Tag Archives: Research Briefs

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.

The post The Lead Gen Fulcrum: 22 case studies to help you optimize for maximum perceived value appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

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.

The End of Web Design: Don’t design for the web, design for the mind

In case you’re worried by this title, no, web design is not going anywhere. However, the way that we approach web design is radically changing, and if we as marketers do not change with it, we will be left with poorly converting websites that do not serve the customer or your business. In order to keep up, we must rethink the role of the website.

The simple word “website” creates a danger for us. We tend to think of it as a place, but it is not a place; it is a process that is flowing and fluid. It is 0s and 1s. It is illusions triggering queues in the mind.

So, you may be wondering, if it’s not a website, then what is it?

In this video, Flint McGlaughlin answers this question.

It’s not a website, it’s a fluid conversation.

— Flint McGlaughlin, CEO, MarketingExperiments

McGlaughlin lays out the four critical paradigm shifts that you should consider before you invest in a website redesign. How to eliminate risk, boost performance and pay for the entire project BEFORE you launch.  

In it, you’ll learn:

  • 4 key principles used to rethink web design 
  • How to apply these principles to increase your website performance
  • The best order to optimize and test for the maximum gain

If you find this video helpful, make sure to like and subscribe to the MarketingExperiments YouTube channel for more content like this! Turn on notifications to get the latest material instantly.

Resources

0:36 [Slides 2-18]: Related Steel Seal Web Clinic – [https://marketingexperiments.com/conversion-marketing/radical-redesign]

17:07 [Slide 22]: Related PR Newswire Case Study – [https://marketingexperiments.com/conversion-marketing/adding-content-increases-revenue-38-percent]

18:07 [Slide 23]: Related Aetna/Healthspire Web Clinic – [https://marketingexperiments.com/conversion-marketing/aetna-healthspire-call-center-638-percent-more-leads]

20:35 [Slides 26-28]: Related Podcast on The Role of the Human Connection in Your Marketing – [https://sherpablog.marketingsherpa.com/marketing/podcast-episode-1-human-connection-in-marketing]

25:47 [Slide 30]: MECLABS Quick Win Intensive– [https://meclabs.com/QuickWinIntensive]

25:49 [Slide 31]: Related Interview with the Boston Globe’s VP of Consumer Sales and Marketing – [https://meclabs.com/research/case-study/boston-globe-transformation-business-leader]

26:28 [Slides 32-34]: RelatedPapa Steve’s No Junk Raw Protein Bars Case Study – [https://marketingsherpa.com/article/case-study/entrepreneur-whole-foods-website-redesign]  

29:34 [Slide 38]: MECLABS ROI Model Worksheet

The post The End of Web Design: Don’t design for the web, design for the mind appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

Conversion Lifts in 10 Words or Less

What if 5 minutes of work could produce a revolution in your conversion results?

It’s more than possible, but it’s also true that nothing’s ever easy. To know which few words to change takes a comprehensive methodology that accounts for the complexity of the customer’s mind.

In this video from our parent research organization, MECLABS Institute, Flint McGlaughlin walks through five experiments from our library of more than 2.5K where the least amount of changes produced the highest conversion wins.

Related Resources:

Lead your team to breakthrough results with a model of your customer’s mind: Get 25 years of research distilled into 21 essential concepts and tools at MECLABS.com/Services

Copywriting: 5 common headline errors
Research-based Lead Gen Swipe File
Test Planning Scenario Tool
How Aetna’s HealthSpire startup generated 638% more leads for its call center

The post Conversion Lifts in 10 Words or Less appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

Landing Page Optimization: How Aetna’s HealthSpire startup generated 638% more leads for its call center

This case study was originally published on MarketingSherpa on April 11, 2018.

Denis Mrkva, General Manager, HealthSpire, recently visited MECLABS Institute (parent research organization of MarketingSherpa), and we had the opportunity to interview him about an interesting landing page experiment that was in progress at the time. Denis also shared what happened after the landing page — namely, how he staffs and runs a call center that truly provides value to customers.

Test Your Knowledge

Before you read or watch the full case study, it’s important to get in the right frame of mind. Which landing page do you think will perform better? And why? Think about that, then continue on to the case study to better understand your own assumptions and learn what the data showed. Perhaps you’ll discover a new paradigm to take your marketing to the next level.

 

 

Here, we offer an abbreviated 5-minute version of the video interview. Or you can watch the full 21-minute version. But if you prefer to read instead of watch, you can read the full transcript of the conversation below the article. Jump to full transcript.

SHORT 5-MINUTE VIDEO:

FULL 21-MINUTE VIDEO:

 

CUSTOMER

HealthSpire is a subsidiary of Aetna, a $63 billion managed health care company founded in 1853. HealthSpire serves Americans 65 and over with Medicare, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement insurance plans. It also offers ancillary products for dental, vision, cancer, heart attack and stroke.

HealthSpire also serves two other groups with its marketing — individuals who have yet to turn 65 but are beginning to research Medicare products and children or caregivers of people who are or will soon be eligible for Medicare.

CHALLENGE

About 18 months ago, HealthSpire created a landing page to get potential customers to learn more about Medicare through a phone or chat conversation and, ultimately, register for Medicare plans.

