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The Importance of Customer Centricity in Evolving A/B Testing

June 29th, 2015 No comments

When we talk about A/B testing, we often think about it on a test-by-test basis. While this singular focus is beneficial, it overlooks testing’s role as an ongoing system for optimization.

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015, Courtney Eckerle, Manager of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, sat down with Lauren Wagner, Senior Manager, and Tessa Srebro, Lead Generation and Marketing Associate, both of VolunteerMatch, to discuss how to utilize A/B testing to constantly evolve programs.

Lauren and Tessa’s company, VolunteerMatch, is a nonprofit organization that is the world’s largest volunteering network. It also has an interesting funding model. The company sells a Software as a Service (SaaS) product to companies to help fund its organization and, so far, this model has generated almost $1 billion in social value each year through its work with nonprofits and volunteers. VolunteerMatch is also more than familiar with the benefits of testing, as evidenced by the subject line test it ran with MarketingExperiments.

Watch the excerpt below from the MarketingSherpa Media Center to learn how keeping up with current trends and thinking like a consumer can help evolve your testing and your company.

 

Keep up with current trends and your customers

Keeping up with current customer trends is one of the most important pieces of advice Lauren Wagner gave when asked how to keep a company’s A/B testing constantly evolving. Be sure that you’re keeping up with current trends in the marketplace, but don’t forget to take the time to learn about your customers.

Lauren suggested paying attention to what your customers are interested in and adapting to their needs and interests.

Lauren advised marketers to “continue to look at the space that you’re working in and seeing, you know, what are people talking about, what are the trends that they’re talking about so that you can continue to take your emails and continue to kind of mold them and change them and shift them to what those people are really looking for and are really interested in.”

By utilizing this mentality, VolunteerMatch saw a shift in the departments it worked with and was able to adjust accordingly.

“The employee-engagement, employee-volunteering space has kind of shifted over the years from, you know, sitting in marketing departments, sitting in corporate responsibility departments, sitting in human resources departments,” Lauren said. “For us to kind of shift the way that we’re approaching the benefits of employee volunteering from each of those different places in a company really has to evolve and change over the years.”

 

Think as a marketer and a consumer

Tessa Srebro highlighted one of the biggest and often underutilized advantages marketers have: Every marketer is also a consumer. Instead of only looking at campaigns and advertisements through a marketing lens, question what ads are working from your point of view as a consumer. Tessa explained that when she sees an ad that impresses or interests her as a consumer, she then asks herself why that’s the case. This approach has led to great marketing insights.

“I’m kind of looking for things that I can take from other marketers to my own organization. I’m constantly analyzing the world around me in that way,” she said.

She then added, “Human nature doesn’t change. So if you have these skills about what sorts of messages are going to appeal to a person, whether through emotions or logic or all of that, that’s timeless. Human nature is not going to change.”

 

You might also like

MECLABS Email Messaging Online Course [Register now]

Register for MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 in Las Vegas, Feb. 22-14

Watch Full Sessions from Email Summit 2015

Online Testing: How a B2B SaaS nonprofit increased clickthrough on landing page by 291% [MarketingSherpa case study]

Lead Management: How a B2B SaaS nonprofit decreased its sales cycle 99% [MarketingSherpa case study]

The Writer’s Dilemma: How to know which marketing copy will really be most effective [More from the blogs]

A/B Testing: How to improve already effective marketing (and win a ticket to Email Summit in Vegas) [More from the blogs]

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Email Marketing: What assets should marketers be using to design better emails?

June 1st, 2015 No comments

Data is officially everywhere. It’s even infiltrating the design of emails — and for good reason.

“The more you know about your audience, obviously the better you can tailor an email design to someone,” Justine Jordan, Marketing Director, Litmus, said.

Justine sat down with Courtney Eckerle, Manager of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa (sister company of MarketingExperiments), at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015, to discuss what tools marketers can access to better their email creatives.

When asked what is the biggest asset email marketers have when designing their next email, Justine answered data.

“Data can be a really powerful tool for helping a designer decide how to layout their campaigns,” she said.

Watch the whole interview here:

 

How can data make design better?

In the interview, Justine shared a few types of data that can benefit email designers:

  • What people have looked at in the past
  • What kind of email services people are opening up
  • What type of content has resonated with clients in the past

When asked how one of these could be applied to campaigns, Justine talked about technical compatibilities. For instance, GIFs don’t work properly in Outlook 2007. By using past data, you can know beforehand if a portion of your readers use that email service. If they do, and you use a GIF, then your email campaign won’t be as effective as it would have been if you had segmented that audience to use a more Outlook 2007 friendly design.

