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Lessons Learned from Real-Life Split Testing

If you want to know what’s working, test it. Is this recipe better than that one? Is this pair of shoes more comfortable than those? Marketing is no different. By taking a portion of your list and testing one element at a time, you can find out what works best. Even if you’ve done testing in the past, things change. It’s essential to keep testing to make sure you know what is working now.

Unbounce, a service that allows marketers to build, publish, and test landing pages, has described the impact of testing on three different companies and the lessons learned from each. Let’s take a brief look at each one.

Test #1: Great ads can get better.

SafeSoft Solutions had a slick, professional ad that was doing well. The headline promoted productivity and efficiency. It used attention-grabbing, easy-to-read bullet points to outline the benefits of its services. But the ad did not contain pricing information. SafeSoft decided to test the addition of a green starburst with its pricing inside. The result? A 100% increase in conversions.

Test #2: Not all trial offers are created equal.

For some companies, a seven-day offer might be perfect. For others, customers might need a more extended test-out period. When HubSpot split tested its trial offer, it found that prospects required more time to make a decision. By testing a 30-day trial over a seven-day trial, it was found that it could boost conversions by 110%.

Test #3: Location matters.

Does the placement of the CTA make a difference? Inbound Strategy wanted to find out. It tweaked its site’s landing page, added more information, and played with the location of the CTA. The results? When the CTA was moved from the right-hand side of the page to the left, there was a 217% increase in conversions compared to the control.

These examples have lessons for us, as well. Whether you are working with print, email, landing pages, or any other channel, you’re missing opportunities if you’re not doing split testing regularly. What insights and higher conversion rates might you be missing?

Secure Mail

Survey: Print Is Safe, Secure, Trustworthy, and Eco-Friendly

If something is proven safe, secure, and trustworthy, you’d embrace it, right? Now add in that it is also eco-friendly, and you have a product anyone would love. There is such a product, and its print. After years of research on consumer attitudes and preferences, print remains consumers’ preferred channel for safety, security, trustworthiness, and sustainability.

Here are some takeaways from research conducted by Two Sides and Toluna, a global polling firm:

  • 91% of U.S. consumers surveyed agree that, when responsibly produced, used, and recycled, print and paper are sustainable ways to communicate.
  • 86% of those in the 18- to 24-year-old age group see print as eco-friendly.
  • 78% of Americans keep hard copies of essential documents filed at home because they see it as the safest and most secure way of storing information.
  • 56% of Americans trust the news stories they read in printed newspapers.
  • Only 35% of Americans trust the news stories they read on social media.

“Although we regularly hear [that] corporations are going digital or ‘paperless’ as safe, secure, and more [sustainable], this is not a shared opinion by a vast majority of the public, who seem to trust paper for many applications,” says Phil Riebel, president of Two Sides North America.

Furthermore, with the increase in online security breaches and “fake news,” Riebel notes the clear advantages of print on paper. “I believe more and more people will become concerned about what may happen to their personal information held electronically,” he says. “Seventy-six percent of people are now concerned, but that may go up even more.”

The value of print has never been clearer, especially for companies in markets such as insurance, financial services, and medical and pharmaceutical technologies, where safety, security, and trustworthiness remain “make or break” issues for consumers. In these and similar markets, the print channel remains indispensable.

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Do Self-Mailers Have Benefits Over Direct Mail Envelopes? You Bet!

For many businesses, direct mail letters are their “go-to.” They are inexpensive to produce, can include BREs and other inserts, and depending on the design, can seem more personal than self-mailers. Still, the popularity of self-mailers is growing. They, too, are inexpensive and have many benefits.

Self-mailers are created when a single piece of paper is folded to create a self-contained mailing format. Depending on the size of the sheet, self-mailers can be folded into two or more panels. They can be sealed using glue lines, wafer seals, or glue spots along the edge.

Let’s take a look at some of their benefits:

  • Because they require no envelope, self-mailers have no envelope or inserting costs. This makes them a great option for tight budgets.
  • When unfolded, self-mailers provide lots of real estate for graphics and messaging.
  • Even on digital presses, self-mailers can be printed on a wide variety of substrates, including heavier substrates.
  • While we tend to think of self-mailers as simple, folded formats, their substrate flexibility allows them to include pockets and interior panels into which you can insert gift cards, reply cards, or small samples.
  • Because self-mailers can be digitally printed, they can be fully personalized like any other mailer.

