Author: Linda Johnson

The Lead Gen Fulcrum: 22 case studies to help you optimize for maximum perceived value

A customer often perceives the value of an offer differently from the marketer. This can be illustrated with the Lead Gen Fulcrum where the customer’s perceived value of your offer is on one side of the fulcrum and the customer’s perceived cost of that offer on the other end.

In this replay of a YouTube interactive session, Flint helps us understand how to think like a customer so that we can tip the balance in favor of value over cost.

He looks at several webpage examples and case studies that illustrate how the MECLABS team weighted the value side of the fulcrum while lightening the cost side in the mind of the customer.

Viewers will also receive the link where you can download the file he pulls his examples from. This research-backed Lead Gen swipe file contains 22 case studies showing where and how improvements to webpages and emails were made. This is a great resource to have on hand for improving your own webpages.

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The Zen of Headline Writing

The headline is the molecular unit of optimization. If you can write a good headline, you already have a good understanding of the fundamental principles of marketing. Moreover, a headline represents one of the best ways for the marketer to achieve a major lift with a (dev-free) minor change.

In this interactive YouTube Live replay, McGlaughlin invites his viewers to submit headlines for live, immediate optimization as he demonstrates how to deconstruct a headline into its constituent parts and then intensify the force of its message. Learn the series of micro-yes(s) your headline should elicit from the customer before they reach the call-to-action.

We spend too much time working on the call-to-action and not enough time working on the headline. No one gets to the CTA if they don’t get through the top of the page.

— Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO, MarketingExperiments

Related Resources

Copywriting: 5 common headline errors

How to Write Headlines That Convert

The post The Zen of Headline Writing appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

Incoherence: The greatest failure in most testing programs and how to avoid it

Mind reading is not part of a marketer’s job description, but mind mapping should be.

Why? Because building a mental roadmap of the thinking process during the buyer’s journey is crucial to achieving maximum conversion, and this can only be accomplished through a rigorous testing program. There are no shortcuts.

The articulation of this roadmap must be simple and precise. We call this coherence. Flint McGlaughlin explains more:


If you haven’t heard us say it before, we will say it again: A good idea in a brainstorming session is insufficient. You must generate more than one hypothesis from an idea and then determine which one/s should be tested. This intersection of science and art helps you achieve coherence in your understanding of customer behavior. Watch now:


Lastly, Flint gives a tip on avoiding incoherence in your testing efforts: Why using “and” in your hypothesis can weaken its effectiveness.

If you’d like to get better business results and learn more about MECLABS methodology that has helped capture more than $500 million in test wins, visit our Research Services page.

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Get Your Free Test Discovery Tool to Help Log all the Results and Discoveries from Your Company’s Marketing Tests

Come budget time, do you have an easy way to show all the results from your testing? Not just conversion lifts, but the golden intel that senior business leaders crave — key insights into customer behavior.

To help you do that, we’ve created the free MECLABS Institute Test Discovery Tool, so you can build a custom discovery library for your organization. This simple tool is an easy way of helping your company create a repository of discoveries from its behavioral testing with customers and showing business leaders all the results of your testing efforts. Just click the link below to get yours.


Click Here to Download Your FREE Test Discovery Tool Instantly

(no form to fill out, just click to get your instant download of this Excel-based tool)


In addition to enabling you to show comprehensive test results to business leaders, a custom test discovery library for your brand helps improve your overall organization’s performance. You probably have an amazing amount of institutional knowledge stuck in your cranium. From previous campaigns and tests, you have a good sense of what will work with your customers and what will not. You probably use this info to inform future tests and campaigns, measure what works and build your knowledge base even more.

But to create a truly successful organization, you have to get that wisdom out of your head and make sure everyone in your marketing department and at your agencies has access to that valuable intel. Plus, you want the ability to learn from everyone in your organization as well.


Click Here to Download Your FREE Test Discovery Tool Instantly

(no form to fill out, just click to get your instant download of this Excel-based tool)


This tool was created to help a MECLABS Research Partner keep track of all the lessons learned from its tests.

