Archive for the ‘Practical Application’ Category

How to Construct a Customer-Focused Remarketing Campaign

May 14th, 2015

To start, think of a consumer on your ecommerce site.

They scroll through the carefully selected featured content on your site. For some reason, something on the screen catches their eye, and they click through to one of your product pages. Their eyes rest on the framed image of your product and travel through the concise product description.

After a few seconds, their mouse hovers over that all-mighty CTA: “Add to Cart.” They click …

… and then they leave. Just like that, one of your customers has fallen out of the funnel, abandoning their cart as well as their possible transaction with your company.

Speaking as an editor at MECLABS Institute (MarketingExperiments’ parent company) and as a consumer for over 20 years, I feel comfortable saying that we customers are a fickle crowd. In the few minutes and steps it takes from adding a product to the cart to actually checking out, a million different things can happen to prevent purchase.

Marketers need to be ready to battle everything — from customer frustration with the purchase process to simple distraction.

Thankfully, an abandoned cart does not have to mean a lost transaction. A cart abandonment email campaign can be an excellent, though underutilized, way to reconnect with your lost customer and potentially make a purchase.

According to MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, when asked what types of automated emails their organization deploys, surveyed marketers ranked “Shopping cart abandonment” as dead last at 11%. However, 51% of surveyed American adults found these emails to be helpful.

Here are three tips to help you save your next ecommerce sale.


Step #1. Make your checkout process simple and transparent

This first step is a little counterintuitive for this blog post, but it’s essential. In an ideal world, you would never need to utilize a cart abandonment campaign because your customer would never abandon their cart.

To cut down on the number of abandonments and create an easy and pleasant checkout experience, you need to keep seven things in mind:

  • Be upfront about shipping costs and information
  • Relieve customer anxiety (especially when it comes to secure payment methods)
  • Make checkout available to all customers, not just registered users
  • Continue to present value throughout the checkout process
  • Make the whole process quick and easy
  • Employ persistent carts

My colleague, Lauren Pitchford, Senior Research Manager, MECLABS Institute, wrote a great guide about creating the best checkout experience possible, which really explores these aforementioned ideas in-depth.


Step #2: Determine if a cart abandonment campaign is right for you

Like I mentioned before, this isn’t an ideal world, and customers are going to leave cart items. This is where a cart abandonment email campaign can really be beneficial.

These emails serve several purposes, two examples of which are:

  • Reminding customers about the wonderful merchandise they clicked away from
  • Serving as a point of communication between your brand and the consumer

But it’s important to remember that these campaigns aren’t an ecommerce panacea.

A recent Chart of the Week from MarketingSherpa (sister company to MarketingExperiments) explored what customers thought of cart abandonment remarketing.

 Q. What are your views of reminder emails that tell you when you have an item in your online shopping cart that has not yet been purchased?

Read more…

Price Testing: Order of prices increases revenue 51% per visitor for Portland Trail Blazers

October 27th, 2014

Last month, I sat down with Dewayne Hankins, Vice President of Marketing and Digital for the Portland Trail Blazers NBA team, to talk about how they leveraged dynamic ticket pricing in the purchasing process for single-ticket buyers.

We talked a lot about the effort as a whole, which involved launching a brand new site and optimizing various elements to provide fans with an experience that was relevant to them.

Testing, instead of relying on gut feelings and instincts, is the only way to truly know if your efforts are making an impact.

The team at the Portland Trail Blazers took testing to heart, and experimented on even smallest elements on the single-game ticket pages — the order of pricing.

Here are the details on one of those tests:




On the ticket pages displaying the upcoming games, pricing was listed in ascending order from left to right, with the highest price next to the “Find Tickets” button.





On the treatment ticket page, the team reversed the order of pricing. The lowest prices were now next to the “Find Ticket” button.

Read more…

What a 173% Increase in Clickthrough Can Teach You About Subscribers

October 16th, 2014

At MarketingExperiments, we define friction in a conversion process as a psychological resistance to a given element in a sales process.

If you’ve ever waited in a long line at a theme park in July, that’s friction personified. It’s the hot and sweaty agony that makes a customer ask themselves, “Why am I doing this?”

I should also add that not all friction is avoidable, but a large concentration of it can be reduced through a little testing and optimization.

In today’s post, I wanted to share with you a recent experiment to identify and reduce friction, which you can enjoy with no lines or waiting.

Before we dive in, let’s review the background notes and give the experiment a little perspective and context.


Background: A large news publication.

Goal: To increase clickthrough rate.

Primary Research Question: Which landing page will generate the most clicks?

Approach: A/B multifactorial



Here are the pages in the experiment together.


During a preliminary analysis of the control, the MECLABS research team hypothesized the control page’s long-form layout style was impacting performance.

As you can see, the bullet points help organize the copy, but their sheer number creates a wall of text.

For the treatment, the team organized those bullets into a tabbed navigation, allowing the customer to click on what is relevant to them in an effort to help guide the conversation toward a subscription.

They also removed the video and added a second call-to-action.

How did the treatment stack up?

Read more…

5 Call-to-action examples that increased conversion rate (just by being helpful)

October 6th, 2014

Marketing talking heads love to spout out call-to-action best practices:

  • Keep it easy to find
  • Put it above the fold
  • Make it a big button

But all of these “rules” miss a fundamental shift in the way we need to be thinking about CTAs. There’s something wrong with the word “call-to-action” that focuses us (as marketers) on ourselves and not on the needs of our customers.

This manner of thinking treats the audience as if they’re a mass of mindless peons, just waiting for us to command them what to do next.

