Read any marketing blog and they’ll tell you “the money is in the list.” That’s great in theory.
The problem is actually making money from your list, something I really struggled with when I started out online.
Thankfully I could turn to some good friends for help.
Little did I know one of my best friends from University would turn into a top Internet Marketer
Now I want to return the favor. I’d like to share some practical tips you can implement to increase your email open rate, click through rate and actually get more cash in your bank account. Yeah that’s a pretty big aim 😀
The tips get more advanced as the article progresses. The last tip, which I’ve never seen shared before in a blog post, will benefit you most if you’re already established online with an email list (be that an E-commerce store owner, a blogger, software founder or whatever).
Let’s get started!
1. How to Structure Your Email
Form follows function; The phrase was initially coined by the architect Louis Sullivan and is based on the principle that the shape of a structure should be determined by its function.
You can and should apply the same logic to writing your sales emails, because, each part of your email has a specific purpose.
Everything starts with your subject line.
The job of the subject line, and nowadays the first line of your copy, is to get your customer to open the email. And you guessed it, the job of the copy is to get the reader to click on the link.
You’re not making a sale, that’s the purpose of the sales page.
2. Embedding Links: The Magic Number
Good email copy is structured to give your reader multiple opportunities to take the action you desire (in this case getting them to click on you link). The more links you use, up to a point, the higher your click through rate.
You can see the results in the graph below from research Campaign Monitor did when they analysed click through rates from 500 million emails.
Yet just placing the same link multiple times in your copy isn’t going to significantly increase your click through rate.
Click through rate vs number of links. Research by Campaign Monitor.
Think of your email copy as a story. There’s a beginning, a middle and an end. At each stage of the copy you are trying to get your reader to click on the link and leave the story.
You’ll need to use different arguments to achieve this.
For example: you can open your pitch by appealing to a person’s curiosity, follow it up with a list of benefits they’d get by clicking on the link and end the email by highlighting the urgency of completing the action. Check out the example email above to see what I mean.
3. How to Get Those Clicks
There are certain places in your sales copy where dropping a link just works. Embed your link after a list of bullet points that summarise the benefits of the product you are selling or after a product testimonial for example.
Finally you’ve got the postscript (which happens to be the second most clicked link in an email).
To get those brain cells bubbling here’s a list of six different ways you can use a postscript to generate sales.
Images and buttons are proven ways to get additional clicks and increase your click through rates. The case for using a button in your email copy as a call to action is pretty clear cut.
You’ll find dozens of case studies, like this one, that show a jump, in this case 28%, in click through rate when using a button as your main call to action over a text link.
An example of the A/B test ran by Wistia. In this example they saw a 24.83% increase in click through rate for the video thumbnail over the image.
Another obvious way to use images in your email sales copy is creating a video thumbnail (obviously there should be a video to watch on the sales page).
When Wistia tested video thumbnails in emails compared to regular images they saw a 25% jump in their click through rate.
Another important variable to test that will have a huge impact on your success is subject lines. Check out this list of the best performing subject lines to use in your net campaign.
4. Create a Cliffhanger
Think of your favorite TV series. How did it end last week? I bet there was some unfinished business awaiting a resolution in the next episode.
Now think about how you run your email marketing campaigns. Do your readers have anything to look forward to next week?
You should be constantly playing with your reader’s emotions, think flirtatious girlfriend rather than American Psycho, to generate sales or increase click through rates.
Also experiment. Create expectation for your promo with a free giveaway and then add a postscript regarding upcoming offer for example.
5. Never Deceive Your Audience
Obvious right? Not lying to your audience sounds like such an obvious step, but you’ll be surprised how many marketers fall into this trap (often, and I include myself in this list, with the best of intentions). Yet these innocent lies, like that email you promised to send them, add up!
If you say you’re going to send an email to your list on a given day then send it. You mention your promotion or sale will close on a given date and time then close the offer at that time and implement that price rise that you threatened.
When you don’t do these things your scarcity threats become less effective and your audience will stop believing everything you say.
