Understanding Eye Flow and Avoiding The Corner of Death

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I just recently started following the Neuromarketing blog and wanted to share a really interesting article they just posted in today’s issue.

It’s called “Avoid the Corner of Death!,” and it is greatness. Below, I’ve copy/pasted their article, including the most interesting part: The eye flow chart.

Understanding this is critical, especially for landing page optimization purposes, and tells me that if you’re placing your most important information (a video, an ask, etc.) on the upper-right hand corner of a two-column landing page layout, that you’re putting your most important information at the last place in which this eyeflow chart ends.

More over, anything in the bottom-right corner is squarely in the “Corner of Death,” and will be overlooked by your audience. Avoid this at all costs.

Here’s the rest of the article:

What’s the worst place to put your logo, and where do advertisers most often put their logo in print ads, TV spots, and direct mail pieces? The answer is the same: the lower right corner, an area dubbed the “Corner of Death” by facial coding expert Dan Hill.

Hill’s comments stem from an interesting eyetracking study by Steve Outing and Laura Rule, reported in The Best of Eyetrack III. This illustration shows a composite average of how people scan a typical web page:

 

Corner of Death

Understanding eye flow & how visitors view your web page, website, email, or print piece and where you should (and more importantly should NOT) place your most important information.

Outing and Rule caution against taking this exact path too seriously, as variations in layout will cause differences in how people scan the page. The skull graphic wasn’t part of Outing and Rule’s report, but rather inspired by a similar image in Hill’s new book, About Face.

In an recent article, Hill says:

If we take print ads as an example, you’ve got 1.7 seconds of average viewing time, per reader. And the lower right-hand corner is typically the second to last place people look on a page. (What’s even worse in terms of timing, along the upper right edge, i.e., the alley of death.) What you don’t see, you don’t get. [From Mediapost – The 6 Secrets of Eye-tracking by Dan Hill.]

Despite these findings, the lower right corner is by far the most common single location for the primary logo/brand identity use in all types of advertising, according to Hill.

So based on eye-tracking research, where should the logo or brand identity be placed so that consumers actually see it? Hill says that the best place is the lower middle part of the page or layout, At that point, the viewer will have engaged emotionally with the leading part of the ad, and will then have the opportunity to associate the brand with solving a problem or satisfying consumers’ wants.

I hope you enjoyed.

— GC

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How you can use search engines to test upcoming campaign message effectiveness

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If you have a direct mail, print advertisement or any other type of offline marketing campaign that you are planning on launching soon, it’s imperative that you spend the time and additional resources to properly test a few different campaign themes/messages.

It’s important to do this specifically because of the costs associated with traditional/offline marketing campaigns. When you’re outlying that amount of capital, it’s important to ensure that you can go to market with the best chance of success.

By leveraging search engines to test messaging themes, marketers can quickly, cost-effectively, and successfully collect the type of data that can provide them with the information to properly determine the most effective campaign theme/message.

The following identifies both benefits and considerations associated with leveraging this technique:

Benefits:

  • Faster data collection
    Online campaign data can be collected within a matter of days or weeks, as testing a direct mail program to a segmented test list for your direct mail file can sometime take months to fully analyze. Online testing provides immediate and actionable data that provides the organization an opportunity to subsequently increase their direct mail campaign’s speed to market tremendously, as well.
  • Lower testing costs
    The costs associated with implementing an online test for your direct mail campaign is significantly lower than the costs associated with creative design, print production, processing and mailing of a direct mail test. As previously mentioned, the data collected online to determine the most effective message or theme for your direct mail campaign can be completed in weeks, as opposed to months.
  • Numerous testing options
    Search marketing provides the ability to quickly test multiple components associated with your direct mail message, including the headline/subject, tone, call to action and any other associated creative elements like images.

Additional Considerations:

It should be noted that the audience demographics associated with Search Engine traffic may vary slightly from those of your direct mail file. Leveraging “negative keywords” may help to mitigate faulty or varying data, as it will limit the traffic types to only the most “qualified” visitors.