Self-mailers are readily identifiable as marketing mail, so they can have lower response rates. For this reason, some businesses use them for mailing to people with whom they already have a relationship—loyal customers who will open them simply because of their relationship with the brand. Others use them for campaigns in which people want promotional mail. Examples include promotions around clearance sales, new store openings with discounts, and free samples. We see them heavily used around college recruiting, as well.

In the end, choosing the correct format depends on your target audience and the goals of the campaign. Testing will be critical in helping you identify when and where each format will work best for you.

un-boxing

Great Unboxing Experiences: Now More Than Ever

In a world defined by virtual and digital interactions, positive, tactile experiences are a delight to the senses. This is why improving the “unboxing experience” for packaged products is growing in importance among product marketers.

The “unboxing experience” is how buyers feel when they first open the package and engage with its contents. This experience might be dull as dirt (like taking a pair of shoes out of a cardboard box in a shoe store) or, like opening the box for a new Apple iPhone, it can be a multisensory extravaganza.

Whether you are selling online or in a brick-and-mortar environment, a great unboxing experience increases brand satisfaction, boosts brand engagement, and is something that your customers remember and look forward to in their next order. But how, exactly, do you create one?

Try one of these proven ways—or all three!

1. Brand it.

Companies with the best unboxing experiences create custom branded packaging. This is packaging that is unique to you and includes your company name, logo, and any other graphics or text you want to include. It’s not just “any” box. It’s your box, and everything about it reflects your brand. According to a study by Dotcom Distribution, 40% of online shoppers would share an image of their purchase on social media if it came in branded packaging.

2. Go premium.

Use premium materials to create a sense of luxury. One company that does this extremely well is Apple. All Apple products are delivered in minimalist white boxes with shimmering metallic letters. Boxes are made of premium materials with a soft-touch coating and fit the products like a tailored suit. Unboxing is truly a delightful sensory experience that makes people feel they’ve just done something special.

3. Get creative with inserts.

Don’t just send the product. Include inserts that delight, as well. Examples include personalized thank-you cards or fun product-related information. One organic goat-milk soap company, for example, includes a card with each bar of soap with a picture and the names of the goats from which the milk was taken. “Your soap was hand-crafted from the milk of Daisy, Lina, and Ana. They say, ‘Thank you!’”

Think of unboxing as being like the product’s grand entrance at a royal event. The more excitement generated around it, the more special the product—and  by extension, your company—is perceived to be. If you’re going to make an entrance, make it memorable in the best possible way.

ENHANCED PACKAGING AND THE “UNBOXING EXPERIENCE”

Source: US Vertical Vision Study: Vertical Industry Views from a Socially Distanced Perch; Keypoint Intelligence 2020

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Is Brand Awareness Worth the Investment?

We all want to sell more products and services, and for decades, brand awareness has been the subject of research and study. Is this a good investment of your marketing dollars? To what extent does brand awareness truly influence the final purchase decision? As it turns out, quite a lot.

Here are the results from one fascinating study:

  • In a blind study by the University of Newcastle and the University of South Australia, 85.5% of subjects chose the familiar brand in the first trial, even if they preferred a less familiar brand.
  • Even when testing brands during an initial trial, consumers were more likely to purchase the product from a familiar brand name, even if they preferred the taste (or, by extension, the look, smell, or function) of an unfamiliar brand.
  • Consumers were not only likely to choose the more familiar brand but were more likely to make the decision more quickly — 9.8 seconds faster.

What does this mean for you? Get to the consumer early. Stay in front of them and don’t quit! Repetition is critical. One statistic we regularly run across is that the average person remembers three to five brands per category. To get in there, you have to push someone else out and then stay there.

This is where consistent drips of brand messaging can pay off in a big way. Send a direct mailer and follow up with an email. Invest in retargeting with social media ads for visitors to your website. Create constant reminders of who you are and what your brand offers.

Creating brand awareness is not always about getting someone to buy right now. It’s about staying top of mind—and keeping your competitors out in the cold—so that when your target audience is ready to buy, they think of you.

