Email Marketing
Award Winners 2006
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Email Marketing Award Winner
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Best Test You Learned From:
Silver B-to-B
ProspectZone - Does Sex Sell?

Brand/Client Side Team:
None Indicated

Norvax Inc.

MarketingSherpa Summary - Why They Won:
We remember (albeit faintly) the advertising days of yore when the answer to nearly every art director's design challenge was to stick a pretty girl in it "preferably scantily clad." Then the ad world, especially in b-to-b, became so politically correct everyone was scared to test, well, sex. Does sex sell? Thanks to ProspectZone, we now have data proving it may not.

From Their Nomination Form:
Another routine sales offer to our in-house list of health insurance agents. This time around we were hoping an offer of 10 free leads would get the agents who've been snoozing on our list (some for years) to wake up and buy our product for the first time. Turns out, sex doesn't sell. At least, not for 40+ male health insurance agents. This campaign blew the assumptions we had about our audience out of the water (and taught us a little about subject lines, too). The details: In 2005, we began dipping our toes into split testing and are still trying to figure out what makes a busy insurance agent tear him (or herself) away from the phone to open an email. Over the past few months we've been able to inch our way up to an average 34.8% open rate for our offers. Not too shabby, but when the product you're slinging (leads) is your audience's bread and butter, you can do A LOT better than that. So we randomly divided our customer the list in two and crafted some subject lines to test them with. Group A got: '[ProspectZone] How to get 10 health leads at no charge.' Group B saw: '[ProspectZone] Here's ten health leads at no charge.' Each group was sent to their own landing page with identical sets of copy. The only difference? Group A's offer was dressed up with a beautiful blonde woman suggestively holding a slice of cake topped with whipped cream and strawberries (OK, not exactly subtle). Group B's 'sweet deal' was presented by a young man in a shirt and tie triumphantly holding up a cake. A casual betting pool started around the office -- the smart money was on the woman driving the most clicks. The majority of our list is 40+ males. Well, you know what we thought. It almost didn't seem worth testing. The email was sent, and we kept our eye on the numbers through the afternoon. Turns out we were the ones overvaluing sex, not our average agent. The picture of the guy drew an overwhelming 53% more clicks than the woman! Our subject line test proved valuable as well. '[ProspectZone] Here's ten health leads at no charge' got a 28% better open rate than '[ProspectZone] How to get 10 health leads at no charge'. It seems busy agents don't want to know HOW TO get leads at no charge, but rather HERE they are. And to top it off, the campaign outdid our past open rates, with a 48% increase in opens. Image test: The picture of the woman pulled 6.5% unique clickthroughs. The picture of the man had 10% unique clickthroughs -- that's 53% MORE clicks! Subject line test: '[ProspectZone] How to get 10 health leads at no charge' had an open rate of 40% compared to 51.5% for '[ProspectZone] Here's ten health leads at no charge.' That's a 28% better open rate for using the word 'here's' instead of 'how to'. Overall, we had a 48% increase in open rates from similar campaigns in the past. Oh, and did we mention that the email generated over 150 leads? No? Oh, OK. Well it generated over 150 leads. Sales loves us.

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