Posts Tagged ‘clickthrough’

Marketing 101: What is funnel creation?

July 13th, 2018

Marketing has a language all its own. This is our latest in a series of posts aimed at helping new marketers learn that language. What term do you find yourself explaining most often to new hires during onboarding? Let us know.

Most purchases are not an instant decision on the part of the customer. There are several mental steps people must take before making the actual purchase decision.

For a more complex purchase, these steps usually involve learning more about the industry, product and company, until they get to the point of making a purchase. For a simpler purchase, the steps may simply be getting through the product’s purchase path.

And each step on that journey is a decision.

For example, a complex purchase funnel might include steps like this: searching a pain point in a search engine, getting to a content piece on a website, clicking to a landing page for a white paper download, receiving several pieces of email in a lead nurturing campaign, deciding to speak to a sales rep to learn more about the product, going through several stages of a sales process with a sales rep, and then ultimately making a purchase. This may happen over several months.

A simpler purchase might look like this: clicking on a paid search ad, arriving on a landing page, moving to a product page, going to a shopping cart, entering payment info, confirming a purchase. This might happen in a matter of minutes.

Funneling customers to an ultimate conversion objective

A funnel is so named because marketing literature typically depicts this journey in the shape of a funnel.

This is an example of a kitchen funnel.

And this is an example of a marketing funnel.

(from the case study B2B Marketing: Demand generation transformation doubles conversion rate for cyber security provider)

The general idea for the funnel shape is that there are more people at the beginning of the funnel then at the end. For example, more people will visit a landing page from an ad than will purchase your product.

The other idea for the funnel shape is that, much like a funnel channels liquid into a small opening, marketers should channel their potential customers from their first touchpoint to an ultimate conversion.

However, with a physical funnel, liquid naturally flows down into the container pulled by gravity. MECLABS Institute (parent research organization of MarketingSherpa) teaches that this is a flaw in the traditional marketing analogy. Customers don’t simply fall through your funnel naturally pulled by gravity.

Read more…

3 Tips to Improve Your Marketing from Doctor Who

August 22nd, 2014

(Editor’s note: Courtney Eckerle, Manager of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, also contributed her knowledge – and love of “Doctor Who” – to this blog post.)

There are a lot of nerds in our office, and if you’ve read this blog for any length of time, this is probably not news to you. Recently, we’ve realized something nerds everywhere have known for a long time – we are not alone.

In our case studies, blogs and events, we’ve seen how other marketers utilize pop culture to help convey complex ideas – for instance, emergency alert systems provider One Call Now used “Star Trek” characters to represent its customer personas.

Since we have seen the success others have had, we wanted to try this idea out for ourselves using an office favorite: BBC’s science fiction cult classic “Doctor Who,” which is having its latest series premiere on August 23.


For those who are unfamiliar, the titular Doctor is a Time Lord (a time-traveling alien species very similar to humans) who faces various foes in attempts to save civilizations and right wrongs using intellect over force while exploring all of time and space.

Intellect over force is a driving principle behind our work here – marketing through testing and optimization over gut feelings and intuition.

Read on for three tips we’ve taken to heart from “Doctor Who” about how to make the customer your companion in your marketing efforts.


Tip #1. Test every (seemingly) insignificant thing

Doctor: Stone dust.

Kate: Is it important?

Doctor: In 1,200 years, I’ve never stepped in anything that wasn’t. … Now, I want this stone dust analyzed. And I want a report in triplicate, with lots of graphs and diagrams and complicated sums on my desk, tomorrow morning, ASAP, pronto …

Doctor Who,” The Day of the Doctor, 2013

Every single thing, down to the dust he has stepped on, is something the Doctor considers important. He’s been testing, scanning and analyzing all of his surroundings for 1,200 years.

You may think that you know the answer to every question anyone could ask about your customers. But when you begin testing, you could discover that you’ve totally overlooked a simple concept that was right under your nose (or boots).

For example, at MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013 in San Francisco, Jon Ciampi, Vice President Marketing, Corporate Development, Business Development and Strategic Accounts, CRC Health, presented a case study where his team tested what they considered to be best practices.

They took their control page of concise copy with an above the fold call-to-action, and created a treatment full of copy with a below the fold call-to-action.

What Jon and his team discovered was an “aha moment,” realizing that not only had the treatment outperformed the control by 220%, but they hadn’t understood their customers’ motivations at all.

While they had been promoting luxury and statistics, it took one test to realize that customers weren’t asking, “What is your doctor-to-patient ratio?” but rather, “Can I trust you with my loved one?”

“We test in the eternal hope that we can possibly understand the motivations of our customers and adjust our practices accordingly,” Jon summed up in his presentation.

Read more…

MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2013: Using buyer behavior in email campaigns

February 21st, 2013

Live blogging from MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2013 in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to catch Loren McDonald, VP of Industry Relations, Silverpop, speak on using buyer behavior in email campaigns. His presentation was titled, “Let Buyer Behavior Be Your Guide! Delivering Communications that Convert.”