Read more…

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

April 27th, 2015 1 comment

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.

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

April 16th, 2015 3 comments

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.

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Permission Pass Email Send: A proven method for cleaning your mailing list

April 2nd, 2015 No comments

If you are reading this, you are likely in one of two positions:

  1. You have decided it is time to cleanse your email list of the inactive subscribers that no longer engage with your email sends, or …
  2. You need to stay compliant with your email management software (EMS), and you are being required to send your subscribers a permission pass to keep emailing them. A permission pass is a one-time send to an email list to reconfirm permission to email.

If you are in the latter position, don’t panic. This is actually a good opportunity to clean up your list and increase engagement with your current list.

At MarketingExperiments, our team recently did just that. We sent out a permission pass email to clean our list of inactive subscribers (which only drag down our rates).

We decided to run a test on the permission pass email based off of a previous blog that Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, wrote back in September for a re-engagement campaign MarketingExperiments implemented after the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation. While this campaign was not a permission pass, it was similar, and we were able to work off the findings from that campaign to formulate the test discussed in this blog post.

The main objective of the test was to see if subscribers would be more willing to opt back in with us if we offered them an incentive. While discovering that incentives were not valuable to inactive subscribers, our team also uncovered some valuable takeaways that will be quite insightful for any future permission pass sends.

 

Treatment #1. General Value

Treatment #1 focused on reminding subscribers of the value they would continue to receive with MarketingExperiments. 

 

Treatment #2. General Value and Incentive Offering

Treatment #2 also communicated a reminder of the value subscribers would continue to receive with MarketingExperiments. Additionally, it alerted them that by opting back in with MarketingExperiments, they would be entered to win a free MECLABS online training course.

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Email Marketing: Top 5 most effective list growth tactics

March 2nd, 2015 4 comments

In a digital world, where 72% of U.S. adults prefer communication with companies through email, how do you capture new email addresses?

Acquiring emails for our list is a continuous task. We have to work to not only retain the list we have, but to also grow it to build a larger audience of prospects and customers.

In fact, 63% of marketers reported “growing and retaining subscribers on our list” as a marketing goal, according to the MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Benchmark Report.

But with so many tactics and strategies out there, where do you begin?

In the Benchmark Report, we asked email marketers several questions about the different tactics out there. This MarketingSherpa blog post will break down the five most effective list building tactics, as reported by your peers.

 

Tactic #1. Registration during purchase

The most effective tactic according to respondents was gaining email addresses during the checkout process. This make perfect sense. After all, you already need an email address from customers during the online purchasing process. You’re not technically asking for anything they aren’t already giving.

It simply requires adding a small checkbox for customers to check if they’d like more information, promotions or discounts. This could be why 52% of marketers said it was also a very or somewhat easy tactic to implement.

However, I caution you to think about how you implement this. You don’t want to prevent customers from purchasing because of a confusing or required registration or list sign-up.

To learn about the two registration options — front-end vs. back-end — read the MarketingSherpa Blog post, “E-commerce: Why a forced checkout registration is never a good idea.”

 

Tactic #2. Website registration page

The second tactic is viewed as the easiest, with 85% of respondents saying it’s very or somewhat easy.

There are many ways to add a registration form to your site, whether it’s a form on the homepage or a landing page all its own.

Even if you already employ this tactic, it could be worth it to reassess your current strategy. Kodak revamped its strategy, including updating its capture page and adding more opt-in requests, to increase email subscribers by 33%.

According to the Benchmark Report, 29% of marketers found white papers and other premium content is effective for registering new email subscribers on their sites. This could be for one-off downloads or to access a library of premium content. To see how a free paywall can grow your list by using content you already produce, see how Copyblogger grew its email list by 400%.

 

Tactic #3. Online events

Online events, or webinars, are no exception to the rule that providing prospects with content is a great way to achieve a value exchange. Customers get valuable information in exchange for their email address.

Webinars can require a significant amount of time, planning and resources, so it’s not a surprise that only 31% of marketers say they are very or somewhat easy to execute. However, as the third most effective tactic — with 37% saying it’s very effective — they might worth the investment.

Partnering with another company could be a great strategy for webinars. One, you have another set of hands to help with the webinar creation and execution. Two, you’ll have access to another email list, potentially filled with new customers.

You can create buzz around the event through social media, blog posts and even paid advertising. HubSpot attracted 25,000 sign-ups, which turned into 10,000 attendees. The team was then able to turn 3,500 of those attendees into new leads. Learn how the team achieved these results in the MarketingSherpa case study.

Read more…

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