Case Studies

New Order Button Increases Conversion Rates by 39%,
Resulting in $904,470 in Saved Ad Spend

A background check service needed an edge against the 200 other advertisers bidding on its primary keywords. The company knew it needed to test, but the last two attempts at testing had gotten bogged down in complex testing tools and internal resistance. After several failed attempts, the company was almost ready to give up and go back to the status quo.

Pam proposed a super-simple A/B split test for the landing page, using nothing more than Google Website Optimizer, a free tool. The only element tested was the “buy” button. Pam created the new button herself according to conversion best practices, gave the company web developer detailed instructions on how to create the alternate page, and set up the experiment herself. The experiment was designed and set up within one business day. The web developer was able to install the code within an hour.

The results were staggering. The new button generated a 39.1% improvement over the control. The new button was incorporated into not only the primary landing page, but into all the other conversion pages for the company.

With the company’s $2.5 million a year ad spend, the new button, which took only one day to set up, netted a $904,470 savings in annual ad spend. Best of all, the client was sold on the benefits of simple, ongoing testing.

 

Segmenting An Email List Resulted in Tripled Response Rates
– And That Was Just the Beginning

Book catalog A Common Reader had been offering an email list to its web visitors for years. While sales were good, the catalog needed them to be better. Pam segmented the existing list into six categories of buyers based on their past purchases.

Segmenting this way was easy because the catalog’s inventory database had already assigned each product to a general category, so segmenting buyers out according to their purchases took less than 20 minutes. In the instances where a buyer had bought from more than one category, the buyer’s email was assigned to whichever category they bought the most from.

With the lists segmented out, Pam made a custom email newsletter for each group. She saved time by using existing product descriptions and editing them down to be more concise to accommodate email reading styles. Each newsletter also had a short one paragraph introduction. In addition to offering 5-7 topical books in each email newsletter, Pam also added one additional top-selling book from the general catalog.

The immediate results were dramatic. Orders tripled from the first round of emails and stayed there. Open rates and click-throughs were equally improved.

In the weeks ahead the segmented emails offered a new opportunity: the subject-oriented emails could promote books that were not getting enough sales in the general printed catalog to warrant space in the catalog. These books were decent sellers, and were kept in inventory because of that. By promoting these titles in the email newsletter to an audience that was especially interested in the category, the books’ sales increased over what they would have generated by being in the printed catalog.

This learning opened up a third opportunity: clearing inventory of books the catalog had on hand, but did not want to sell anymore, and did not have enough inventory to put into the printed catalog. Pam began offering sale books in the emails, in addition to the 5-7 promoted books. By offering about 6 additional sale titles every week, subscribers had access to deeply discounted sale items that other customers were not privy to. This not only resulted in more sales, but improved open rates and customer loyalty significantly. It also freed up more than 10% of expensive inventory space in the warehouse.

 

1st position on Google for a term with 600,000,000 competing sites

One of Pam’s websites achieved first position in Google, Yahoo and Bing simultaneously in 2009 for the term “how to draw”, which had more than 600,000,000 other sites competing for that position at the time.

Pam got the site to that position by building more than 500 pages of unique content, and by using the Google AdWords keyword tool to pick keywords with the right balance of search traffic and minimal competition.

The excellent content on the site generated hundreds of back links. 95% of those backlinks were created by site visitors who wanted to tell their friends about the site. HowToDrawIt.com was particularly popular with teenage girls, homeschoolers and teachers.

Pam monetized the free traffic with affiliate programs, AdSense advertising, a $7 ebook, and by getting people to sign up for the website’s newsletter, where Pam sold more advertising space. At its peak, the site was generating over $2,000 a month.

 

Email list of 9,200 subscribers built entirely with free search traffic

Pam leveraged the success she had with getting HowToDrawIt.com to first position in Google, Yahoo and Bing by setting up a simple email newsletter using an AWeber opt-in form. Visitors to HowToDrawit.com signed up for the list in exchange for a free weekly drawing lesson.