6. Learn from a Pro
The most successful email marketer I know stopped writing ‘original’ copy four years ago. Instead he adapts email series developed and used by marketing maestros like Frank Kern and Ryan Deiss for his business.
An email marketing course by one of these guys will cost cost $2,000 and up.
However, if you are making money from your list already and want to take your business to the next level then these courses are worth the investment.
One of the best courses I completed was The Machine by Ryan Deiss. It’s well structured and guides you through the system Digital Marketer use to manage and profit from their email list across various niches.
The course includes access to a half dozen turnkey email series and some rock solid theory you can apply to your business.
Now I know what you might be thinking; I don’t have $2k to drop on an email course. And I can relate. It’s a lot of cash to invest.
If you want to learn from some of the best copywriters on the cheap sign up to a bunch of different email lists from successful marketers. You’ll get a ton of valuable content, it just won’t be in a structured format.
7. Recycle Old Contacts
Growing your email list can feel frustrating. While you’re always getting new subscribers many people already on your list stop opening your emails.
Most marketers will tell you to get rid of these dud emails, because they’re going to reduce your open rate, which is true. But…
Instead of simply deleting these contacts I recommend storing these contacts on a separate email-marketing provider. You don’t need to put much effort in managing them.
Every 30 days or so send a general email to these contacts; this can be a blog post, discount offer, re-engagement series or whatever.
The open rate for these emails will be tiny. That’s fine. You will get people re-engaging with your emails and your products though. When you do recycle these engaged customers back onto your main email list.
There are no excuse for not doing this!
Plenty of companies offer free trials for up to 2,000 subscribers so it doesn’t need to cost you a penny.
You’ll get better results, and more profits, from your promotions when you send an email series.
8. Flood the Inbox (occasionally)
You shouldn’t use this tip to often as it will burn out your list, but… When you’re pushing a hot product, especially when it’s a time sensitive offer, the best way to generate sales is the frequency of your emails.
During an average 3-5 day promotion we send at least 10 segmented emails.
I recommend sending a minimum of four segmented emails during a promotion. Send your first email to open the offer.
Follow this up two hours later with an email to people who didn’t open that first email. On the last day of the promotion send another two emails (the second one to the people who didn’t open the first). And that’s a minimum!
To increase sales segment your list further by sending custom emails to people who opened the link to those that just opened the email (the fancy name for this is behavioral response indicators.
There’s a nice post by Frank Kern here that should get you thinking).
Just like when you’re embedding links into your email copy, you need to be using different angles to get people to open and stay engaged with your offers (you can’t bludgeon a person into buying a product by repeating the same thing 10 times).
Compose email series that hit different emotional triggers, like emotion, logic and urgency, to maximise your click through rate to the sales page.
9. Run Your List on Two Email Service Providers
Email service providers like Gmail and Yahoo use complex algorithms to assign emails into different folders (like the hated spam). There are a lot of factors to consider, but one which many people overlook is the company you are using to send your emails.
So first tip, choose a company that only lets you upload verified email addresses (sorry Aweber). Once you’ve got that sorted, an easy way to improve your open rate and reach more customers is to host and send emails to your list from two different servers/ companies.
Running your email list on two servers will help you reach more of your email list.
If you do this don’t send the same email twice at different times, which would look spammy. Instead create two messages with the same purpose (here’s a nice article on keeping your list engaged while sending valuable content) and send them at different times to your list.
This will get you extra clicks, which add up quickly when you’re running a promotion!
Summing It Up
I know, just five tips… Believe me it’s enough. Instead of heading off to the next blog post try implementing some of them. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.
If you are looking for more ways to grow your email list, check out these 30+ ideas!
Or better yet, share some tips of your own that could benefit other marketers.
That’s all I have to share for the moment, but I still want to help you out. I run special offers with software startups for lifetime access to useful marketing tools to help you grow your email list and manage your online business (we ran a great campaign with VYPER earlier in the year).
This is a guest post by Nico Prins, to sign up to his no BS email list head over to Launch Space.