Creative Sample #1: Original landing page

HealthSpire 1

“Our hypothesis was that we want to have something that’s short and not confusing. What we were afraid of was that more information will create more confusion, resulting in a negative outcome. So we decided to go with a first control version, simple, just outlining products we have without going in depth. And giving them a chance to contact us via phone, schedule a call or chat with us,” said Denis Mrkva, General Manager, HealthSpire.

However, a few months after launching the page, Mrkva’s team realized that it wasn’t working.

“And then, I was fortunate to be referenced to MECLABS [Institute] and Flint [McGlaughlin] by my manager. And when we started talking to MECLABS, the lights went on. A light bulb went on.” — Denis Mrkva 

“I realized that this discipline that MECLABS has in actually understanding the relevant content, understanding the audience that we want to service, understanding the products, is the way to go,” Mrkva said.

“So we engaged with MECLABS to create a new set of landing pages that are actually focused on how a consumer would like to interact with us, and especially they’re very targeted [to] consumer segments who may not be that digitally savvy,” he explained.

[Partner with MECLABS Institute to drive growth in your organization]

The team analyzed the current HealthSpire landing page and identified a problem: It had a lack of credibility hurting its primary, process-, and product-level value propositions required to build trust with potential customers and create a perceived value in speaking with a HealthSpire agent.

After all, most customers are not excited about getting on the phone with an agent or a sales rep. They must first understand the value of that conversation to overcome the anxiety of a sales call, in addition to the time and effort they would invest in such a conversation.

CAMPAIGN

Based on that analysis, the team created the following research question:

Will the addition of primary and product-level value, coupled with the emphasis of value on a “Trusted Advisor,” drive additional calls?

And based on that, they created the hypothesis: By providing emphasis on the trusted advisor value rather than overwhelming prospects with the various Medicare products and plans options, we will generate more leads and requests for calls than the control.

From that hypothesis, they designed two treatment landing pages and launched an experiment.

Creative Sample #2: Treatment 1 — long page

HealthSpire 2

Creative Sample #3: Treatment 2 — Short page

HealthSpire 3

RESULTS

Denis visited in the middle of the experiment, and the results we discussed in the video were intermediate results before the experiment closed. The final results also showed that the longer landing page performed better, generating 638% more leads.

HealthSpire 4

Value of longer landing page outweighs its friction

Visitors (valid leads only) who saw the longer page — which included more HealthSpire/agent value copy and imagery — were more likely to call than those who saw the simpler page with less content about the agents and HealthSpire values.

In other words, the additional value presented in the longer page outweighed the additional friction from having a longer page.

Humanizing the brand added appeal and visualizing the agents reduced anxiety

Knowing that they were going to be speaking with a friendly agent may have helped them visualize how the conversation would be and reduced their anxiety.

Creative Sample #4: TeleAgent Tip from winning landing page treatment

“What we found out by working with MECLABS and testing things is that, at the end of the day, what we are asking somebody to do is call us and talk to a person,.”  — Denis Mkrva 

“So having actually the person or the people who the customers will be talking to on the site, and actually having the opportunity to get to know the agents before they call, and provide the content that will actually create a relationship between the customer and the agent on the site even before they call us, are some of the reasons why we believe that Treatment 1 is doing a lot better.”

Creative Sample #5: Q&A with TeleAgent from winning landing page treatment

HealthSpire 6

It all begins with creating real value for the customer

The longer landing page worked because it did a better job of increasing the perceived value of contacting a TeleAgent. However, for this strategy to work, Mrkva first made sure to create real value in interacting with the TeleAgents, that could then be communicated on the landing page.

“Part of that value is the people we employ. If you think about the agents that work for HealthSpire, all of our agents are college graduates,” Mkrva said. “The question became, how can we create a call center culture that becomes a value proposition for the college graduates?”

One way Mrkva’s team creates the value proposition for college graduates is by creating an environment the employees can thrive in. For example, they balance time on the phone with time reflecting on what they learned from previous calls — to help understand the psychology behind conversations they previously had and optimize future conversations. Understanding the people they’re talking to, not just the products they’re selling and a script they’re reading.

“It is perhaps the hardest sale you can make.What you’re trying to do is, in real time without looking at the person, persuade the person that if you have the right product for them and their needs, this is the right thing to do and to make a decision that will be very impactful on their well-being and financial health of their household budget.” — Denis Mrkva

A customer-first marketing approach

Not only is there value for customers who call into HealthSpire because the TeleAgents are well educated, but value also comes from the type of people the company hires and the customer-first philosophy behind the advice these agents offer on the calls.

“What we look for is — and it’s not easy, it’s not easy to evaluate people in an interview — is integrity. You have to do the right thing,” Mrkva said.

“We’re trying to find the right solution for the customer. And if there is no right solution for the customer with us, we will not sell.” — Denis Mrkva 

“Actually, we’ll recommend either stay with what you have, or maybe you should go and call other providers that have a product, because we can help them find the better product. Even though we cannot sell to them, we can tell them there is … company X [that] has this product, so you may want to go to this site,” he said.

