How many newsletters do you receive on a weekly basis?
How many of those newsletters do you think would generate a human response if you were to hit the 'reply' button?
I'm guessing few (if any).
What does this mean for business?
It means you have an ENORMOUS opportunity to set yourself apart and build a cult-like following of customers who will always open your emails in anticipation of what you're offering.
Does this sound familiar?
If you're like me, your phone isn't a reading device, rather, a deleting device – to filter emails, clear the junk, and keep the emails you want to take action on.
Am I right?
I've worked with many clients over the years who've struggled with their email marketing strategy. It can be a tough code to crack, but once you get it, the sky is the limit!
In this post, I'm going to share the simple formula (and how you can take advantage of it) which has resulted in email open rates consistently above 50%, and sometimes nearly 70%!
Don't think it's possible?
Here's a recent screenshot from the MailChimp account of a company I co-founded – BeerGuysYYC.
A craft beer promotions company, we host the annual beer festival Calgary Beer Week, in addition to numerous smaller events throughout the year.
FIRST: The SAD Truth About Email Marketing...
Let's be honest, these days most email marketing is terrible with more noise than ever.
Free tools like MailChimp and Constant Contact give everyone the ability to send a newsletter.
The problem, however:
When did marketers start believing they had to send so many emails?
The belief that brands should be engaging with their audience on a regular basis to maintain relevance in the customer's mind is total BS.
Building an effective email marketing strategy means only reaching out to customers when there is something of value to offer. Otherwise, prospective customers become passive readers.
Newsletters quickly get archived with the rest of the unopened junk mail, or worse, customers hit the dreaded 'unsubscribe' button.
Consumers are smart and their spam radar is better than ever. Marketers who send the same boring newsletters simply because they feel obligated to send something in order to stay relevant are killing their business one unsubscriber at a time.
There are three simple proven rules for creating an effective email marketing strategy and produce open rates >50%:
1) The Headline
2) Value Proposition
3) Keep It Short!
Let's dive into each one...
1) The Headline
Many marketers over think this. It's actually quite simple – just get people to open it.
The only purpose of a headline is to peak interest and provoke an open.
Here's an example of what not to do...
Does this headline make you even the least bit curious or excited to open it?
I don't think so – DELETE
Now, here's an example of an effective newsletter headline...
What makes this headline so effective?
First, they don't give away all the juice up front. Instead, we have to open the email to learn more:
- How much does it cost?
- What time does it start?
- What's on the menu?
- I've never heard of this restaurant, is it new?
- How many glasses of sparkling wine do we get?
Second, it's a GOOD offer. Who doesn't like food and booze?? (more about this below).
When sending emails to newsletter subscribers marketers often make the mistake of conveying their message like a boring public service announcement.
Get creative, ask questions, give teasers, and you too will have open rates in excess of 50%!
2) Value Proposition
Question: which of these email types are you most likely to open, read and act on:
1) A boring, repetitive weekly roundup of '10 New Breakfast Restaurants'.
2) A super awesome offer from a company who only sends out incredible deals every few weeks/months.
When did marketers start thinking they had to send such frequent emails?
More than 50% of all email is now opened on a mobile device:
I'll say it again: phones are deleting devices, not reading devices. Don't email for email's sake.
By sending a regular newsletter purely for the purpose of sending stuff, open rates will drop as subscribers turn from engaged readers into passive scanners.
Follow this simple rule: unless it brings value to the customers life it's always best to stay silent.
The most effective marketing emails are those which leave customers with a sense of appreciation, saying, “Awesome, Thanks!”.
Q: What if customers forget about me?
By consistently bringing fabulous opportunities to the table subscribers will never forget who you are. Even if they do, they’ll quickly remember once they receive your next great offer.
A great example is Chris Mayden of YYC Deals. His content is extraordinarily popular because Chris only sends emails when it really matters. And that's what people want – something which really matters.
Follow this golden rule and you too will see your email engagement rates skyrocket!
3) Keep It Short!
Here's a question for you:
Would you rather open an email from a friend, or one of the dozen weekly newsletters sent by a retailer from which you signed-up to save 10% on your first purchase?
I'm willing to bet you're opening the friend email every time!
If we're more likely to open emails from people we know, why not structure newsletters this same way?
So many email marketing pieces nowadays are full of flashy, promotional material like images, graphics, and videos.
People expect this from big box retailers and shopping malls, which gives you the perfect opportunity to set yourself apart from the crowd and be interesting...
By keeping emails short and to-the-point readers stay engaged with your content – no multi-paragraph emails!
The secret is to write emails as if we're sending them to a personal friend, and to always speak as though we're communicating directly with one single person.
People want to feel like our entire business opened today just for them. Speak to customers directly, letting them know you've curated a special offer specifically for them because you know they'll love it.
By doing this you quickly build a reputation for being concise and respectful of your customers time. Otherwise, customers will quickly establish the negative perception of a company's newsletter as long, boring and irrelevant. This is an email marketing death sentence!
Remember, effective marketing is all about perception.
Lastly, people are incredibly busy. The average attention span is now less than 8-seconds.
Now that you know the three basic secrets to effective email marketing it's time to experiment and test.
I never send a newsletter without first running numerous tests on multiple headlines to ensure I maximize open rates.
Even once I've found the perfect headline, it still doesn't matter if my offer sucks. Let the details of your spectacular offer do the heavy lifting. Always focus on providing value.
Lastly, people are busy so keep it short. Instead of a long PSA, write like you’re sending a single email to a close friend. Make it personal and unique.
Do these three things and your email marketing open rates will be miles ahead of your competitors!