be something you want to learn more about from your audience. It could be what blogs they read the most … what email subject lines they find most appealing … you can be as creative as you want here.
Put together five to 10 survey questions with multiple choice answers — that will make grouping the data easier when you’re done.
Share the survey far and wide across social media and invite anyone interested to join your email list to receive an infographic summary of the results.
Once your survey ends (you can set an end date in Survey Monkey), do a simple analysis of the answers and calculate the percentage of respondents who picked each answer.
Put your data into an infographic (or a brief report, if you don’t want to tackle the design). And then share it with your list.
At the end of this experiment, gauge how well it worked by how many new subscribers you have on your list, how many new followers you have on social media, and what you learned about your audience.
9) Nurture industry influencers.
Getting to know some of the influential people in your industry can have a number of benefits. You might learn things you wouldn’t have otherwise. And sometimes, these connections result in unexpected opportunities.
If you have two or three people in your industry who you would love to be connected with, run an experiment to see if you can make that happen.
Pick your three people. Follow them on social media.
Every day check to see what they’re posting, and then comment on their posts. Offer your own take, point out a small detail you particularly like, ask a question … just don’t be boring. Make sure your comment adds to the conversation.
At the same time, once or twice a week, read something on their blog and share it with your audience. Tag them when you do.
At the end of the month, send them each a connection request. If they accept, mark that experiment as a success.
Developing an experimental mindset about your business will give you permission to try things for the sake of trying them. It’s a great way to learn, and it removes the succeed-or-fail pressure a lot of us put on ourselves. That’s reason enough to run experiments … but even better, in the process, you’re almost sure to discover some things that give your business a big boost.
This article, 9 Marketing Experiments You Can Use to Grow Your Business, was originally published by Wealthy Web Writer.
The Professional Writers’ Alliance
At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »