Customer Empathy and Selling the Click

    1024 536 Charlene Hixon

    email marketing takeaways from MarketingSherpas 2016 Summit

    Recently I had the great fortune of attending MarketingSherpa’s 2016 Summit in Las Vegas. As a digital communications consultant for Smart Panda Labs, I took advantage of coaching clinics with top email-experts, taking a deep dive into areas that are important to my expertise, including email best practices, the importance of testing and overall email design. And no, I didn’t play the slot machines. (Well, maybe a little.)

    During the two-day summit, I also had the opportunity to listen to renowned speakers Charles Duhigg, author of the best selling The Power of Habit; Morgan Spurlock, the Academy Award-nominated director of Super Size Me; and Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and Founder of MECLABS Institute, the largest independent research facility focused on how people make choices.

    Because I can’t possibly fit everything I learned at the Summit into one blog post without shattering blogging best practices, here are some of my favorite takeaways from my two days in Vegas.

    go mobile or go home

    Email solutions provider BlueHornet found that approximately 80% of consumers immediately delete emails that don’t render well on a mobile device. 80%! Make your emails responsive and test on mobile devices to make sure the messages are engaging.

    don’t forget the preheader      

    Metropolis International Group shared some interesting test results. They tested five different preheaders, including using no preheader at all, to see which would have the greatest impact on open and click-through rates and they found that using a prefix of “Just in” increased their open rates by 30% and their click-through rates by 17%. So next time you’re testing subject lines, don’t forget about the preheader—word choice clearly matters.

    Using a preheader of “Just in” increased open rates by 30% and click-through rates by 17%.

    Using a preheader of “Just in” increased open rates by 30% and click-through rates by 17%.

    less beats beauty

    Flint McGlaughlin demonstrated A/B tests of various email campaigns, signup forms and landing pages to show which converted at higher rates. Often the ones with relevant information, a cleaner design, a “trusting” certificate (100% Privacy Guarantee & Security Seal to checkout processes) and clear CTAs were the winners — even if the competing versions were more aesthetically pleasing.

    Winner? Version B: Increase 75% in Clicks

    Winner? Version A: 20% Increase in Downloads

    email a/b testing

    “get” before “ask”        

    McGlaughlin also dug into headlines and sentence structure, showing how the most successful headlines placed the main point of the statement at the very front of the headline. In constructing these so-called “point-first” sentences, ensure that customer’s “get” appears before the company’s “ask”. See the examples that he presented in the slide below.

    put your consumer shoes on

    When looking at a landing page or email campaign, it’s important to “put ourselves in the shoes of the customer,” said Austin McCraw, Senior Director of Content Production at MECLABS Institute. When marketers are designing content, we’re trying to communicate as much value as we can as quickly as we can, but it’s critical to step outside of a marketer’s perspective and think about your audience—empathizing with your consumers is how trust is built. What would they want to read? Is the value proposition clearly stated? Are they overwhelmed with offers and promotions? Guide your consumers to trust you by supporting relevant, personalized content rather than always pushing offers. Engage them with a more personal and nurturing customer experience.

    the click is what counts

    In the words of Flint McGlaughlin: “The goal of a marketing email is to sell only one thing: the CLICK.” I think this will forever be carved into my brain. It’s incredibly easy to confuse the goal of an email with the goal of a landing page. We tend to over complicate email copy and design and think the audience must convert immediately from the email when really our main goal should be to “get a click.” Your call-to-action should clearly communicate what you want your audience to do. Once you get your reader to click through, it’s the landing page’s job to convince them to convert.

    Congratulations to MarketingSherpa for another summit packed with professional insights and exciting conversation.

     a few great quotes from
    s 2016 Summit

    “Goldfish have a nine-second attention span, while humans have only 5-8 second attention span! So make your content matter.”
    —Kim Arsenault, Inbox Marketer Corporation

    “80% of all Internet traffic will be streaming video content by 2019,
    up from 64% in 2014!”
    —Tyler Lessard, Chief Marketing Officer, Vidyard

    “The more risks you take, the less risky they become.”
    —Morgan Spurlock



    Charlene Hixon

    Charlene is an CRM + database marketing expert at Smart Panda Labs, where she advises on email marketing strategy and tactics as well as designs, develops and tests all email campaigns for current clients. She is an accomplished marketing professional with a broad range of digital experience, including online marketing, project management, content management, digital design, email marketing, user experience and e-commerce. Charlene has worked across numerous industries including litigation, luxury hotels, and leisure/travel and tourism, providing expertise in Sparklist email marketing software, Litmus Testing, SalesForce Marketing Cloud/ExactTarget and Adobe Creative Suite. Prior to joining the team at Smart Panda Labs, she worked as Email Marketing/CRM Associate for Universal Orlando and Project Manager for Marriott Vacations Worldwide. She is a Certified Email Specialist in Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

    All stories by: Charlene Hixon

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