This approach helps with employee satisfaction and engagement as well.

“It’s human nature. Our nature is to help somebody. So we need to enable people to be people in the workplace,” Mrkva said. “If you have the right people and if you make them happy and content, our customers will be happy and content.”


Sources

HealthSpire

Related Resources

MECLABS Research Partnerships — Participate in a research project and drive conversion increases

Landing Page Optimization: 57 guides, case studies, examples and experiments to help you increase conversion and sales

Email Marketing: Landing Page Testing Less Popular But More Effective

Landing Page Optimization: How The New York Times Generated A 1,052% Cumulative Conversion Gain

Web Usability: Long Landing Page Nets 220% More Leads Than Above The Fold Call-To-Action

Landing Page Optimization: 262% Increase In Lead Rate

MECLABS Institute Landing Page Optimization online certification course (from the parent research institute of MarketingSherpa)

Call Center Optimization: How The Globe and Mail cut number of calls in half while increasing sales per hour

Call-to-Action Optimization: 132% increase in clickthrough from changing four simple words

Full Transcript of Video Interview

Daniel Burstein: In our marketing, we have a lot of assumptions about what we think will work. We have that golden gut. One of those assumptions is, long form doesn’t work. People want short, they want quick. They want quippy. Well, that’s why you’ve got to test and experiment and see what works. And we’re going to look at an experiment today that challenges that model.

    Hi, I’m Daniel Burstein. I’m the Senior Director of Content at Marketing and MECLABS Institute. And I’m joined by Denis Mrkva, the General Manager of HealthSpire, a subsidiary of Aetna. Thanks for joining us, Denis.

Denis Mkrva:     Thank you for having me.

Daniel:     So, here we’re going to look at an experiment that your team ran with MECLABS Institute. So let’s just start, pull it up on the screen, and we’ve got the control and Treatment 1 and Treatment 2. Let’s just start by telling us about HealthSpire briefly. Who are they? How does HealthSpire serve a customer?

Denis:     Well, HealthSpire is an Aetna subsidiary. And as such, we offer a portfolio of Medicare products for the seniors in the country that are eligible to purchase Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, as well as ancillary products such as dental and vision, cancer, heart attack and stroke. Really we’re trying to protect as much as we can and enable people to have that protection holistically for their health.

Daniel:     Okay. And so when we look at this landing page, what was the goal of the landing page?

Denis:     Well, the goal of the landing page, if you look at the first, the control version, that’s when HealthSpire started a year and a half ago. And as you said, we all want things to be shorter, cleaner and to the point. Unfortunately, when you deal with very complex products in an industry such as healthcare, it is not that easy to do.

    However, a year and a half ago when we started HealthSpire, the assumption was, or hypothesis was, that we want to have something that’s short and not confusing. What we were afraid of was that more information would create more confusion, more friction, hence, resulting in a negative outcome. So we decided to go with a first control version, simple, just outlining products we have without going in depth. And giving them a chance to contact us via phone, schedule a call or chat with us.

Daniel:     Let’s take a look at it. So what were you trying to do with these two treatments?

Denis:     Okay, then a few months after starting up that page, we realized it’s not working. We realized something is going on. And then I was fortunate to be referenced to MECLABS and Flint by my manager. And when we started talking to MECLABS, the lights went on. A light bulb went on. I realized that this discipline that MECLABS has in actually understanding the relevant content, understanding the audience that we want to service, understanding the products, is the way to go.

    So we engaged with MECLABS to create a new set of landing pages that are actually focused on how a consumer would like to interact with us and especially {inaudible} very targeted consumer segments who may not be that digitally savvy.  And so we started working on a few different prototypes.

    Again, we wanted to have something that has a bit more information, it’s more informative, but give two different looks and feels. One would be with a lot more information, in depth. Another one with less information, that would really service almost as a passthrough to people who have already done their research. And then we launched.

Daniel:     Yeah. So now you can see, if you’re watching too, look at the short versus the long. And think about that for a second. I think most people would assume, you can see how much longer that page is, short is going to work better. It’s quick, everything is right there, people don’t want to read through things that are long. Let’s take a quick look at the results.

    So now let me mention these results. They’re pretty astounding. We’re still in the middle of this experiment. Denis just happens to be joining us at our headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida, here. So that’s why we’re discussing it now. The results aren’t complete yet. But look at those early numbers. That’s pretty astounding of how well the long form is doing.

Denis:     It’s doing great, actually. And what we found out by working with MECLABS and testing things is that, at the end of the day, what we are asking somebody to do is call us and talk to a person. So having actually the person or the people that the customers will be talking to on the site, and actually having the opportunity to get to know the agents before they call, and providing the content that will actually create a relationship between the customer and the agent on the site even before they call us, are some of the reasons why we believe that Treatment 1 is doing a lot better.

Daniel:     I think what you’re doing there is a process level value proposition. Right?

Denis:     Yes.

Daniel:     You’re not trying to sell all of HealthSpire, all of your entire product. All you’re trying to do is get someone to make a call. And that could be a reason why the long form works better because who among us is like, “Yes, I want to get on a call with someone to sell me. That’s what I want to do. Let me grab that phone number right now.” No. You have to sell them on the value of the call, right?