Source: “Brand Awareness Effects on Consumer Decision Making for a Common, Repeat Purchase Product: A Replication” (Journal of Business Research)

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Streamlined solutions eliminates multiple pain points!

Streamlined solution eliminates multiple pain points!

PROBLEM

A high-growth company with 80 locations and counting was experiencing delays in providing necessary materials to their new locations. Simple onboarding materials for required training could take as long as 4-6 weeks from time of order to in-hand date. The marketing team was challenged with meeting expectations of franchise owners and corporate needs creating multiple pain points.

SOLUTION

ImageMark developed a digital storefront housing all the possible items a new location needed along with replenishment options for existing locations. The franchise owners were given access to the ordering site eliminating the marketing team involvement in placing orders.

RESULT

ImageMark’s ordering solution combined with our in-house production capabilities streamlined access creating a much shorter turnaround time for required materials.

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Waste reduction with ImageMark’s tightly controlled processes.

Waste reduction with ImageMark’s tightly controlled processes.

PROBLEM

A leading manufacturer of instruments and chemistries was frustrated with the amount of waste in the production of their water testing kits. The testing strips in their kit react in a color gamut when dipped in water which is then compared to a bottle label. The color match must be within a tightly controlled range for effectiveness of the test. They were experiencing a rejection rate that resulted in 35% waste of their printed material.

SOLUTION

ImageMark worked closely to understand this manufacturer’s requirements and developed a solution that started with file creation through print production. Quality control steps involve the client’s review and testing to eliminate unnecessary costs.

RESULT

The reduction of waste moved from 35% with their prior print vendor to a resounding 3% waste with ImageMark!

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Capturing a historical moment in a timely manner!

Capturing a historical moment in a timely manner!

PROBLEM

The Charlotte Knights, a Minor League baseball team built a beautiful new ballpark and wanted to capture the first pitch in a special way. How could they share this historical moment with their 12,000 attending fans?

SOLUTION

ImageMark created a quick-turn response plan to have multiple photographers staged around the ballpark to capture the first pitch. The photos were quickly selected and uploaded for print production in our facility 27 miles away. Before the 7th inning, the commemorative prints arrived at the ballpark and were distributed to fans on their departure.

RESULT

The Charlotte Knights had a successful opening game with a special touch for their fans to remember the historical event.

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What is key when bringing a new brand to life? Color consistency!

What is key when bringing a new brand to life?

Color consistency!

PROBLEM

A medical practice in the final stages of a major rebrand was concerned about the color consistency of their new brand in the marketplace. Their experience with using multiple vendors resulted in their logo produced in a rainbow of colors. They invested in developing a new brand and feared their printed materials would not represent their corporate image.

SOLUTION

ImageMark took time to understand the new brand guidelines and devised a solid production process with carefully selected paper to best protect their rebrand launch. Testing and proofing occurred with client involvement before the first printed piece was released.

RESULT

By selecting ImageMark as their single-source partner, the brand launch was a success! Their brand continues to live on with tight color consistency throughout their multiple locations.

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A highly responsive solution that lasts for years to come!

A highly responsive solution that lasts for years to come!

PROBLEM

An Alumni event was quickly approaching with final touches requiring directional signage.

SOLUTION

Instead of using the obvious “go to” materials for standard one-use signage, ImageMark suggested a nicely finished metal frame containing the directional signs. The design excluded a date purposely for reuse in future years. ImageMark created the art, provided a sample for client approval then produced the project within just a few days.

RESULT

Client gained a quick solution with proof-of-concept before investing in multiple signs across campus. The reuse of the product removed the need to purchase signage for future years making the most of their budget.

PROBLEM

PROBLEM

An Alumni event was quickly approaching with final touches requiring directional signage.
SOLUTION

SOLUTION

Instead of using the obvious “go to” materials for standard one-use signage, ImageMark suggested a nicely finished metal frame containing the directional signs. The design excluded a date purposely for reuse in future years. ImageMark created the art, provided a sample for client approval then produced the project within just a few days.
RESULT

RESULT

Client gained a quick solution with proof-of-concept before investing in multiple signs across campus. The reuse of the product removed the need to purchase signage for future years making the most of their budget.

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