How conversion heuristics applies to email marketing content 



Reading Time: 3 Minutes Beyond

Earlier this month, we introduced a new marketing formula introduced at the 2016 MarketingSherpa Summit. It’s called Conversion Heuristics, and it’s defined by the end goal: conversion.

C = 4m + 3v + 2(i-f) – 2a

The best way to understand the formula though isn’t by the “C” for conversion – it’s at the opposite end; 2a is where the formula starts and the “a” stands for anxiety.

So what does anxiety mean exactly? 

When it comes to email marketing, you can’t sell products in an email; you can only sell a click. So when a consumer is at your email campaign, it needs to make sense. All efforts need to get toward the conversion point. And in email marketing, that big “C” looks a little different than it does, say, on your web page.

When your reader is in their email, looking at your message, the goal isn’t to get them to buy the product. Buying the product would mean they’re on your website, they’ve put things in the cart and are about to check out, or they’re ready to pick up the phone or contact you via email. On your website, that conversion is about the final point of contact before that consumer is now a customer and invested in your brand.

In an email marketing campaign, you’re not selling the final point of conversation. In an email marketing campaign, you’re selling that click to the landing page. That landing page can be your website, it can be a further page in the funnel to get them to convert. Whatever it is, you’re selling the click.

Our next question is, what does anxiety look like in an email campaign?

In an email marketing setting, anxiety comes in the form of a click. The term “heuristic” in “conversion heuristic” is defined as enabling a person to discover or learn something for themselves, and guiding them through a process to achieve that end. In that vein of thought, each symbol in the equation guides marketers to consider all elements of decision making before conversion is secured. Not having this means your reader is reaching (or has reached) a point of anxiety – in other words, uncertainty. The anxiety can be driven by a number of factors.

The most common points of anxiety in an email marketing campaign is content. People think it’s design or brand, but no it’s content. First and foremost your content shouldn’t need Sherlock Holmes to figure out what you’re saying. Your content should be clear and concise, answering the questions of what, why, and who.

While some companies answer this question, they lose all imagination when it comes to this. Email marketing is no different than any other kind of marketing when it comes to delivery – which means people still want to be courted.

You should dump the info on a plate and push that slush up to your reader, either through a tone that evokes laziness or hurried panic. Neither is appealing, but both do trigger anxiety.

Keep your message short and sweet and let the template, graphics and overall design tell someone about the “who.” All you need to worry about is what and why. If your content is longer than the usual email, then give the person the courtesy of providing a direct URL above so they can visit the page or save it for future reading. Offer a list of bullet points at the top or a summary that defines key points in the piece. The idea is that just because you have your reader’s attention, doesn’t mean you don’t owe them the courtesy of treating them like a guest in your digital space. Value their presence and their time to reduce any friction in their experience with your brand.

Are you ready for a smarter way to engage with your customers?

Benchmark helps you do email marketing the practical way. Create an ongoing relationship with your subscribers that leads to increased sales and happier customers.

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