Denis:     Yes. And the part of that value is the people we employ. If you think about the agents that work for HealthSpire, all of our agents are college graduates. We believe that since the product itself and the industry is actually very complex compared to some other industries I worked in, such as consumer finance or the P&C insurance industry — it is heavily regulated, it has a diverse set of products and plans, and to actually understand that, we do want to employ people who have cognitive skills. And I think a certificate of having cognitive skills in the country is having a college degree.

    So we wanted to really try to figure out how do we — and I ran analytics for some time in my previous career where we had always an opportunity to hire people with a high level of education — the question became, “How can we create a call center culture that becomes a value proposition for the college graduates who just spent maybe $40,000 or $50,000 on their education, and now we’re asking them to be on the phone?” It wouldn’t be appealing to me at all.

    And then also, inform our customers that in order for us to service them, it has to start with our employees first, how we train them, how we treat them, how we work with them, how we develop them. And that connection that’s being done on the digital landing page or the longer version is showing results. It’s working.

Daniel:     If we take a look deeper into the results of conversions, we see there’s also more conversions for the longer page. It’s clear, you’re not just getting more people, you’re getting probably better leads. But also, what you’re doing on the call center side is working.

    So let me ask you about that because we recently did a case study with The Globe and Mail, a large Canadian newspaper, and they have a call center there. And what they were telling me is, the real challenge is, (you probably have a bigger challenge than this) is there is such high turnover in call centers that they don’t really get people who understand the product enough. Right? So what they had to do is create this messaging guide and really give them all the information necessary to even someone who’s only there a short time to understand the product.

    It’s interesting what you talk about. You have even a bigger challenge. Understanding a newspaper is one thing. Understanding a complex product that you probably yourself don’t use because you’re not a senior citizen, is more difficult. So what are some of your tactics to, one, reduce turnover and create a working environment that’s amenable, and two, to educate them so they can help educate their customers and really understand the product?

Denis:     Well, that’s interesting because let’s suppose that we are running a basketball team. That’s our business, and as a coach and general manager, we show up for a game and we realize that our players don’t know how to play the game. Whose fault is that? It’s the coach and the manager’s. So the very first thing that we realized is that in order for people to do their jobs, we not only need to find the right talent and onboard that, but we need to continuously work on coaching them day in and day out.

    And through the process, the hardest part is how do you find a balance between them doing their job and having enough time to develop them into effective employees. But not only at a professional level, how do you help them personally develop themselves and get them ready for some other jobs within the company or outside the company? So very quickly we realized it all comes down to culture and environment.

    What I mean by that is that, see, when we ask somebody to be on the phone 9 or 10 hours, it’s humanly impossible to be focused on talking to customer after customer without having the ability to actually take some time off and reflect on, “What was I talking about in the last call that made me do well versus now?”

    Then we need to enable them to start learning about the fact that talking on the phone with somebody is perhaps the hardest sale you can make, and it has a lot to do with the psychology of people rather than just learning the product. Because what you’re trying to do is, in real time without looking at the person, persuade the person that if you have the right product for them and their needs with that, this is the right thing to do and to make a decision that will be very impactful on their well-being and financial health of their household budget.

    Now to do that you also need to take out product knowledge, you need to start helping them to understand the importance of listening, importance of being able to lead people in the conversation through certain decision-making that you have to do on their behalf. So very quickly we realized it’s not only about knowing the product and having a script that you can read, it’s about exploring behind, what’s behind a sale. On the phone, it has to do with the psychology of people and ability of people to adjust their approach to the customer given the differences they have listened to on the phone.

Daniel:     It sounds like empathy.

Denis:    It is.

Daniel:    Is that something that you look for when you’re hiring? Empathy?

Denis:     What we look for is — and it’s not easy, it’s not easy to evaluate people in an interview — is integrity. You have to do the right thing. And what are we doing here? We’re trying to find the right solution for the customer. And if there is no right solution for the customer with us, we will not sell. 

    Actually, we’ll recommend. Either stay with us or maybe you should go and call other providers that have a product — because we can help them find the better product. Even though we cannot sell to them, we can tell them, “Company X has this product, so you may want to go to this site.”

Daniel:     So that’s very interesting. I don’t want to lose that point because I assume you’re investing significant amounts to just get these calls, to begin with, on the landing page. And each call is valuable to you. So you’re saying that you train your call center employees when you don’t have the right product for them, to find the right product for them, wherever it’s from, to point them in another direction.

Denis:     Indeed.

Daniel:     That’s outstanding.

Denis:     That’s I think, if you think about HealthSpire, as I said, is a subsidiary of Aetna. Aetna has been in existence for more than 160 years. And if you take a look at our competition, perhaps the one that’s the second oldest one is most likely a hundred years younger than us. There’s a reason why Aetna survived all those decades or century and a half, more than a century and a half, and that’s the ability not only to anticipate change that is coming but actually to be around people who believe that our job is, our fiduciary responsibility is, to make money for our shareholders and to maximize that. But the way, how we achieve that is the right way. And when you put these two together I think you maximize both. You maximize the financial performance of the company and you maximize an employee satisfaction engagement that then allows you to sustain the business model.

