John Tackett

Value Proposition: 4 key questions to help you slice through hype

July 21st, 2014

I was originally going to write this blog post to help marketers spot hype in their green marketing claims.

But then, I had an epiphany.

Why focus exclusively on green marketing that may have gone awry at the fringes?

Hype in marketing is far from exclusive to the green crowd and honesty is needed in every claim your marketing makes.

I decided to think a little bigger – much bigger – by sharing four key questions you should ask about any marketing claim to help you slice through hype and deliver true value to customers.

 

Question #1. Is our claim tangible? 

value-tangible

 

Our senses love being rewarded, so if your claim offers tangible value, the nature of it should connect directly to the customer experience.

For example, let’s look at the copy above from a recent experiment on green marketing.

The “green value” is in the nature of the manufacturing process and is directly connected to the quality of the product.

This leaves one more thing to consider when crafting tangible claims: Does the nature of the claim actually make the end product more appealing?

 

Question #2. Is our claim relevant to customers’ needs?

relevant-claim

 

I like these examples because all of them, while noble in cause, do not directly connect to a relevant problem a customer is having.

For example, I live in Florida and my desire to avoid sunburns gives the SPF of a sunscreen a greater relevance to my needs than just about any other claim.

Consequently, this is where focusing on claims that are relevant can mitigate the risk of associating products with ideas or causes that are abstract.

A biodegradable pen is nice to have. A biodegradable pen with 12% more ink than the next guy is even better.

The power of relevance rests in crafting copy that deals directly with any key concerns already present in the mind of a customer.

 

Question #3. Is our claim unique?

unique-claim

 

It can be tough to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Identifying and expressing the exclusivity and appeal of the differentiators your product or service offers is the best way to avoid the pitfall of “me too” marketing claims.

 

Question #4. Is our claim true? 

true-claim

 

As I mentioned, my original goal was to help you spot hype, and from my experience, claims that underperform have a greater tendency for being generic.

If you claim looks like one of these examples borrowed from the MECLABS Value Proposition Development Course, it probably needs some work:

  • We empower your software decisions.
  • I don’t sell products and services; I sell results — my guarantee.
  • We help people find their passion and purpose.
  • We are the [generic claim] [company jargon] provider.
  • Get found online.
  • This site has what the person is looking to find.

The best thing you can do to add credibility to generic claims is strip them down and add quantifying values your product offers that are relevant to customer pain points.

Ultimately, these four questions serve one purpose: transparency.

Holding your marketing up to the light and shedding the hype helps you connect with a modern marketplace full of skeptical customers who crave transparency.

This also means what they see should always be what they get.

 

You may also like

Value Proposition Development: 5 insights to help you discover your value prop [More from the blogs]

Value Proposition: A free worksheet to help you win arguments in any meeting [More from the blogs]

2 Vital Questions Every Marketer Should Ask of Lead Gen Forms [More from the blogs]

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John Tackett

2 Vital Questions Every Marketer Should Ask of Lead Gen Forms

July 17th, 2014

We’ve all seen them.

Web forms that ask for an exhaustive amount of information in exchange for a paltry white paper – or worse, a static thank-you note that lets someone know Sales will soon start their phone and inbox bombing runs.

But is this truly the best we can do to serve prospects effectively through a balanced exchange of value?

I think not. In a world where Web 2.0 is here, mobile is soon to be the new desktop and content is king, lead generation must do a better job of offering value for a prospect’s information.

In this MarketingExperiments Blog post, we’ll look at the two most important questions every marketer should ask about their Web forms to help refine the lead generation process.

 

Question#1. Does our form only collect the information that is really, really needed?

Assessing the importance of the information your form collects is one of the best places to start.

Far too often, older forms are part of legacy marketing practices, or even worse, I would argue, are new forms with inadequate strategy planned around them.

However, no matter where your form falls in terms of strategy, here are two important questions you should ask about your Web forms:

  • What information do you absolutely need to collect in the form?
  • What additional information would be nice to have?

This will help your team identify which fields can be trimmed so that you’re only asking for information that is highly targeted and relevant to your sales process.

Also, don’t forget to build a review process for your forms that give them a health checkup at fixed intervals. It could be six months, a year, maybe even two – so as long as you dedicate time to assess a form’s effectiveness and performance in meeting business goals.

 

Question#2. How can I increase the perceived value of every field in my form? 

web-forms-value

 

I love the illustration above because it really drives this point home. This is truly how most prospects see form fields.

It is how I see them.

It’s probably how you see them, too.

It’s also how you should mercilessly look at your own form fields when assessing the value they are delivering to prospects in exchange for the desired information.

Consequently, if the value of what you’re offering is not perceived as being worth more than the information you want from prospects, then why should they give it to you?

Read more…

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John Tackett

Ecommerce: 3 landing page elements to help increase product emphasis

July 14th, 2014

The elements on a product page are often one of the most underutilized tools a marketer has at their disposal. I say this, because let’s be honest, I’d wager few folks think of design elements on a product page in a “tool mindset.”

But in some respects, that’s exactly what they are, and ultimately, that’s how you will determine the kind of customer experience you build in ecommerce.

In this MarketingExperiments Blog post, I wanted to share three elements you can tweak to help emphasize important products and maybe even increase your revenue along the way.

 

Element #1. Size 

product-page-elements

 

Here’s an excellent example of how resizing a product image can help you place emphasis on it.

In the control, there were three products on the right sidebar and they were all equally weighted – that is a problem.

Nothing really stood out, which made drawing a clear conclusion for customers a little difficult.

In the treatment, instead of having three separate products on the page, the marketers hypothesized that a single product with a dropdown selection for a computer operating system would increase conversion.

Their hypothesis was right – the results from the tests included a 24% increase in revenue.

