Heartlight Ministries

How stripping out branding in an offer email affects clickthrough rate

Experiment ID: #2697

Heartlight Ministries

Heartlight provides a safe haven of hope for 56 struggling teens at our residential counseling center located in Longview, Texas. Our atmosphere of relationships creates an arena of change for teens and parents lost in a broken world. And second, Heartlight offers help and direction for parents of all teens through our Parenting Today’s Teens radio program, our books, parenting resources, and seminars and conferences….all dedicated to offering effective and practical ways for parents to counter the influence today’s culture is having on their child.

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 09/18/2017 - 09/19/2017

Heartlight Ministries was promoting their new free online course to their housefile. They had developed a heavily branded email template that, despite being signed by Mark Gregston (their founder), felt impersonal. They hypothesized that they could get a better response–measured in clickthrough rate–by stripping out much of the branding and sending an email that felt more personal in nature. They developed a plain-text treatment and split the active email file to determine a winner.

Research Question

Will removing branding from a marketing email increase response rate?


C: Email with Heartlight Template
T1: Plain Text Email


 Treatment NameClick RateRelative DifferenceConfidence
C: Email with Heartlight Template 2.2%
T1: Plain Text Email 2.7%19.7% 98.5%

This experiment has a required sample size of 9,512 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 29,124, and the level of confidence is above 95% the experiment results are valid.

Flux Metrics Affected

The Flux Metrics analyze the three primary metrics that affect revenue (traffic, conversion rate, and average gift). This experiment produced the following results:

    19.7% increase in traffic
× 0% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

The unbranded email produced a 19.7% increase in clickthrough rate. There are multiple factors that contributed to this lift:

  1. The unbranded email significantly reduced the vertical space required to begin to read the content, which could have led to more people reading to the call-to-action.
  2. The unbranded email had more contrast between the text and the background, which made it easier to read.
  3. The design of the email better reflected the context of the email, which was a genuine free course offer that felt personal in nature and needed a “person” design to reflect that.

This experiment shows that Heartlight might want to do further testing on email to validate that the stripped-down template continues to produce better results.

Experiment Documented by Jeff Giddens
Jeff Giddens is President of NextAfter.

Question about experiment #2697

If you have any questions about this experiment or would like additional details not discussed above, please feel free to contact them directly.