Email marketing has the highest ROI of any marketing tactic. $44 for every $1 spent, say Campaign Monitor: Email marketing is a tactic that’s hard to ignore. But how do you make sure you get good conversion rates? There’s plenty of blogs, articles, and user-guides you can download – but how do you separate the folk-law from the real laws? How do you separate the signal from the noise?

[br]Here. Right here.

[br]We’ve run gold standard Randomised Control Trials with robust test protocol written by psychologists and behavioural experts, and run through over 400,000 respondents; there’s no noise here.

[br]1. Cold email: Getting it opened – subject line

[br]On a study of business to business cold emails (approx. 45,000) we tried a variety of subject lines: Loss aversion (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979), Curiosity gap (Lowenstein, 1994; Wainer, Dabbish & Kraut, 2011), Social validation, ‘people like me’, Personalization (Sahni, Wheeler & Chintagunta, 2016) where ‘things’ associated with the self are persuasive, as they’re more liked and trusted (Kahneman et al., 1990; Nuttin, 1985; Reed, 2004).

[br]The best and worst?
[list_styles][list_style icon=”fa fa-caret-right”]The self is the best: e.g. The name of the business/their name [/list_style][list_style icon=”fa fa-caret-right”]The curisoity gap is the worst: e.g. ‘3 simple steps…’ [/list_style][/list_styles]

[br]Outcome: Use the ‘self’ subject lines.

[br]2. Cold email: Getting a click to your website

[br]On a study of business to business cold emails (approx. 9,000, error range way under 1% at 95% confidence) we tried a variety of content positions: Limited time offer, Personalisation, Social proof, Ease (of use), and all of these effects combined.

[br]The best and worst?
[list_styles][list_style icon=”fa fa-caret-right”]Personalisation *or* ease-of-use techniques were the best[/list_style][list_style icon=”fa fa-caret-right”]All effects combined were the worst
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[br]Outcome: Use personalisation *or* ease-of-use techniques, but watch out for that in the next section. This section is about clicks, not replies. Also, there’s another effect added to all of them – we’ll leave that for another post.

[br]Overall we improved clicks from 2% of emails sent to 3.6% of emails sent (that includes all the emails unopened – the kind of responses you want from a cold campaign).

[br]3. Cold email: Getting a reply

[br]Everything but the kitchen sink; this is the answer to this challenge. With a study of 1,126 business owners (error range under 5% at 95% confidence) we included a range of behavioural techniques:
[list_styles][list_style icon=”fa fa-caret-right”]Reputation and reliability markers[/list_style][list_style icon=”fa fa-caret-right”]A strong social proof message[/list_style][list_style icon=”fa fa-caret-right”]Implicit endorsement (from the Financial Times)[/list_style][list_style icon=”fa fa-caret-right”]Temporal narrowing (‘this week’) and a duration estimate to make the action more concrete/proximal[/list_style][list_style icon=”fa fa-caret-right”]A schema[/list_style][list_style icon=”fa fa-caret-right”]And a short, proximal, concrete outcome description (‘simply let me know when you have 10 mins and I’ll look forward to speaking with you’) [/list_style][/list_styles]

[br]Outcome: Use all of these. When compared with an email with fewer of these effects (and where they were written less well) we saw:
[list_styles][list_style icon=”fa fa-caret-right”]33% increase in reply rates (from 7.71% to 10.29%)[/list_style][list_style icon=”fa fa-caret-right”]As a rule-of-thumb we evoked 10 responses for every 8 in the pre-Hunting Dynasty control version[/list_style][/list_styles]

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Beyond

[br]Beyond this work we delved into preview lines on emails, and mobile SMS text-back rates (~90,000 respondents and ~47,000 respectively for a global startup and a UK hospital Trust). We’ll come to that one day (or ask us!).

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So, there’s some solid, concrete techniques to use today (and every day) to get your emails ‘sticky’. There’s more information – which is very useful – on ‘The ABC of RCTs’ here, on sample size for tests here (‘How many people do I need to test on? (Answer: It’s not as many as you think.)’), and all about pre-testing the value of understanding and motivation with our Comprehension-Motivation Test© here.

[br]I’d email the links to you, but even though I know how to write a sticky email, I don’t have your email address… (how to get email addresses is for another time, and another post).

 

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WE CHANGE THE WAY YOUR[br]CUSTOMERS FEEL AND BEHAVE


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For more speak with Davina (Client Services Director) or Oliver (Founding Director)[br]london@thehuntingdynasty.com[br]+44 (0)843 289 2901[br]twitter @HuntingDynasty

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Also, join the London Behavioural Economics Network Meetup group and Facebook group

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