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Posts Tagged ‘A/B testing’

Email Marketing: 58% of marketers see mobile smartphones and tablets most impacting email

March 7th, 2013
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In our just-released MarketingSherpa 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, we asked marketers about new email marketing developments for 2013 …

Q: What new developments will affect your email marketing program in the next 12 months? Please select all that apply.

 

As always, we asked your peers what they thought of this data. Here are three takeaways from their feedback …

 

Takeaway #1: Use mobile marketing and social media to engage a younger demographic

“In our market, loyal customers are getting older so we are focused on mobile and social as a way to communicate with younger customers to increase their loyalty. Spot on!!” said Randy Kobat, Vice President and General Manager, Strategic Initiatives.

 

Takeaway #2: Consider mobile design, not just content

“Mobile is dead on with our strategy and focus. We are developing programs with mobile in mind not only through content, but design. How have you faired with responsive design in email? Have you seen engagement go up?” asked Ivan Printis, Email Product Manager, Gannett.

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2013, I moderated the Mobile Email Panel, in which Laura Velasquez, Marketing Program Manager, REI, shared the retailer’s experience with responsive email design.

Below you can see how the emails display differently on an iPhone thanks to responsive design.

Default on iPhone Responsive on iPhone

 

Results

 

The above charts show the results of A/B testing the responsive design email versus a traditional email, and you can see how Laura’s team was able to improve open rates with responsive design.

Laura also noted while mobile was slowly increasing as a percent of all opens of REI emails, the largest increase came after the change to a responsive layout.

For those looking to move to a responsive email design, Laura suggested marketers shouldn’t only focus on making mobile-friendly changes and creating a template, but they should also look at change within their organization. She advised marketers to have discussions with key stakeholders so they understand how their email messages will be affected.

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Email Marketing: What are the top three steps for effective email marketing?

March 5th, 2013
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At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2013, I was asked about the top three things marketers should do to make more effective emails by Jim Ducharme, community director, GetResponse Email Marketing

 

 

I’m interested to hear how you would answer the above question as well. Feel free to use the comments section of this MarketingSherpa blog post to share your thoughts.

The question reminds me of a story from John C. Maxwell, author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. He tells of a young man coming up to him, and asking for the one thing the young man can do to become a better leader. Maxwell responds that there is not just one thing, there are 21 things he must do to become a better leader.

Clearly, Maxwell is good at branding. But, he also brings up a good point. We’re all busy, and we’re looking for the top takeaways or shortcuts to do our jobs better. However, true success is not so simple.

While many marketing blogs are fond of giving you the few shortcuts or secrets to success, I’m sorry to say that email marketing is hard work involving so much more than the three steps listed below.

But, at a high level, if I had to narrow email marketing down to three steps based on all we’ve learned from marketers through MarketingSherpa, it would be these …

 

Step #1: Start with your customers

Almost all email marketing developed by a competent marketer, really all content and marketing in general, is effective … for the right audience. The question is – are you delivering the right email to the right audience?

So, for example, a free shipping promo. That works great for the people who really love your product and are already keenly interested in buying. That might be the little incentive that drives them to make another purchase.

However, for the people that don’t know the value of the specific product you are promoting quite yet, free shipping for something they don’t value is almost meaningless and likely to get deleted.

So, that’s the real question you have to answer. If you have an unsegmented list of 100,000, and only 100 of them like your product enough to buy based on the free shipping promo, but another several thousand might unsubscribe (or worse, mark your email as spam), then that email promo, while effective for a small segment, is not right for that overall audience.

Here is where deeper complexities, like segmentation, come into play. But at a high level, my main point is you cannot evaluate your email promotions and content in a vacuum. There is rarely right or wrong email marketing. However, there is effective or ineffective email marketing for a particular audience.

This is part of what makes email marketing so challenging. Marketers have to hit their goals, so they keep sending more email – and the email seems to be working. After all, even with diminishing returns, since your email will be right for some small segment of your audience, you get some conversions and it appears to work.

But what is the long-term cost of your actions? What customers would be interested if you gave them what they wanted? How many customers are you forcing out of your funnel?

These can be maddeningly difficult questions to answer. Here are a few resources to get you started:

What is B2B?: Discovering what the customer wants by understanding your Buyer’s Funnel – This video isn’t about email marketing specifically, but Kristin Zhivago does a great job of explaining how to understand what your customers want. Email marketing is one way you should apply that knowledge.

Value Proposition: How to use social media to help discover why customers buy from you – Again, not focused on email in particular, but this blog post should give you some ideas for using social media to help understand the value you can deliver (pun intended) with your email promotions and newsletters.

