Posts Tagged ‘Value Proposition’

Lead Generation: Customers are looking for a solution to their problems

April 17th, 2014 No comments

At MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013, Jon Ciampi, Vice President of Marketing, Corporate Development, Business and Strategic Accounts, CRC Health, recounted his challenges with PPC ads and how using A/B split testing helped him better understand his customers and use his marketing budget more effectively.

Jon and the team went through the arduous process of purging a majority of the 3,000 keywords the company was bidding on in an effort to optimize the PPC campaign for one of its rehab facilities.

“[Customers] are not looking for a value proposition,” he said.

Rather, he continued, they were looking for a solution to a very real problem – alcoholism, drug addiction or eating disorder rehabilitation. When the tests were analyzed, he saw that customers weren’t searching using the words that the company used. For example, customers might use the word “clinic” instead of “facility.”

The first step in this process was getting the customer and the company to speak the same language. Customers were not clicking through to the value proposition – Jon knew that the conversation had to change.


Although CRC Health had something very valuable to offer, Jon realized that he couldn’t “change the conversation” from what motivated customers to the value proposition “until [he started] the conversation” with customers by using their motivations.

Jon found the most effective way to start this conversation was to group keywords together. Rather than bidding on high-traffic words like “rehab,” – a very competitive and highly trafficked word – the team tied several words together, such as “methamphetamine rehabilitation facility” to find the highly motivated customers. This separated real leads from the users trying to find out which celebrities checked into rehab that week.

“The value proposition isn’t the motivation of the buyer, the motivation of the buyer is actually driving their decision,” Jon explained.

In order to get customers into the sales funnel from a search, he first had to address why and what the customer was searching for. Using PPC ads, he could assess, test and optimize his campaigns to discover and understand his customers in a low-pressure environment.

See his entire presentation from Lead Gen Summit 2013 in the MarketingSherpa Video Archive.


You might also like:

Lead Gen Summit 2014 Call for Speakers

How CRC Health transformed decision-making across 140 sites [MarketingSherpa webinar replay]

Optimization Summit 2013 Wrap-up: Top 5 takeaways for testing websites, pay-per-click ads and email [Summit top takeaways]

Web Usability: Long landing page nets 220% more leads than above the fold call-to-action [More from the blogs]

Online Testing: 6 test ideas to optimize the value of testimonials on your site
 [More from the blogs]

Email Marketing: Change in CTA copy increases clickthrough 13%

March 24th, 2014 3 comments

The “ask.”

When you strip marketing down to its core, your call-to-action is arguably the most important element in your email marketing.

If you get it just right with your copy, customers will give their permission with clicks, downloads, a purchase or whatever desired action is intended.

Get the copy wrong, however, and a CTA is becomes “ignore-the-action” from the customer’s perspective.

So what role does copy play in the success of a CTA?

A pretty big one.

To illustrate this, let’s look at a recent Web clinic where the MECLABS research team revealed the results of an experiment that drilled down into how CTA copy impacts customer action.

Here’s a little research information on the test.

Background: An audio technology and engineering company offering professional and personal audio products.

Goal: To significantly increase the number of clicks from a promotional email.

Primary Research Question: Which email CTA copy will produce the greatest clickthrough rate?

Approach: A/B single factorial split test





In Version A, the team hypothesized that using “Shop Now” as the CTA copy was a potential source of customer anxiety.

According to the MECLABS Conversion Heuristic, anxiety is simply a negative factor that reduces the likelihood a potential customer will take a desired action.





In Version B, the team tested “View Details” as the CTA copy.




  Read more…

Value Proposition: 3 steps for laying your value prop testing groundwork

January 2nd, 2014 2 comments

In a recent blog post, a colleague of mine, Spencer Whiting, spoke to the reasons we need to avoid marketing strategies driven by the HIPPOs (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) of our companies and the “company logic” that most often supports their viewpoints.

It’s often that a limited number of well-paid individuals at companies have the power to shape the marketing strategies that influence customer perceptions of your products, and your company as a whole.

However, too frequently these decisions are made based on what we think our customers need instead of focusing on the real golden egg – what we know our customers want.