Testing methodology

SEM Testing Methodology for Offline Marketing Campaigns

In this example diagram, we are looking to test four separate campaign messages.

The control elements of this type of test would be:

  1. Test duration
  2. Search engines used
  3. The method of ad serving (i.e. using either a CPC or CPM model)
  4. The budget assigned to each ad
  5. The same landing page design

The variable elements for each of these message types would then only be related to:

  1. Ad headlines
  2. Ad copy
  3. Landing page copy

By setting up the test in this regard, we can successfully test which message is most effective by measuring the following categories:

  • Traffic
    • Ad impressions
    • Ad click-throughs
    • Unique number of landing page views
  • Conversion rate
    • Ad clickthrough rate
    • Landing page conversion rate
  • Average gift received / number of names collected (depending upon what the goal of the campaign is)

The winning message(s) in these categories should be proclaimed the “winner” and used in future campaigns.

What anxiety exists within the most popular marketing channels?

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Throughout the recent years, I’ve been asked by a number of different marketers (both traditional, brand marketers and online marketers) on how they can leverage some of the newer marketing channels (namely social and mobile) to their advantage.

The first step in understanding how to leverage these marketing channels is to understand that your potential customers have a certain level of anxiety associated with providing you with their contact information within said marketing channels.

Marketing Channel Anxiety

In your online marketing efforts, you must truly understand the anxiety that your prospective audience has when it comes to providing information about themselves. If you look at your available marketing channels, you can begin building plans around the marketing channel in an attempt to upgrade people slowly over time for optimum results.

In an attempt to properly depict how I view the building anxiety associated with providing you their contact information, I show in the chart above, the progression that dramatically increases when you get more personal or start infringing upon two factors: (1) where the person lives, and (2) when the target can start incurring additional fees associated with receiving marketing campaigns and messages from your company.

In an attempt to provide more information and detail, I’ll reiterate the information shown in the graph above, within the following paragraphs:

Little Anxiety: Twitter

Twitter is possibly the lowest anxiety marketing channel available to marketers to use at the time of writing this article, but it also has possibly the highest “noise” factor. According to a recent study published by Mashable, 80% of Twitter activity is classified as “conversations” or “pointless babble”, while 15% of activity is categorized as either “Spam” or “self promotion”.

Additionally, the report indicates that Twitter account usage has a 60% abandonment rate — where a user will register for an account on their first visit, then 6-out-of-10 new accounts will never be visited or used again. This means that marketers need to be wary about pumping too much time and energy into their Twitter account activities, but those engaged followers that do use the accounts consistently that choose to follow your brand will indeed be looking at your messages, or “Tweets”.

I list Twitter in the category of “little” anxiety due almost exclusively to the point that it is the truest form of “opt-in” marketing. Adversely, it is also the easiest marketing channel to “opt-out” of, as well. If someone wants to stop seeing your Tweets/marketing messages — they simply unfollow you and that is the end of your ability to connect with them through the channel.

Marketers should build strategies around how to easily opt-in followers (by offering special offers, or exclusive content), but then have a messaging strategy that is focused on driving the engaged Twitter audience to convert in another marketing channel (i.e. “… become a ‘Fan’ on Facebook and receive X”, etc).

Low Anxiety: Facebook

Facebook is becoming the darling of social networks — and rightfully so. In a recent demographic report that I read online, Facebook has grown from 1/4/2009 – to – 1/4/2010 by 144.9% in the United States alone, to reach an overall network size (just within our country) to a total of 103,085,520 accounts. On the network, potential targets provide a number of different pieces of information that can be leveraged by smart marketing professionals for behavioral purposes. Identifying the “fan” page’s favorite music, television shows, books and movies in conjunction with the creation of the Facebook Fan Page gives marketers the opportunity to quickly an easily provide content onto the homepage of every “fan”.

Additionally, you can easily provide “fan” page members with the ability to, within a single click of a “Like” button, to post to their home page (where all of their networked contacts will see updates in their own homepages) your message, post, or Fan Page URL. It is a true viral network that is still increasing the level of its sophistication and opportunity.