Personal vs. Robotic: How to turn automated email into personal experiences that drive new and repeat sales – Jermaine Griggs was able to understand what his customers wanted by tracking their behavior, and then delivering relevant email marketing with automation and segmentation. Some very impressive, and advanced, tactics in this case study. Plus, Jermaine is an excellent speaker, so I think you’ll really enjoy this video.

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Informal Study: Professional image content generates 121% more Facebook shares

October 19th, 2012
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All content is not created equal. For instance, according to a Nielsen report, men spend more than 247 million minutes per month viewing video via social media. Yet, women spend just 228 million minutes, despite the fact that more than 4,000 more women log on to social videos per day. Men just watch longer. If you want to engage men, videos are a superior form of content.

The still photograph remains king of the proverbial hill in terms of generating engagement with fans on social platforms. A 2012 study by ROI research found that 44% of users are likely to engage with brands if they post pictures, against 40% for regular status updates, and just 37% for video. Given that startling piece of information, a reasonable person might be led to ask the question:

 

Are all photographs created equal?

Do grainy, low-quality photographs thrown into a Facebook stream, more or less as afterthoughts, have the same impact as high-resolution, high-quality photography? Does it matter if the content is only photographic, or do graphical images also generate higher engagement numbers? Let’s look at one industry that is quite popular among the coveted 18-24 demographic on Facebook: entertainment (the companies shall remain nameless).

We begin by dividing the image content of several popular pages into two broad categories. First, there is the professional category. Images in this category tend to be high-resolution, feature-striking photography, be character based and contain only those graphics absolutely necessary to convey essential data. For example, look at the following image:

 

Click to enlarge

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Conversion Rate Optimization: Your peers’ top takeaways from Optimization Summit 2012

August 16th, 2012
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With B2B Summit 2012 right around the corner in Orlando, let’s take a quick look at your peers’ top takeaways from our last Summit – Optimization Summit 2012. In case you couldn’t be there, listen in to what fellow Web marketing directors and optimization managers learned at the Summit to help guide and prioritize your own A/B testing and landing page optimization efforts.

 


Here are some of the key takeaways. Feel free to use the links below to jump directly to these parts of the video …

0:34 – Celeste Parins of Mindvalley on value proposition

1:11 – Matt Silverstein of The Elevation Group on radical redesigns

1:40 – Matt Brutsche of Austin Search Marketing on getting into the mind of the customer

2:00 – Mike Weiss of Internet Sales Experts on understanding the customer’s path on your landing pages

2:42 – Ray Lam and Victoria Harben of the University of Denver on live optimization

3:03 – Suzette Kooyman of Enhance Your Net on taking a consumer-centric approach instead of a corporate approach

3:37 – Suzanne Axtell of O’Reilly Media on determining where to start testing and optimizing

4:10 – Reagan Miller of Financial Times on having a testing methodology

4:23 – Alan Markowitz of Ellie Mae on friction and anxiety points

4:50 – Diane Baker of netDirectMerchants on value proposition

 

Related Resources:

Optimization Summit 2012 Event Recap: 5 takeaways about test planning, executive buy-in and optimizing nonprofit marketing

Demand Generation: Optimization Summit 2012 wrap-up for B2B marketers

B2B Summit 2011: 5 takeaways on social media, lead generation, building a customer-centric approach, and more

Class Is In Session: Q&A with Web analytics professors about Optimization Summit 2012

August 14th, 2012
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You network with the most interesting people at a MarketingSherpa Summit, and Optimization Summit 2012 was no exception for me. I caught up with one of the top optimizers from Denmark and a nonprofit marketer heavily engaged in A/B testing, and I also met two professors in the increasingly popular Web analytics field.

With our next event, B2B Summit 2012 in Orlando, just around the corner, I wanted to take a moment to look back at our last event in today’s MarketingSherpa blog post and share an interview with those professors, who can provide a unique viewpoint on Internet marketing.

With their experience teaching others in the classroom and having to convey overall marketing principles, they are a step removed from the average in-the-trenches, brand-side marketers, overly focused on the “putting out today’s fire” crises that sap so many marketers’ attention.

And, since they’re not vendors of platform providers, well, they’re not trying to sell you on their unique marketing buzzword approach that just happens to map very nicely to the products and services they are trying to sell.

Ray Lam and Victoria Harben are adjunct faculty and teach Web Analytics, a graduate-level course in University College at the University of Denver. During Optimization Summit 2012, they live-tweeted the event to their students from @COMM4324.

 

MarketingSherpa: What were the top lessons you learned at Optimization Summit that you think could be helpful to brand-side marketers?

