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The Charm of Three: How people process positive claims in persuasion messages

April 7th, 2016 No comments

How many positive claims should firms use to produce the most favorable impression of a product or service? Despite the logic that more positive claims about an object should lead to better impressions, a recent study found that when people are faced with messages they know are made to persuade (like most marketing communications), they have limited patience for positive claims.

Let’s look closer at the study comparing the effects of different numbers of positive claims in messages with persuasive intent, and the consequences in terms of consumer attitudes toward the object when messages include more than three such claims.

 

The Study

In January 2014, professors Suzanne B. Shu, UCLA Anderson School of Management, University of California, and Kurt A. Carlson, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University, published the results of a series of experiments analyzing consumer perceptions of positive claims in advertising contexts.

It’s not a new idea that three is an important number for perceived completion. People generally perceive that three claims are sufficient to draw a conclusion about an object. The average consumer and average industrial buyer typically believe that a set of three options constitute a complete consideration set.  As the above vintage Philips ad illustrates, advertisers have been using the power of the three claim model for decades, at least.

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Website Spring Cleaning: A 5 Web Clinic crash-course to help you tidy up your webpages

April 4th, 2016 No comments

With winter firmly in our rearview mirrors, spring is officially here. Daylight savings time is upon us. March Madness is in full swing. And baseball’s opening day will have taken place by the time you’ve read this (Go Cubs!).

What better time then than to do a little spring cleaning of our webpages?

Don’t worry, at MarketingExperiments, we’ve got you covered. For more than a decade, we’ve been hosting Web clinics to help you — the marketer — maximize the effectiveness of your collateral. And, as we’ve seen again and again throughout the years, it’s often the smallest tweaks and cleanups that lead to the biggest results.

Read on to learn how you can harness your inner-Danny Tanner, grab your HTML mop and bottle of marketer’s 409, and turn that cluttered mess of a legacy page into a squeaky-clean, highly effective conversion machine.

 

Five key elements

To help get you started, I’ve identified five common elements of most webpages:

  • banner
  • headline
  • copy
  • call-to-action
  • form

Your page may not have, or need, all five of these elements, but chances are it will have most.

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Value Focus: Which aspect(s) of your product should your marketing emphasize?

March 31st, 2016 No comments

As a MarketingExperiments blog reader, I can already assume a few things about you. You’re an evidence-based marketer. You are an effective communicator. You have an exceptional understanding of marketing. You are skilled at analyzing campaign effectiveness. And you have experience in a wide range of marketing disciplines.

But if you were pitching yourself at a job fair, and could emphasize only one of these elements about yourself, which would it be?

Savvy marketer that you are, I’m guessing you would first size up the company you’re applying to — ask questions of the recruiter, take a look at the booth and read some of the literature — before deciding what value to highlight when presenting yourself.

The way you approach marketing your products and services should be no different.

 

Don’t bury the lead

Almost every product or service has several ways it benefits customers. Your challenge is to determine the value focus — which element of value will you lead with in your marketing.

You may highlight more than one element of value as secondary benefits on your website, in your print ads and in your email marketing. However, there likely is a place within your marketing where you have to choose what the primary value focus should be — the headline of your print ad, the hero space on your homepage or, perhaps, the entirety of an email.

Let me give you an example from my own customer journey.

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Copywriting: 3 tips for optimizing your next direct mail campaign

March 17th, 2016 1 comment

It might come as a surprise, but according to research conducted by our sister site MarketingSherpa, 54% of U.S. consumers would prefer to receive regular updates and promotions in the mail. That’s the highest percentage of any other method.

While we know stated preferences and actual behavior can differ, it’s still extremely interesting that physical mail ranked higher than email.

This means consumers are open to receiving your direct mail pieces. It’s just now up to you to send them engaging and effective content.

To help you in this effort, we’ve compiled three ways you can optimize your next direct mail campaign.

 

Tip #1. Direct customers toward the logical next step, not necessarily a purchase

If you’re a regular reader of MarketingExperiments, you have likely heard something along the lines of, “The goal of an email is to get a click, not a sale. The goal of the landing page is to get the sale.”

The same could be said of a direct mail piece.

Think about your buyer journey. What steps do they take up the funnel? There are multiple micro-yes(s) that lead up to the macro-yes or conversion.

For some buyer journeys, a jump from postcard to purchase might be asking for too much too soon — especially for longer sales cycles.

Try using the direct mail piece as a chance to message your value proposition and encourage customers to learn more through a next action.

That leads us into the next tip.

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Insights from 900 U.S. News Consumers: Millennials’ and older generations’ attitudes toward the news

March 10th, 2016 No comments

A recent study by MECLABS Institute, the parent research organization of MarketingExperiments, found that age is one of the factors that predicts the likelihood of consumers paying for a subscription to news sources. Older people were more likely to pay for subscriptions. The researchers tried to understand whether Millennials’ and older generations’ attitudes toward the news are different. How do Millennials see the value that news provides? A breakdown of attitudes toward the news by age shows Millennials’ views about keeping up with the news as less of a civic duty than older people, who feel responsible to follow the news and enjoy discussing it more than Millennials.

 

The study

From November 24-30, 2015, MECLABS conducted an online survey with a YouGov panel of 900 U.S. news consumers aged 25 and older, with household incomes of $40,000 or higher and who spent three hours or more in a typical week consuming news in print or digitally.

The researchers asked, “Thinking about the news, to what degree do you agree or disagree with each statement below?” on a scale of 1 to 6 where 1 = “strongly disagree” and 6 = “strongly agree.”

 

Results

 

While all age groups were quite similar in their preferences for being viewed as experts on certain news topics, there were bigger differences between Millennials and older generations in their perceived responsibility to follow news.

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Email Marketing: Preheader testing generates 30% higher newsletter open rate for trade journal

February 18th, 2016 No comments

“Most email clients nowadays pull and display a preview text in addition to the sender (or ‘from’) name and subject line of an email. While all inbox fields are fertile ground for optimization and A/B testing, optimizing preheader snippet is frequently a quick win,” Laz Tyrekidis, Digital Marketing and Audience Director, Metropolis Business Media, said.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the quick wins from preheader testing run by Laz and his team. But first, a quick primer on preheaders in case you’re unfamiliar. Preheaders, as seen below, are frequently found in email app inboxes on mobile devices, but can also be seen in webmail inboxes and desktop email client inboxes (depending on the view settings chosen by the user). They will also appear at the top of the email itself.

 

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