Selena Blue

Content Marketing: How to break through the clutter and connect with individuals

October 5th, 2015

“One of the most important things to remember is that the people you’re trying to reach are being freaking bombarded all day long,” said Mel Robbins, best-selling author, top TED speaker and CNN commentator.

Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa (sister company of MarketingExperiments), sat down with Mel at the MarketingSherpa Media Center at &THEN to discuss how marketers can use content marketing to better connect with customers.

Mel began by talking about breaking through the clutter. She said the average full-time professional receives 173 emails a day. What does that mean for you?

“Your message has to resonate immediately, and it’s got to be important to the person who’s getting it,” she said.

Those two points carried on throughout the interview as she went on to discuss how marketers should package their content, as well as how they can best connect with their customers.


Use the curiosity gap in your content

“In the case of an email, you really have to market to … the curiosity gap, which is that five-second window you have to grab somebody’s attention and immediately be like, ‘Huh, I wonder what that is,’” Mel said.

She said an analysis of last year’s top 10 articles from The New York Times showed two findings.

First, seven of the articles were lists.

“Why? Because when you see a list, it immediately stimulates the prefrontal cortex and this curiosity gap of ‘Huh, I wonder what the seven things are,’” she said.

Second, they see more usage of odd numbers. “Odd numbers trigger something new,” Mel explained. This is because our brains are more used to seeing even numbers.

She broke it down: “If I say the top 10 reasons, even though David Letterman made it famous, it’s sort of a throwaway number. The seven reasons why your customers don’t open your emails — you’re like, ‘Woah, I got to know what that is.’”

Mel advises using the curiosity gap with online advertising or headline copywriting.


Connect with customers with both the mind and the soul of the leader

Mel described the mind of the leader as being “concerned about revenues, concerned about headcount, concerned about problem solving. And you need that obviously to be great at business.”

She then went on to say, “The soul of a leader is somebody that can, at a moment’s notice, turn off the mind that is focused on headcount and numbers and spreadsheets and turn on what marketers do — which is curiosity and hopes and dreams and impulse.”

“It’s because of the language of the mind you understand the technology, which has to do with the algorithm at Facebook and how people find content and distribute it. But in the language of the soul, what we understood is what does that person who is seeing something pop up in their feed want?” Mel said.

She said it’s the soul of the leader that “you’re speaking to typically when you have a message that resonates.”

People are not on Facebook or Twitter to buy products. They go for a break from the rest of their day, according to Mel.

She advises, “If you’re somebody buying Facebook ads or you’re somebody trying to syndicate your content through Facebook or Twitter, think about the ‘why’ of somebody being on that platform. And the data comes in from not only picking relevant content but also from, ‘How am I going to package it so that somebody in that environment is actually going to feel like it’s, within five seconds, something they want to click on?’”

She went on to say that communicating with someone in their inbox or on Facebook is more direct and intimate than communicating via a piece of direct mail on their kitchen table. You’re messaging to them in a private setting.

After all, “half the people you’re reaching, their spouses don’t even have the code to their phone,” she said.

“If your message is not resonating — meaning nobody is clicking on it — you’ve got to tweak it to take account that you’re reaching them somewhere that’s totally new and very intimate with them,” Mel said.


Remember: It’s not about you

The overarching lesson: no matter where or how you communicate with customers, it’s not about you. Not only does the content itself have to be something that your customers or audience want, but you must also package that content in a way that is most valuable to the person seeing it.

“It’s never about you. It’s never about your product. It’s always about the person that is receiving the message. If you start by thinking about what’s important to them and what’s going to peak their interest, you’re going to set yourself up to win,” Mel said.


You can follow Selena Blue, Manager of Editorial Content, MECLABS Institute on Twitter at @SelenaLBlue.


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MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 — At the Bellagio in Las Vegas, February 22-24

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Kayla Cobb

Testing and Optimization: Welcome send test results in 46% open rate for CNET

October 1st, 2015

One of the most discussed sends in email marketing is the welcome email — and for good reason. This first email often acts as the first point of direct contact a customer has with your brand, so the pressure to make it as perfect as possible is there. That’s where testing comes into play.

In her session at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015, Diana Primeau, Director of Member Services, CNET, spoke on the importance of testing her brand’s welcome and nurturing series as well as how the brand utilized segmentation to create a more personalized content series. Described by Erin Hogg, Reporter, MarketingSherpa, as a “mentor and teacher here at MarketingSherpa,” Diana has spoken at several brand events and has an impressive amount of experience when it comes to testing.

[Note: MarketingSherpa is the sister company of MarketingExperiments]

The typical CNET user is someone who is interested in technology and wants to research certain technology to reach a buying decision. According to Diana, CNET is the largest tech site in the world, and the site sees over 100 million unique visitors every month. CNET also has a large newsletter portfolio, which includes 23 editorial newsletters that are hand-curated by the brand’s editors, two large marketing newsletters and three deal space newsletters.

