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Posts Tagged ‘productivity’

Marketing Careers: 3 steps for using testing principles to improve office productivity

August 2nd, 2013
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Here at MECLABS, we talk a lot about the testing process.

How to optimize and improve emails, landing pages, lead generation forms, shopping carts … all things Web. But, the testing process isn’t just a way to improve website performance. The general principles are transferrable to so much more.

One thing I’ve been particularly interested in recently is how to use testing to improve office and employee productivity.

Consider you’re a manager and have an employee who has been having problems meeting deadlines.

What do you do?

 

Step #1. Identify the problems with productivity

You’ve already identified the overall problem – missing deadlines.

Most people immediately jump to solutions and try to answer this question: “How do I get this employee to stop missing deadlines?”

Obviously, it’s because they need more resources, right? Maybe it’s because they weren’t clear on the requirements and what was expected of them. Or maybe, they just didn’t see the point and weren’t properly motivated.

That’s the same thing as saying, “My Landing Page isn’t converting,” and immediately jumping to solutions like, “I need to change the offer, add a video, or add more testimonials.”

But, what step did we miss in that jump … Analysis!

 

Step #2. Dive deeper to identify the elements that impact productivity

You can’t solve a problem unless you have a deeper understanding of the root cause.

For a website, we’ve been trained to ask, “What problems or obstacles are impeding a conversion on this page?”

Thankfully, we have a handy Conversion Sequence heuristic to help us identify the elements that impact conversion by asking the right questions during analysis:

  • Is it because there’s a lack of value?
  • Is the value clearly communicated?
  • Is the process is too confusing?
  • Are people concerned about what’s going to happen with their information?

All of these answers could be the possible culprits to your low conversion rate, but you’ll never know without identifying these possible issues and testing possible solutions.

The same thing goes for your people.

For someone missing deadlines, the question isn’t “How do I fix this?” Instead, the first question needs to be “Why are they missing deadlines?” or:

  • Are they confused with the exact date/time of the deadline?
  • Do they have a clear understanding of all the steps involved in the project?
  • Do they know all of the resources they’re going to need?
  • Are they able to build a timeline backwards from the deadline with reviews and milestones?
  • Do they not understand the impact the missed deadline will have on them personally or the company?

As you can see, the list of questions goes on and on, just like for your website.

Read more…

Email Marketing: Finding the time to improve results

January 18th, 2011
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Increasing your emails’ relevance is one of the most effective ways to improve results — but it is also one of the most challenging, and for a variety of reasons.

Sometimes the largest roadblock isn’t expertise, money or will power — but time. A marketer might know exactly what to do and how to do it, but first has to design the next landing page, create the next PPC ad, finish off some copy, attend a meeting, etc.

Sound familiar?

The good news is that this challenge does not come without opportunity. Simplifying part of your process can be the best thing you’ve done for your email marketing in months.

Production was a nightmare

For example, Brad Hettervik, Product Manager, Marketing Systems, Oversee.net, handles the email marketing at LowFares.com, a travel comparison site owned by Oversee. LowFares.com’s weekly email newsletter, Travel Insider, features travel deals selected from hundreds that are forwarded to Hettervik’s team by its partners.

Before the team streamlined the newsletter’s production, partners sent lists of deals in different formats and through different channels. Team members would have to:
o Manually gather the deals
o Go through the lists
o Check each deal by copy-and-pasting their URLs
o Copy the text of deals they would use
o Apply tracking codes to the URLs
o Create the email newsletter

“We select the top 20 to 30 deals out of potentially thousands of deals. So the production part of that was a huge nightmare,” Hettervik says. “It would take sometimes 15 hours,”

“Some of these deals expire in eight hours or 24 hours, so the speed is very important… [But] the production aspect was so labor intensive that if you wanted to add any more layers of targeting, the complexities got out of control” and some deals would expire before reaching subscribers, Hettervik says.

From 12 hours to 30 minutes

The team has since built an email tool in-house to simplify the process. It is a desktop application that pulls the week’s deals from each partner into a single interface. A marketer can click a check-box to select deals to include in the newsletter. Then, with a single click, it codes the URLs and generates the newsletter’s HTML.

The eight- to 12-hour process could easily be completed by an experienced marketer in 30 minutes, Hettervik says.

“Now that we’re not spending a full day or a day-and-a-half creating [each email], that has allowed us to get more analytical with our reporting…We are able to do a lot more targeting, a lot more testing and now it has actually helped us quite a bit in terms of delivering relevant emails to our user base.”

Related resources

MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2011

MarketingSherpa Email Essentials Workshop Training

Email Marketing: A customer-focused mindset at ATP World Tour

Email Deliverability: Getting into Gmail’s Priority Inbox