Loren opened his talk by explaining three approaches to email marketing:


  • The mass market approach treats all customers as a single audience, what he described as a “hope-based” marketing approach.
  • The segmented audience approach treats customers as many audiences, a marketer informed and defined approach.
  • The personal marketing approach that treats customers individually and is a behavior-based marketing approach.


From this framework, he explained customer behavior drives the actions in email campaigns with the personal marketing approach.

To illustrate this approach, Loren offered a number of case study examples, including a look at a wedding invitation email series from Paper Style. In this example, Paper Style changed its approach to email marketing. Previously, it used a “batch and blast” approach with no targeting, which resulted in reduced response rates.

In implementing the behavior-based approach, Paper Style’s team analyzed website behavior from visitors, purchase patterns of its customers, mapped the wedding process to understand when typical behaviors happened and finally used this information to create a wedding timeline.

This analysis also uncovered two separate audiences – brides and friends of the bride who are helping with the wedding planning.

To segment those two audiences, Paper Style used website and/or email click behavior to drop prospects into either the “your wedding” or “friend’s wedding” email nurturing tracks.


Each track received a separate email series with content specific to each group. Brides’ email included information on invitations, bridal party gifts and thank-you notes. The bride’s friends’ track email included details on planning bachelorette parties as well as gifts for the bride and groom.

The result of analyzing its customers and developing email nurturing tracks based on behavior from its prospects led to impressive results for Paper Style: 244% boost in open rate, 161% increase in clickthrough and most importantly, revenue per mailing increased 330%.


Loren’s 10 tips for success

Along with real-world examples of behavior-based email marketing, Loren also gave the audience his 10 tips for personal marketing success:

Read more…

Reader Mail: Understanding differences in clickthrough rates and open rates

August 12th, 2011

Recently, my colleague Brad Bortone forwarded me an inquiry from one of our readers, who asked the following:

Can you provide any insight into why my newsletter emails would receive a 10% unique CTR and a 3% open rate? Aren’t open rates generally the larger number?

We use XXXXXXXX as our email service provider. Could this be related to how our newsletter renders in the preview pane of email clients?

In thinking about this, I realized that many email marketers may be asking the same questions, and could benefit from an extensive reply. Besides, I don’t get much mail around here, so I was excited to help out.

Here is what I wrote in my initial reply: Read more…

Homepage Optimization: No single metric will do

May 19th, 2011

Landing pages get a lot of love. Here at MarketingSherpa and MarketingExperiments we often write about landing page optimization, and offer case studies on how marketers are testing and improving landing page performance. And landing pages deserve all that attention because often those pages are the direct connection between a marketing campaign and a closed deal. We think so highly of landing pages at MarketingSherpa we just released a publication dedicated to LPs — the 2011 Landing Page Optimization Benchmark Report.

The homepage is a channel, not a destination

But because landing pages command so much real and virtual ink, the homepage can seem neglected. The first thing to consider is the homepage is unique to a website. For companies that only offer one product or service, the homepage may be no different than a landing page.

But companies with many products, services, divisions, etc., must look at homepages as a drastically different animal than a landing page. Unlike the landing page where you want to get website visitors to the LP, the homepage is channel where your goal is to get the visitor through the page.

The homepage is possibly the toughest page on a website to test because it “serves many masters” and typically has multiple objectives to achieve.

The usual elements in a homepage to test do overlap with landing pages:

  • Eye path direction
  • Strength of value proposition
  • Color combination
  • Image relevance

And testing a homepage involves five basic steps:

Click to enlarge

You may notice one word features prominently in each step — objectives. Homepage objectives should be broken into three categories:

  1. Primary — these are long-term and should have high revenue potential
  2. Major — short-term and are typically tied to a marketing campaign or other internal need
  3. Minor — functionally necessary elements to the page such as navigation or legal copy

Taking a closer look at homepages, how they differ from landing pages and how tricky they are to actually test and optimize, caused one chart from the Landing Page Optimization Benchmark Report to really stand out.

Click to enlarge

Boris Grinkot, Associate Director of Product Development, MECLABS, is the author the Landing Page Optimization Benchmark Report and he took a few moments to share his thoughts on homepage optimization and metrics.

Before we get into the questions, here’s a quote from the report (I highlighted the final sentence):

A critical issue becomes the quality of the traffic that the homepage sends into the website. The quality of the traffic is broadly the degree of match between the visitor and the offer – in other words, the predisposition to convert. Reducing bounce rate may be a short-sighted key metric if more visitors get through, yet those are not the visitors that would ever be interested in becoming customers. Dedicating significant page real estate to a $10 gift card offer can explode the clickthrough rate (and conversely, minimize bounces), but it may turn away visitors exploring a multimillion dollar RFP.

