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AI for SEO and Content Marketing: A Friend, Not a Foe (for Now, at Least)

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AI for SEO and Content Marketing: A Friend, Not a Foe (for Now, at Least)

The author’s views are entirely their own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

Artificial Intelligence is nothing new. It has been running behind the scenes of many marketing tools for several years now.

But the key here is that it was running behind the scenes. We didn’t see it in action, and if it was making some of our tools smarter, we were not really paying much attention.

Later last year everything suddenly changed, with the launch of ChatGPT, which is able to complete all kinds of writing tasks instantly, including full articles and even code.

Now anyone can login and talk to the tool for hours, challenging it with all sorts of prompts and marveling at its ability to understand any task and complete it promptly. There came an endless flurry of articles sharing screenshots of amazing stuff the tool was capable of.

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And while it is fun to play with, the rise of ChatGPT was a phenomenon that raised quite a few scary questions:

  • Is it threatening any human professions? And how fast?

  • Is it going to kill human content and overwhelm the web with AI-generated articles?

  • Will people soon stop using search engines to find answers to their questions?

  • Where is it all going?

While I am very bad at making bold predictions and therefore am reluctant to give definitive answers to any of those questions, I am highly confident that:

  • AI technology will change the way we are doing just about everything (and this is not limited to the SEO industry or any other marketing-related discipline).

  • It will change the way people go about looking for (and finding) answers. But it won’t kill human-created content — if COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that no technology will ever be able to replace human interactions. We strive for personal touches, personal styles, personal experiences, etc.

  • It is not leaving, and we are at the very birth of this new AI-driven world. There’s no going back. And to be honest, I think we are the luckiest generation to have witnessed both the birth of the Internet and the birth of AI.

With that all in mind, we basically have two choices now:

  • Ignore AI for as long as we can (I am sure there are still people who reject the Internet, and they are probably happy).

  • Start using AI now, and ride this wave as informed as we can. With every change, there’s an opportunity, and the only way to grasp it is to be in the midst of that change.

Now, there are endless ways to use AI for all kinds of tasks, but I am a marketer and an SEO, so this article will list the ways you can benefit from it for blogging, social media, and SEO tasks.

19+ ways you can use AI for content creation & optimization

Going back to one of the most popular questions people are asking: Will AI-driven content replace human-written content?

I know there are lots of deniers out there saying that AI will never replace humans for writing content. The truth is, it is already happening to some extent. AI can write better essays than college students. It’s better content than the average content that is being published online.

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Why wouldn’t Google want that, even if it is detectable? If it’s well-written and provides useful answers, Google will likely rank it, regardless of how it is created.

Google has been trying to become an answer engine for years, and AI technology is likely what will finally help them succeed. AI can already write, summarize and find answers better than most bloggers and faster than any of us.

And yet, good content is much more than good writing and correct answers. Good content does one or more of the following:

  • It expresses a personal opinion. People seek critique, feedback, and sarcasm when reading anything.

  • It reflects expertise on the topic that is based on in-depth education and years of experience.

AI technology can only repurpose other people’s content. It cannot do anything of the above. So if your content strategy was mostly about repurposing, it will sadly be impacted by AI, in a negative way.

And yet AI can turn quite useful for content creation tasks, including:

  1. Content summaries and meta descriptions

  2. Article intros and conclusions

  3. Article takeaways and outline

  4. Product descriptions strictly based on existing specifications (avoid any fluff content)

  5. FAQ sections and pages (based on your existing articles or a keyword you are planning to target)

  6. Press releases to distribute

  7. Podcast or video scripts

  8. YouTube video descriptions (or YouTube video summaries to use on your site for accessibility)

  9. Ideas (blind spots) to include in your existing articles (“What is my article missing?”)

  10. Missing steps or angles in your content or research

  11. More sources to cite as further reading, etc.

  12. Your About page and/or bio to use on social media profiles (prompt ChatGPT to be creative/funny/etc.)

  13. Keywords you are missing (and/or ask it to organize your existing keywords by search intent)

  14. Subheadings to break your content into more sections and subsections to improve readability

  15. On-page “jump to” links (Ask the tool to provide HTML code for those or even generate an on-page table of contents)

  16. Title suggestions to make it easier for you to create one

  17. Image anchor text for your whole article/page

  18. Not strictly SEO related, but you can ask it to create unique tweets, Facebook updates, and Instagram captions to promote your content