Pam used Google Website Optimizer and AWeber’s testing tools to get as many as 40 new email subscribers a day. All subscribers went through a double opt-in process that had a customized email at every step. Each subscriber received a welcome email with the first drawing lesson of the series so they would not have to wait to get started with the drawing tutorials.

To simplify the management of the list, Pam set up an email autoresponder with 72 consecutive email messages. Each message went out once a week, based on whichever day the subscriber initially signed up for the emails. Pam was able to leverage this automated marketing technique to keep many of the subscribers active all the way to the end of the autoresponder series – more than a year and a half after they first signed up.

Pam used the email audience to generate extra income for the site by selling limited advertising in the email, and by sending monthly product promotions to the list. When she finally sold the website, the list was one of the primary assets that determined the four figure sales price.

 

Over $10,000 Worth of Websites and Domains Built and Sold

Pam has built and sold a series of websites in different niches, including how to start a handyman business, how to draw and how to sell timeshares. Back when she was earning her income through AdSense, Pam bought many keyword-rich domain names. Some she developed into income producing websites, but others sat unused.

Always keen to raise money for the websites she is developing, Pam has sold about ten domains over the last few years. She gets the best prices by reaching out to people already in the niche who need a better url.

Pam has also sold fully developed websites, complete with lists of active email subscribers. She usually makes these sales by contacting buyers first through email, and then finishing the sale through Escrow.com

 

100% Feedback as an eBay Seller, 96% Feedback as an Amazon Seller

Pam has sold goods online through both of the major ecommerce platforms – Amazon and eBay. She has been buying and selling on eBay since 2001, and has 548 reviews. She currently has a 100% positive feedback rating on eBay and has been an eBay trading assistant.

Pam has also sold books online at Amazon. She earned a 96% positive feedback rating for her customer service support. At one time Pam had over 3,500 used books listed on Amazon. She used Amazon’s fulfillment services (FBA) to ship all books. Pam has also used Amazon’s product placement ads to sell physical products and she has written over 150 product reviews and earned a 97% helpfulness rating for those reviews. Pam sold her Amazon seller account early in 2013 for over $3,000.

 

Google AdWords Search Term Report and Other PPC Best Practices
Reduce Ad Spend by 58% While Preserving Legitimate Traffic

A law firm was spending over $11,142 per year on Google AdWords, but didn’t know if they were getting any results. Pam dug into the firm’s Google Analytics account to learn where most of the visitors were going. She determined which pages were getting the bulk of the AdWords traffic and how much the firm was paying for those visitors and for specific actions, like submitting an intake form.

In the AdWords account, Pam changed most of the keywords from broad match to phrase or exact match. She also limited where the ads would show by changing all campaign geographic settings from statewide to within a 90 minute drive of the law firm’s office.

Next Pam rewrote the ad copy so it was much more specific and included the keywords being searched on. Pam then wrote two versions for every ad and began tracking clickthrough rates to cull out the under-performing ad copy. In the next few weeks, as clickthrough rates rose, the AdWords system rewarded the client by charging then 15-20% less per click.

The most dramatic result came from running a Search Terms report in order to identify possible negative keywords. This revealed some stunning results, like the firm’s ads appearing for “dog adoption” on the keyword “adoption”. This and several other negative keywords, along with the other adjusts to the account, reduced costs by $6,500 all while retaining the legitimate traffic that was generating business.

 

Series of Niche Catalogs Generates 300% ROI

While she was a Managing Editor at a book catalog, Pam launched a series of niche book catalogs that netted over a 300% return on investment. While producing the main catalog, Pam saw that most of the inventory never got in due to space constraints. So Pam priced out the cost to create shorter, smaller-run niche catalogs. She designed and produced nine different catalogs on a range of subjects: children’s books, history, mysteries, videos, language, travel, novels and more.

About 3,000 copies of each catalog was printed. The catalogs were put into order packages based on what a customer had ordered. Customer service staff asked people placing phone orders if they would like one of the catalogs based on what they had just ordered over the phone. Sales leapt dramatically, and the company was able to move significant amounts of inventory that otherwise would have just taken up valuable warehouse space.