Tiny changes can make big differences.
In a campaign to distribute free lesson kits to North Dakota educators, changing a few areas of an email significantly increased responses.
The Flint Group client, ND Switch, is built on the premise that small changes create a big impact. An energy efficiency program sponsored by the North Dakota Department of Commerce, ND Switch is a statewide effort to enlighten residents about small actions that make a major difference when it comes to saving energy.
This part of ND Switch encourages state educators to teach students about energy efficient behaviors. The audience for this phase of the campaign was the 603 administrators, superintendents and principals at N.D. elementary and middle schools.
Here was the deal: Educators could reserve a FREE ‘Comparing Light Bulbs’ lesson kit (complete with all materials), and pick up the kit at ND Switch’s booth at the N.D. Educators Association (NDEA) conference. (We mailed the kit to people who didn’t attend the conference, but they had to reserve one online.) The kit included a box complete with:
- A compact florescent light bulb
- A florescent light bulb
- Detailed lesson plan
- National teaching/education standards met
- Key chains and light switch cover stickers for each student (up to 40 per kit)
- Recycled blue tote bag
ND Switch wanted to drive traffic to its NDEA booth, and position itself as a partner in energy efficiency education to state educators.
We planned to use email, direct mail and Facebook ads, targeted to those interested in teaching and education. The call to action was to visit a landing page and reserve their free lesson kit. The landing page allowed us to gather a little extra information, such as number of students in the classroom and whether or not the educator was planning to attend the conference. (As it turned out, only four were attending, and the majority of kits were mailed.) The Facebook ads were cancelled due to high demand for the lesson kits.
First, we sent an email to our target audience. Five lesson kits were reserved. Response rate: 0.829%. Next, we sent this direct mail postcard:
Six more lesson kits were reserved. Response rate: 1%. That’s about the industry average for direct mail.
Pull the plug?
We had 100 kits prepared, and we’d all counted on stronger responses. To our client’s credit, they didn’t pull the plug. They allowed us to change these three items on the email:
- First email subject line: An Easy Way to Teach Students about Energy Usage
Second email subject line: Complimentary Lesson Kits Still Available
- New lead-in copy on email: Complimentary lesson kit for the first 100 who respond!
- Move the ‘Reserve your lesson kit’ button closer to the top of the second email
Results increase by 20x
Lesson kits reserved: 94! Response rate: 16%.
We now had 105 lesson kits reserved. Because of continued demand through landing page visits, we changed the message to: “We’re sorry, but all 100 lesson kits have been reserved.”
ND Switch teaches that small changes yield big results. We’re proud they approved small tweaks to generate nearly 20 times more response in a second email. It also shed additional light on email subject line and actual email content. Obviously, “complimentary” is a powerful word. (It’s also another word for ‘free,’ which is a loaded word and sometimes marked as spam when used in email subject lines.) And, creating a sense of urgency with “first 100 who respond” also boosted our response.