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E-Business Secrets

Marketing experiments can strongly impact your bottom line
Some words and phrases work better than others

By  Brian Livingston April 04, 2003  

Do you wish you could know in advance which promotions would work for your e-commerce site and which would fizzle?


One site, called MarketingExperiments, spends months doing controlled projects showing exactly what pays off on the Web. Led by Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, a successful online marketer and television producer, the site's research studies have revealed surprising results such as these:

1. GOOGLE ADWORDS SELECT. The experimenters used Google.com'sAdwords Select program to determine how much difference a domain name can have on consumer acceptance. They placed ads for popular electronics products, with the ads differing only in the dot-com names. The result? Some names generated a click-through rate three times higher than others:

 Rate - Domain Name

 0.6% - ComputerHardwareDepot.com

 0.5% - BuyTech.com

 0.3% - TechSavings.com

 0.3% - ComputerHardwareDirect.com

 0.2% - PCPavilion.com

2. OVERTURE. Another test attempted to help a pay phone business gain traffic through the Overture pay-per-click engine. Because terms such as "pay phone" were selling for as much as $1.52, the researchers instead tried 170 little-used terms. The results were dramatic:

a. The single most popular term generated 26 percent of the resulting click-throughs, and the company is building a whole new site using this term in the name

b. The next three terms generated another 19 percent

c. The average cost for all the clicks was a mere $0.12, or less than one-twelfth of what competitors were spending

3. COMPARISON PRICE ENGINES. MarketingExperiments set up several working e-commerce sites and used them to test 13 price-comparison search engines where merchants pay for listings, such as Bizrate, mySimon, and PriceScan. Citing figures from the engine that proved to be the ninth best investment, NexTag, the experimenters found that the sites:

a. Paid an average click-through price of $0.35

b. Received revenue per click, on average, of $2.63

The latter figure doesn't relate to the lifetime value of an average new customer, which would allow a true ROI calculation. But the test indicates that some engines can be effective ways to drive traffic and increase sales.

There's so much free information at MarketingExperiments that it's hard to know quite where to begin reading. Fortunately, the developers have pulled together a step-by-step "marketing plan" that links to each of the reports in an orderly way. See: http://www.marketingexperiments.com http://bri.li/4e86

The site sells access to its reports and research projects for $34.95 per month, but there's a 30-day free trial period. See: http://www.marketingexperiments.com http://bri.li/71ae

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1. If the Iraq war ends, will the high-tech economy rebound? http://www.boston.com http://bri.li/44e

2. Iraqometer boils down the conflict into a few basic facts: http://www.iraqometer.com http://bri.li/836

3. Business leaders doubt migration to Windows Server 2003: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com http://bri.li/c1e

4. After the hype, which companies are buying Web services? http://www.ecommercetimes.com http://bri.li/1006

5. Offering free downloads can be a very expensive decision: http://www.wired.com http://bri.li/13ee

6. Conferencing tools beat WebEx at a fraction of the price: http://www.masternewmedia.org http://bri.li/17d6

7. Fantasy stock market values blogs for growth potential: http://www.blogshares.com http://bri.li/1bbe

8. Download six-part Builder.com "Remedial XML" series free: http://www.builder.com http://bri.li/1fa6

9. How to make rounded corners that work in all browsers: http://www.albin.net http://bri.li/238e

10. The funniest news and headlines, brought to you via Web: http://www.dribbleglass.com http://bri.li/2776

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Inventors throughout history have designed devices that simply won't operate as claimed. But now one Web site answers this question: WHY won't they work?

Crammed with fantastical illustrations, the Museum of Unworkable Devices is a hilarious romp through time, debunking all manner of violations of the laws of nature. The pictures and diagrams include many perpetual motion machines, provably impossible, that actually received a patent. Check it out at: http://www.lhup.edu http://bri.li/c3b6

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brian Livingston is publisher of http://www.BriansBuzz.com. Research director is Vickie Stevens. Brian has published 10 books, including:

Windows Me Secrets: http://www.amazon.com http://bri.li/0764534939

Windows 2000 Secrets: http://www.amazon.com http://bri.li/0764534130

You'll receive a gift certificate good for a book, CD, or DVD of your choice if you're the first to send Brian a Top Story or Wacky Web Week he prints. Send tips to mailto:Brian@BriansBuzz.com with "tip" in the subject line.

Brian Livingston is publisher of BriansBuzz.com. Send tips to him at brian@briansbuzz.com.

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