Daniel Burstein

Email Copywriting: Simplification, specificity, focus on customer generates 400% increase in CTR

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2013, Donna Krizik, Director of Client Communications, Crestwood Associates LLC, presented some impressive email copywriting tests. Let’s take a closer look at what she learned about email body copy today on the MarketingExperiments blog …

 

Background:  Crestwood Associates is a Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM reseller. The new release of Dynamics CRM touted 45 new features. Crestwood wanted both existing ERP and CRM customers, along with prospects, to sign up for an informative webinar, which would then get customers and prospects to schedule an upgrade or new deployment.

Audience: Marketing and Sales staff who either have CRM or are in the market for CRM

Objective:  Get customers to click on a link to register or learn more

Primary Research Question:  What email copy will maximize my clickthroughs?

Test Design:  Complete copy change. Donna’s team changed everything (just about).

 

CONTROL

 

Hi Jamie,

Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps you make informed
decisions. Here’s how:

  • Increase your sales opportunities by identifying your top customers
  • Reduce operational costs by optimizing
  • Improve automation and efficiently across your organization

Click here to learn more about how Microsoft Dynamics CRM can drive your sales by improving efficiency.

To learn the Top 10 Reasons for Choosing Dynamics CRM, read this document.

 

 
 
 
Register now for our next lunch & learn on Dynamics CRM. Join us Tuesday, November 20th at 11am.

Fact Sheet: How to Improve Marketing, Boost Sales, and Bolster your Customer Experience with Dynamics CRM. Download now.

Whitepaper: Top 10 Reasons for Choosing Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Download now.

 

After reviewing the above email copy, Donna identified a few elements that might be hindering conversion:

  • Overall, there was just too much going on.
  • The first line focused on the product, not the customer: “Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps you …”
  • There were five calls-to-action (two in the main copy, plus three in the sidebar).
  • The call-to-action language was generic and did not offer any value (“Click here” and “read this document”).
  • The language in the bullet points was “fuzzy.”

 

TREATMENT #1

 

Hi Jamie,

Are you struggling each month, trying to get a handle on your sales pipeline? Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps you see key information at a glance. With CRM, you can:

  • Quickly identify your top customers
  • Reduce costs by eliminating double entry
  • Improve automation and efficiency across your organization

Click here to learn more about how Microsoft Dynamics CRM can drive your sales by improving efficiency.

 

 
Register now for our next lunch & learn on Dynamics CRM. Join us Tuesday, November 20th at 11am.

Fact Sheet: How to Improve Marketing, Boost Sales, and Bolster your Customer Experience with Dynamics CRM. Download now.

Whitepaper: Top 10 Reasons for Choosing Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Download now.

 

In this treatment, Donna reworded the main body copy to start with a customer pain point instead of a product. (“Are you struggling each month, trying to get a handle on your sales pipeline?”)

She also removed two of the five calls-to-action (CTAs), removing the “Top 10 Reasons to Choose CRM” whitepaper CTA from both the main body copy and the right-hand sidebar copy.

 

TREATMENT #2
 

Hi Jamie,

Are you struggling each month, trying to get a handle on your sales pipeline? Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps you see key information at a glance. With CRM, you can:

  • Quickly identify your top customers
  • Reduce costs by eliminating double entry
  • Improve automation and efficiency across your organization
 

 
Register now for our next lunch & learn on Dynamics CRM. Join us Tuesday, November 20th at 11am.

Fact Sheet: How to Improve Marketing, Boost Sales, and Bolster your Customer Experience with Dynamics CRM. Download now.

 

For this treatment, the copy stayed the same as Treatment #1; however, Donna removed one more call-to-action (removing “click here to learn more about …” from the main body copy). This email had two calls-to-action, in the right-hand sidebar.

She also changed the right-hand sidebar background color from dark purple to light green.

 

TREATMENT #3
 

Hi Jamie,

Are you struggling each month, trying to get a handle on your sales pipeline? Wish you could get a quick snapshot any time you want? You can. Here’s how:
Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

  • Set up a sales funnel dashboard in 3 minutes or less. [Really.]
  • Drill into any sales or marketing data for more info
  • Add as many dashboard sections as you want
  • Save to your CRM HomePage or share your dashboards with 1 click.
  • Get a look at Dynamics CRM in all its glory – attend our Expo – details in sidebar!
 

