I loved these things in my single digits. Heck, I would still love playing with them now if I had any because I truly enjoy building things. That is one part of my childhood I'm happy to say I've always carried with me into my (gulp) late thirties. Give me a bunch of sticks and I'll build something fun or useful out of them. And the name is perfect for these little guys, isn't it? Tinker Toys. Toys meant for tinkering.
And that's what made them so great. The tinkering part. Try this, then try that, then combine them. Forget about long term goals, planning, or any of that other boring, time-sucking gibberish.
Yeah, that was then. This is now.
We are marketers utilizing a medium we can see but can't touch and one that doesn't take its real shape until we start receiving data. So, tinkering takes on a whole new meaning. It's easy to tinker when you can see the immediate results, but a lot more difficult to tinker when it takes days, weeks, months, or even years to see results. In our world of instant gratification this bites big time. And we're adults now, most of the time. We know that good things come to those who wait. Right?
Wrong! That philosophy is BS and better suited for a 1920's catalog campaign. Today, we have the keys to the BMW and we're wearing our dancing shoes. So don't get caught sitting around watching the cockroaches race (true story from my dad, seriously). We have the tools in hand, or easily available, to make an immediate impact and all it takes is a little old-fashioned tinkering.
Whether you're adjusting your on-page SEO, posting a racy blog, adjusting your PPC keywords and spend, remarketing to abandoned cart visitors, improving site speed, or any number of other maneuvers, you should be tinkering. I'm not talking about changing your most successful call to action for all of your visitors or sending a politically charged email newsletter to your entire prospect base. No, you can tinker with just a small segment of your site visitors or your subscriber list or those who abandoned carts to find out what does and doesn't work.
There are a number of tools that offer A/B testing and your subscriber list can probably be segmented or sampled to your hearts desire. But there are so many options available for us to tinker these days that it's probably a bit overwhelming. Here are a few ideas to get you moving.
- Take a few more tutorials for your current CMS or schedule a brainstorming session with your vendor. You can probably do 90% of what you want but you just don't know it. Don't have a CMS? You should get one.
- Work with a company who can help you segment and target with current data. Right on Interactive (http://www.rightoninteractive.com/) here in Indianapolis is a fantastic company who can help you do all sorts of great things with your data. They love to tinker and explore data.
- Remarketing with another great Indy company - Smarter Remarketer (http://www.smarterremarketer.com/)
- Dive into Google Analytics more than you ever have. Here's a great list of resources from kissMetrics - http://blog.kissmetrics.com/50-resources-for-getting-the-most-out-of-google-analytics/.
- If you're not using a good email marketing toolset, start now: ExactTarget, MailChimp, Constant Contact
- Tame the social media frontier by using Hootsuite to manage all your accounts in one place
I'm sure you have your favorites too, so please leave your highly recommended tools in the comments for others to see.
Bottom line is that we are paid to tinker, even when our marketing tactics are working. Not enough to kill the golden goose but enough to prove we can do even better or prove that we can't.