  19. Definitions for any term you mention (to optimize for featured snippets).

To get the best possible definition from ChatGPT, by the way, it’s a good idea to specify your target audience or its level of familiarity with the topic at hand, in the query. For example, you can prompt it to explain SEO to someone who hears this term for the first time:

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And yes, you can give it images to describe. This is useful for both SEO and accessibility:

AI for SEO and Content Marketing A Friend Not a

All of these ideas will improve your content creation productivity and quality. You can also use tools and extensions to find even more ways to use ChatGPT for SEO and content.

ChatGPT is not the only AI-driven tool that can be used for content creation. There are more tools that are worth checking out.

Narrato uses AI technology to help teams collaborate on creating content. With Narrato, you can use AI to generate content topics, create SEO briefs, assign tasks to writers, and have your content optimized and proofread.

1680848797 148 AI for SEO and Content Marketing A Friend Not a

Text Optimizer combines AI technology with semantic analysis, allowing you to create intent-optimized summaries for your articles:

1680848798 196 AI for SEO and Content Marketing A Friend Not a

AI technology and creativity

Linkbait and viral marketing are integral parts of any SEO strategy because they drive link equity and brand awareness (both are probably the most powerful ranking signals).

There’s one problem with both: You are limited to your imagination. Yes, you can ask for input from your team and customers, and you can copy your competitors. But all of those methods require quite some time and effort.

AI can make linkbait brainstorming a breeze. It can also considerably cut costs on creating linkable assets.

Start by using ChatGPT for linkable asset ideation. A few ideas of prompts:

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  • Come up with viral quiz ideas on …

  • If a site is selling …, which infographics should it create to generate links from bloggers and journalists

  • Generate linkable content ideas for a site that sells …

  • If you were a blogger writing on…, what would you eagerly link to?

  • What are some viral content ideas for … topic?

Make sure to experiment with your prompts. Not all AI ideas will be useful or usable, but you are bound to find quite a few that will get you inspired:

1680848799 434 AI for SEO and Content Marketing A Friend Not a

The golden rule of using AI is: The result is only as good as your prompt. You can get great output if you come up with a great prompt. So don’t stop iterating!

In this sense, AI requires creativity and hard work for it to operate to its best potential. AI-powered SEO is, therefore, still dependent on human effort and input, just like traditional SEO: It is not just about bigger budgets. In fact, in SEO creativity and expertise can easily win over huge budgets, and AI is not going to change that.

Likewise, you can ask it to create email copy for your journalist/blogger outreach.

ChatGPT can be incredibly creative. If you don’t believe me, check out this woman who asked the tool to write a letter to her child explaining that Santa wasn’t real. The result is unbelievably touching, and it is actually hard to believe it was generated by a machine:

1680848799 45 AI for SEO and Content Marketing A Friend Not a

Again, ChatGPT is hardly the only AI tool you can use. There are many others that can help you to generate visual assets for your content promotion strategies.

Photoleap offers a great AI image generation tool that will leave you speechless. Challenge the tool with the most ridiculous image description, and watch create an image for you within seconds:

1680848801 457 AI for SEO and Content Marketing A Friend Not a

Photoleap has AI integrated into its phone app, allowing you to create professional images without investing much money or effort.

Wave.video is another tool that uses AI to make multimedia content easier. Simply provide your URL and it will generate a video in minutes. The result is pretty basic, but you can use it to generate video summaries and social media videos. If you upgrade, you gain access to a more advanced editor to create even better videos. But those will take more time.

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1680848802 901 AI for SEO and Content Marketing A Friend Not a

For more ideas on how AI can help with creating unique images and videos, check out how Roger explores the world of generative AI imagery.

Thinking like a machine

Finally, as SEOs and content marketers, we need to get a better understanding of how AI mind works. There’s a lot of reading on that, but as a believer in tools, I suggest playing this game.

