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Really Simple E-mail Segmentation: Getting Clicks to Convert

  |  September 22, 2008   |  Comments

The relationship between your e-mail and your landing page.

Regular readers should be familiar with my simple segmentation model that relies on observed behavior. Any marketer tracking basic e-mail metrics can use this model to better target content and, hopefully, improve performance.

It's not that this model is better than others that segment by interest, industry, or another differentiator. It's that this model relies on information that should be available from even the most basic e-mail marketing program. Here's an overview:

Segmentation Using E-mail Metrics

Today, we'll talk about engaging Group 4: those who open and click on your e-mail but don't convert. If you're selling directly via e-mail, a conversion is defined as a purchase. If you're looking to generate leads, it might be defined as a person providing contact information via an online form. These are the most common types of conversions.

If readers open your e-mail with images blocked, then no open will be triggered. But if they click on a link, we know they viewed the e-mail, whether or not that was captured by your tracking system.

What we know about people who click: they saw something in the e-mail that was of interest to them. But when they don't convert, then something on the landing page was a disconnect. It kept them from completing the task at hand. To increase conversions here, your focus should be on:

  1. Are the pages you send people to appropriate?

  2. If they are, can you optimize these pages to increase response?

One common landing page mistake is including links that, while related to the topic at hand, don't set the reader on a path to conversion. For example, it may be appropriate to reference the results of a third-party study in an e-mail to generate leads. But if you include a link to that company's home page, you risk readers becoming engaged with their site -- and forgetting about you and your e-mail.

To avoid this mistake, review every link in your e-mail to be sure that the landing page isn't just relevant, but that it also includes a way for readers to advance themselves toward the conversion.

Another common mistake is being overly enthusiastic about including links. Just because you can link to something on the Web site doesn't mean that you should.

Years ago, I worked with a company that had lots of links in their e-mail messages. They linked to the bios of their team members; they linked to the history of their company; and they linked to a page where you could see a picture of the building that housed their offices. These links were all well and good, but they weren't really relevant to getting people to purchase their product.

Again, review the links in your e-mail and remove any that don't directly guide readers on a path to conversion.

Next, it's time to optimize the remaining pages. Testing is the best way to optimize. Consider your current page the control, and make changes to a test version.

Do an A/B split, where half your respondents go to one page and half to the other, and see which converts at a higher rate. If you're doing a pure landing page test, then the e-mail and other elements of the control and test campaigns need to be exactly the same.

A recent study found that landing page tests returned an average performance lift of 40 percent and that much greater increases weren't unusual. Developing a good landing page test takes a lot of research into landing page optimization and a good bit of thought, but often the cost of developing the test version is minimal. Little things like copy changes, revisions to page layout, and design tweaks can provide great returns.

There are entire books written on optimizing Web pages, but here are a few general principles I follow when I do this type of work:

  • Reinforce the promises made in the e-mail on the landing page.

  • Focus on benefits and advantages, not just features.

  • Include copy to address and overcome common objections.

  • Put the most compelling information first.

  • Minimize choices; the less readers need to think about the offer details, the more likely they will be to convert.

  • Place calls to action throughout the page, not just at the bottom.

  • Provide a clear path to conversion for visitors to follow.

The most important thing to do when you're optimizing a landing page is to put yourself in visitors' shoes. Think about what got them to the landing page in the first place and what information they will need to move forward with a conversion. Remember, they don't know your company or products as well as you do; factor that into your evaluation.

Take some time this week to size up your landing pages and see what changes you can make to increase conversions. In my next column, we'll talk about group five, your tried-and-true readers who open, click, and convert -- and how you can leverage this segment of your list to increase your ROI (define).

Until next time,


Join us for a new Webcast, High-Touch Personalization, The Successful Marketer's Secret Ingredient, September 29 at 2 p.m. EDT.

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Jeanne Jennings

Jeanne Jennings is a 20 year veteran of the online/email marketing industry, having started her career with CompuServe in the late 1980s. As Vice President of Global Strategic Services for Alchemy Worx, Jennings helps organizations become more effective and more profitable online. Previously Jennings ran her own email marketing consultancy with a focus on strategy; clients included AARP, Hasbro, Scholastic, Verizon and Weight Watchers International. Want to learn more? Check out her blog.

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