Sunday, January 29, 2012
Let's take an example of email nurturing. Last week we were planning an email campaign with a very strong article written by an expert and a decent landing page.
We wrote the email and were thinking about the subject line. My team member had it as "7 ways to ..." To me, it seemed a little too "fluffy." So after some more brainstorming we came up with another line that was more informative (at least IMO), like "xx xx failure rates."
The theory behind it was that the "email receiver" would click on it because it would appear to be more of an informative email vs. "push my products" one. We spent about an hour on the subject line debate. Most organizations I know would have considered this as wasted time. Was it though?
We conducted A/B test during the next few days. Same email, same call to action, same landing page. Different subject lines.
Subject Line 1: "7 ways..." Open rate: 4.4%, click through rate: 0.2%
Subject Line 2: "...rates" Open rate: 7.0%, click through rate: 0.5%
As you can see, there is a huge difference in these rates, which translated to 12 (SL1) leads against 50+ (SL2). This is one of the best demonstrations (supported by metrics) of the difference that content quality makes.
The next A/B test will be this week. We are going to be testing the email text. We tuned it on Friday. Given we see interesting results, I will blog about it later.
Friday, August 5, 2011
It's time to hire a marketing exec and build a team. Founders emphasize leads and conversion rates. Good things like SEO, lead nurturing, online marketing get implemented. But one fundamental is often missing.
Sin #1. Positioning / Main message. Let's look at the main message from two companies web sites:
Are these accurate and good in the eyes of these companies? Probably.
Is this the way their customers think? Probably not.
Do these miss a chance to communicate the true value? Yes!
A strong main messages gives the best opportunity to grab prospect's attention... the right way. It also flows into the rest of messaging, impacting PPC, SEO and the conversion rate. In fact, vague main message results in wasted money and ineffectiveness of marketing campaigns. This is especially painful for startups with little brand recognition.
Here are examples of effective and clear messages from Pandora and AppAssure:
How do you develop a strong main message? Here are some key principles:
1. Grab attention. It has to be unique enough to grab visitors attention and encourage further browsing.
2. Differentiate. Has to communicate at least one unique angle or a customer benefit.
3. Specific. The benefit has to be specific. Statements like having "all-in-one," "complete," "best" are often subjective and indicate vendor's point of view. In the examples above, the word "complete" may have a very different meaning for target customers vs. the vendor. It can discredit the message. What I like about the message from AppAssure is that is specific. "Recover in Minutes" sets a pretty specific expectation.
4. Believable. It is important to keep the balance between reality and outrageous statements that prospects discount as zealous or exaggerated.
5. Language. The message has to be in the language used by target customers, which is often different from the vendor's language. If your target customer is CIO, too technical of a message may be a mistake. If you are targeting sysadmins, you may want to be fairly technical and specific.
6. Easily understandable. The prospect has to be able to quickly grasp the message. Don't make them think too long - often people don't have time or desire to do that. They will just leave the site.
7. Customer tested. It is critical to test the main message with a number of customers and prospects before going live. You can start with a qualitative test via customer conversations. Then, you can finish with an online survey.
8. Not Perfect. It doesn't have to be perfect. You don't have to spend months on this. It OK for some internal folks to struggle with it. It can be work in progress, however you don't want to change it very often. It just has to be effective.
To summarize, a strong main message could drastically increase the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and ROI of your marketing spending. I will discuss the sin #2 in the next Hack Marketing blog entry.
Here is an example of a message that we developed about 6 months ago: www.forgetsecurity.com