It lets you guess a daily word by associations: Start with any word and it will rate it based on how well it is associated with the word. You’ll find that the human brain works differently: Finding synonyms won’t work here… Here’s how I went from “earn” (my initial word) to “calculator”:

1680848802 647 AI for SEO and Content Marketing A Friend Not a

It is actually a lot of fun and helps you better understand the technology.

There’s also a great blog tracking AI development, new projects, and opportunities.

Conclusion

AI can do much more for your digital marketing strategy than I was able to list in this article. It can drive your customer support strategy (with technology like chatbots and IVR), it can help with brand identity creation (name, logo, etc.), it can scale your PPC strategy (helping you save time and money), and it can enhance your marketing monitoring tactics. And these are just some options that are easy and fun. I am not even going into advanced analysis, analytics, and targeting opportunities here.

Yes, things will change and they will change quickly, especially as search engines start actively integrating conversation features to quickly answer users’ queries (often without attributing any sources). But it’s not like we are going to be able to prevent those changes from happening by ignoring AI technology or denying its impact on everything we are doing.

From the not-so-long history of SEO, we know that SEO thrives when new technology emerges. We tend to find opportunities every time the industry seems to be doomed, and we will continue doing that.

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Streamlining Processes for Increased Efficiency and Results

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Streamlining Processes for Increased Efficiency and Results

How can businesses succeed nowadays when technology rules?  With competition getting tougher and customers changing their preferences often, it’s a challenge. But using marketing automation can help make things easier and get better results. And in the future, it’s going to be even more important for all kinds of businesses.

So, let’s discuss how businesses can leverage marketing automation to stay ahead and thrive.

Benefits of automation marketing automation to boost your efforts

First, let’s explore the benefits of marketing automation to supercharge your efforts:

 Marketing automation simplifies repetitive tasks, saving time and effort.

With automated workflows, processes become more efficient, leading to better productivity. For instance, automation not only streamlines tasks like email campaigns but also optimizes website speed, ensuring a seamless user experience. A faster website not only enhances customer satisfaction but also positively impacts search engine rankings, driving more organic traffic and ultimately boosting conversions.

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Automation allows for precise targeting, reaching the right audience with personalized messages.

With automated workflows, processes become more efficient, leading to better productivity. A great example of automated workflow is Pipedrive & WhatsApp Integration in which an automated welcome message pops up on their WhatsApp

within seconds once a potential customer expresses interest in your business.

Increases ROI

By optimizing campaigns and reducing manual labor, automation can significantly improve return on investment.

Leveraging automation enables businesses to scale their marketing efforts effectively, driving growth and success. Additionally, incorporating lead scoring into automated marketing processes can streamline the identification of high-potential prospects, further optimizing resource allocation and maximizing conversion rates.

Harnessing the power of marketing automation can revolutionize your marketing strategy, leading to increased efficiency, higher returns, and sustainable growth in today’s competitive market. So, why wait? Start automating your marketing efforts today and propel your business to new heights, moreover if you have just learned ways on how to create an online business

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How marketing automation can simplify operations and increase efficiency

Understanding the Change

Marketing automation has evolved significantly over time, from basic email marketing campaigns to sophisticated platforms that can manage entire marketing strategies. This progress has been fueled by advances in technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, making automation smarter and more adaptable.

One of the main reasons for this shift is the vast amount of data available to marketers today. From understanding customer demographics to analyzing behavior, the sheer volume of data is staggering. Marketing automation platforms use this data to create highly personalized and targeted campaigns, allowing businesses to connect with their audience on a deeper level.

The Emergence of AI-Powered Automation

In the future, AI-powered automation will play an even bigger role in marketing strategies. AI algorithms can analyze huge amounts of data in real-time, helping marketers identify trends, predict consumer behavior, and optimize campaigns as they go. This agility and responsiveness are crucial in today’s fast-moving digital world, where opportunities come and go in the blink of an eye. For example, we’re witnessing the rise of AI-based tools from AI website builders, to AI logo generators and even more, showing that we’re competing with time and efficiency.

Combining AI-powered automation with WordPress management services streamlines marketing efforts, enabling quick adaptation to changing trends and efficient management of online presence.