The anxiety, albeit listed at “Low”, is still higher than Twitter in the fact that a large portion of people on the network will guard personal information (pictures, videos, etc.) from those that they do not know. This personal information will create pause in the mind of the target before agreeing to “fan” or “like” your content for just a moment. It is also listed at this level due to the fact that they can quickly and easily remove you from their follow list with a single click to remove you from their profile.

Marketers should leverage this marketing channel for advocacy purposes, allowing those that feel passionate about your cause, product, or company to share it with other like-minded friends and family members. It’s essentially the digital version of the most effective kind of marketing of all time: word-of-mouth marketing.

Medium Anxiety: Email

All of you marketers out there that have been developing name acquisition campaigns, or more specifically, online marketing campaigns to capture email addresses that you can continue to cultivate purchasers/donors from, you know of the difficulties associated with email capture. In fact, Convio released their annual Nonprofit Benchmark Study, which showed that the email registration rate from 2008 to 2009 across all nonprofit verticals dropped from 3.22% to 2.12% (which represents a 34.16% decline year over year).

That means that 97 of 100 website visitors will not provide you their email address. This is an extremely high number and usually is an indicator as to the fact that most organizations are not providing compelling enough reasons for website visitors to provide their email address and information.

If you’ve owned an email address for any extended period of time, you know how much unsolicited email you receive on a daily basis. People are tired of inbox clutter … and they’ll become far more picky as to who they will provide their email address to as we continue through the next decade.

To a marketer, email addresses are great. This is not a new concept — it’s been this way for the better part of this past decade. We can deliver highly personalized, well designed and email campaigns into the inbox of hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people at once and analyze click behavior and provide follow-up analysis of how to reengage with anyone that interacted with your message. The only problem is that most people don’t prefer to get your email correspondence, and they’re proving it by declining year after year in terms of their email registration rate.

To collect this valuable information from your prospective customers/donors, you will need to provide a value exchange that is worth it to them. Offer incentives, free resources, access to special areas of your website, etc. in exchange for the email address, but understand that you’re likely going to fail more than you will succeed (unless, of course, your direct response marketing agency is KMA Direct Communications … yes, I know … a very shameless plug).

Moderate Anxiety: Physical Mailing Address

If you don’t know who I am — would you give me your address if I asked for it? Of course not, and in fact, people online are less likely to provide you their home address unless you’re shipping them something, they’re buying something (and have to in order to complete a transaction online), or they’re providing you a donation.

This one is quite obvious, but you would be surprised by those that I speak with that insist they need it. If you do not absolutely have to have it — I repeat, HAVE TO HAVE it — do not ask for it online.

Again, many organizations that I talk to will try to fight me tooth and nail on why it’s imperative that they have the mailing address of someone that wants to opt-in to receive their quarterly newsletter.

I can assure you … people looking to sign up to receive your newsletter email campaign don’t see it the same way.

If you feel like you have to have the mailing address, ask for it in a subsequent follow-up email. Look, if someone has given you their first name, last name and email address — you have the means through which to connect with them a countless number of times moving forward. So, collect that information now … and back fill the other information that you want to collect (mailing address, number of kids, household income, social security number … or whatever else it may be) at a later date.

Don’t force them to give it to you all at once. The odds are against you if you try to collect too much information too early. Play the odds.

High Anxiety: Mobile Phone

Just about every marketer nowadays wants to know how they can incorporate mobile (most notably, SMS/text messages or MMS) into their marketing campaigns. It usually starts by providing an opportunity for visitors to your website to provide their mobile device number into your database, at which point you need to have a system to administer and send a mass SMS/MMS campaign to those numbers. There are a number of FCC hoops that you will need to jump through, but more notably — you’re going to have a difficult time in getting those numbers from your website visitors.

