The coronavirus is dramatically affecting people and organizations around the world and at home. In light of recent event cancelations across the U.S. and the remote policies being enacted by some Richmond area colleges, universities, and businesses, the AMA Richmond board has decided to postpone all remaining March events (which includes the 3/17 Teach Me How and the 3/18 Signature Speaker event) and provide 100% refunds to all registrants.

Thankfully, current infection numbers are low in Virginia, but we understand the situation can change quickly. We, like all of you, are actively monitoring the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and at this time, we’re evaluating the upcoming in-person events for April and May.

We are exploring alternatives and contingencies, such as the potential to offer virtual ticket options for live events or moving our scheduled events entirely to virtual events. We’re also examining our cancelation policies. Stay tuned to your email inbox for more details.

I know this is a time of uncertainty and many of our jobs have been affected by the COVID-19. While so many things are out of our control, here are some things we can do:

Stay calm, be flexible, and be kind. Everyone will respond to these stresses in different ways. Let’s be respectful and kind in allowing them to do so, and be flexible with the changes that may, or may not, come in the future. And don’t forget, wash your hands, cover your coughs, and stay home if you’re feeling ill.

If you have any questions or concerns about AMA Richmond events with regard to the coronavirus, please feel free to reach out at In the meantime, for more helpful information on the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, please visit the CDC or the Virginia Department of Health.

Stay healthy out there! And stay tuned to your inbox and/or the AMA Richmond website for ongoing updates.

The importance of a carefully crafted message cannot be underestimated in its power to deliver effective marketing.

When many people think about conversion optimization, the first thing that comes to mind are the functional elements like the call-to-action or placement and sizes of buttons, images and forms. However, no amount of a/b testing of the placement of these components will deliver the results if the overall message is not impactful and compelling.

How well you craft your message can be many times more important than anything else you put on the page.

Messaging in context – a powerful change agent
In early 2016, we were engaged by a client in the hospitality space to help them improve their marketing and grow their customer inquiries. We started the engagement with a thorough assessment and strategic planning project.

  • We interviewed key stakeholders
  • Combed through customer survey responses
  • Reviewed prior marketing materials
  • Analyzed website data; and
  • Monitored customer interactions

We were looking for the moment of truth of why some prospects said yes while others walked away. Our discovery led to a hypothesis that increasing the prospect trust in the company would enhance their engagement. We believed that if prospects trusted that the company was there to help them, they were more likely to move past their initial reluctance to engage.

With this hypothesis in hand, we worked with our copy team to craft a series of ads to test different variations of offer and trust messaging. Within each group, we tested further variations of these themes. In all other elements, the ads were similar.

The results of these focused messaging tests were telling with the trust oriented messages beating all other variations. Within a few months, we saw a 221 percent increase in website visits and a 321 percent increase in new prospect inquiries showing that the right message can have a significant impact.

Customizing the message based on audience
In another campaign, we were working with a global talent firm to reach key decision-makers in the North American, European, and Asia Pacific regions.

The campaign was based on a series of content offers utilizing some of the key learnings the client had gathered in their work helping companies find, train and manage great talent.

The campaign launched with good results across North American and Europe. However, downloads were trailing in the Asia Pacific region. After monitoring user behavior on the site, we discovered that the audience from the Asia Pacific region was spending a lot of time trying to learn more about the company.

Using this information, we circled with the copy team and crafted revised landing page messaging specifically for this region that demonstrated not only the value of the content offer but also provided more about the brand that was behind the offer. The results were almost immediate with conversion rates rising to those similar to what we were experiencing in North America and Europe.

While it’s easy to get caught up in the mechanics of a marketing campaign, do not forget the importance and power of great messaging for delivering results.