There has been a great deal of research on choice overload, in essence more is often less. It has been shown that if you offer a choice of half a dozen broadly similar items you will get better returns than offering sixty. This is not taking into account the savings associated with smaller stock ranges and display. Pay attention to the content.
In email marketing the norm is that we often have the exact opposite of choice overload: single item in each campaign. This has distinct advantages, such as ease of completion of the order, and an increase in completions.
However, I recently received a marketing email offering a software upgrade that was so cleverly constructed that I actually bought a most expensive item, rather than one which, whilst a little cheaper, performed every function I needed and was likely to need before next year’s update.
The company not only produces an excellent series of integrated products but, more to the point for this article, also sends out well crafted emails. For this particular one my annual upgrade time was approaching. I buy when the price drops significantly without it being so old that competitors have all beaten me to it.
The company try to bring my renewal date forward a little at a time, and are being quite successful despite me struggling against it. This time, though, the email was a little different. Instead of the offer on the current edition there was a choice of three levels.
The company use their email marketing software to a high degree of efficiency and usually offer me just what I need, at a price just a little over what I want to pay. You might wonder, as did I, why the change to three levels of software? There was the base which was a little too restricted for me, then a standard model, the one I preferred, and finally a third, with rather clever little additions that I could manage without.
The norm is for marketing emails to offer just the one product. We all know, at least if you’ve read many articles on the subject, that subscribers spend just a few seconds in making up their minds, so giving them more choices risks them deleting the email.
My assumption is that they want me to upgrade to the higher level of software, get used to the extra functions, and then, when renewal time comes next year, I will opt for the pricier item as the standard type would be a step backwards.
Even though I viewed the email as someone in email marketing would, appreciating the way they compared the three products clearly in table form, I opted for the most expensive product.
I’m pleased with my choice, having played, the only suitable description, with the new facilities more than I should, and I can’t see me opting for the cheaper one next year.
Try the choice model. Pick your test subscribers with care, using your email marketing software. Don’t over-hype the more expensive option, or the one giving the best margin. Allow the person to choose. Choice restriction can be as disastrous as choice overload.