Simply put, I think a call-to-action should be an act of customer service.


It’s not because of some abstract ethical construct I made up. It’s because it works. It increases marketing performance.

Here are five call-to-action examples that worked because they were helpful and focused on serving the customer: Read more…

Product Pricing: 4 tips for communicating price in your marketing

April 24th, 2013

In today’s Web clinic at 4:00 p.m. EDT – “When Should You Reveal Price? The 3 principles of presenting price that helped generate a 97% increase in conversion” – Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, will use our research to help you discover how to best communicate price to potential customers, and will answer questions such as:

  • What is the optimal price range for my type of offer?
  • How should I display my price? Round numbers? Fractional?
  • When should I reveal the price? Early in the process, or later?
  • Is it possible to know I have the right price? Can I test it?

But first, we wanted to learn some pricing insights from the MarketingExperiments community. Here are four tips from Joao Alexandre, Digital Strategist, DesignPT …


Price is a sensible question and it can fluctuate immensely based on perceived value

A customer may be turned off by a low price by discrediting it automatically, especially if it’s a product or service he or she believes is important or has a perceived value. (Editor’s Note: Excellent point, Joao. As Neil Blumenthal, Co-founder and Co-CEO, Warby Parker, learned, “We also found that customers did not trust prices that were too low.”)

If a customer has no idea on professional custom logo design, and sees two different websites that create logos for $300, then the customer will from then on believe that is a fair price for this kind of professional work, until their belief is otherwise reframed by a different source.


Prices ending in “9” may be more appealing than others, which can work better for both low- and high-end ticket items alike

In total, eight studies published from 1987 to 2004 revealed that prices ending in “9” ($39, $2.49, $89, etc.) boosted sales by an average of 24% relative to other prices. In an experiment done by the University of Chicago and MIT, a mail order catalog was printed in three different price points: $39, $34 and $44. The $39 price point won.


Marketers can either reveal price in the beginning or near the end – it depends on the industry and the company

By revealing price early on, you can disqualify a lead that would otherwise consume your time only to conclude it does not fit their budget, while your sales team could focus on other pursuits.

By revealing price later on, you have the opportunity to build value and uncover needs that the customer might not say directly and you would only find out by proper questioning.

Read more…

Marketing Career: Don’t overlook these 4 marketing fundamentals

April 1st, 2013

Technology is becoming more and more essential to marketing – from marketing automation platforms to complex databases. In fact, Gartner analyst Laura McLellan has predicted CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs by 2017.

While this focus on technology can be helpful to marketers, the danger is that it causes marketers to become technologists instead of, well, marketers and overlook the fundamentals of marketing.

To help get back to the building blocks of marketing, I turned to Bob Kemper, Senior Director of Sciences, MECLABS, to help you understand how some of the fundamental teachings you read about on the MarketingExperiments blog were initially developed.

The mechanics behind how MECLABS (the parent company of MarketingExperiments) teaches marketers may have become more structured since its beginnings, but the philosophy is still the same, according to Bob.

In the earliest days, Bob said, “we were kind of feeling around for what it is that marketers needed to know, and didn’t know.”

Research Partnerships are an important element of today’s MECLABS that took time to develop into their current, structured format. In the beginning, it was a much more informal conversation with Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS.

While the logistics have changed, Bob said the essence of the approach is the same, and “there’s a continuity of approach from the earliest days,” he said, only with a refined set of processes. 

Bob discussed four fundamentals.


Fundamental #1: Ideal customer

Working with Research Partners, Bob said the team would look at a page together, and identify “what today we would call an ideal customer.”

It wasn’t as well defined at the beginning, he said, and discussions centered on questions like, “tell me about your best customers, those that you are most able to help – who are they, how do they think. When they arrive at this page, what’s in their minds?”

This process evolved over time toward what’s now referred to in the MECLABS Offer/Response-Optimization meta-theory as “customer thought sequence.”

Theory into practice: You should focus on your ideal customer while crafting your value propositions at four levels, and then use them to keep every member of your company focused on communicating and delivering on those value propositions through not only your marketing, but also your sales, customer service and product development organizations.


Fundamental #2: Thought sequences

“It’s principally about the process of decision making — about what to buy, from whom to buy, and how,” Bob said.

Flint has always had an approach that adopts the frame of reference of “a customer arriving at your conversion funnel, in whatever form it might take, and addressing it as a thought sequence,” Bob said.

Theory into practice: By understanding how your customer thinks, you can create more effective landing pages, offers and campaigns.


Fundamental #3: Redefining marketing 

“[Flint] would conduct consultation calls with marketers … reviewing their current landing pages and conversion paths together, and make recommendations based not upon the operational ‘here’s what has worked before,’ or ‘I’ve done this,’ but based upon the philosophical principles of human decision making,” Bob said.

Marketing began to be viewed as a process for gaining insights about what compels people to make the choices we do, instead of the more established method of constantly pushing onto customers. The focus became placing value at the forefront, not “convincing or cajoling, but rather simply revealing the truth,” Bob said.

This revelation of the truth to consumers centers around whether or not your business has a value proposition, he said, and if “you are truly the best for some significant group of people who are definable, who are discernible.”

That shift in thinking became the basis for how MECLABS approaches marketing as “a revolution of thinking, a complete reversal, a dichotomy from even professional marketers coming out of business school,” he said.

Theory into practice: are you conducting your marketing in a rigorous fashion and using A/B testing to learn how and why your customers make the decisions they do? For example, you can review the MECLABS methodology for discovering what really works in optimization.

Read more…