“The goal of building this summary spreadsheet was to create a functional and precise approach to document a comprehensive summary of results. The template allows marketers to form a holistic understanding of their test outcomes in an easily digestible format, which is helpful when sharing and building upon future testing strategy within your organization. The fields within the template are key components that all testing summaries should possess to clearly understand what the test was measuring and impacting, and the validity of the results,” said Delaney Dempsey, Data Scientist, MECLABS Institute.

“Basically, the combination of these fields provides a clear understanding of what worked and what did not work. Overall, the biggest takeaway for marketers is that having an effective approach to documenting your results is an important element in creation of your customer theory and impactful marketing strategies. Ultimately, past test results are the root of our testing discovery about our customers,” she explained.


Click Here to Download Your FREE Test Discovery Tool Instantly

(no form to fill out, just click to get your instant download of this Excel-based tool)


Here is a quick overview for filling out the fields in this tool (we’ve also included this info in the tool) …

Click on the image to enlarge in new window

How to use this tool to organize your company’s customer discoveries from real-world behavioral tests

For a deeper exploration of testing, and to learn where to test, what to test and how to turn basic testing data into customer wisdom, you can take the MECLABS Institute Online Testing on-demand certification course.

Test Dashboard: This provides an overview of your tests. The info automatically pulls from the information you input for each individual test on the other sheets in this Excel document. You may decide to color code each test stream (say blue for email, green for landing pages, etc.) to more easily read the dashboard. (For instructions on adding more rows to the Test Dashboard, and thus more test worksheets to the Excel tool, scroll down to the “Adding More Tests” section.)

Your Test Name Here: Create a name for each test you run. (To add more tabs to run more tests, scroll down to the “Adding More Tests” section.)

Test Stream: Group tests in a way that makes the most sense for your organization. Some examples might be the main site, microsite, landing pages, homepage, email, specific email lists, PPC ads, social media ads and so on.

Test Location: Where in your test stream did this specific test occur? For example, if the Test Stream was your main site, the Test Location may have been on product pages, a shopping page or on the homepage. If one of your testing streams is Landing Pages, the test location may have been a Facebook landing page for a specific product.

Test Tracking Number: To organize your tests, it can help to assign each test a unique tracking number. For example, every test MECLABS Institute conducts for a company has a Test Protocol Number.

Timeframe Run: Enter the dates the test ran and the number of days it ran. MECLABS recommends you run your tests for at least a week, even if it reaches a statistically significant sample size, to help reduce the chances of a validity threat known as History Effect.

Hypothesis: The reason to run a test is to prove or disprove a hypothesis.

Do you know how you can best serve your customer to improve results? What knowledge gaps do you have about your customer? What internal debates do you have about the customer? What have you debated with your agency or vendor partner? Settle those debates and fill those knowledge gaps by crafting a hypothesis and running a test to measure real-world customer behavior.

Here is the approach MECLABS uses to formulate a hypothesis, with an example filled in …

# of Treatments: This is the number of versions you are testing. For example, if you had Landing Page A and Landing Page B, that would be two treatments. The more treatments you test in one experiment, the more samples you need to avoid a Sampling Distortion Effect validity threat, which can occur when you do not collect a significant number of observations.

Valid/Not Valid: A valid test measures what it claims to measure. Valid tests are well-founded and correspond accurately to the real world. Results of a valid test can be trusted to be accurate and to represent real-world conditions. Invalid tests fail to measure what they claim to measure and cannot be trusted as being representative of real-world conditions.

Conclusive/Inconclusive: A Conclusive Test is a valid test that has reached the desired Level of Confidence (95% is the most commonly used standard). An Inconclusive Test is a valid test that failed to reach the desired Level of Confidence for the primary KPI (95% is the most commonly used standard). Inconclusive tests, while not the marketer’s goal, are not innately bad. They offer insights into the cognitive psychology of the customer. They help marketers discover which mental levers do not have a significant impact on the decision process.


