Adding Experimentation to Your Business Blog
Experimentation in your business blog is one of many strategies you can look to utilize – and what is so great about this particular idea is that you can use it alongside other ideas as well.
At the basic level what we are talking about is literally trying new things. Some thing work. Some don’t. Do more of what works and less of what does not.
Easier said than done… Blog Experimentation can be challenging on many levels, but one of the biggest challenges tends to revolve a the fact that you are literally trying out new ideas, some of which can literally drill down to the very core of your business.
The Big Picture Power of Experimentation
Before we get too far into the mechanical aspects and the merits of a great experimentation strategy, I’d like to share something with you that is immensely powerful which is grounded in a conceptual concept.
Engaging in experimentation is one of the most powerful developments you can introduce to your business but it can also be terrifying for businesses. The truth is that businesses that can readily embrace the concept of experimentation are much more likely to capture new market share and also to see higher value (ROI) from the entirety of their online efforts.
While experimentation is a valuable arrow in your blogging arsenal, completely ignoring this concept can be particularly damaging when you are facing stiff, agile and hungry competition that seems to constantly be one step ahead of both you and your overall market.
Experimentation Vs. Testing – High Level Breakdown
As you dive deeper into your website and look to gain more control over your efforts one idea that you are eventually going to encounter is testing. Testing at a basic level is about taking two distinct approaches to a problem (or a goal) and measuring to see which approach performs the best. Testing is great. You should do it. Experimentation though is not testing and at least for the purposes of this post you should mentally separate the two.
Experimentation, at least for our purposes is all about trying new things. There is a certain amount of freedom here that goes beyond pure testing. That said over time you will likely want to utilize some of the ideas you explore with your experimentation inside of your tests.
Hopefully this will all quickly make sense, but what we are driving at is a philosophical approach rather than a pure tactic. That is not in any way meant to imply that when you are experimenting you should suddenly abandon common sense and the protocols you have established within your blog.
Using Experimentation To Drive Your Bottom Line
Experimentation with your business blog can travel in a number of different directions, but the key benefit is simple:
Without doing you will never know.
Following our recent post on Business Blog Segmentation, a complimentary business blogging strategy tightly aligned with segmentation revolves around the idea of experimentation. Not only should you be actively identifying your key buyer segments, you can also try out different ideas (experiments) when it comes to communicating with these groups.
Where it starts to get really interesting though is if you use this strategy to help drive your sales process. Before committing to large expenditures to run a campaign consider trying out how it feels, and even more so how your audience might respond with an experimental blog post. While you might not see direct sales, should you see a strong flow of blog comments or social shares that might be a good indication that you are heading in the right direction.
Similarly maybe you are interested in discovering if there are new or underutilized segments of your audience – again, by running mini experiments through your blog you have a great opportunity to sample before you commit further resources.
Using Experimentation To Find Your Voice
All too often a business will head online without a “fully baked” strategy. That is okay as over time the assumption is you’ll “come up” and really start to find your digital rhythm. Of course what more likely ends up happening is other things get in the way and you find that you’ve “settled” on whatever you started with.
By experimenting on your business blog you can take the opportunity to work on the voice of your business before you circle back and re-write your entire site.
The simple act of experimenting will provide you with “poetic license” to really try some new things and it will push you to try to answer the big question of what feels right for your audience.
Concrete Experimentation Ideas
So far we have been very focused on high level “framework concepts”, and while each business will have their own “right” answers, here are a few ideas to get your experimentation lab started…
- Images. Images are wonderful ways to add some much to what you blog about. Try out a few different image galleries. Consider using much larger images in your posts. Perhaps to date your image strategy has been very much stock photo driven; consider something a little more meaningful. Maybe it is time to update the staff photo as the one you’ve been using from the 1989 team is feeling a little out of date.
- Deals. Considering running a special. Before you commit all the way consider blogging about it. Maybe a small Google Ad campaign as well to really see if there is merit to a particular campaign? Maybe if you know you are fully committed at the beginning, try utilizing your blog to explore innovative promotional ideas.
- Creating New Audiences. Start blogging to very specific audiences that you think might have value for your business. If you see traction that use that new found intelligence to build from.
- Tone of Voice. Just like in an earlier post in this series we explored the concept of introducing different personalities into your blog, perhaps before doing so you might need to more fully develop those ideas.
- Visuals. Try out some new fonts and text sizes. You’d be surprised at what you’ll discover.
- Video. Now is the time and your blog is the place. A great way to get your feet wet in this space. You can try to face the camera or instead utilize screen captures. Whatever feels better. Try both!
- Keywords. Ah yes… The Keyword post for this series is coming up, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that keywords are important. They are literally how you define your business in the eyes of the search engines. Perhaps there are better keywords for your business. Less competitive keywords for your business. Higher converting keywords for your business. Experiment away.
And the list goes on….
Experiment with Confidence
Experimenting can be a real challenge. As alluded to at the top of this article, experimenting with your business blog can really begin to unravel some bigger issues within your digital empire. This can be unsettling. There is no other way to say it.
Of course experiments can also be a ton of fun and it can be extremely liberating.
It can also be very illuminating provided you allow it to be so. So, be smart about how and what your experiment with, but do so with confidence!
Note: This post was originally published on August 14, 2012 and has since been updated.