Daniel:     It’s more fulfilling to employees to really serve the customer even when they’re not selling their own product, it sounds like.

Denis:     It’s human nature. I’d be surprised if you, maybe not every one of us, but if you take us in general, our nature is to help somebody. Would you agree?

Daniel:     Totally.

Denis:     So we need to enable people to be people in the workplace.

Daniel:     Let me ask you about that because enabling people to be people in the workplace, that could be a challenging call center. So I wonder how you monitor individual performance. Because a lot of what you’re talking about would go against the metrics we see in a lot of other call centers. It’s about the amount of calls they can make in a day or getting off the phone quickly, some of these things. It almost seems like a factory production. So how do you monitor individual performance and allow people to be people in a call center?

Denis:     It’s interesting you said that because before taking this position about 18 months ago, I never ran a business, a startup. I was in the area of analytics my entire career. It’s a function of support which you contribute, but it’s really not directly responsible for the performance of the business. And when I started learning about this, when I started my job, I reached out to people to see how other people do that. It’s new to me.

    I started thinking about things such as average handling time, minimizing average handling time. And I was thinking, and I realized, “No, I want to maximize the average handling time, given the maximum productivity.” In other words, we don’t monitor average handling time. With our agents, we have goals, what we need to sell, and then we have a very strict process on how we sell.

    That process ensures that we stay in compliance with the federal as well as state regulations because some products are regulated by the federal government, some by state. The process in which we ensure that going from introducing yourself to sale is not two minutes because in two minutes you cannot understand consumer needs. And even if they call you with a specific, preconceived notion of what they want to buy, we still want you to understand their needs because given how complex the industry is, many people actually need more education.

    So it’s easy to us. We employ people to sell but do it in a way that we want it to be done, which is actually serving that customer. And that’s what we monitor. We monitor productivity and quality. How many calls you took, how much time spent, if you sold two policies today and that’s your goal, you’re going to go home. You go home. 

    You have to allow people, give people goals, enable them with the support they have and make sure that you hire people who are accountable. And accountability comes down to making sure that one does his or her job. Part of that is not how long we talk on the phone, how many calls. It’s actually how you’re doing the right thing and how we’re meeting our goals.

Daniel:     And it sounds like diverging from the script when it’s necessary?

Denis:     Yeah, because the script guides you through the framework of sales. What I mean by that is, often if you call somebody to buy insurance products, most likely they sell only one product. And when you sell only one product, you don’t want to know the consumer needs. Because if the needs tell you they need product B, which you don’t sell, guess what? You don’t have to sell. So you’re pitching the product you have.

    Now we have every product that’s out there. So a script allows them to systematically go through the process. And that’s important because most of our people that work for HealthSpire, including myself, we don’t have sales experience. And after a while, you see that the agents start not only memorizing, it becomes very natural for them, but we still let them be them. 

    Their personalities have to come to the phone. The way they assess the situations come to the phone. It cannot be a robot talking on the other end of the phone and reading word for word, which in some cases you have to do when you get to the certain regulated things. But in the process of assessing the needs, selling, we want them to be themselves.

Daniel:     Yeah, if you want people to be robots you could just use AI at this point, right? You bring that humanity and their personality into it, sounds like?

Denis:     You have to because the difference between buying a retail item, piece of clothing, and buying insurance is different. We’re talking about, what I would say, is this emotional purchase, “I like this jacket. I want this jacket. Do I have enough money? That’s the only thing I need to know. Do I like it? Do I have enough money? Then I’m going to buy it.”

    Health insurance is a rational decision. And in that rational decision given the complexity, it’s good to have another human being thinking with you through what the implications are, what my options are. “How do I choose between these options?” And even though I do believe in numbers and technology, I don’t think AI can get us that at this point in time. Even then, you’ll still need to have some human aspect in the process.

Daniel:     Absolutely. Let me ask you lastly. You mentioned Aetna is a 160-year-old company. HealthSpire is a startup within that company.

Denis:     Yes.

Daniel:     So what have you learned from that from maybe learning the best from an established enterprise company and learning the best from startup culture?

Denis:     If you think about Aetna and HealthSpire, its relationship between Aetna investing in HealthSpire and taking a risk to invest in a different business model that doesn’t exist today. Well, at least doesn’t exist at the large scale. So what I learned is that as in any startup it really takes a few things. 

    The first becomes, “Are there people who are willing to invest, that have a vision of where they want to go?” I was lucky enough to be part of the company that has senior leadership who realized that the market is changing, the consumer demographics are changing, the profile of people that we employ is changing. So we need to learn this. And secondly, a person that wants that job has to have a vision that’s aligned with the overall vision of people that are willing to invest. You have to have a certain level of courage to try things that are not tried before.

    And most importantly, you have to surround yourself with people who have similar traits. People who are curious. People who are not afraid of challenges. People who are willing to sacrifice their time when the time comes to make things work. And most importantly, people understand that the success of their organization is not in having the products or the processes; It’s actually having the people on the team. If you have the right people and if you make them happy and content, our customers will be happy and content.

