You know the feeling…
You’ve spent hours typing out the perfect email.
The content is great, and you know it’ll help a lot of people solve their problems.
So you hit send, and sit by eagerly waiting for the stats to start rolling in.
Then you check your stats… and they’re not as you expected.
The open rate is horrible. And of those who are opening, most seem to be unsubscribing.
It’s a crushing feeling.
But it doesn’t have to be that way!
I’ve assembled 5 simple steps to deliver some of the most important advice you’ll read about email marketing. Forget the $1997 courses, forget the fancy software. Because if you follow these steps, you’ll get 50x more value than all of those things combined.
So let’s dive in!
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Step 1 – Pique Curiosity with a Question
Many of your subscribers will already be receiving hundreds of emails every day. There will often be a lot of excellent promotions in amongst them, so you have to ask yourself…
“How can I make my emails stand out from all the noise?”
You do so by piquing your subscribers’ curiosity, and one of the best ways to do this is with a question.
It’s only natural that when we see a question, we want to know the answer. It creates an open loop in our minds, and the more curiosity you can generate, the more the human brain desires to close that loop.
So when a reader sees that question, and wants to know the answer, it will often prompt them to open the email, even if they don’t think they want to read the message. This then gives you an opportunity to draw them in further with your compelling opening.
Whacky example, but if a subject line read something like “Want to know how I generated $5k with a tennis ball?”…. you’d probably want to know more. (Well, I would). Despite all the alarm bells going off in my head that this will be junk, I’d still feel obligated to try to close that loop.
The subject line of every email is super important, because it’s what gets your reader to either open your message, or ignore/trash it.
But remember, if you present an amazing subject line, make sure you deliver on that promise
Step 2 – Answer Readers’ Questions
When you’re stumped for ideas for your email marketing content, a great starting point is to use questions sent in from your subscribers.
Most of my members will recognize as something I do. I actually send out surveys, so I can find out exactly what people want, and create content accordingly, rather than trying to guess.
The content of your emails should be helpful to your readers; answering their questions, and ultimately solving their problems.
If someone has emailed you or sent you a message through social media, turn that question into an email. You can either write an article using that question as inspiration, or address that question directly, saying “Blog reader Chris from London asks….”
It’s also an awesome element of social proof. If people see that others are commenting and asking questions, it will encourage them to do the same, until eventually you have a snowball effect and a never-ending resource for content ideas.
Plus, the more you know about what people want, the better you’re able to tailor your content to suit them.
(Note: A lot of people think you shouldn’t give away too much in your content, because then you’ll have nothing to sell later… But I completely disagree with this. I will always give away as much as I can first. You’ll be surprised at the following you build, and how people will still want to buy from you anyway!)
Step 3 – Using Scarcity to Prompt an Action
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, offers in the world of online marketing often have a closing date. They say the offer is only available until a certain time (or until X copies are sold), so act now.
But if the offer is for a digital product, why is there scarcity? How can you “run out” of digital files?
There are two main reasons why we use scarcity in email marketing.
Reason one is to simply put a limit on free giveaways. If you’re offering, say, a free course that involves some 1-on-1 coaching, and don’t want to spend the next few months doing nothing but free work, the cut-off date gives you the ability to say the deal is over.
But there’s an even deeper and more important reason for scarcity. Most of the time, scarcity is purely artificial. There can’t be a limited number of copies of a digital file.
You see, scarcity has a psychological effect. If the deal is only available for a short period of time, then people feel a sense of urgency, as they don’t want to miss out.
This is a great way to get fence-sitters to jump off, when they realize the deal will be gone if they don’t. So by adding the element of scarcity, you’ll increase the chances of your subscribers taking action.
Many marketers use scarcity in a tricky way. There actually is no cut-off date or limited quantity. They just say this in order to get people to take action. For example, your sales page may say that the offer is only good today, so sign up fast. It always says ‘only today,’ even tomorrow!
The point is to urge visitors to take action. Of course, you want as many people as possible to sign up, so it makes no sense to limit quantity.
Put scarcity into your email messages, and see if it makes a difference in your conversions.
Step 4 – The Unsubscribe Link is your Friend
Every email you send should offer a way for people to unsubscribe. And when a subscriber clicks this link, they should be immediately removed from your list.
But many marketers feel that even one single unsubscribe is a disaster, and do everything they can to prevent it from happening.
I’ve seen all sorts of shady things…. from hiding the unsubscribe behind a membership platform (then not giving you access)…. to changing the unsubscribe link to a white font, effectively hiding it.
Not only is this shifty, immoral behavior, but it’s also in direct violation of the CAN-SPAM act, which can result in permanent bans from email services, websites getting shut down, and even some pretty nasty legal consequences.
It really doesn’t have to be that way.
You see, the Unsubscribe Link is your friend!
You’ll hear a lot of marketers talk about how many subscribers they’ve got, and that the bigger the list, the more it’s worth.
But that’s not the case. It’s not about how many subscribers you have, but how engaged they are with you. If you have 1 million subscribers who trash your emails because you haven’t build a relationship with them, it’ll never compare to a smaller list of say 2000 subscribers who love everything you send out.
When someone unsubscribes, it means your message isn’t resonating with them. Maybe your products or services simply aren’t suited to them. Maybe they just wanted to grab your freebie and run.
Whatever the case may be, if someone doesn’t want to be on your list, then they’re not a good prospect for you anyway, and you’ll be doing yourself a massive favor by encouraging these people to unsubscribe if they don’t fit your ideal audience.
Ultimately, email marketing is part of a sales funnel. It’s wide at the top, and narrows towards the bottom. As it gets smaller, it weeds out the list and only keeps people who are qualified buyers.
When people unsubscribe, they’re simply disqualifying themselves automatically, and making your job a whole lot easier.
So it’s really a good thing when people unsubscribe. But… if they’re unsubscribing rapidly, or you have a sudden burst in the number of unsubscribes, that’s most likely an indication that something else is going on, and you should troubleshoot to figure out what’s going wrong ASAP. Losing unqualified leads is one thing, but you don’t want to accidentally and unknowingly burn the potential of future sales.
Step 5 – Create Engaging Email Content
You always hear marketers talk about how the best content is the sort that engages the audience.
But what do they mean when they say ‘engage’?
Essentially, it means you want your readers to do more than simply read your content. When they’re engaged, it means they’re involved and urged to take an action of some kind. And that’s ultimately what you want your subscribers to do – take action.
So how do you create content that engages? By creating something they can be part of. Your content could ask questions, encourage them to try something new, start a discussion, or seek feedback.
For example, in your newsletter, you could be sharing a few all-natural house cleaning tips. You encourage your readers to try the tips for themselves, and report back with their results. Tell them you email you, post to your social media, or through your blog to say how it went.
Or you might share to opposing viewpoints, then ask your subscribers to share their own opinions. Like you might talk about the pros and cons of Facebook and Twitter for marketing, then ask your subscribers which they use, and why.
Having engaging content is what transforms your email newsletter from an “I’ll read it later” item, into something people want to dig into right away.