Moreover, AI can take care of routine tasks like content creation, scheduling, and testing, giving marketers more time to focus on strategic activities. By automating these repetitive tasks, businesses can work more efficiently, leading to better outcomes. AI can create social media ads tailored to specific demographics and preferences, ensuring that the content resonates with the target audience. With the help of an AI ad maker tool, businesses can efficiently produce high-quality advertisements that drive engagement and conversions across various social media platforms.

Personalization on a Large Scale

Personalization has always been important in marketing, and automation is making it possible on a larger scale. By using AI and machine learning, marketers can create tailored experiences for each customer based on their preferences, behaviors, and past interactions with the brand.  

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This level of personalization not only boosts customer satisfaction but also increases engagement and loyalty. When consumers feel understood and valued, they are more likely to become loyal customers and brand advocates. As automation technology continues to evolve, we can expect personalization to become even more advanced, enabling businesses to forge deeper connections with their audience.  As your company has tiny homes for sale California, personalized experiences will ensure each customer finds their perfect fit, fostering lasting connections.

Integration Across Channels

Another trend shaping the future of marketing automation is the integration of multiple channels into a cohesive strategy. Today’s consumers interact with brands across various touchpoints, from social media and email to websites and mobile apps. Marketing automation platforms that can seamlessly integrate these channels and deliver consistent messaging will have a competitive edge. When creating a comparison website it’s important to ensure that the platform effectively aggregates data from diverse sources and presents it in a user-friendly manner, empowering consumers to make informed decisions.

Omni-channel integration not only betters the customer experience but also provides marketers with a comprehensive view of the customer journey. By tracking interactions across channels, businesses can gain valuable insights into how consumers engage with their brand, allowing them to refine their marketing strategies for maximum impact. Lastly, integrating SEO services into omni-channel strategies boosts visibility and helps businesses better understand and engage with their customers across different platforms.

The Human Element

While automation offers many benefits, it’s crucial not to overlook the human aspect of marketing. Despite advances in AI and machine learning, there are still elements of marketing that require human creativity, empathy, and strategic thinking.

Successful marketing automation strikes a balance between technology and human expertise. By using automation to handle routine tasks and data analysis, marketers can focus on what they do best – storytelling, building relationships, and driving innovation.

Conclusion

The future of marketing automation looks promising, offering improved efficiency and results for businesses of all sizes.

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As AI continues to advance and consumer expectations change, automation will play an increasingly vital role in keeping businesses competitive.

By embracing automation technologies, marketers can simplify processes, deliver more personalized experiences, and ultimately, achieve their business goals more effectively than ever before.

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Will Google Buy HubSpot? | Content Marketing Institute

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Why Marketers Should Care About Google’s Potential HubSpot Acquisition

Google + HubSpot. Is it a thing?

This week, a flurry of news came down about Google’s consideration of purchasing HubSpot.

The prospect dismayed some. It delighted others.

But is it likely? Is it even possible? What would it mean for marketers? What does the consideration even mean for marketers?

Well, we asked CMI’s chief strategy advisor, Robert Rose, for his take. Watch this video or read on:

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Why Alphabet may want HubSpot

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, apparently is contemplating the acquisition of inbound marketing giant HubSpot.

The potential price could be in the range of $30 billion to $40 billion. That would make Alphabet’s largest acquisition by far. The current deal holding that title happened in 2011 when it acquired Motorola Mobility for more than $12 billion. It later sold it to Lenovo for less than $3 billion.

If the HubSpot deal happens, it would not be in character with what the classic evil villain has been doing for the past 20 years.

At first glance, you might think the deal would make no sense. Why would Google want to spend three times as much as it’s ever spent to get into the inbound marketing — the CRM and marketing automation business?

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At a second glance, it makes a ton of sense.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I and others at CMI spend a lot of time discussing privacy, owned media, and the deprecation of the third-party cookie. I just talked about it two weeks ago. It’s really happening.

All that oxygen being sucked out of the ad tech space presents a compelling case that Alphabet should diversify from third-party data and classic surveillance-based marketing.

Yes, this potential acquisition is about data. HubSpot would give Alphabet the keys to the kingdom of 205,000 business customers — and their customers’ data that almost certainly numbers in the tens of millions. Alphabet would also gain access to the content, marketing, and sales information those customers consumed.