Daniel:  Excellent. All right. Well, thank you very much, Denis.

Denis:      You’re very, very welcome.

Daniel:  Thank you for sharing this test, and I hope you enjoyed this experiment and learning a little more about call center optimization.


The post Landing Page Optimization: How Aetna’s HealthSpire startup generated 638% more leads for its call center appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

Adding Content Before Subscription Checkout Increases Product Revenue 38%

Adding content to a process that leads to revenue for a company seems like a bad idea — particularly when that process is already five steps long. But for iReach (at the time, a division of PRNewswire) the decision to add content led to a 31% increase in conversion and a 38% increase in product revenue.

The Control Checkout Process

Here’s the control entry page:


Click on images to enlarge

 

Here’s an example of the following five cart pages in the control process:

In the data, it appeared that many people were exiting the process due to confusion and a lack of information. After studying customer service inquiries, it was clear that there were many questions potential customers had that were not being answered in the process.

The Treatment Checkout Process

Here’s the treatment entry page:

Below the call-to-action are links to additional content about the product for specific customer segments. Each piece of content was designed to answer further questions the PRN team hypothesized most customers were asking about the product in their minds.

These changes along with a clear product selection page (below) generated a significant result.

 

The Results

By adding steps in the process — particularly product information and a clear product matrix, iReach generated a 31% increase in conversion and 38% more revenue from its subscription/ecommerce offering

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The post Adding Content Before Subscription Checkout Increases Product Revenue 38% appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

Call Center Optimization: How a nonprofit increased donation rate 29% with call center testing

If you’ve read MarketingExperiments for any length of time, you know that most of our marketing experiments occur online because we view the web as a living laboratory.

However, if your goal is to learn more about your customers so you can practice customer-first marketing and improve business results, don’t overlook other areas of customer experimentation as well.

To wit, this article is about a MECLABS Institute Research Partner who engaged in call center testing.

Overall Research Partnership Objective

Since the Research Partner was a nonprofit, the objective of the overall partnership focused on donations. Specifically, to increase the total amount of donations (number and size) given by both current and prospective members.

While MECLABS engaged with the nonprofit in digital experimentation as well (for example, on the donation form), the telephone was a key channel for this nonprofit to garner donations.

Call Script Test: Initial Analysis

After analyzing the nonprofit’s calls scripts, the MECLABS research analysts identified several opportunities for optimization. For the first test, they focused on the call script’s failure to establish rapport with the caller and only mentioning the possibility of donating $20 per month, mentally creating a ceiling for the donation amount.

Based on that analysis, the team formulated a test. The team wanted to see if they could increase overall conversion rate by establishing rapport early in the call. The previous script jumped in with the assumption of a donation before connecting with the caller.

Control Versus Treatment

In digital A/B testing, traffic is split between a control and treatment. For example, 50% of traffic to a landing page is randomly selected to go to the control. And the other 50% is randomly selected to go to the treatment that includes the optimized element or elements: optimized headline, design, etc. Marketers then compare performance to see if the tested variable (e.g., the headline) had an impact on performance.

In this case, the Research Partner had two call centers. To run this test, we provided optimized call scripts to one call center and left the other call center as the control.

We made three key changes in the treatment with the following goals in mind:

  • Establish greater rapport at the beginning of the call: The control goes right into asking for a donation – “How may I assist you in giving today?” However, the treatment asked for the caller’s name and expressed gratitude for the previous giving.
  • Leverage choice framing by recommending $20/month, $40/month, or more: The control only mentioned the $20/month option. The addition of options allows potential donors to make a choice and not have only one option thrust upon them.
  • Include an additional one-time cause-related donation for both monthly givers and other appropriate calls: The control did not ask for a one-time additional donation. The ongoing donation supported the nonprofit’s overall mission; however, the one-time donation provided another opportunity for donors to give by tying specifically into a real-time pressing matter that the nonprofit’s leaders were focused on. If they declined to give more per month for financial reasons, they were not asked about the one-time donation.

To calibrate the treatment before the experimentation began, a MECLABS researcher flew to the call center site to train the callers and pretest the treatment script.

While the overall hypothesis stayed the same, after four hours of pretesting, the callers reconvened to make minor tweaks to the wording based on this pretest. It was important to preserve key components of the hypothesis; however, the callers could make small tweaks to preserve their own language.

The treatment was used on a large enough sample size — in this case, 19,655 calls — to detect a statistically valid difference between the control and the treatment.

Results

The treatment script increased the donation rate from 14.32% to 18.47% at a 99% Level of Confidence for a 29% relative increase in the donation rate.

Customer Insights

The benefits of experimentation go beyond the incremental increase in revenue from this specific test. By running the experiment in a rigorously scientific fashion — accounting for validity threats and formulating a hypothesis — marketers can build a robust customer theory that helps them create more effective customer-first marketing.