Why? Because the cell phone carriers will, in most cases, charge your audience an additional fee to receive your SMS/MMS message(s). If you send several appeals or messages per month — those fees can stack up quickly and you’ll have a very disgruntled recipient, who will be far more likely to opt-out of receiving such messages than to clickthrough or convert for your campaign.

With the creation of smart phone (iPhone, Blackberry and Droid) applications, you can make special offers and send “push notifications” via your application to those that have downloaded it. You can connect with them efficiently this way, but as is such with any new technology, the pricing and capabilities for an application development firm can vary wildly.

As such, the cost to administer, run and promote mobile marketing is extremely high for most marketing organizations. Yes, you will have about the lowest amount of “noise” in this channel (most organizations are shying away from this until later down the road), but you will also pay a premium fee to reach those contacts via this channel.

On top of all of that — this definitely reigns supreme as the highest anxiety channel. I ask you: What SMS/MMS marketing lists are you on? Probably none.

I hope you found the post to be informational and enlightening and are now prepared to think about your marketing endeavors in a different light now that you fully understand the anxiety associated with receiving information from your organization via each of the aforementioned marketing channels.

— GC

The reason why you should continue using banner ads, even if the ROI isn’t there.

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The reason why you should continue using banner ads, even if the ROI isn’t there.

Advertising is not a direct response channel, but it can provide a significant lift to direct response marketing efforts when it is added to your overall mix of activities. Trust me, you're not throwing your money away when you advertise online.

If you’re like me, you’ve just wrapped up a great Independence Day break and you’re rolling up your sleeves in an attempt to put your nose to the grindstone. Don’t you just love 4-day work weeks? It makes everything seem to fly by, which is not necessarily a good thing.

After all, there are organizations out there that need help in their fund raising efforts — and the Strategist has been hammering away all week. I apologize for missing my Tuesday publishing date, although I highly doubt there is anyone out there that was disappointed. 🙂

Now, let’s get on with the show, eh? As promised in last week’s blog about the difference between marketing and advertising, I mentioned that I would write this week about banner advertising on the web and why you should do it, even if you ROI is not there.

We had a meeting with a customer before the holidays and this exact question was asked in our call. “Why should we continue to use banner ads if the ROI is not there?” It’s a valid question at the surface level. In today’s economy, it’s difficult to justify expenditures that do not bring a positive return on investment, right?

Well, I challenge that line of thinking. Why?

It’s a simple answer: Advertising is not a direct response channel.

Let me say that again — Advertising is NOT a direct response channel.

A direct response channel is where you’re engaging an audience directly, on a one-to-one level to ask them to perform a specific action. Believe it or not, by slapping a “CLICK HERE NOW!!!” button on your banner, you’re not actually marketing to an audience in a direct manner.

So, what is advertising? Advertising is an indirect response channel. It’s specifically used for brand building, brand awareness and brand loyalty initiatives.

Then, why would anyone want to spend money on that? Well, you can ask one of the million+ public companies that advertise daily on television, outdoor signage, over the radio, etc. — or I can just tell you.

When it comes to advertising, it’s about a consistent, repetitive interaction with a prospective and/or existing consumer base with your brand. The more times they hear the brand, the more “trust” is built in the brand. You may disagree with this, but I would imagine that you’re far more likely to buy a product from a large national brand than you are from the local mom & pop shop that sells the same widget, at a similar price point. It’s not just because of location (which is a major factor), but it’s also about the fact that you interact with the brand nearly daily.

With online marketing tactics like email marketing bringing such clarity and bottom line results to move the needle, it’s hard to justify to others within your organization the expenditures that you’re making in other online channels that are not “generating the same types of results”.

What if I told you that you need to look at your overall marketing/advertising mix as a mathematical equation? Remember all of the way back in high school when you took algebra? Well, take a look at this algebraic formula that I use to communicate the effectiveness of a true marketing and advertising mixture:

Marketing Effectiveness = (A + B) * C

Here are the variables that I plug into this equation:

  • A = Traditional direct marketing/sales activities
    This can include things like direct mail, telesales, trade shows, etc.
  • B = Online direct marketing/sales activities
    This can include email marketing, search engine marketing, etc.
  • C = Online/Offline Advertising activities
    This is whatever you are doing to advertise on the web, on television, outdoor signage, etc.

