Selena Blue

Email Marketing: Improve subject lines in 7 steps by using the right words, in the right order

April 27th, 2015

It can be easy to overlook the importance of a subject line when crafting an email. After all, it’s just one line. The email itself is where most of the magic happens. However, without an effective subject line, only the most motivated customers will open your email to see what’s inside.

In a recent MarketingExperiments Web clinic — “The Power of the Properly Sequenced Subject Line” — the team revealed how to improve email performance by using the right words, in the right order.

After analyzing many tests in the Research Library,  two key principles to finding success with subject lines were discovered:

  1. Many marketers worry about their ability to write persuasive copy, but the marketer’s art is not persuasion; it is clarity. Indeed, when the marketer represents an authentic value proposition, clarity is persuasion.
  2. We are not optimizing subject lines; we are optimizing thought sequences. The most effective subject lines emphasize the “get” and imply the “ask.”

From these principles and other discoveries the team has made about customer behavior, a checklist of seven questions was developed. These questions can then be used as seven steps to follow when crafting your email subject lines.

 

Feel free to share the checklist, and if you’d prefer something a little more printer-friendly, download the “Crafting Effective Subject Lines” PDF. The PDF also includes the two key principles for your reference.

 

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

 

You might also like

Download the “Crafting Effective Subject Lines” PDF [From a recent MarketingExperiments Web clinic]

Email Marketing: 4 tips for testing subject lines to help you win the inbox battle [More from the blogs]

B2B Email Marketing: Daring subject line gains 72 product launch email replies, 25% open rate [Case study]

Email Summit 2015: Top Takeaways from this year’s best sessions [MarketingSherpa webinar replay]

Register for the next MarketingExperiments Web clinic, “Harnessing Customer Motivation”

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Categories: Email Marketing Tags: , , , ,

Daniel Beulah

The 5 Major Factors to Look for When Evaluating a Website

April 23rd, 2015

Recently, MECLABS Institute, parent company of MarketingExperiments, distributed an internal survey to find out what elements or factors people consider when evaluating a website for the following attributes:

  • Appearance of the website
  • Clarity of the information provided
  • Timeliness of completing purchase
  • Ease of placing an order or making account changes on the site
  • Ease of navigating the website

To do this, the team that distributed the survey asked five open questions and allowed responders to answer them as they chose. After each question, they asked the responders to rank their top three factors or elements that correlated with the question asked.

In total, there were 13 anonymous responders that the team estimated were almost evenly split between MECLABS’ content production team and our services department, which actively builds, tests and evaluates websites on a daily basis.

After the distribution team received the results, they looked at the most commonly mentioned element or function and determined which elements are the most important when reviewing a website.

They took the results and used a word cloud to visually represent the answers. To that end, the three most commonly mentioned factors on the whole survey were:

 

When looking at the totality of a website, people want information that is clear and easy to understand while allowing them to see the value of the website and its services.

In order to find out the important elements or factors that affect the evaluation of a webpage, the distribution team asked the following questions and received the following answers.

Note: The answers to each of the following survey questions have been broken into categories. These categories were not part of the survey’s original questions but are themes determined by the distribution team in order to organize the results.

Also, the question and answers concerned with layout (located under “Appearance of the website”) are different than the category layout. The question and answers refer to the layout of a webpage as a whole, whereas the layout category refers to the layout of that specific element of a website.

 

Appearance of the website

What factors or elements do you consider when judging the appearance of a website?

Layout

  • Whitespace, visual spacing of elements, balanced elements, minimalistic, simplicity, organization of information, clear eye path, easily scannable

Navigation/Navigating

  • Clear funnel, easy to find what I’m looking for, clean navigation, thought sequence

Content

  • Value, clarity, typos, readability, clear and concise copy, clarity of message

Aesthetics

  • Color, real versus stock images, pleasing to the eye, aesthetically pleasing, datedness, modern

Functionality

  • Functionality, up-to-date framework

The most common factor when determining the appearance of a website is its layout. It’s important to balance visual elements with the whitespace of the webpage to create a clear eye path that directs you into the elements you really want people to spend more time viewing.

Layout was the most commonly used term when answering this question, but another equally important factor mentioned by the responders was how dated versus how modern a website is.

You can have a great layout, but if it doesn’t age well, it will negatively affect the overall feel of your website. Be sure to talk with your designers about new design trends and which ones you should incorporate into your webpage.

Read more…

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Categories: Site Design Tags: , , , , ,

Austin McCraw

Direct vs. Indirect Creative: Which ad is better?

April 20th, 2015

Most people spend their lives trying to avoid ads. Not me. This may make me a complete marketing nerd, but I actually enjoy reading ads. I have for some time now. I love studying the different approaches of persuasive communication. I love attempting to uncover the underlying value propositions under each ad. I love just seeing how other marketers are attempting to communicate value to their potential customers.