Conversely, the deal would provide an immediate tip of the spear for HubSpot clients to create more targeted programs in the Alphabet ecosystem and upload their data to drive even more personalized experiences on their own properties and connect them to the Google Workspace infrastructure.

When you add in the idea of Gemini, you can start to see how Google might monetize its generative AI tool beyond figuring out how to use it on ads on search results pages.

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What acquisition could mean for HubSpot customers

I may be stretching here but imagine this world. As a Hubspoogle customer, you can access an interface that prioritizes your owned media data (e.g., your website, your e-commerce catalog, blog) when Google’s Gemini answers a question).

Recent reports also say Google may put up a paywall around the new premium features of its artificial intelligence-powered Search Generative Experience. Imagine this as the new gating for marketing. In other words, users can subscribe to Google’s AI for free, but Hubspoogle customers can access that data and use it to create targeted offers.

The acquisition of HubSpot would immediately make Google Workspace a more robust competitor to Microsoft 365 Office for small- and medium-sized businesses as they would receive the ADDED capability of inbound marketing.

But in the world of rented land where Google is the landlord, the government will take notice of the acquisition. But — and it’s a big but, I cannot lie (yes, I just did that). The big but is whether this acquisition dance can happen without going afoul of regulatory issues.

Some analysts say it should be no problem. Others say, “Yeah, it wouldn’t go.” Either way, would anybody touch it in an election year? That’s a whole other story.

What marketers should realize

So, what’s my takeaway?

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It’s a remote chance that Google will jump on this hard, but stranger things have happened. It would be an exciting disruption in the market.

The sure bet is this. The acquisition conversation — as if you needed more data points — says getting good at owned media to attract and build audiences and using that first-party data to provide better communication and collaboration with your customers are a must.

It’s just a matter of time until Google makes a move. They might just be testing the waters now, but they will move here. But no matter what they do, if you have your customer data house in order, you’ll be primed for success.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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5 Psychological Tactics to Write Better Emails

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5 Psychological Tactics to Write Better Emails

Welcome to Creator Columns, where we bring expert HubSpot Creator voices to the Blogs that inspire and help you grow better.

I’ve tested 100s of psychological tactics on my email subscribers. In this blog, I reveal the five tactics that actually work.

You’ll learn about the email tactic that got one marketer a job at the White House.

You’ll learn how I doubled my 5 star reviews with one email, and why one strange email from Barack Obama broke all records for donations.

→ Download Now: The Beginner's Guide to Email Marketing [Free Ebook]

5 Psychological Tactics to Write Better Emails

Imagine writing an email that’s so effective it lands you a job at the White House.

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Well, that’s what happened to Maya Shankar, a PhD cognitive neuroscientist. In 2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs asked her to help increase signups in their veteran benefit scheme.

Maya had a plan. She was well aware of a cognitive bias that affects us all—the endowment effect. This bias suggests that people value items higher if they own them. So, she changed the subject line in the Veterans’ enrollment email.

Previously it read:

  • Veterans, you’re eligible for the benefit program. Sign up today.

She tweaked one word, changing it to:

  • Veterans, you’ve earned the benefits program. Sign up today.

This tiny tweak had a big impact. The amount of veterans enrolling in the program went up by 9%. And Maya landed a job working at the White House

Boost participation email graphic

Inspired by these psychological tweaks to emails, I started to run my own tests.

Alongside my podcast Nudge, I’ve run 100s of email tests on my 1,000s of newsletter subscribers.

Here are the five best tactics I’ve uncovered.

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1. Show readers what they’re missing.

Nobel prize winning behavioral scientists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky uncovered a principle called loss aversion.

Loss aversion means that losses feel more painful than equivalent gains. In real-world terms, losing $10 feels worse than how gaining $10 feels good. And I wondered if this simple nudge could help increase the number of my podcast listeners.

For my test, I tweaked the subject line of the email announcing an episode. The control read:

“Listen to this one”

In the loss aversion variant it read:

“Don’t miss this one”

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It is very subtle loss aversion. Rather than asking someone to listen, I’m saying they shouldn’t miss out. And it worked. It increased the open rate by 13.3% and the click rate by 12.5%. Plus, it was a small change that cost me nothing at all.