Name: KPIs are key performance indicators. They are the yardstick for measuring your test. The main KPI is what ultimately determines how well your test performed, but secondary and tertiary KPIs can be insightful as well. For example, the main KPI for a product page test might be the add-to-cart rate. That is the main action you are trying to influence with your test treatment(s). A secondary KPI might be a change in revenue. Perhaps you get fewer orders, but at a higher value per order, and thus more revenue. A tertiary KPI might be checkout rate, tracking how many people complete the action all the way through the funnel. There may be later steps in the funnel that are affecting that checkout rate beyond what you’re testing, which is why it is not the main KPI of the test but still important to understand. (Please note, every test does not necessarily have to have a main, secondary and tertiary KPI, but every test should at least have a main KPI.)

Key Discoveries: This is the main benefit of running tests — to make new discoveries about customer behavior. This Test Discovery Library gives you a central, easily accessible place to share those discoveries with the entire company. For example, you could upload this document to an internal SharePoint or intranet, or even email it around every time a test is complete.

The hypothesis will heavily inform the key discoveries section, but you may also learn something you weren’t expecting, especially from secondary KPIs.

What did the test results tell you about the perceived credibility of your product and brand? The level of brand exposure customers have previously had? Customers’ propensity to buy or become a lead? The difference in the behavior of new and returning visits to your website? The preference for different communication mechanisms (e.g., live chat vs. video chat)? Behavior on different devices (e.g., desktop vs. mobile)? These are just examples; the list could go on forever … and you likely have some that are unique to your organization.

Experience Implemented? This is pretty straightforward. Has the experience that was tested been implemented as the new landing page, home page, etc., after the test closed?

Date of implementation: If the experience has been implemented, when was it implemented? Recording this information can help you go back and make sure overall performance correlated with your expectations from the test results.


The Test Dashboard tab dynamically pulls in all information from the subsequent test worksheets, so you do not need to manually enter any data here except for the test sequence number in Column A. If you want to create a new test tab and the corresponding row in the “Test Dashboard,” follow these instructions:

    • Right click on the bottom tab titled “Template – Your Test Name Here.” Choose “Move or Copy.” From the list of sheets, choose “Template – Your Test Name Here.” Check the box “Create a Copy” and click OK. Right click on your new “Template – Your Test Name Here (2)” tab and rename as “Your Test Name Here (7).”
    • Now, you’ll need to add a new row to your “Test Dashboard” tab. Copy the last row. For example, select row 8 on the “Test Dashboard” tab, copy/paste those contents into row 9. You will need to make the following edits to reference your new tab, “Your Test Name Here (7).” This can be done in the following way:
      • Manually enter the test as “7” in cell A9.
      • The remaining cells dynamically pull the data in. However, since you copy/paste, they are still referencing the test above. To update this, highlight select row 9 again. On the Home Tab>Editing, select “Find & Select (located on the far right)>”Replace,” or use “CTRL+F”>Replace.
      • On the Replace tab of the box, enter Find What: “Your Test Name (6)” and Replace with: “Your Test Name (7).”
      • Click “Replace All”
      • All cells in the row should now reference your new tab, “Your Test Name (7)” properly.


Click Here to Download Your FREE Test Discovery Tool Instantly

(no form to fill out, just click to get your instant download of this Excel-based tool)


Special thanks to Research Manager Alissa Shaw, Data Scientist Delaney Dempsey, Associate Director of Design Lauren Leonard, Senior Director of Research Partnerships Austin McCraw, and Copy Editor Linda Johnson for helping to create the Test Discovery Library tool.