“I feel pretty fortunate. I get to play in a pretty large sandbox,” she joked.

One of the most dynamic tests Diana presented during her Summit 2015 presentation tested CNET’s welcome series against five different treatments. This test was conducted with an A/B split design, and the changes to the treatments were made according to three factors:

  • Content
  • Subject lines
  • Advertisements


Watch the video excerpt below to learn how these drastic changes compared to Diana’s original hypothesis of including as much information for the user as possible.

Read more…

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Ken Bowen

Nonprofit Testing: How one small change led to 190% increase in clickthrough

September 28th, 2015

As marketers, we all dream of expensive radical redesigns of our websites that check off every item on our wish lists. Over the years here at MarketingExperiments, though, we have routinely discovered that with a proper understanding of customers, the smallest changes can often yield the biggest results.

A recent test from our friends over at NextAfter demonstrates this fact.



As Tim Kachuriak, Chief Innovation and Optimization Officer, NextAfter, noted when he joined us for our August Web clinic, Personalized Messaging Tested, NextAfter works exclusively with nonprofit organizations to discover what truly makes donors give.

Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) is one such organization that NextAfter has partnered with to help answer this question.

In an earlier experiment with DTS, Kevin Peters, Vice President, NextAfter, had found that visitors arriving at the organization’s primary donation page were highly motivated to give. He discovered this by testing two forms of the page.

The first version of the donation page cut immediately to the chase, asking donors to “make a gift online.” The second version of the page posited that perhaps DTS was asking too much, too soon, and prefaced the “ask” with copy highlighting the unique value proposition of DTS. Quotes from well-known figures in the Christian community were also leveraged to build additional credibility. 

Read more…

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Scott Snodgrass

Now That’s What I Call Marketing: Optimize your website to hit the right notes with prospects

September 24th, 2015

Optimizing a webpage, let alone a website, can feel like a daunting task. With so many areas of opportunity, you may wonder where to begin.

To help guide you in the discovery of your perfect landing page, I present “Now That’s What I Call Marketing!”

Each track represents a different page element to be considered when optimizing your webpage, pitfalls to avoid and tips on reaching your potential in these areas of opportunity.

Read on and learn how to tune up your site.



Track #1: Give me one reason to read your headline

“Give me one reason to stay here, and I’ll turn it back around.  Because I don’t want to leave you lonely, but you got to make me change my mind.” -Tracy Chapman

Tracy’s words ring true when it comes to headlines.

Headlines are your first impression. Better make it count. A bad headline can confuse and worry a visitor or, worse, cause them to hit the back button. A good headline is the golden opportunity to initiate a conversation. Catch your visitor’s interest enough to continuing reading your content and set the expectation for the rest of the online experience.

To help you do that, check out last month’s MarketingExperiments Web clinic, How to Write Headlines that Convert, and keep in mind some advice from Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, on headlines. To sum up, a really good headline should answer three questions for every visitor:

  • Where am I?
  • What can I do here?
  • Why should I do it?
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John Durrett

Convince Your Customers to Eat the Spinach: Using the conversion heuristic in daily life

September 21st, 2015

Learning the conversion heuristic (C = 4m + 3v + 2(i-f) – 2a) is part of almost any MECLABS (MarketingExperiments’ parent company) certification, and eventually becomes something you begin applying to everyday life.

This empirically established cognitive framework brings structure and clarity to analysis of the sales conversion process, and guides and simplifies decisions about the prioritization of optimization energy.


Recently, I personally applied these learnings to the age-old problem every parent faces of getting their children to eat their vegetables. I even took it a step further and applied it to a specific vegetable — spinach.

It was an ordinary night, and my family had gathered around the dinner table to talk about our day and get some nourishment. I don’t remember the exact menu and won’t bore you with the minutia, but it did however include a healthy serving of spinach.

About 10 minutes into dinner, I noticed that my five-year-old daughter had not touched her spinach, and the following conversation ensued.

Read more…

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Andrea Johnson

Copywriting: See immediate lifts by applying these 5 principles to your headlines

September 17th, 2015

Creating a more effective headline is one of the easiest ways to make a significant lift in any experiment — it doesn’t require teams of developers or the latest technology to make happen.

What it does take, however, is applying the five key principles of effective headlines.

MECLABS, the parent company of MarketingExperiments, determined these key principles based on more than 15 years of testing and research. These actionable insights were revealed during the most recent MarketingExperiments Web clinic, which featured 12 experiments reviewing 34 total headlines. Watch it here.

In this blog, we’ll illustrate these five principles by looking at one of the tests featured in the clinic.


Background: A survey company offering to pay its members to take surveys.

Goal: To increase the amount of people taking surveys.

Research Question: Which panelist registration page will have a higher conversion rate?

Test Design: Which page/process will generate the most conversions?

The Control had no headline.

Read more…

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