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An Inside Look at One of the Most Ambitious and Successful Content Strategies

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An Inside Look at One of the Most Ambitious and Successful Content Strategies

Health Essentials boasts some impressive vital signs. The content brand, owned by the Cleveland Clinic, earns more than 12 million visits each month. That’s 60 times the traffic it earned a decade ago.

Not surprisingly, the content team’s mission expanded over time to include the organization’s website and health library, too.

Mergers of content marketing and content strategy like that happen more often these days (as Robert Rose has pointed out). So it can’t hurt to study up on the care plan (aka strategy) and practices behind this content marketing success story.

Amanda Todorovich, the Cleveland Clinic’s executive director for content marketing, shared the story (which ends with a bit of a cliffhanger) in her Content Marketing World 2021 presentation, Winning Resources: How To Get Leadership Support To Grow Your Content Marketing Team.

I’ve charted some lessons from that presentation. (Amanda will share the rest of the story at Content Marketing World 2022 in September.)
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Work on your bedside manner

Yes, the Cleveland Clinic is a massive global health system with 21 hospitals and operating revenue totaling over $12 billion.

But don’t think the program’s resources came easy. When she landed at Cleveland Clinic as a digital engagement manager 10 years ago, Amanda joined a team of three. Today, she leads a group of 80 (50 of whom she hired in 2021).

To get there, Amanda had to figure out how best to communicate with leaders – including two CEOs with different perspectives – in terms they understand.

For example, content and marketing are two powerful words to content marketers. But to the CEO and other executives? Not so much.

“They like that second word (marketing). They don’t really know what ‘content’ means, and they don’t really understand how it matters … the actual impact a blog post has on an organization is something they don’t comprehend,” Amanda says.

Semantics play a role in successful communication, she says, but making the most of opportunities to get in front of executives and share successes matters, too.

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#Content and #Marketing are powerful words to marketers. But to CEOs and other executives? Not so much, says @amandatodo and @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

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Become the content prescriber, not the content pharmacist

But the first and most important change Amanda made has lasted and served the organization well: implementing a strategy.

A team of three handled the Clinic’s digital marketing in 2012 – a writer, a social media person, and a project manager who tracked all the content demands from people across the organization on spreadsheets.

One of the first things Amanda did was throw out the spreadsheet: “That’s not what content marketing is about. We’re not going to run around and ask everybody internally what they want us to put on this blog,” she says.

Instead, the small content team switched their perspective from filling content orders to creating content that would be good for the audience, Amanda explains.

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Blog traffic grew from 200,000 to 1 million monthly visits in just half a year, relying on a simple strategy of three to five audience-focused articles a day. (It hit that 12 million monthly visit number in September 2021 using the same content formula.)

But the new focus on serving the audience wasn’t an easy transition. “From day one, we had to have lots of crucial conversations with leadership and key stakeholders about why we were changing the strategy,” Amanda explains.

Fortunately, data is a content marketer’s friend. Amanda used the audience numbers to help leaders gain confidence in the team’s shift. Any resistance to moving away from filling the doctors’ orders to creating content prescriptions for the audience dissolved in the face of the healthy, evidence-based outcome.

Data is a content marketer’s friend. Use audience numbers to build confidence in your #ContentStrategy, says @amandatodo via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Amanda developed the habit of sending brief emails weekly to her boss about the team’s activities, describing a win, a cool idea they’re trying, or a new content relationship they’d formed. “I was making sure people knew what we were doing,” Amanda says.

The prescription

  • Don’t let subject matter experts place content orders (i.e., demands) or direct the content strategy. Let your audience’s needs drive content creation and strategy.
  • Use your data to prove the content strategy’s success to secure continued leadership support.
  • Share wins, experiments, and news via informal outreach in addition to formal reporting.

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Balance audience strategy with leadership priorities

When the content team achieved 1 million blog visits a month, they celebrated with a cake and party.

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But the CEO at the time didn’t share the enthusiasm. He believed the organization’s future depended on social media success.

During a presentation on paid search, for example, he interrupted to ask about what the team was doing on TikTok. With the emphasis on social media, more people joined the team to focus on social channels.

“It was a bit tough because while we were doing things and innovating, it was Health Essentials (the blog) plus social media,” Amanda explains.

At one point, Facebook accounted for 60% of the traffic. But as the team built an arsenal of helpful content on Health Essentials (and social media algorithms and behavior changed), the numbers shifted. Organic search drives most traffic now.

The prescription

  • Don’t expect to change the CEO’s content priorities, but still keep your focus on the big picture behind your content strategy.
  • Use the strategy’s success to help educate the CEO and evolve organizational priorities to deliver what the audience needs and wants.

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Expand the strategy when new content responsibilities arise

While the blog was delivering growth and engagement, the website wasn’t. The team behind it was stuck in the order-taking strategy thrown out at the blog. “We had this great strategy and cohesive thing happening with (the blog and social), and the rest was kind of a mess,” Amanda says.

Given the success of the blog and social, Amanda’s role expanded once again as she took on responsibility for health content across the brand’s website, pulling together teams that once operated as separate entities. “We started talking about how the pieces fit together,” she explains.

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With an audience-focused strategy, the website grew exponentially. In 2012, the website had 50 million visits. In 2020, it had 256 million visits (including the blog), with 81% of the traffic coming from organic search.