Victoria: The main point that was reiterated throughout Optimization Summit was to always test; don’t rely on assumptions, intuition, guesstimations, or theory — rather, get out there and test it. It’s always best to back up a hunch with data, and that’s exactly what the Summit instilled in me: test, test, test! We’re teaching a Web Analytics class at DU through the New Media and Internet Marketing program, and this is the first thing we tell our students.

Ray:  The top lesson I learned was Dr. Flint McGlaughlin’s conversion formula: C=4m+3v+2(i-f)-2a. Where m=motivation, v=clarity of value proposition (why), i=incentive to take action, f=friction elements of the process, and a=anxiety about entering the process. This simple formula helps marketers think about the different elements that need to be considered when constructing a landing page.

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Digital Marketing: Be relevant, data-driven and precise

July 31st, 2012
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I think all marketers would agree that digital technology has brought about a sea change in the world of marketing. The basic model has gone from almost exclusively “push” messages to more of a “pull” approach that combines traditional channels, such as advertising and direct mail, with strategies like search engine optimization, social media marketing, mobile and email marketing.

At one point in time, marketers could dictate the message their prospects and customers received, and then hope that message resonated enough to drive sales. In the complex sale, this meant Sales was handed scads of leads from a variety of sources with almost no additional information about that prospect on where they were in the buying cycle, or even where they were in the buying process at their company.

 

Power shifting to the customer

In marketing today, prospects and customers are educating themselves about your industry, business space and product or service area. This holds true in both B2B and consumer marketing.

These people are not interested in receiving marketing messages pushed to them from the mountaintop. They want useful information to begin the decision-making process long before they actually interact with your company or brand.

This new way of looking at marketing has been described a number of ways, and one new book fresh off the presses calls it, “precision marketing.”

I had the chance to speak with Sandra Zoratti, Vice President Marketing, Executive Briefing and Education, Ricoh. Along with Lee Gallagher, former Director Precision Marketing Solutions, Ricoh, she co-authored, Precision Marketing: Maximizing revenue through relevance, which is this week’s MarketingSherpa Book Giveaway.

Sandra defines the term, “Precision marketing is about using data to drive customer insights so that you send the right message to the right person at the right time in the right channel.”

 

 

The precision marketing framework is about following a logical, sequential and continually improving process:

  1. Determine objective
  2. Gather data
  3. Analyze and model
  4. Strategize
  5. Deploy
  6. Measure

We covered a variety of what Sandra considers precision marketing topics, including how it can even help improve your marketing career.

Before I get into Sandra’s ideas, here are a few interesting data points from the book:

  • 64% of consumers say promotional offers dominate email and traditional mail received. Only 41% consider these offers “must-read” communications.
  • Out of the 91% of consumers opting out or unsubscribing from email programs, 46% do so because the messages are not relevant.
  • 41% of consumers would consider ending a brand relationship because of irrelevant messaging, and an additional 22% would definitely end the relationship because of irrelevance.
  • A survey of IT buyers by the International Data Group found 58% of vendor content was not relevant to potential buyers, and that this lack of relevance reduced the chance of closing a sale by 45%.

Are you seeing a theme here? Relevance is extremely important in marketing today.

“I say customers are powerful, in control, and they know it,” Sandra says. “They vote with their dollars. They vote with their attention, and what I would call their brand-altering online voices. So, customers are really in the driver’s seat, and marketers need to recognize that.”

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A/B Testing: 4 tests from a crowdfunding site with double-digit results

July 26th, 2012
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Before you start an optimization program, you have to be clear on what you are trying to optimize. Or, as Brad Damphousse, the CEO of GoFundMe, a crowdfunding site, puts it, “What’s the one thing that really matters?”

The GoFundMe team determined that, for its site, it had to focus on making it easy for anyone to receive donations. To achieve that goal, the team would have to optimize for both of its customer segments (which are essentially on both sides of the transaction): users asking for donations and donors making those donations.

So, Brad launched a series of A/B tests to help convert more new users and to gain more donations from donors.

 

Test #1: Sell the service

For the first test, the team mapped out its funnel and identified where leaks were occurring.

 

Click to enlarge

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A/B Testing: Why don’t companies track ROI of testing and optimization programs?

June 26th, 2012
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During our second annual MarketingSherpa and Marketing Experiments Optimization Summit 2012 two weeks ago in Denver, Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS (the parent company of MarketingSherpa), presented some interesting data points on brand-new MECLABS research conducted by Meghan Lockwood, Senior Research Analyst, MECLABS, for the upcoming MarketingSherpa Website Optimization Benchmark Report.

I live blogged this material for MarketingExperiments, but I thought the research was worth sharing with our SherpaBlog readers as well.

One data point from this research from our Website Optimization Survey, which will be presented in an upcoming benchmark report, really stood out to me:

Click to enlarge

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