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How 20 words generate a 220 percent lift in response

In lead generation, look not only at the number but also quality of leads, writes Jeanne Jennings

Although there are some key differences between direct mail and e-mail, sometimes old direct mail tricks can work wonders in the relatively new e-mail channel. Case in point: in a recent test I did with a client, we added a Johnson Box to its e-mail control. It generated a 220 percent lift in response rate! Here's a brief overview of the results.

The test was performed using an A/B split of the client's house e-mail list. One group received the control creative, a text-look letter; the second group received a test version of the control, which included a Johnson Box at the top. Everything else about the two creatives, including the sender address and subject line, were the same. This allowed us to get a clear read on the Johnson Box's effect on response.

The goal of the e-mail was lead generation. When you do lead generation, it's important to look not only at the number of leads you receive but also at the leads' quality. Unqualified leads waste time.

The test version generated more than three times as many leads as the control version, resulting in a 220 percent lift in the total number of leads generated. The next step in the sales cycle is to qualify the lead and, if the prospect meets the qualifications, schedule a product demonstration. To date, a higher percentage of the leads generated from the test creative has resulted in demos; here we're seeing a lift of 11 percent over the control.

The icing on the cake is both versions of the creative are performing near or over their lead goals; the control is at 97 percent of its lead goal, while the test version is at 320 percent. These figures are two weeks post-send, which means we'll probably see a few more responses before things quiet down.

We also saw lifts from the test creative in the click-through rate (66 percent) and the click-to-open rate (18 percent). These little lifts all contributed to the big lift (220 percent) we saw in the response rate measuring leads generated.