Last week, I attended MarketingSherpa’s Email Summit in Vegas. Frankly, I am not much of a trade show/conference enthusiast because I often find that speakers’ presentations lack novelty and, in many cases, applicability. Why would I pay to hear about something I’ve already read up on in one of the trade publications I follow?
The first official speaker at the Summit was a refreshing reminder that, contrary to popular opinion, I am not always right. MECLABS’ CEO & Managing Director Flint McGlaughlin provided a ‘refreshingly old’ take on how marketers should approach their communications in his session “Humanizing your Email Campaigns”.
As marketers for various businesses, we often forget how we should be talking to our prospects, all of whom have one characteristic in common – they are all people, not companies. What we often forget to do when we approach these people is consider the fact that, since its very beginning, communication has been a person-to-person, not company-to-person affair. What McGlaughlin reminded me is that regardless of all new communication channels we use today, the fundamental principles that guide human interaction have been the same for the last 10, 100, 500 years in that they’re created FOR people BY people.
In his analysis of how to humanize communications with prospects, McGlaughlin introduced the concept of ‘mental levers.’ A mental lever is really a question about a specific type of value your subscriber may get from your campaign. Questions can range from ‘Is this going to save me money’ or ‘Is it easy to use’ to ‘Will it make me part of a community’, ‘Is it exclusive’, and ‘Will it help me build toward my personal/professional goals?’
The thought behind this concept is that marketing is the art of pulling the right mental lever to incite the desired action from your prospects. The underlying practical takeaway from this approach to marketing is not to simply test subject lines, calls-to-action, or copy, but instead different types of mental levers or value your prospects may be getting from your products and services.
And really, how often when we do A/B or multivariate testing do we essentially test the same subject line or call-to-action simply worded differently? What’s really the difference between saying “Now through the weekend, get 50% off” and “Huge savings – 3 days only”? The underlying value communicated in both subject lines is placed on savings. But what if potential purchasers respond better to a different lever? Would something like ‘Purchase now through Sunday and we’ll donate $5 to the Red Cross’ resonate better with your audience? What about ‘Buy now for a free VIP membership’? Perhaps a different approach will yield higher open, click, and ultimately, conversion rates. The fact of the matter is you wouldn’t know until you test the levers, not the words.
While this approach may not be applicable to all marketers and industries, it’s certainly a great litmus test for the direction of your marketing program, brand messaging, and sales strategy.
What are some mental levers applicable to your industry that you may consider testing in the future?