Get the LIVE CRM Experience

Register now for our Free Dynamics CRM Expo.

–See the product in action
–Take a test drive,
–Create your own dashboard,

…and get all of your questions answered at this free expo.

Tuesday, November 20th
9am – Noon
3025 Highland Pkwy
Downers Grove, IL
Preview the Agenda here. Don’t miss out, this event fills up quickly! Refreshments provided.

 
Again, Donna started with a pain point question her audience of salespeople might relate to along with a solution. This time, however, Donna “picked ONE feature of CRM that would solve their problem and focused on it (a very sexy feature) and quantified some ease of use and functionality they can take advantage of” instead of talking about CRM in general, high-level terms as in the previous two treatments that had more general language like “with CRM you can quickly identify your top customers.”

Here are some other changes Donna made in Treatment #3:

  • Added a transition at the bottom of the main copy calling attention to the CTA on the sidebar
  • Had only one CTA in the sidebar, which focused on the event
  • Had a clear call-to-action that did not require much commitment from the audience for taking the next step – “Preview the Agenda here”
  • Added urgency

 

RESULTS

 

 

The simpler email (one call-to-action as opposed to five) focusing on the customer’s pain points instead of the product, and suggested a specific solution, generated a 400% higher clickthrough rate than the control.

 

What you need to understand

Here are Donna’s key email body copy takeaways, based on this test:

  • Focus on audience – speak directly with them and their pain point.
  • Focus on one key benefit, map it to the pain and solve it.
  • Eliminate multiple equally weighted CTAs. They are too confusing, and muddy the ‘What do you want me to do?’ question.
  • Soften your ask (learn, preview, sample, see, view, tour).

Justin Bridegan, Senior Marketing Manager, MECLABS, moderated this session at Email Summit, so I asked him for his key takeaways from this test, as well.

“It’s very important in the first couple of sentences to really engage the audience. If you don’t engage them in the beginning, it doesn’t matter what the rest of the copy says. Pulling them in with pain points and benefits really makes a difference,” Justin said.

“Focus on your customers’ challenges and pain points first, before you get into your product. You have to pull them in, just like a good movie. On Netflix, I watch the first five minutes. If I’m bored, I pull it,” he added.

Aside from the opening copy, Justin also alluded to simplifying the email itself.

“In a movie, if too much is going on too soon, people will say, ‘Whoa, forget it.’ Every time she removed something she got a better result.”

“Marketers are under pressure to do too much with their emails right now. They keep trying to put more into it to get more out of it. That’s not the place, or the right time, to do that,” Justin advised marketers. “I’ve found that in my own copy. One call-to-action is better. This email is primarily for this one, specific goal. Then, let the landing page sell them.”

“It should all make sense together, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t belong in the email,” Justin concluded.

Aside from the simpler email more focused on the customer’s pain point, the specificity of the solution likely also played a role in the higher clickthrough rate.

“Specificity converts,” said Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS. “In marketing, there should be no such thing as a general message. The marketer communicates with an aim. This aim should dictate everything else we say. This aim should influence, even constrain, every word we say.”

 

Related Resources:

Optimization Summit 2013 in Boston, May 20-23, 2013

Email Copywriting: How a change in tone increased lead inquiry by 349%

Email Optimization: 4 optimization suggestions to test in your next send

Email Copywriting: Tips from 3 of your peers

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  1. March 11th, 2013 at 12:28 | #1

    Great Article Daniel. I’ve read it twice so far. Another great article that was released today, which you might enjoy…. 7 Marketing Tips Inspired by 2013 March Madness. http://goo.gl/T5i7p

  2. Quinn
    April 1st, 2013 at 11:11 | #2

    Great redo and analysis of what works and what doesn’t work in an email message seeking registrations. I follow that method myself. Too many CTAs does confuse readers so I try to use just one.

    BTW, what the heck is wrong with a few of the commentors above mine? They’re worded really strangely…almost Yoda-like. : /

  3. Shambhu
    April 1st, 2013 at 16:52 | #3

    That last treatment has a few other things such as a title for the sidebar and bold text in the body.

  1. March 4th, 2013 at 20:28 | #1
  2. April 1st, 2013 at 09:10 | #2
  3. June 10th, 2013 at 00:32 | #3
  4. August 15th, 2013 at 08:53 | #4