If you have any questions, you can email us at And here are some more resources to help with your testing …

Lead your team to breakthrough results with A Model of your Customer’s Mind: These 21 charts and tools have helped capture more than $500 million in (carefully measured) test wins

Test Planning Scenario Tool – This simple tool helps you visualize factors that affect the ROI implications of test sequencing

Customer Theory: How we learned from a previous test to drive a 40% increase in CTR

The post Get Your Free Test Discovery Tool to Help Log all the Results and Discoveries from Your Company’s Marketing Tests appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

Optimizing Tactics vs. Optimizing Strategy: How choosing the right approach can mean all the difference in your optimization efforts

Website optimization has two approaches — tactical and strategic.

Improving your headline, providing good testimonials and changing form fields are examples of using a tactical approach to add value to your webpages. It is necessary but generally provides only incremental increases in conversion.

A strategic approach, on the other hand, addresses root issues on your pages and can lead to a great increase in customer conversions.

In today’s Quick Win Clinic, Flint McGlaughlin begins by using a tactical approach to optimize the landing page of payroll services company Affinity. The webpage already has a lot of good things going for it. He offers some ideas for adding value to the page and reducing friction.

Later, he addresses its strategy, which focuses on trying to sell the company (and form). McGlaughlin suggests a completely new strategy that will cause this company to stand out as unique among many businesses that offer payroll services. It will answer the question that visitors ask when they visit this webpage: “Why should I choose you over all the other companies that offer payroll services?”

Watch this video to discover a strategy that can put you ahead of your competitors by adding an incredible amount of value for your customers.


The post Optimizing Tactics vs. Optimizing Strategy: How choosing the right approach can mean all the difference in your optimization efforts appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

Do Your Pages Talk TO Customers or AT Customers? Why the subtle shift in message makes all the difference

Successful businesses put their customers first.

It is crucial that the messaging and design of your webpages show that you value your customers, and their satisfaction is your number one goal. In order to begin to build this trust, when people visit your website they need to feel they are speaking to a person.

This means that you must have a conversation with your visitors.

Your webpage personifies your company. But you can’t do this if you don’t talk to people. You need to consider who you are speaking to and try to be relevant to them. Furthermore, the design of your webpage needs to reflect this messaging.

Design is a part of the message; the message is part of the design.

— Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO, MECLABS Institute

In today’s Quick Win Clinic, waste disposal site EnviroAlaska has a poor design and doesn’t have any conversational text whatsoever. One might be tempted to alter the design to make the page look better. However, McGlaughlin advises to first get the messaging right, then work on the design. Begin by not only using complete sentences but start a conversation. Offer clear explanations of your service rather than making declarations.

Declaration alienates the customer.

As you watch the video, ask yourself if your webpages are truly putting the customer first. Are you talking TO your prospective customers or talking AT prospective customers? Furthermore, does your design support and enhance your message?

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The Essential Messaging Component Most Ecommerce Sites Miss and Why It’s Deterring Your Customers from Purchasing

In today’s Quick Win Clinic, Flint McGlaughlin looks at the home and product pages for Worthington Direct, an online furniture store for businesses and schools. It is obvious that everything on this site is designed to help visitors find the product they are looking for and to convince them that the product is right for them. But there are many online furniture stores. Why should visitors choose this company over others? This retailer fails to answer that crucial question.

The designers of this website made a mistake the McGlaughlin believes is the number one flaw most ecommerce stores make today. If you offer the right product, but you neglect to show that you are also the right company, then you have lost a sale.

Your copy on this page needs to help me draw a sense of certainty inside that not only is this the right product but you are the right company. 

— Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO, MECLABS Institute

Watch the video to get further insights into creating webpages that produce maximum results.

The post The Essential Messaging Component Most Ecommerce Sites Miss and Why It’s Deterring Your Customers from Purchasing appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

Beware of the Power of Brand: How a powerful brand can obscure the (urgent) need for optimization

We’ve all been there before. You go online to order something from a well-known brand but can’t figure out how to navigate the site. You push through, even though you want to click away, because you know they have a great product and you can’t get it anywhere else. Your motivation to buy is already high.

People who already know the value of a particular brand often remain loyal customers to that brand, even though they may have to suffer through a poor user experience.

