Coming up with eye-catching PPC headlines can make or break an Adwords PPC campaign. If your headline doesn’t pull the reader in to click your PPC text ad, you might as well save your money and enjoy the silence of an empty website. That is why experienced PPC marketers get paid the big bucks to craft enticing ad copy consisting of only a few dozen words.

What if you don’t currently have that kind of experience to get inside your customer’s head to know what will motivate them to click on your advertisement? Harness the collective experience of the public on Twitter to help you decide what headlines will work best for you. The micro-blogging format of Twitter is similar to PPC headlines in that you have a very limited amount of space to get your point across. No other medium requires the economy of brevity that Twitter does except PPC.

So how can you use Twitter to conduct an A/B test of two different headlines?

  1. Select fresh content. The process is to tweet links to the same content using two different headlines. Using existing content you have already tweeted may irritate some of your followers by the time they get the same content the fourth or fifth time.
  2. Craft two distinct headlines. You can test two completely different headlines of varying lengths or change only one or two words if you have a killer headline already in mind.
  3. Create two different short URLs to the same content from step 1 using your favorite URL shortener that includes analytics. If your shortener doesn’t provide analytics, use the Google URL Builder and Google Analytics to track the clicks each headline receives.
  4. Tweet headline A using one of the short URLs created and wait 12-24 hours.
  5. Tweet headline B using the other short URL. I prefer to tweet both headlines in the morning, one day apart. If you tweet them close in time together, you really will start to lose followers for spamming your list, so be aware.
  6. Watch your analytics for the next few days until a winner can be declared from which gets the most clicks. Depending on the number of followers and the amount of activity and interest you command it may take several days to a week to receive enough clicks to either one to reach statistical significance.

While this method isn’t a perfect solution for split testing headlines, it is a quick hack to get valuable feedback from hundreds of real people.

The cost? Fifteen minutes of your time.

The benefit? Real savings of your PPC budget.

If your Twitter followers are targeted to similar keywords as your PPC campaigns you should get more accurate results.

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The reasons for shopping cart abandonment can be as fickle as the dinner was burning or I don’t have the money to as easily remedied as the shipping was $2 more than the competition or the preferred method of payment wasn’t available. Armed with the why’s of your cart abandonment, many issues can be easily remedied to increase your conversion rate and overall ROI.

Why are Shopping Carts Abandoned?

A quick search of Google will show many surveys on shopping cart abandonment. Some of the most cited reasons are (in relative order of occurrence):

  1. Shipping was too expensive.
  2. Just wanted to price shop.
  3. Lack of money after seeing final total.
  4. Wanted a coupon.
  5. Concerned about security of payment information.
  6. Concerned about support after the sale.
  7. The website didn’t offer my preferred payment option.

All of these items can be remedied to some extent once the issues are known. With a little creativity and outside-the-box thinking you should be able to minimize your website’s abandoned carts and give your customers a better user experience at the same time.

Shipping Was Too Expensive

If you have room to cut shipping costs and still maintain profitability, doing so will increase your conversion rate. The only way to know what level it takes to remain profitable is to crunch the numbers using accurate ecommerce metrics.

Other options may include:

Shop Around Other Shipping Vendors

Search for another shipping vendor using your current shipper’s rate sheet. Every prospective vendor will know what they have to beat to earn you business. Give your current vendor a chance to cut their fees as well.

Offer a Low Cost Base Rate Shipment Option

Offer a set rate base shipping option. This can even be used to improve your overall fulfillment response times. State in your shipping TOS that base rate shipping is 7-10 days delivery time. Your customer’s then have the option to receive their order cheaply or quickly but not always both. Base rate shipment orders can be filled as sales volume allows as you have extra days to get the items packaged and out the door in busy times.

Increase Only Expedited Shipping Fees

Depending on the volume of next-day and 2 day shipping sales, the costs on one or all of the expedited services can be increased while leaving base rate, ground and 3 day options as cheaply as possible. It’s much better to impact only a portion of your customer’s delivery costs than to make everyone pay more. People are accustomed to paying more for expedited service anyway.

Add Shipping Estimator to Shopping Cart

Another partial solution, though not as effective at increasing conversion rates, is offering shipping estimation in the shopping cart itself. If a user supplies their zip code, you can present them with estimated shipping cost right in the shopping cart after first adding a product. While this may partially solve the solution by lowering the number of carts abandoned after finding out final costs, you still may be missing sales. The abandonment will just occur earlier in the shopping experience and before you’ve had a chance to capture their email. Attaching an email to a cart is important in that you can use this information to email and attempt to close the sale at a later date. But that’s a whole other post.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we will cover each to the top issues that can lead to abandoned shopping carts and ways you can streamline your checkout process to avoid these pitfalls. To follow this series subscribe to our feed or subscribe to email updates.

Need help implementing any of these abandoned cart tips into your website or shopping cart? Contact Cartmetrix to inquire how we can help you with ecommerce optimization, from data mining your analytics to reducing shopping cart abandonment.

Photo: dno1967b

Ecommerce Metrics

January 31, 2011
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The only metric that matters in business is dollars in the bank. Everything else is secondary. How often do we check this figure to gauge how well we are doing? We use it to tell us how successful, proud or unhappy we should be with ourselves. What are some of these secondary metrics? Click Through […]

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