In this case, the “customers” were donors. After analyzing the data in this experiment, the team discovered three customer insights:

  • Building rapport on the front end of the script generated a greater openness with donors and made them more likely to consider donating.
  • Asking for a one-time additional donation was aligned with the degree of motivation for many of the callers. The script realized a 90% increase in one-time gifts.
  • Discovering there was an overlooked customer motivation — to make one-time donations, not only ongoing donations sought by the organization. Part of the reason may be due to the fact that the ideal donors were in an older demographic, which made it difficult for them to commit at a long-term macro level and much easier to commit at a one-time micro level. (Also, it gave the nonprofit an opportunity to tap into not only the overall motivation of contributing to the organization’s mission but contributing to a specific timely issue as well.)

The experimentation allowed the calling team to look at their role in a new way. Many had been handling these donors’ calls for several years, even decades, and there was an initial resistance to the script. But once they saw the results, they were more eager to do future testing.

Can You Improve Call Center Performance?

Any call center script is merely a series of assumptions. Whether your organization is nonprofit or for-profit, B2C or B2C, you must ask a fundamental question — what assumptions are we making about the person on the other line with our call scripts?

And the next step is — how can we learn more about that person to draft call center scripts with a customer-first marketing approach that will ultimately improve conversion?

You can follow Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingExperiments, on Twitter @DanielBurstein.

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How a nonprofit leveraged a Value Proposition Workshop to see a 136% increase in conversions

Experiment: Background

Background: Willow Creek Association is a nonprofit organization committed to transforming leaders in their respective communities. Each year, they host a two-day event (Global Leadership Summit) to provide those leaders with training from speakers in successful companies.

Goal:  To increase order conversion

Primary Research Question: How can we create more value to increase conversions?

When The Global Leadership Summit team saw a significant decline in conversions from 2015 to 2016, they established a testing culture to understand why the change. One of the hypotheses behind the decline was removing the incentive, but testing proved it was not the incentive that affected the decline; it was the value proposition. Their next step was to analyze their current page for the gaps in perceived value for the prospect. The GLS team held a Value Proposition Workshop and applied their new learnings to their 2017 homepage for the summit — the results are worth sharing.

Experiment: Control

To begin, let’s focus on the value delivery of the control. At first glance, the GLS team noticed that the page held very little perceived value in the headlines and the copy. The GLS team concluded that the headline “About the GLS” did not give enough value. To a new prospect, who has never heard of The Global Leadership Summit, “GLS” might be a big jump. To assume that the prospect would understand this (or even need this information) is dangerous because it does not meet the prospect where they are in the thought sequence. As marketers, we need to ask ourselves: what is the sequential process in their minds as they enter this page? The prospect will probably ask questions more aligned to: How does this summit benefit me? What do I get out of it? Where is it located? Where do I have to travel? Who will be there? How can this improve my current career path? If marketers fail to ask the correct questions with the prospect in mind, we fail to find the correct answers.

As we journey down the page, we finally come across some useful information for the prospect. There is value in the “Location and Dates” section because it answers these crucial questions the prospect might have: Where is it located? Where do I have to travel? Can this product help me? Answering these questions are great. However, its location on the page is not. What is it doing in the middle of the page? If the page fails to answer these critical questions in the first 4 inches, in combination with prospect’s impatience, the conversion could be lost. The GLS team discovered this is a problem that needed to be addressed.

And finally, after analyzing the entire page, there is absolutely no mention of the speakers in attendance. The GLS team observed that they were neglecting the other crucial questions prospects might have when entering this page, as aforementioned.

Experiment: Treatment

Here is the new Global Leadership Summit page. GLS team extracted the real value of the summit and transferred it to a homepage, only after attending the Value Proposition Workshop. Let’s see how the GLS team addressed the value perception gap.

The GLS team added quantifiable claims in the headline … in the first 4 inches of the page. We can already see a stark difference in the headlines from 2016 and 2017. The larger headline reads “Two days of World Class Leadership Training,” and then goes back to read smaller text above the headline: “You have Influence. Join 400,000 of your peers to learn how to maximize it with …” The smaller text quantifies the number of people in attendance and popularity of the summit, while the larger text uses numbers to start showing instances of the Primary Value Proposition. This is an effective way to initially capture interest and build Credibility.

This headline does not only hold Credibility in the numbers, but there is also Specificity in the blue call-out box at the top of the page. The sub-headline under “The Global Leadership Summit” is specific on the location of the event, which erases the concern for travel arrangements (a potential pain point for prospects) thus, creating value. We will continue to see more of the same information elaborated further below, which creates congruence.

They also added specific information about the speakers. In the control, there was virtually no information about the speakers. In this version, we can see the speakers listed, and additionally, we see that the GLS team provided vital information that fostered conclusions. The GLS team leveraged speaker headshots, names AND positions at their respective companies; this increased the prospect’s perceived value, answering the question: “What do I get out of this?”

And finally, they added value throughout the page. At MarketingExperiments, we call this Congruence. At the top of the page, there was copy that read “convenient location near you.” Although the “Location near you” section seems far from the top, the GLS team still alluded this Primary Value Proposition in the main headline. Since this is the expanded section of the main Value Proposition, it creates congruence and reaffirms to the prospect that there is value.

Experiment: Results

So, what does the GLS team get from building credibility and being specific? Not just a forceful Value Proposition, but more than double the conversions.

