02nd Aug, 2019

Retail Multichannel Marketing Best Practices for Creative

What if you changed just a few words in your retail and ecommerce direct response marketing creative and boosted engagement by 36%? 

Would you know which words to change and why?

Persado analyzed over 300 million marketing messages to pinpoint the words, phrases, emotions, product descriptions, CTAs and formatting elements that retail and ecommerce leaders should use to drive revenue-impacting campaign improvements.

Vague price callouts outperform specific price callouts for descriptive copy so using ‘get it for less’ is going to grow your business faster than ‘get it for $25’. 

Retail leaders need every dollar they can get to compete with pure-play online competitors amidst a landscape of razor-thin margins. Persado experimented with retail client direct response creative and revealed that minor adjustments to the description part of a marketing message – for example, changing ‘newest pieces’ to ‘new arrivals’ – can result in a 36% increase in engagement. However, retail marketing campaigns are typically multichannel and require optimization across web pages, display ads, direct mail, social media and more. It takes a lot more than an optimized email subject line to deliver meaningful revenue results across channels.

There can be significant variations in the impact of different elements on a retail business’s creative marketing message based on the channel of delivery, the emotion used or even the formatting of the message. Persado analysis revealed that emotional appeal can drive up to 60% of the campaign’s performance improvement in general. At the same time, adjusting specific parts of the message can significantly improve the performance of marketing creative.  

Retail case study

A Fortune 500 clothing retailer needed to improve the performance of their web banners to acquire new customers and increase sales from the new customers they did acquire.

The marketing team drove a 104% increase in sign up rate and $171,798 of incremental sales over just three days when they changed the emotional language in the headline along with the CTA.

Learn more: How a large clothing retailer increased order rate 112% with AI

Multichannel retail campaign creative best practices

To get the most out of multichannel marketing and wring every dollar of margin from every campaign, retail brands need to know what messages work across each channel, and why. Here are the key takeaways for multichannel retail marketing best practices for creative broken down by channel. 

Gratitude is the top-performing emotion for retail and Guilt the lowest performing emotion. Using ‘you deserve this deal’ will likely outperform phrases such as ‘don’t miss out on this deal’.

Direct mail

Emotional and functional elements are critical to success with direct mail campaigns. Direct mail shares many characteristics of email. 

Display ads

Functional/ CTA and Emotion play a large role in message success for display ads and, somewhat different from other channels, descriptive copy and formatting also play an important role.

Web and banners

Functional/ CTAs are also the most important when it comes to web pages and banners. This is not surprising since the creative canvas in these channels is often constrained by limited space for messaging, and marketers have to cut to the chase.

Social media (Facebook)

Facebook is the only channel where formatting is the most important element, and by a wide margin. The platform has very specific requirements when it comes to image size and selection as well as character lengths for the text. Marketers have to make sure they get these basics right. After formatting, sparking emotions works very effectively for Facebook advertising.


With email subject lines, emotional appeals are the most important element. Getting this right is vital to produce high open rates. With the email body, however, the functional/ CTA part of the message leads the way. For a successful campaign, the subject line should evoke strong feelings and the body of the message should have a clear and powerful CTA.


Between January 2016 and February 2019, Persado ran a series of experiments to discover the most impactful emotions, descriptions and CTAs across three major industries: retail & eCommerce, technology and financial services. In total, Persado completed over 8,149 language explorations, including more than 300 million message permutations, reaching 2.4B impressions across six channels. The results are based on an amalgamation of what works best across all major channels and can help marketers to make the right appeal to the right customer. Note: Numbers in graphs reflect averages across numerous experiments. Percentages may not add up to 100%. 


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