With this mathematical equation, the “A” value is increased when combined with “B”. But both values are MULTIPLIED when “C” is introduced to the equation. Yes, online/offline advertising is an expense in most cases (and really good marketing/advertising firms can find a way to give you at least 75% of your money back with their strategies — we do it all of the time), but by in large your other marketing activities will receive a lift when advertising is in the mix.

We’re in the process of compiling some figures to back these statistics up, so bear with me while we collect that data. I’ll be sure to post an update here whenever those numbers come back.

The idea is that even if your ad is shown to a particular website visitor and that visitor does not click on the ad — that they have received a “brand impression” (this isn’t ground breaking stuff, is it?). When we marketers target and deliver a direct response message to this visitor (direct mail, email, telephone call, etc.) — then the visitor will have already had an exposure to our brand, making our jobs much easier to ask them to perform whatever our call to action is.

My boss gave me a great video to watch the other day about subliminal advertising. This one is done by Derren Brown and it’s a short 6:40 watch.

I know, I know … you’re FAR too busy to watch the video, right? Trust me, it is totally worth it, so if you don’t watch it now, bookmark it and watch it later over a lunch break or something, OK?

They won’t let me embed the video directly, so when you attempt to watch the video, you will be driven to YouTube to watch it (in a new window).

Derren Brown — Subliminal Advertising:

If you don’t believe me, does this help?

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

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I recently watched a video about communication, sales and marketing that struck me as the most influential piece of footage that I have seen in some time. The following video is simply amazing and should be digested by all marketers, regardless of the product/service they market or sell.

The Golden Circle, by Simon Sinek:

In the video, Simon talks about motivations of the human psychology – and more specifically, gives examples of tremendous successes and failures throughout history of true visionaries that have leveraged The Golden Circle to become some of the most influential people or companies in modern history. He chronicles the stories of Apple, The Wright Brothers and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Summary of The Golden Circle methodology:

The Golden Circle methodology teaches us marketers to communicate the reason “why” we do things. If you think about your marketing efforts — do they commonly focus on the “what” you do (this widget can do this, here’s what we’re doing to help people, etc.)? If so, try shifting your messaging, value propositions and brand to focus on the “why” you do it is what you do.

The Golden Circle

The Golden Circle of motivation, or in this case marketing, should be leveraged by all marketing groups across the globe. Communicating from the center to the outside is the proper way to be successful. Remember, people don't buy "what" you do, they buy "why" you do it.

Why:
The purpose of your organization, the cause you serve or your belief in how you can change the world (or business, etc). This is driving your organization’s motives and actions.

How:
These are the guiding principles of your organization. These are specific steps or actions you take to realize your “why” (or purpose).

What:
The what is a byproduct of the steps you take to fulfill your purpose. This is the tangible result of “how” you bring your “why” to life. These items could be your product or service.

Marketers deal with these three areas every day. This is not new thinking at all, is it? But what Simon teaches is to focus on the direction in which we message.

Most marketers will build their campaigns starting with the “what” and work their way into the center of The Golden Circle — which is the “why”. Worse yet, some marketers forget the “why” all together. The “why” should be communicated in every thing you do when interacting with your prospective and existing customers.

In Simon’s example of Apple, he says that if Apple were run by most marketers, that a marketing message from them would sound something like this:

What: We make great computers.
How: They’re beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly.

… Want to buy one?

Of course, there is no “why” here — because as he says, most marketing organizations do not clearly communicate their “why”. He then outlines exactly how Apple markets and sells their wares, by outlining the following way in which they inspire, which is:

Why: Everything we do, we believe in challenging the ‘status quo’. We believe in thinking differently.
How: The way we challenge the ‘status quo’ is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly
What: We just happen to make computers.

… Want to buy one?