But there are those who are not so motivated. They may not be as familiar with the brand and consequently, not so forgiving. Too much friction or anxiety-causing elements can drive away many potential customers.  And big brands need to be aware of this.

Beware of those situations where the power of the brand obscures the quality (or lack thereof) in your messaging.

— Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO, MECLABS Institute

In this Quick Win Clinic, Flint McGlaughlin takes a look at UBER’s landing page to see if the quality of the user experience matches the quality of the brand. Watch the video to learn how to avoid the marketer’s blind spot.

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Most Popular Marketing Experiments Conversion Optimization, A/B testing and Value Proposition Content in 2017

This was a big year for MarketingExperiments. In 2017, our website got a major facelift. Certainly, a much different look than when we first started publishing in 2000.

More importantly, we hope 2017 was a big year for you. And to help you have an even better year in 2018, here is the MarketingExperiments content that was most popular with your peers this past year.

Quick Win Clinics

New in 2017, we launched the Quick Win Clinic video series to help marketers with problems that are easy to solve, but difficult to detect. In every episode, Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO, MECLABS Institute (parent research organization of MarketingExperiments), provides conversion optimization suggests on audience-submitted homepages, landing pages, emails, display ads, etc.

Watch one of the Quick Win Clinics to get ideas for improving your marketing messaging.

Or give us the URL of the marketing collateral you would like to have optimized in the series. If yours is chosen, you’ll get specific advice to help improve conversion based on our patented methodology built from what we’ve discovered by testing more than 20,000 sales and marketing paths.

 Specific examples of great value propositions

MarketingExperiments email newsletter subscriber Jennifer wrote to us and said “I’m a big fan of MECLABS and your value proposition work. I’d love to see a story with specific examples of five great value propositions.”

So we published some good …

As well as bad examples …

Get some ideas for creating a powerful value proposition for your brand, products and marketing pieces from the article 6 Good (And 2 Bad) B2B And B2C Value Proposition Examples.

The Prospect’s Perception Gap

Flint McGlaughlin was a featured speaker at MarketingSherpa Summit 2017 (MarketingExperiments’ sister publishing brand).

We shared a free video replay of his full session. Watch now to learn how to bridge the dangerous gap between the results you want and the results you have.

Absolute Difference Versus Relative Difference

A perennial favorite, we published this article back in 2013 but it is still one of our top-trafficked pages, so marketers continue to see value in learning how to understand and communicate their results.

As an example, Kyle Foster used a simple A/B split test for a hypothetical landing page test with some dummy data to interpret.

Read the article about interpreting results to get a basic understanding of how you should report on your A/B tests.

Learn how to become a better, more efficient digital marketer

Lastly, another perennial favorite, the landing page for MECLABS online learning. With our curriculum of online certification courses — value proposition development, landing page optimization, online testing and email messaging — you can learn a patented methodology to increase customer response.

You might also like…

A/B Testing Archives

Value Proposition Archives

Testing And Optimization: 4 inspirational examples of experimentation and success

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Page Layout Optimization: A common mistake marketers and web designers make, and how to avoid it

Let’s suppose you have been perusing our website for a while now and have been educating yourself on landing page optimization. You are in the process of revamping a webpage and feel like you have arrived at a good value proposition. It’s well expressed in your headline and has further enticing information in the subheader. The graphics are good. You now think you’ve captured visitor’s attention. What’s next?

In this Quick Win Clinic, Flint McGlaughlin views a page from Core Hospitality Furniture that has several positive factors going for it. Our attention is captured. But just as the conversation gets rolling, it seems to end and we are left hanging, even a little confused.

“Beware of this danger where you have important content buried on your page.” — Flint McGlaughlin, CEO and Managing Director, MECLABS Institute

Watch the video to see where the mistake was made, and get some free advice on how to keep the conversation going with the customer so that they will be able to arrive at a conclusion, which powers a decision that is mutually beneficial to both customer and brand.


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