Without value, you are doing nothing for the prospect

As blunt as that may seem, the truth is the truth. People do not spend time delving into webpages or emails without knowing they are receiving something at the other end. Friends, marketers, do not waste your time replicating other webpages with their nonsense information, designs and vernacular; instead, test and use the prospect’s thought sequence. Ask the right questions to get the right answers. These tools will give you the results that you want for your company.

For more about our value proposition training, click here. To watch The Global Leadership Summit webinar, click here.

The post How a nonprofit leveraged a Value Proposition Workshop to see a 136% increase in conversions appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

Marketing is Not About Making Claims; it’s About Fostering Conclusions

Imagine for a moment you are in the 10-items-or-less line at the grocery store. There is a man in front of you getting rung up. He’s wearing sunglasses and a suit. You note amusingly to yourself that he must be especially sensitive to fluorescent light. He’s talking loudly on the phone while the clerk patiently scans his only items: 11 huge containers of protein.

“I’m a closer Frank — it’s what I do,” he gabs into his late-model iPhone Plus. “I’m the best in this city. Believe me. You’ve never seen a closer as good as me, Frank. Frank? You there Frank? Yeah, did you hear what I said Frank? I’m a closer!”

Once the clerk is done ringing him up, he pays, mouths “thank you” and plops a glossy, white business card on the counter. Looking from the clerk to you he points to the card, shoots both of you a thumbs up, gathers his protein into his cart, and walks out the door continuing his deafening conversation with Frank.

His card features a typical real estate logo and a glamor shot of his bust without sunglasses. Though, you do make another half-amusing note-to-self that he is wearing the same tie.

Why Marketers are Just Like Frank’s Photophobic Associate

I took a while painting that picture for you because — every day — marketers do the same thing as Frank’s photophobic associate. We make wild claims about ourselves and expect people to be impressed. When, really, all we’re doing is helping them conclude that we’re not the kind of company they would want to do business with.

The worst part is that a business usually exists in the marketplace because they DO have real value to offer customers. But most of us don’t know how to communicate that to our customers effectively.

When we can get it right, however, and rather than make claims, foster conclusions in the mind of the customer, the results can be powerful.

Take this MECLABS certified experiment recently run with a single-product nutrition company.

Experiment: Background

Test Protocol: TP1798

Experiment ID: Protected

Location: MECLABS Research Library

Background: A single-product company that sells high-quality, all-natural powdered health drinks

Goal:  To increase order conversion

Primary Research Question: Which of the following pages will produce the highest conversion rate?

Approach: A/B multi-factorial split test

Experiment: Control

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, take a moment to look at the Control in this test. Before you read any further, it might help you understand what I’m talking about better if you try to identify any photophobic-guy-like claims in the page copy.

Now, they aren’t as dramatic as our opening character, but they are there.

  • Boost Your Energy and Metabolism
  • Improve Digestion and Gastrointestinal Function
  • Detoxify and Alkalize Your Body at a Cellular Level
  • Save Time and Money
  • Limited Offer! Act Now!

There’s more, but let’s just focus on these for a second. It seems at face value to be good copywriting. The words are well-chosen, interesting, and they have a kind of energy to them. But at their heart, they are just bragging.

As a result, the conclusions in the mind of the customer who might be reading this page must be couched in a kind of suspension of disbelief if they are to continue. Maybe the people who buy already know the company is trustworthy so they go on to fill out the form and purchase.

But what about the people unfamiliar with the company? To them, this is just another fad super-food that claims it’s the best. There’s no evidence, no logical argument, no facts to back up what they are saying.

But now, consider the Treatment in this experiment as a contrast.

Experiment: Treatment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Treatment, we change a little bit of the copy, but we achieve an entirely different result in the mind of the customer. The copy has changed to focus not on claims, but rather facts, which, in turn, foster the overall conclusion that this is an excellent product and worth paying for.

  • Made from 75 whole food sourced ingredients in their natural form
  • Contains probiotics and enzymes for optimal nutrient absorption and digestion
  • Carefully formulated by doctors and nutritionists to deliver essential nutrients
  • 10+ years of research to develop an easy to mix powder with naturally sweet taste

What’s the result?

Experiment: Results

The result is a 34% increase in conversion. And for an ecommerce product like this one, that translates to pure revenue.

Foster Conclusions, Don’t Make Claims, Make More Money

In the end, people are still people. We are mostly reasonable. We hear arguments and we can change our minds. But when we hear someone making braggadocios claims, rather than trying to rationally win us over, we are naturally repulsed. Your customers are the same way. And when we foster the right conclusions in their mind about us using facts, data, and tangible evidence, we will inevitably feel better about our marketing, and make more money in the process.

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The post Marketing is Not About Making Claims; it’s About Fostering Conclusions appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

The Prospect’s Perception Gap

There is no such thing as a brand promise — only a brand expectation — after the experience of the value proposition.

Brands make promises all the time, and most of them ring empty and hollow on the ears of a prospect — even if the brand can actually keep its promises.

There is, inherent in every transaction, a perception gap in the mind of the prospect that must be bridged before an exchange can take place.

In April, Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS (the parent company of both MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa), lectured on this gap and how marketers can close it.

<strong>You Might Also Like:</strong>

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