One definitive way for us to overcome this habit is to discover which aspects of our value proposition customers and prospects value most. The best way to figure out which aspects of our products and services are perceived as most valuable in the eyes of our customers and prospects is to test them on the open market.

If this seems like a daunting task to you, don’t worry. In today’s MarketingExperiments Blog post, we’ll go over the first three steps to take toward testing your value proposition and uncovering exactly what it is about your current offerings that your customers really want.


Step #1. Identify your value proposition claims

To start, it’s best to meet with your team in a good old-fashioned brainstorming session to put everything on the table and out in the open.

Include as many stakeholder groups as possible to gain as many point of views incorporated – from the C-Suite, R&D, Marketing, Sales and even customers. The closer you are to your customers – the ones who actually use your product because they find it valuable – the better.

The goal of this session is to discover all points of value that you can link to your product. To do this effectively, make sure to ask these questions:

  • What makes your product or service valuable?
  • What makes it better than your competitors’?
  • Why would a customer purchase it?
  • How does it benefit people?
  • What problem(s) does it solve?
  • What about your company enhances your product or service?

Once you and your team have an exhaustive list of value claims, your next step is to discover how to prove these claims to your customers.


Step #2. Identify the evidence that proves your value proposition

When you make claims about anything in life, people expect to hear the evidence that you have to back up those claims. In marketing, this expectation is often heightened for most people by the pervasive bombardment of marketing and advertising messaging we all receive in our daily lives.

When considering what evidence you have to support the claims you and your team have identified, it is very important to focus on specificity and quantification. Be sure to know specific details rather than generalizations, and try to have quantified numbers when possible.

Both add credibility and tangibility to the claims you make.

Instead of “We have the widest selection in the area,” go with something like this:  “We offer a selection of widgets across 17 models with 134 customizable attachments – the most in Smith County.”

For each claim you have, it’s necessary to dig into the specific evidence that exists as to why you are able to make that claim. If it’s a claim around customer service, look into the number of happy and satisfied customers your representatives have helped in a certain time period.

If it’s a claim to endurance, find the number of years needed before service is needed or the amount of uses a customer can get out of your product. If it’s a claim to quality, point out the specific materials or specialized craftsmanship used in creating your product.

Try to be as comprehensive as possible in these first two steps so your team has the most material available for manipulation when creating test expressions.

At this point, however, don’t waste your time focusing on wordsmithing; just achieve the plain facts and be as specific and quantified as possible. There will be time to worry about sprucing up the messaging in later steps of the process.

  Read more…

Lead Generation: Capturing more leads with clear value prop communication

October 3rd, 2013 1 comment

According to the MarketingSherpa 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report, 51% of marketers surveyed indicated the most effective platform for testing their value proposition was through email marketing campaigns.

This is no secret to savvy marketers. Austin McCraw, Senior Editorial Analyst, MECLABS, also discussed how to discover the essence of your value prop through email at Email Summit 2013.

Jon Ciampi, Vice President of Marketing, CRC Health, did just that and revealed his strategy at Lead Gen Summit 2013, happening right now in San Francisco.

In his session, “Lead Capture: How a healthcare company increased demand for services 300%,” Jon shared with the Summit audience how understanding customer motivations, driving traffic, and clearly communicating the value proposition all helped his company capture a higher quality of leads.

At CRC Health, Jon developed nine value propositions, and broke that list down into problem- and solution-focused messages. He combined the company’s in-house list with a purchased list consisting of psychiatrists and therapists who refer their patients to CRC Health. Then, the team crafted email subject lines reflecting the different value propositions to test where the customer was in regard to researching the problem, or looking for a solution.

Through testing, Jon discovered a 14.49% clickthrough rate in the top-performing subject line, and this was problem-focused messaging rather than solution-focused messaging. For CRC Health, the process of searching for a rehabilitation center is most likely a first-time experience for customers. Therefore, understanding that these prospects are looking for different options related to their problem, rather than immediately solving the issue, was extremely important to targeting their needs. 


“What we found is with rehab, everyone is focused on the problem. With our in-house list, patient-focused messages were more motivating and increased clickthrough rates,” Jon said.

