Shelby Dorsey

Check It Twice: The importance of editing ads

January 18th, 2016

As the copy editor at MECLABS (parent company of MarketingSherpa and MarketingExperiments), I see a lot of content. Between the four blog posts published every week and the multiple case studies produced, I have an ample amount of exposure to the testing brands are doing and what their ads look like.

That being said, I have very harsh eyes when it comes to examining ads. My job is to fix mistakes in text, so I often find myself looking for mistakes in text.

It turns out, so do your customers.

Few things are as fun to share on social media as when a company messes up. This claim can be backed up by the crazy amount of attention Starbucks gets for spelling people’s names wrong on coffee cups around the world.

Other companies are getting similar attention for failing to follow basic English grammar. Daily email newsletter theSkimm is obtaining unwanted attention from readers because of its frequently found typos. 

 

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Daniel Burstein

Incentive: Cause marketing generates 7x more revenue than price discounts for toy manufacturer

January 14th, 2016

Black Friday. Cyber Monday. At the end of the year, holiday marketing related press releases are flying fast and furiously across my desk (by which I mean, inbox).

But one branded marketing day had my special attention this year — Giving Tuesday — because of the copywriting contest we’re now running with a nonprofit organization, Consumer Reports.

For the uninitiated, Giving Tuesday is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, a promo/hashtag/branded day/whatever that started in 2012 as a backlash against the commercialization and consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

And Giving Tuesday raises an essential question that marketers can leverage year-round …

 

Does cause marketing provide a more effective incentive than offering discounts?

If you’re familiar with the MECLABS Conversion Sequence, a heuristic patented by MarketingExperiments’ parent company MECLABS Institute, the “I” stands for “incentive (additional) to take action” and is a positive element that, when used just right, can give that little extra nudge that tips the cost/value calculation the customer is making in their mind to the value side, thus ensuring a conversion.

The problem is, many marketers abuse incentives. And they become a margin killer.

But with cause marketing, you’re not devaluing your product with a discount. In fact, if anything, you’re adding a little extra shine to your brand. And, hey, we’re all humans too and not just marketers — with cause marketing, you’re doing a little good in the world.

 

But would customers want to help others more than keeping a little extra money in their pockets?

HeroMe, a manufacturer of customizable superhero toys for children, ran both Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday promotions.

 

Cyber Monday promotion

For Cyber Monday, HeroMe offered a 40% off incentive. Here is the primary landing page image that was used.

 

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Daniel Burstein

B2B Email Testing: Validity threats cause Ferguson to miss out on lift from Black Friday Test

January 11th, 2016

At MarketingExperiments, we endeavor to teach you to bring the process of scientific discovery to your marketing campaigns to learn what your customers really want and improve results. And, to that end, we share experiments (along with successful case studies — 1,470 and counting — from our sister publication, MarketingSherpa).

But we can learn just as much from the stumbles, errors and mistakes we encounter on our journey of customer discovery. Unfortunately, those stories tend to be harder to get. So I want to laud the marketer we are going to discuss today for sharing an example of something that did not work.

 

Even successful marketers have losses. But the good ones learn from them.

Mary Abrahamson, Email Marketing Specialist, Ferguson Enterprises, is a successful marketer. So successful, in fact, that we recently featured her as the main story in a mini-documentary that highlighted her journey at MarketingSherpa Summit.

 

But when I recently reached out to her, it wasn’t only a further success she shared, but also a hard-won lesson learned in the trenches of email testing. Let’s take a look at the test, focused around a Black Friday promotion. But first, some background on the overall campaign.

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Daniel Burstein

Calling All Writers and Marketers: Write the most effective copy for this Consumer Reports email and win a MarketingSherpa Summit package

January 8th, 2016

This contest is now closed and no longer accepting entries. Subscribe to the MarketingExperiments email list to be notified of the test results.

 

It’s our fourth annual copywriting contest, and this year the MarketingExperiments blog has partnered with the Convince & Convert blog to find the most effective copywriter or marketer to help a nonprofit organization that has spent the last 80 years battling in the public and private sectors for safer products and fair market practices.

Take a few minutes to write your most effective email copy expressing one of the Value Focuses that would resonate with donors of our nonprofit partner, Consumer Reports. Leave your most brilliant copy as a comment on this blog post for a chance to win a MarketingSherpa Summit package, which includes a free ticket to MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 and a stay at the luxury Bellagio resort in Las Vegas. Deadline for entries is January 17, 2016 and official rules are here.

 

How to Enter

  1. Choose a Value Focus for Consumer Reports from below (or create your own) that you would like to test.
  2. Write the most incredible, effective, compelling opening to the Treatment email that best expresses your chosen Value Focus. Could be three words. Could be three pages. Whatever you think will work best.
  3. Enter with a comment to this blog post. You can enter as many times as you wish; please just create a new comment for each entry.

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Ken Bowen

2015 Year in Review: The most popular posts in optimization, list growth, analytics and digital marketing

January 4th, 2016

Throughout 2015, MarketingExperiments.com has published extensive new research taken from discoveries made by our parent company, MECLABS Institute. We have discussed branding, personalized messaging, subject line sequencing and copy, just to touch on a few topics covered in the last 12 months.

On the blog, we covered a wide range of subjects, from optimization and email marketing to testing strategies, and provided actionable takeaways on topics as varied as designing for user experience, cryptic marketing, the psychological effects of font and cart abandonment.

As you finish building out your marketing campaigns for 2016, read on to discover the most popular posts of 2015, determined by clicks from readers like you.

 

Top Post of 2015: Email Preheaders Tested: The surprising sensitivity of a single line of text

Back in January, Jon Powell, Senior Manager of Executive Research and Development, MECLABS, wrote about his firsthand experience in pioneering the testing of email preheaders. Jon knew from a friend at Salesforce that preheaders were a hot topic of debate amongst today’s marketers. What should be in a preheader? Should a preheader even be used at all?

When Jon was unable to find even one statistically significant experiment dealing with preheaders — either from the MECLABS research library or on the Internet at large — he decided to take matters into his own hands and oversee several tests himself.

As a reminder, the preheader is the line of preview text you find below the subject line on mobile device email apps and even in the Outlook preview pane. 

 

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Paul Cheney

Value Proposition Copywriting: 5 word pictures that got more people to buy

December 28th, 2015

Writing a value proposition is a lot like drawing a jellyfish in a game of Pictionary. Let me explain.

I was at a party recently where several people were playing a fiery game of Pictionary. One person who was particularly bad at the game started drawing a cylinder with a label on it.

Thick befuddlement settled on the guessing team.

After several wild guesses, the team rightly guessed that it was a jar of jelly. Then, much to the team’s dismay, the artist began to draw another picture. This time, luckily, his drawing clearly depicted a standard fish.

The word he held in his hand (the team finally discovered) was “jellyfish.”

Jar of jelly + fish = jellyfish

What the artist failed to realize in the heat of the game was that jellyfish are much easier to draw than either of those two things separately or together. It’s a half dome for the body; squiggly lines for the tentacles. Jellyfish. Next!

Too often, when trying to communicate something (like our value proposition) to our customers, we take the long way around. We use abstract language. We get lost in details that aren’t important.

People use their senses to experience the world. People’s thoughts are usually pictures of those sensate experiences (reality).

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