In your LPO Benchmark Report, you mention the homepage is possibly the most difficult page for designing a test …

Boris Grinkot: Measurement on the homepage is complicated because so many things typically happen between it and the conversion step. The general point is that when looking at the funnel holistically, a test on the homepage can affect different metrics differently, and sometimes you can get contradictory results — bounce rate reduced = good, conversion rate reduced = bad.

The homepage as any entrance page acts as a filter, and changing it does not only linearly affect clickthroughs to the rest of the funnel, but can affect the quality of visitors that click through — in other words, the segments.

So, what metrics are most important when testing a homepage?

BG: It’s important that marketers monitor several different metrics to get a complete picture of what’s going on. Bounce rate or clickthrough rate measures what happens immediately on the homepage, or wherever it’s measured, but misses how this page affects the rest of the funnel. Overall conversion rate (CR) measures performance of the site as a whole, but ignores where the leaks might be.

More intricate measurement — such as using “active segments” or “goals” — can tell you what happens with visitors who viewed a particular page, meaning that a virtual segment is created based on what the visitor experienced. Segment-specific CR can be much more meaningful because it takes specific page(s) into account.

Boris Grinkot will be providing insights from his Landing Page Optimization Benchmark Report and moderating a panel on “Overcoming institutional barriers to optimization implementation” at the first MarketingSherpa Optimization Summit coming up June 1-3 in Atlanta.

Related Resources

Homepages Optimized web clinic

Homepage Optimization: How sharing ideas can lead to more diverse radical redesigns

Homepage Optimization: How a more logical eye-path led to 59% increase in conversions

Homepage Optimization: Radical redesign ideas for multivariable testing

B2C Testing: A discount airline looks to increase conversion

(Members library) — Office Depot Site Overhaul Lifts Conversions 10%: 7 Tactics to Target High-Impact Improvements

Email Summit Case Study: National Education Association’s Member Benefits Corporation

January 26th, 2011

MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2011Email marketing strategy independent consultant and MarketingSherpa email marketing trainer, Jeanne Jennings, wrapped up MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2011 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas with a great presentation that offered some quick hit advice illustrated by several case studies.

Make it so

Jeanne opened the session by outlining the four challenges of email marketing:

  1. Strategy
  2. Relevance
  3. Deliverability
  4. Return on investment

And she immediately went into the differences between strategy and tactics. In fact, Jeanne admitted when she starts working on an email campaign and starts blocking out the strategy, doing the big picture works gets her so excited she starts getting into tactics too quickly and has to draw back.

Her main definition of strategy is, “A plan of action to achieve a specific goal,” and her description of tactics was to quote Jean Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise — “Make it so.” Strategy is the plan, or blueprint, of your email marketing campaign, and tactics are the steps or stages you take to turn that strategy into reality.

The case study

The first study she presented was an email campaign for the National Education Association’s Member Benefits Corporation conducted this past holiday season. The NEAMB provides programs and services to the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association. This particular case study is focused on two of the seven steps of efficient email strategy — performing a SWOT analysis and developing a content strategy.

The control for this case study was a catalog list email that often ran several pages, making holiday offers hard to find. The test against the control took a page from the Groupon handbook with a clear offer, and content that based on Jeanne’s description I call “Groupon-lite.”

SWOT analysis

  • Strengths — members have highly favorable impression of association, great holiday offers for members, recipients historically responded to discounts, new CMO encourages new idea
  • Weaknesses — email had been catalog of offers, limited internal resources and budget for content, limited budget for content freelancers, concern that members are being overrun with mail decreasing response rates, no explicit opt-in; opt-out email permission
  • Opportunities — Groupon and other deal emails are popular, people are actively looking to save money in this economy, busy professionals (teachers) are looking for ways to reduce holiday stress, shopping online is becoming more and more popular
  • Threats — all the other holiday offer emails, differentiate from those; general inbox clutter makes members look for mail messages, some deals offered by retailers aren’t exclusive to organization

Here are the parameters Jeanne set up for the test email: weekly send; 100% opt-in; content strategy — engaging quotes,  gift ideas; single discount offer; low -resource content marketing;  quotes and tips from staff; differentiation from National Education Association’s Member Benefits Corporation control and other retail messages.

The quantifiable results

“Holiday cheer” test v. control

  • Open rate up 214%
  • Clickthrough rate up 105%
  • Decrease of 34% in click-to-open because the click rate was so much higher than control

“Holiday cheer” v. internal benchmarks

  • Open rate up 185%
  • Clickthrough rate up 337%
  • Click-to-open up 49%

Jeanne mentioned that conversion data is not available yet for this study.

Roll your sleeves up and get a full day of email training with Jeanne through MarketingSherpa’s Email Marketing Essentials Workshop Training. The next dates include Chicago on Tuesday, April 21, and San Francisco on Thursday, March 10.

Related resources

Ten Numbers Every Email Marketer Should Commit to Memory

Email Marketing: “I am not dead yet”

Welcome Messages: Are You Making a Good First Impression on New Opt-ins?

How a 6 Email Series Increased Unique Key Clickthrough Reach by Nearly 400% Over a Single Email