Growth mindset email analytics

2. People follow the crowd.

In general, humans like to follow the masses. When picking a dish, we’ll often opt for the most popular. When choosing a movie to watch, we tend to pick the box office hit. It’s a well-known psychological bias called social proof.

I’ve always wondered if it works for emails. So, I set up an A/B experiment with two subject lines. Both promoted my show, but one contained social proof.

The control read: New Nudge: Why Brands Should Flaunt Their Flaws

The social proof variant read: New Nudge: Why Brands Should Flaunt Their Flaws (100,000 Downloads)

I hoped that by highlighting the episode’s high number of downloads, I’d encourage more people to listen. Fortunately, it worked.

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The open rate went from 22% to 28% for the social proof version, and the click rate, (the number of people actually listening to the episode), doubled.

3. Praise loyal subscribers.

The consistency principle suggests that people are likely to stick to behaviours they’ve previously taken. A retired taxi driver won’t swap his car for a bike. A hairdresser won’t change to a cheap shampoo. We like to stay consistent with our past behaviors.

I decided to test this in an email.

For my test, I attempted to encourage my subscribers to leave a review for my podcast. I sent emails to 400 subscribers who had been following the show for a year.

The control read: “Could you leave a review for Nudge?”

The consistency variant read: “You’ve been following Nudge for 12 months, could you leave a review?”

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My hypothesis was simple. If I remind people that they’ve consistently supported the show they’ll be more likely to leave a review.

It worked.

The open rate on the consistency version of the email was 7% higher.

But more importantly, the click rate, (the number of people who actually left a review), was almost 2x higher for the consistency version. Merely telling people they’d been a fan for a while doubled my reviews.

4. Showcase scarcity.

We prefer scarce resources. Taylor Swift gigs sell out in seconds not just because she’s popular, but because her tickets are hard to come by.

Swifties aren’t the first to experience this. Back in 1975, three researchers proved how powerful scarcity is. For the study, the researchers occupied a cafe. On alternating weeks they’d make one small change in the cafe.

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On some weeks they’d ensure the cookie jar was full.

On other weeks they’d ensure the cookie jar only contained two cookies (never more or less).

In other words, sometimes the cookies looked abundantly available. Sometimes they looked like they were almost out.

This changed behaviour. Customers who saw the two cookie jar bought 43% more cookies than those who saw the full jar.

It sounds too good to be true, so I tested it for myself.

I sent an email to 260 subscribers offering free access to my Science of Marketing course for one day only.

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In the control, the subject line read: “Free access to the Science of Marketing course”

For the scarcity variant it read: “Only Today: Get free access to the Science of Marketing Course | Only one enrol per person.”

130 people received the first email, 130 received the second. And the result was almost as good as the cookie finding. The scarcity version had a 15.1% higher open rate.

Email A/B test results

5. Spark curiosity.

All of the email tips I’ve shared have only been tested on my relatively small audience. So, I thought I’d end with a tip that was tested on the masses.

Back in 2012, Barack Obama and his campaign team sent hundreds of emails to raise funds for his campaign.

Of the $690 million he raised, most came from direct email appeals. But there was one email, according to ABC news, that was far more effective than the rest. And it was an odd one.

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The email that drew in the most cash, had a strange subject line. It simply said “Hey.”

The actual email asked the reader to donate, sharing all the expected reasons, but the subject line was different.

It sparked curiosity, it got people wondering, is Obama saying Hey just to me?

Readers were curious and couldn’t help but open the email. According to ABC it was “the most effective pitch of all.”

Because more people opened, it raised more money than any other email. The bias Obama used here is the curiosity gap. We’re more likely to act on something when our curiosity is piqued.

Email example

Loss aversion, social proof, consistency, scarcity and curiosity—all these nudges have helped me improve my emails. And I reckon they’ll work for you.

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It’s not guaranteed of course. Many might fail. But running some simple a/b tests for your emails is cost free, so why not try it out?

This blog is part of Phill Agnew’s Marketing Cheat Sheet series where he reveals the scientifically proven tips to help you improve your marketing. To learn more, listen to his podcast Nudge, a proud member of the Hubspot Podcast Network.

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