 

Element #2. Color 

email-product-testing

 

Here is another example of using elements in an email that you should pay close attention to because products are not trapped on pages in storefronts.

That perception is far from reality.

According to the MarketingSherpa Ecommerce Benchmark Study (download a complimentary copy at that link), email is one of the biggest drivers of ecommerce traffic.

In the treatment, the number of products were reduced, and bright red copy was used as supporting emphasis. I’m not fluent in Italian, but in any language, that is a good thing.

As you can see, color emphasis and copy now drive this email. From the changes in the treatment, I can intuitively understand the desired outcome:

  • I can order something at a great price
  • I get something free (gratis) as a thank-you gift
  • It only takes three easy steps to order

The treatment delivered a 24% increase in revenue with the right changes needed to have a powerful impact.

Read more…

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Daniel Burstein

Copywriting: How to tip the scale so customers act

July 10th, 2014

When writing copy for promotions, content and advertising, many writers tend to be pulled between two possible directions: creativity on one side, and communication on the other.

How can I be creative and still effectively communicate the ideas I have?

 

Think like the customer

Creativity and communication are not the two opposing forces in the customer’s mind. The customer is weighing these two decisions:

  • What is the value of this?
  • How much will it cost me?

“Essentially the prospect, even if at a subconscious level, engages in elementary math: VfAc - CfAc, which is to say, they subtract the perceived cost force from the perceived value force,” said Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, parent company of MarketingExperiments.

This idea is illustrated in the heuristic below to help you see the net force of the value proposition:

 value-proposition-foce

 

You can dive deeper into the above heuristic in the MECLABS Value Proposition Development Course.

In this MarketingExperiments Blog post, we’ll take a look at two key copy elements – one very close to an actual purchase and another much farther up the funnel – and see what value and cost factors the customer might be considering.

 

Key Copy Element #1. Button copy

 

“Select Lodging” vs. “See All Rentals”

 

The button copy on the right achieved a 427% higher clickthrough rate than the button copy on the left.

This was not a single-factor test; other elements were changed on the landing pages that likely affected conversion rate, as well. You can see those in the full MarketingSherpa webinar replay of “Web Optimization: How one company implements an entire testing strategy every day.”

But, this is still a good example of weighing value and cost.

“Select Lodging” subtly implies more cost. The language puts the monkey on the customer’s back. Now, the prospective customer has to take the time to look through different options. Cost is about much more than just money. In this case, the cost is time (a form of mental cost). Of course, this button also implies the cost of actually purchasing the lodging (a form of material cost).

On the flipside, “See All Rentals” implies more value. Nothing is asked of the prospective customer. Instead, there is an offer to the prospective customer. Essentially, the copy conveys there are many rentals for the customer to view.

Read more…

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John Tackett

Landing Page Optimization: What a 29% drop in conversion can teach you about friction

July 7th, 2014

I’m sure most of you have heard the old proverb: The road to ruin is paved with the best of intentions.

In fact, if you have a different version of it, feel free to share it in the comments below.

The proverb is a great example of the subtle dangers in optimizing a process with no perspective on how the big picture is potentially impacted by those changes.

In this MarketingExperiments Blog post, I wanted to take a close look at a checkout process experiment and what we can all learn from this company when it comes to identifying the subtle dangers in optimization that often accompany intention.

 

Friction is a psychological reservation toward your desired outcome

friction-on-page

 

Before we get started, I want to first explain what friction is. MarketingExperiments defines friction as “a psychological resistance to a given element in a sales process.”

So when you optimize to reduce friction, you’re really optimizing to reduce the reasons a person has for not taking your desired action.

Also, friction exists everywhere, but the slide above does a really nice job of providing a simple illustration of reducing fiction in a form.

 

You may make a process shorter … 

difficulty-checkout-process

 

Friction is not always so easy to identify and eliminate. Take a look at these two versions of a checkout process for example.

Version A is a three-step cart checkout process that is a little lengthy.

The MECLABS research team hypothesized that by shortening the steps into a one-page accordion checkout process (Version B), they could reduce length-oriented friction.

 

… but it’s no guarantee that it’s easier for a customer

 treatment-conversion-decrease

The accordion-style checkout in Version B decreased conversion 29%. Ouch!

But there’s an even more important question here: Why did an increasingly popular checkout process get trounced by the process that looks more burdensome?

  Read more…

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John Tackett

Online Testing: 3 resources to inspire your ecommerce optimization

July 3rd, 2014

Optimizing to improve a customer experience can be a little overwhelming when you consider all the nuts and bolts that make up an entire ecommerce property in its entirety.

In this MarketingExperiments Blog post, we’ll take a look at three ecommerce resources from our testing library that will hopefully spark a few ideas that you can to add to your testing queue.

 

Read: A/B Testing: Product page testing increases conversion 78%

ebook-retailer-versions

 

How it can help

This experiment with a MECLABS Research Partner is a great example illustrating how testing elements on your product pages that are probable cause for customer concern is the best way to alleviate anxiety.

 

Watch: Marketing Multiple Products: How radical thinking about a multi-product offer led to a 70% increase in conversion

 

In this Web clinic replay, Austin McCraw, Senior Director of Content Production, MECLABS, shared how radical thinking about a multi-product offer led one company to a 70% increase in conversion.

 

How it can help

 One big takeaway from this clinic you need to understand is that strategic elimination of competing offers on pages with multiple products can help drive customers’ focus to the right product choices for their needs.

 

Learn: Category Pages that Work: Recent research reveals design changes that led to a 61.2% increase in product purchases

 

These slides are from a Web clinic on category pages in which Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, revealed the results of category page design changes that increased clicks and conversions across multiple industries.

Read more…

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