Even though he made a breakthrough with testing value propositions through email, he did encounter the fact that one size does not fit all, particularly with his audience, and even more specifically with a purchased list.

For psychiatrists opening CRC Health sends, their top message for open and CTR was scientific-based. The subject lines and topics that most resonated with this segment were “improving addiction treatment with science and research,” “outdated addiction treatments fail patients,” and “CRC Health as the strongest clinical supervision in the nation.”

However, the audience that preferred more relationship-based messages was therapists. Messages like “Treatment fails when therapists & clients aren’t aligned,” and “Most rehabs can’t provide effective clinical supervision” were the top performers for this segment of CRC Health’s audience.

“Overall, self-serving messages performed far worse than patient-focused messages. Patient-oriented problem statements motivated them as well,” Jon said.

Through value prop testing with his audience via email messaging, Jon learned much more about his audience and their motivations.

As an exciting result of value proposition testing, he discovered a 3x to 4x increase in demand for services. According to Jon, when testing began, both inquiries and admissions increased.

“One of the top things I learned is to look at funnel. What are the motivations of your customers? … Also, understand their language. Different buyers with different perspectives will affect how your messages are interpreted,” Jon concluded.

  Read more…

Customer Motivation: 3 steps to help you stop thinking like a marketer

September 5th, 2013 No comments

At MECLABS, there are two things we couldn’t live without: testing and data.

Although we consider these the most vital tools in our business, we also understand the importance of the backstory. With anything you hope to accomplish in life, a good perspective on the situation and an understanding of the task makes solving any problem more manageable.

Before you can truly analyze a webpage, you must understand your prospects’ motivation and expectations. In doing so, your chances of correlating any data you’ve been collecting with the copy on the page will be greater. This also provides a basis for testing and helps you guard against inconsistent tests.

In today’s MarketingExperiments Blog post, I want to share with you a series of steps to follow, giving you a better understanding of your webpage. These are some quick and simple questions to get you thinking more like a prospect and less like a marketer.


Step #1. Understand what information you want visitors to find

To help you make this connection, you can provide more clarity in your headline, add additional value copy, or use more relevant images. Any information you feel prospects need to make an informed decision should be clearly displayed within the page.

With that said, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Is your product/service the primary message on the page?
  • What is your value proposition?
  • Why should prospects buy from you versus one of your competitors?
  • What can you offer that your competitors can’t?

If you aren’t clearly defining the value of your offering, you will miss making that connection with your visitors.


Step #2. Find the disconnect

All too often, there are disconnects between the messaging marketers place within a page and the motivation a prospect has when arriving to that page.

Here are a few questions to consider when looking for a disconnection between prospects and your message:

  • What are our visitors looking for?
  • Where are our visitors coming from?
  • What did they click to arrive here?
  • Are we aware of what visitors have been looking at on our page?
  • Does our page match the expectations visitors have when clicking through to our landing page?

Answering these questions won’t solve all of your problems, but they will certainly put you on the right track to test optimal messaging on your pages.


Step #3. Understanding the impact  

Before beginning successful testing, you must first understand the impact the prospects’ motivation and expectations have on clickthrough and conversion rate.

To help you understand the impact and draw conclusions, you must ask yourself:

  • What have we learned about our prospects?
  • Are there any recurring trends?
  • Have we found any disconnect in our messaging?

The answers to these questions will help you determine its impact and ultimately formulate a strategy for testing.

Sure, data can detect what visitors are clicking on, where they are coming from, and where they went next, but it can’t tell you why. Bounce rate is a good metric for determining if your page matches a prospect’s motivation and expectations, but it doesn’t give insight on what that motivation actually is.

Read more…

Display Advertising: 4 common mistakes marketers make with banner ads

August 29th, 2013 7 comments

Display advertising can be a great channel to target and even retarget customers on the Web. However, as banner blindness increases, marketers must be cognizant of more than when and where they’ll employ banner ads.

They also need to keep in mind the ad itself.

First, it’s important to remember the goal of a banner ad: to get a qualified click.

