Get Massive Increase In Revenue By Boosting Email Clicks By 35%

Every now and then I get a hunch about something, run a test and prove myself either right or wrong. In fact, I did this just a few weeks ago with an e-mail blast I sent to everyone in the Social Triggers community. Half of my list got one e-mail, the other half got a different e-mail. I was running a split test and here’s the kicker: one e-mail generated 35% more clicks than the other e-mail.

Now I know you can’t spend clicks, but the truth of the matter is this: if you can send 35% more highly targeted prospects to your sales page, video or anything, that often equates to a massive increase in revenue. So what was the difference between the two e-mails? Just one single word.

When it comes to split testing, micro testing, things like one word, button colours and other little things, rarely pays dividends. But in this split test, just one little word that changed my hook from positive to negative yielded remarkable results. 35% more clicks is nothing to scoff at.

Here’s what went down. In one e-mail I used the subject line “When is the PERFECT time for a meeting, client call or webinar?” In the other e-mail I used the subject line “When is the WORST time for a meeting, client call or webinar?” You can see from those two e-mails that everything else in the e-mail was exactly the same except for one single word. In one e-mail I used the word “perfect”, creating a positive hook, in the other e-mail I used the word “worst”, creating a negative hook. And that’s it.

People are willing to fight harder to prevent loss than they are to potentially gain almost twice as hard.

Now, can you guess which e-mail won the split test? The e-mail with the negative hook scored 35% more clicks over to the Social Triggers blog.

Okay, so you’re probably thinking, “Fine, I get it, I’ll phrase my hooks negatively from now on.” Let me explain the psychology behind why the e-mail with “worst” instead of “perfect” scored me more click-throughs. And this is something you need to know about if you plan to write content or prepare any type of communication material.

There’s an expression from the Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman that I love, “Losses loom larger than gains.” This means that people are willing to fight harder to prevent loss than they are to potentially gain almost twice as hard. In fact, research shows that someone who will fight just as hard to prevent losing $50 as they would to potentially gain $100.

Ridiculous, I know! But that’s why my split test had those results. Because telling people that there’s a worst time for a meeting makes them shift into loss prevention mode. But that’s not all. Yes, losses loom larger than gains, but as a publisher, a communicator or anyone who’s crafting a message that people see and act upon, there are diminishing returns in my experience.

Let me explain. Back in 2008, I had a subscription to the print edition of the Wall Street Journal. During that time, every day was an emotional roller coaster. One day stocks would soar, another day stocks would crash and eventually the negative news overwhelmed the positive news. And that’s when I realised, “You know what? This is making me feel bad about myself. It’s putting me in a place of negativity all of the time.” So what did I do? I cancelled my subscription.

The same applies online. Yes, using a negative spin on something might net a positive result today, but if you keep doing it you risk people tuning you out. Because at the end of the day people don’t want to feel bad and hopeless. So what does this have to do with you?

Here’s what you need to know. When you put a negative spin on something, one that focuses people’s attention on the fear of loss, you’ll earn more attention. So as an example, if I were selling conversion consulting, telling people they were losing out on sales they rightfully earned would be more attention grabbing than telling them they would stand to gain 20% more sales.

But don’t overdo it. Because eventually you’ll be tuned out.