Recently, I was on a Delta flight to San Diego, and I began to sift through the different ads in the Delta Sky Magazine. The first ad that caught my attention was an ad from Little Caesars. Now, I am no Little Caesars expert by any means, but its brand real estate in my brain up to that point was simply this: We do cheap pizza.

This ad was trying to combat that perception in a decently creative way.

 

Ad #1: The creative (indirect) type

The ad was mostly made up of white space (or perhaps orange space). The first positive thing about this ad was that it stood out from the other pages. It also had one bold image in the middle — an industrial mixer. A single line of ALL CAPS text centered beneath the mixer simply stated, “Saving the commercial mixer from becoming extinct.”

 

Now, there are very few elements to this ad. Its creative is simple and elegant. Its creative also takes an indirect communication approach. David Ogilvy (widely hailed as “The Father of Advertising”) would be proud.

What are they trying to say by putting a big picture of a commercial mixer? What do you think the implied value proposition is? What is the message underneath the creative approach?

Read more…

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Categories: Marketing Insights Tags: , , , , , , ,

Andrea Johnson

How to Improve Email Performance by Using the Right Words in the Right Order

April 16th, 2015

Email is more important than ever before. Consider these statistics:

However, even if you have the finest email distribution technology reaching the most thoughtfully developed and segmented email list, if the recipient deletes the email instantly, it’s all for naught. In contrast, if recipients consistently open your emails, read them and take action, you’ll see results.

That’s why knowing how to write a strong email subject line is critical.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert copywriter to do it. You just need to know the elements that have been proven to drive more opens and clickthroughs.

To find out what they are, be sure to watch the most recent MarketingExperiments Web clinic. It examines multiple subject line experiments and several live tests, while outlining what worked, what didn’t and why. Within 30 minutes, you’ll have the knowledge you need to start writing winning subject lines.

We’ll examine two experiments from the clinic here:

 

Background: A regional marketing commission that has been anonymized.

Goal: To raise awareness of local activities and events to increase the number of travelers and tourists.

Research Question: Which subject line will generate the most opens and clickthrough?

Test Design: A/B split test (protected)

Note: Boston was the substitute city used for this presentation.

 

Experiment #1

 

The Control asked recipients if they’re a fall foodie and then invited them to see what’s going on in the region.


The Treatment used words that are tangible; you can almost taste the flavors of the city. This tempted recipients by immediately inviting them to partake in a uniquely Bostonian dining experience.

Read more…

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Categories: Email Marketing Tags: , , , ,

Jessica Lorenz

How Design Impacts User Experience: Reducing anxiety by infusing your page with value

April 13th, 2015

In the age of free content, how can you capture leads and foster a relationship with people that consume the articles, videos and updates on your site?

Site design and the quality of content you produce can strongly influence the way that people engage with your site.

Using an example from the Harvard Business Review, we can see an example of a layout infused with value for the user.

First, the Harvard Business Review lets users read up to five articles before asking for a commitment. This allows visitors to get a sense of the breadth and quality of content so they can ensure that they’re getting a valuable experience.

Let’s review the overall look, feel and strategy of its registration process and design as well as examine how it impacts the visitor throughout the registration process.

 

Paywall page

After reading the fifth article, the user is given two options: Register for free in exchange for more information, or subscribe to the all-access version.

Let’s take a look at how the page is laid out.

 

First, look at the white space.

Can you feel the fresh air?

S – p – a – c – e

The simplicity of the page creates a “no pressure” feeling and lets the visitor know that they aren’t seeing an ad or being urged to make a decision.

However, you can clearly see the two defined calls-to-action, separated by a thin gray line.

Both sides indicate some level of value. However, the paid option has an image and lists several more bullet points worth of advantages over the free option.

Read more…

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Categories: Site Design Tags: , , ,

John Tackett

A/B Testing: What choices does your content really influence?

April 9th, 2015

Some tests and their results provide the opportunity to open up bigger discussions.

They are true diamonds in the rough that reveal some interesting insights about not only customers, but also us. I don’t know about you, but sometimes a small look inward can have a big impact out the look outward.

In today’s MarketingExperiments blog post, I wanted to share with you an interesting experiment from a recent Web clinic that increased lead rate 331% by optimizing the company’s value exchange experience with prospects.

 

Background: Migraine Treatment Centers of America offers an innovative long-term migraine treatment solution to people suffering from migraines.

Goal: To increase leads from the microsite.

Primary Research Question: Which value exchange strategy will result in a higher conversion rate?

Test Design: A/B multifactor split

 

The MECLABS Institute research team hypothesized that one of the biggest problems with the control was it did not effectively connect momentum created by the content to the next logical step in the conversion process.

Simply put, the site had content and it had calls-to-action, but the problem was a substantial break in continuity between them.

  Read more…

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Categories: Lead Generation Tags: , ,