You’re not trying to make a sale, that’s the job of the landing page. The job of your ad is to get the visitor’s attention, grab their interest, and earn their click. These three objectives make up the MECLABS Online Ad Sequence:


ea = effectiveness of the ad

at = attract attention

i = generate interest

as = ask for the click

It’s in this heuristic’s three objectives marketers make three of the most common mistakes with banner ads …


Mistake #1. The ad doesn’t attract attention

As I mentioned earlier, the first objective your ad must fulfill is attracting attention. You can see that importance by the coefficient of 2 used with the “attract attention” variable. Attracting attention bears the most weight in the sequence because if visitors don’t notice your ad, then little else will matter.

There are five relative differentials you can use to help your ad stand out against other elements on a page:

1. Size – Don’t think of only the ad size, but also the size of any text, images, or other design elements used within the ad.

2. Shape – Again, you can play with the shape of the ad, but don’t forget the other elements. An image can be displayed in a circle, or text in a cloud-shaped graphic. Don’t be afraid to leave behind the right-angled shapes.

3. Color – You can be bold without being obnoxious. Use color to attract positive attention. While some ugly colors can gain attention, they can also affect how people interpret your message.  Their distaste for a color can translate to you and your message.

4. Motion – Motion has been abused in banner ads, according to Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, in the Web Clinic, “Banner Ad Design: The 3 key banner objectives that drove a 285% lift.” Motion can certainly gain attention, but you must use it with care or you’ll increase friction with that increased attention. Make sure that text can be easily read and the call-to-action can be found at all times.

5. Position – If you can, you want to avoid the typical banner locations. Visitors learn to ignore content where ads are most likely found. Ideally, you want to position your ad in the visitor’s eye-path, where you know their concentration will be the highest.

Remember, less can be more. If you emphasize your ad using all of these differentials, then you are essentially emphasizing nothing at all.

Check out this webpage. The ad really stands out for two reasons: shape and color. The cloud shape pulls your eye to it on page filled with rectangles. The vibrant red also grabs your attention, as the rest of the page uses much more muted colors. But while it is brighter than the rest of the page, the red is not unbearable.


Mistake #2. The ad lacks value

So you’ve gotten their attention, but why should your customers click? You build interest through value. Every action you ask a prospect to make must have a value proposition. This is what we refer to as a process-level value proposition. Think of it like this:

“Why should [Prospect A] click this banner ad rather than any other element on the page?”

In the “Banner Ad Design” Web clinic replay, Flint reviews four elements you can evaluate to measure the force of a value proposition:

  1. Appeal – How much do I desire this offer?
  2. Exclusivity – Where else can I get this offer?
  3. Credibility – Can I trust your claims?
  4. Clarity – What are you actually offering?

Using these elements, where do you fall on a scale one to five? Work with your team to evaluate your ad in each area. Looking at the average score of each element can help you determine which areas to focus on for improvement.


If you were to see this Traveling Dog ad, what would you take away from it? Virtually nothing. There’s no message, no value, no “ask.” While visitors will intuitively know it’s an ad, they will not know what it’s for. With no value proposition presented, the likelihood visitors will click is slim.



Mistake #3. The ad doesn’t ask for the click … the right click

Many marketers and designers become so wrapped up in the design of the ad, they overlook a critical piece: “the ask.”

You need to make sure you’re asking for the click, whether it’s implied or direct. Also, you must ensure visitors know what they’re getting in exchange for the click. Will they be able to learn more? Buy now? Download a 15-page report? Use your call-to-action to set visitors’ expectations. 


This banner ad misses some opportunity. The small “click here” does nothing to help conversion. Why should I click? What will happen when I click? For example, “Shop Our Sale” could have been “the ask” to let visitors know what to expect after they click.

While technically the entire ad is clickable, it helps to establish the action of clicking if you use a button design in your ad.

But, it’s not about just any “ask.” You need to know where visitors are in your purchase cycle so you can “match ‘the ask’ to the motivation of the ideal visitor,” as Flint said in the “Banner Ad Design” Web clinic.

If customers are new to your company or product, they might still be in the research phase. That means an ad asking them to “buy now” could result in no click. However, an ad that asks them to “learn more” addresses the needs the visitor has concerning your product or service.

Read more…