4 little known, but powerful ways to increase your email open rate
The Goodness Squad Podcast Episode #57
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Your emails are one way for people to get to know, like, and trust you. If you want more sales, that’s exactly what you need them to do. But, they cannot get to know, like, and trust you if they’re not even reading your emails. These 4 strategies will help you with that.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
This is episode #57 of The Goodness Squad podcast. Now, you might be thinking that this is a repeat of episode #50, where we talked about 8 tips for increasing your email open rates, but this is not a repeat.
In episode 50, all I focused on was your subject line, but guess what? That is not the only thing that gets people to open your emails. I want you to think about if you got an email from:
- your best friend?
- your mom?
- your boss?
- What about if you were in a presidency? Relief Society, Primary, Young Women’s?
Even if those emails had a really crappy subject line, would you still open it if it was from one of those people?
In today’s episode, we are going to be talking about four additional things you can do that significantly affect your open rates.
One key reason people will open emails
The reason you open those emails from the people I mentioned above is because you have a level of trust with those people. You have been trained to know that their emails mean something to you. With your friend or your mom, it’s probably some type of an emotional connection and it’s meeting an emotional need. With your boss, you know that if you don’t open his emails it might affect your bottom line. With the counselor, you know your calling is important. You feel that opening an email from somebody in that presidency with you is showing your love for Heavenly Father.
There are many other reasons why we open emails, so when we talk about your subject line we really are just scratching the surface. Is it important? Absolutely. It’s hugely important, especially in the very beginning, right before people have learned to know, like and trust you.
Once people have gotten to truly know, like and trust you, then your subject line doesn’t matter as much because they’ll see your email and it will be like getting one from their best friend or their mom. You have trained them, hopefully, to expect good things from you.
4 Ways to increase your email open rate
So that’s what we’re going to talk about in these four tips. Four ways that you can train people to open your emails. Now I’m sure that most of you, if not all of you, are familiar with Pavlov’s dogs. Pavlov was trying to figure out how much dogs were salivating when they ate. And he expected that they would start salivating when the food was placed in front of them. But in fact, they actually started salivating when they heard the footsteps. They couldn’t even see or smell the food yet.
So what we’re trying to do is create the same situation. We want your name, your colors, your entire brand to create an emotional reaction in people. We want them to know that when they see anything that has to do with you, they’re going to find something good, that it’s going to benefit their lives. So this is what we’re trying to create for them.
#1 – Solve a problem in every single email you send
You’ve heard me say it before, and you’ll hear me say it again and again and again, because it is very important. If you train your people to know that you solve their problems, they are going to consume everything you create because they know it is going to benefit their lives.
Early on, before people have really figured this out, you send them two or three emails and they’re like, “Oh, those were pretty good.” They’re kind of starting to get trained, but they’re not quite there. There are a few additional things that we can do.
#2 – Use good formatting
In the past, you’ve heard me say that I don’t want your emails to be overly designed. This means I don’t want you to use a whole bunch of different colors. You don’t need two and three and four columns and a gazillion different images and 50 different GIFs. You can have an image or a GIF occasionally, that’s totally fine. But what I’m talking about here is the actual formatting.
I want you to make your emails scannable. Which means I want you to:
- Use headings so that somebody can just scan your email and easily see if it’s going to apply to them.
- I also want you to use numbered and bulleted lists. This will help them to scan and see really quick if your email is important and if it is going to pertain to them.
The reason that this will help with your email open rates is that people will experience less overwhelm when they open your email. I am sure you have experienced opening an email from somebody and it’s just one huge block of text, very few paragraphs. Nothing is separated out. There’s nothing italicized. Nothing’s bolded. There are no lists. It’s just this big block of text. And you think “I don’t have the time for that. I can’t figure that out. I can’t do that right now,” you want to avoid that feeling.
If somebody feels that way often when they open your emails, they’re going to stop opening them. So another way to help with this is to keep your emails short. But I believe your emails don’t always have to be short. I think you should be careful about every single one of your emails being exceptionally long. If people know that it’s going to take 20 minutes to read one of your emails, they’re probably going to save it for later, which is code for never get to it.