By 2021, the number grew to 427 million as Amanda secured more resources.

1657535508 645 An Inside Look at One of the Most Ambitious andClick to enlarge

The site’s health content success revealed another disconnect. While the audience was coming to the site for the health content, only 1% visited the clinic’s product and services pages.

“Those are the pages that everybody else in the organization is doing whatever they want to do … They don’t know what their patients actually want and are engaging with,” Amanda explains.

That disparity has prompted conversations about how to connect the dots: “How do we bring the same level of sophistication that we’re bringing on the health content side to the rest of the site?”

The answer came as it did earlier – let the audience-focused people oversee those pages, too. Amanda now leads the entire Cleveland Clinic website with her bigger team. “Connecting the dots for leadership has been a critical step,” she says. “It’s not like I went and asked to take over (the website). It was just pointing out opportunities along the way.”

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Now, “nothing’s off the table. We’ve made major organizational changes. We’ve asked for lots of resources. You cannot be afraid to do that,” Amanda says.

The content marketing team also isn’t just an expense to the organization. About six years ago, the strategy expanded to include bringing in revenue through their content from digital advertising on their health content pages.

“Executives understand money. So, this has powered a lot of our ability to grow and change the conversation,” Amanda says.

The prescription

  • Expect success to lead to more work, as others in the organization want their content to deliver similar growth, too.
  • Leverage your success to ask for more resources – expand or merge teams to bring content under the same umbrella.

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Grow a new structure

At the Cleveland Clinic today, the growing content marketing team is divided into three buckets of core functionality:

  • Editorial (including many, many writers – Amanda says she can barely hire enough)
  • Content growth (SEO, analytics, social, video, email, voice, and podcasts)
  • Project management (all the tools, capabilities, and functionalities needed to create and maintain exciting, interesting, and engaging content.

But it wasn’t always so. At one point, the social media team way outnumbered the SEO team (which consisted of a single person). But as priorities shifted and data showed the relative importance of each, the team evolved. In September 2021, the SEO team numbered more than 15, while the social media team was less than half that size.

This organization chart shows the makeup and number of positions within the three core functions.

1657535508 592 An Inside Look at One of the Most Ambitious andClick to enlarge

A director of content product and operations leads two groups:

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  • The content architecture group consists of two digital marketing managers, a coordinator, three digital marketing associates, a podcast coordinator, and five additional associates who are contractors.
  • A product and project management team consists of a digital marketing manager, three project managers, and three coordinators who are contractors.

A director of editorial leads groups for each content product:

  • The Health Essentials team consists of a digital marketing manager, six content roles, one contractor, and three managing editors.
  • The Health Library team consists of a digital marketing manager and 15 content roles.
  • The Care Pages team consists of a digital marketing manager and two content writers/practitioners.

A director of content growth leads groups focused on four areas:

  • The SEO team consists of a digital marketing manager, two additional managers, seven analysts, and six associates (who are contractors).
  • The social media team consists of two digital marketing managers, a program manager, and three coordinators
  • The email team includes one digital marketing manager supported by a contractor.
  • The video team includes one digital marketing manager, an associate, and a lead data analyst.

The prescription

  • Revisit your team’s organizational structure as you scale your content marketing. Create distinct divisions to address core responsibilities.

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Plan to meet changing expectations

Five years ago, a new CEO brought a new set of priorities. This CEO interrupted a presentation to ask why the Cleveland Clinic didn’t appear when he searched for himself or a particular procedure. He gave the challenge to Amanda to fix, adding members of the patient education team to the content marketing umbrella.

More recently, the CEO asked Amanda how the Cleveland Clinic could become the indisputable leader in health care online. He wanted to know how they could beat their competitors by 10 times.

She and her team went to work creating a five-year strategy to explain how that could happen. The CEO loved it but didn’t want to wait five years. The CEO wanted to know what it would take to do it in two years. He gave her 10 days to figure it out.

“We had been running pilots … and studying this for so long. We know what it’s going to take. It’s small changes. We’re not changing our strategy to do this; we just need to do more of it,” she says.

Amanda presented the business plan detailing what it means to be a leader – to have the most traffic, rank the highest, and drive more revenue to the organization. She asked for 90 full-time-equivalent employees and a big budget. The executive team unanimously said yes, with the CEO declaring this content business plan an investment, not an expense.

(Whether her plan worked or not is the cliffhanger. We’ll find out the answer in September.)

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The prescription

  • Listen to what leadership wants and prepare a plan to achieve it.
  • Ask for the specific number of people and other resources you need to implement the content business plan.
  • Explain how the plan needs to adjust if they can’t commit the necessary resources.

Keep your content eyes on the audience prize

Though Amanda has seen a lot of change over her decade working in content, their content mission hasn’t changed: “We engage users in daily conversations using health, wellness, and clinical information unique to Cleveland Clinic.”

She explains: “You have to have a strategy, and you have to define it. You have to stick to it, which is the harder part.”

Her bosses love the mission and the effect of the audience-focused content. “It’s unique to us. It’s different. It’s better than our competitors. It’s our experts. It features our doctors. That’s the stuff they want to hear,” Amanda says.

It’s also what hundreds of millions want to hear (or read), too. And that’s why that strategy born long ago still resonates and delivers results leaders love to see.

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 Register to attend Content Marketing World in Cleveland, Ohio. Use the code BLOG100 to save $100. 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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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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