Clearly, the second of the two is far more motivating. It explains why people will camp outside of an Apple Store for weeks before the new iPhone is released in 100+ degree temperatures. People are inspired. People are motivated. People buy from Apple not because they make a cell phone, or a smart phone or even that they have a touch-screen phone per se.

They buy from Apple because they are inspired by what they believe. They, too, want to challenge the status quo. By buying Apple products, they feel that are different from the rest of the world. They feel that they, too, are innovative and creative.

They buy from Apple because they believe in thinking differently.

In conclusion, I would like to first thank Simon for opening my eyes with this discussion. I have now completely changed my line of thinking with regards to strategy and marketing approach. Every single marketing objective I build, develop or deploy will now be filtered through The Golden Circle moving forward.

Did it inspire you, as well?

— GC

Emotion vs. Logic in your marketing pitch

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Emotion vs Logic

When it comes to your marketing pitch, you should strike a delicate balance between emotion and logic. Don't just tug the heart strings, that's sometimes a turn off for certain audiences.

I recently was asked by the local chapter of a large, national non-profit organization (whose mission is to help today’s youth reach their potential through one-to-one relationships with mentors) to consult with their staff regarding their offline and online marketing initiatives for their biggest event upcoming in the fall.

There was no question in my mind that the folks I was speaking with were highly capable marketers, who were deserving of their positions at this non-profit, however I could tell that they have been in “do mode” for far too long.

When you’re stuck in “do mode”, you often forget to start in “think mode”. And when you’re not thinking clearly, you often receive varying (but usually lackluster) results.

I used to preach “accuracy over speed” to my marketing team in a past life. The goal of an effective marketing team should be to be calculated and precise with their messaging and motives.

The organization I was speaking with throws an annual “black tie” event, in which they invite their mentors to attend a nice formal gala, they throw an auction and raise large sums of cash for their cause.

In our discussions, I was able to (after much questioning) arrive at their target audiences, which are (ordered in their level of importance):

  1. Corporate sponsors
  2. In-kind donors of items for their auction
  3. Event attendees

They admitted that the corporate sponsors will bring between 65% – 80% of the overall donation dollars generated by the event. With the slow economy, they were experiencing sponsors either withdrawing their funds, or dropping between sponsorship levels (from a higher donation amount, to a lesser one).

They were perplexed and they needed help identifying how they could justify the investments these corporate sponsors were making.

When I asked them about the demographic information of the event, they weren’t able to tell me anything. They knew attendance numbers from past events and could show an incline in tickets being purchased, but they could not share any information about the audience (breakdown on age, gender, household income, ethnicity, etc).

I felt like it was clear that this organization was not thinking about what materials their primary target audience needed to justify any sponsorship or donation considerations they were asking for in form of a sponsorship for this event. Yes, businesses will provide sponsor events like this to support a cause (and have their organization affiliated with the organization) because it brings good publicity and builds brand reputation. The bottom line, however, is that business decisions are based upon results.

The fix seemed simple enough: Provide the corporate sponsors with more detailed information about their audience to provide them with a level of analytical justification.

This is where the Emotion vs. Logic debate comes into play.

The organization had focused completely on the “emotion” side of the fence by hyper-promoting the impact the organization was having on today’s youth, posting pictures of those children they were helping in their collateral and having testimonials from either mentors or the mentored on the impact the organization had had in their lives.

Although this is great content, there simply was no balance in their pitch, as there was no representation for “logic” or analytical content.

With a few simple tweaks, the organization now plans to leverage a healthy balance in their promotional materials by:

  1. Providing more statistical & demographic ammunition for corporate sponsors to evaluate (logic)
  2. Leverage testimonials from past corporate sponsors about what it has meant to support their cause (emotion)

The team was excited. By having our brief conversation, I believe they now fully understood the need for a good balance between the levels of emotion and logical content used in their marketing pitch.

I was happy to help and look forward to speaking with them after the event has taken place to see what kind of impact these recommendations had on their fund raising efforts.

— GC

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