You can send longer emails, and sometimes need to, to really get across the emotions and feelings and stories that you’re trying to share with your people. As long as when you do that, they are still well-formatted and scannable, I think you’re going to be just fine.
#3 – Tell them what’s coming next
I very often use the PS section of my email for this purpose, but you can include it somewhere in the body as well.
If you watch any sort of TV series, like This is Us or I really like Law and Order and NCIS, often there’s a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of each episode which hooks you into wanting to watch that next episode. If you can do this in each email, hook them and tell them what’s coming in the next one, that’s a good thing.
This is especially important in your Welcome Series where you’re training people to open your emails. They haven’t learned that yet. And so while this method can be used at any time, if you’re going to be sending a sequence it can be really, really wise to kind of build that curiosity and give a sneak peek or a clue about what’s coming next.
So tease them. I don’t mean to tease them in a mean way. Sometimes this can be extremely direct. You can say something like “in the next email you get from me, I’m going to be telling you how to improve your email subject lines.” If that’s something they want to know, they’re now going to be looking for that email.
You can also cut them off in the middle of a story, if you are comfortable with that and that’s part of your brand. There are lots of ways to build that curiosity so that they want to open the next email.
Last, we want to make sure that they’re reading your emails, particularly in your welcome series. Because if they don’t read your emails, they’re not going to learn that they’re worth opening.
#4 – Start your emails with the problem, the solution or in the middle of the story
I want you to think of two different videos on Instagram. One video starts out saying, “Hey guys, how are y’all doing today? Oh, look, I’m live. I’m so excited. I can’t wait to talk to you today.” More people are going to scroll through that type of video than something that starts by saying “if your email open rate is below 30%, you’re going to want to listen up.”
I’m telling you what the problem is. I’m starting with the problem. It’s going to make them want to come in and raise their hand and say “I have that problem. My email open rate is below 30%. How can you help me?”
You can also start with the solution. “Would you like to have your email open rate as high as 70%? Then stick with me because I’ve got something to share with you.” It does the same thing. It builds this curiosity, and this need because they want that solution.
You can also start in the middle of a story. So I could say something like “I was sobbing. I couldn’t stop sobbing. There was pornography all over my website. Do you want to hear the rest of the story?”
You may have heard this about videos on Instagram or Facebook when you do a Facebook live or whatever, but this also applies to your emails. You don’t want the beginning of the email to be a bunch of business and “blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I’m so glad. you’re here. And thanks for opening another email.” The beginning of your email needs to address the problem, the solution, or start in the middle of a story so that they want to keep reading.
So four tips:
- Solve a problem in every email you send to them.
- Make sure that your emails are scannable.
- Tease them, tell them what’s coming in the next email, particularly in that welcome series.
- Start with the problem, the solution, or in the middle of a story at the very beginning of your email, you can get to the business later.
If you do these four things consistently in every email you send, you are going to train your subscribers to open your emails and they will begin to open them without even looking at the subject line.
Now that doesn’t mean I want you to give up on your subject lines, but this is a real thing that really happens. I know there are people who send you emails and you open them every single time.
One of these, for me, is Donald Miller. I open his emails every single time. They’re videos and every one of them is like a two-minute video. I love them because the tips are impactful. I learn something and it’s also short and sweet. So I open every single one of his emails and I don’t even look at the subject line because I have gotten to know, like and trust him. I know that the things that he teaches me will benefit my life.
If you would like even more help with your welcome series, I would invite you to go to TheGoodnessSquad.com/welcomeseriesmasterplan. If you are a member of Tech School, You may be able to purchase that for free with your points. So if you are a member of Tech School, make sure that you log into the membership site and click on Templates. There you will find an option to purchase it with your points.
In the next podcast episode, we are going to be talking about how to get people to take action from your emails. We don’t just want people opening our emails. The reason we’re sending them emails is that we want them to do something. We want them to change their lives, change their habits, stop doing something, start doing something. We want them to take some sort of action. We want them to purchase from us. We want them to share about us. We are going to talk about how to make this happen more often in episode #58. I’ll see you there.
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