Welcome to the “1st of the month” blog post for October 2014!
If this is your first time here, then WELCOME (and to everyone else, thanks for coming back)!!
Since April 2012, I’ve been sharing internet marketing tips and advice on the first of every month, and this month is no different.
Today is about email marketing, and more specifically, the things you should be doing to maximize subscriber engagement.
This is a topic that’s often massively over-complicated and under explained. In the video below I break it down to a simple 8 part checklist, 8 simple things you can do to get better results that you’re currently getting, and to improve your bottom line.
Before I get to the main content though, I thought I’d share what I’ve been up to in the past month…
At the end August/start of September I was in Orlando as a guest speaker at the JVZoo Marketing Mayhem event.
It was BRILLIANT. I met so many smart people, some new to IM, other seasoned veterans.
Here’s a photo of my presentation (I was privileged to be given the OPENING speaking spot):
After Orlando I headed back to Paris, and shortly afterwards both Steve Clayton (my business partner) and I flew to Sydney to meet our Blueprint Academy members.
The Blueprint Academy is a mastermind/mentoring program that we started in January. As part of the program, we meet the group members face-to-face four times, and this meeting was in Sydney (the previous two have been in Las Vegas and New York).
Here’s a pic I posted on my Facebook page after the event:
After returning to Paris, my wife and I took off on a “working holiday”.
We started out in Majorca:
Then headed to Italy to Cinque Terre, a BEAUTIFUL place on the Italian coast.
We stayed in a boutique hotel on the top of some cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean; you’ll see what I mean in the video below.
From Cinque Terre we drove to Portofino, Nice, Monaco, and are now in Bordeaux (wine tours planned)!
The reason I wanted to share all this with you, is because THIS is exactly what internet marketing is all about to me.
I enjoy the day-to-day stuff a lot and I love teaching, but I also love the lifestyle, flexibility, and financial freedom internet marketing can give people.
It doesn’t have to be travel…it could be as simple as having more time to spend with your children or a passive retirement income… but whatever it is, I’ve seen first hand over and over again that people who persist all succeed with internet marketing.
As Brian G. Johnson says, “people don’t fail at internet marketing, they simply give up before the magic happens”.
Identify what your dream is, and go for it.
Here’s a symbolic representation of me reaching one of my travel goals, if you’ve been on a webinar with me in the past few months, you’ll “get” this…
I made it to my desktop background
I set my desktop background as a photo of a place I want to go… and when I hit a certain little personal goal, I pack my bags and go there (first I need to convince my wife – sometimes this is harder than it sounds).
Anyway, enough about me, it’s time to dive into this months content, get started with the video below!
The following checklist assume you’re using sending emails using an Auto-Responder such as Aweber.com, GetResponse.com, iContact.com, SendReach.com etc.
Inside your Auto-Responder you can choose what email address you want to send your emails from. The emails will always be sent using the Auto-Responder, but appear to come from whatever address you choose.
Here’s an example:
I strongly recommend that you never use a Gmail account (or other free account) as the from name.
The reason is that you can’t build up a positive “send history” using a free email address such as a Gmail address, and deliverability of your emails drops when you use free address. The solution is simple. Create an email account on a domain name that you own, for example “email@example.com”.
If you don’t own a domain name, just buy one, and set up an email on it (you can set up any email address you want from within your server cPanel).
Tip: Before you buy a domain name, make sure it has no negative history associated with it. You can check your domain names history by typing in your domain name at www.mxtoolbox.com
The next thing you need to get right is a “from name”, this is the name that’ll appear as the sender for each email (see the image above for an example).
Where possible you should try to make everything seem personalized, so instead of sending emails from “firstname.lastname@example.org”, send them from “email@example.com” and set your from name as “Premium Brands”.
If you’re building up a following in your niche where you have a “persona” that people will begin to recognize, then you can include a persons name as the from name, and not just your brand name, for example:
Aidan Booth (Page One Evolution)
The only objective of your email subject line is to get people to OPEN the email. That’s all.
With this in mind, you need to make your email subject lines as intriguing as possible. An easy way to do this is to simply not specify exactly what your email is about… for example, if I’m selling a golf glove on Amazon, I could use an email subject line such as:
The #1 thing you should NEVER do with your golf glove…
This will ruin your golf glove (don’t do it)…
Both subject lines above would work much better than something like:
Washing your golf glove will ruin it.
This subject line exposes the exact topic, the previous two keep people intrigued and the three dots hint that there’s more to this story and subconsciously make people want to open the email to find out more.
The big takeaway for you here is simply to understand the purpose of an email subject line, and that is to GET PEOPLE TO OPEN THE EMAIL.
When I was in Orlando I met the Chuck Mullaney, the owner of SendReach.com (one of the best Auto-Responder companies in the business). Chuck is a MASTER when it comes to email marketing, and has a VERY unique perspective because he’s seen internet the results of literally MILLIONS of email opens, and he knows very well what works, and what doesn’t… here are a few tips from Chuck about getting emails opened:
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As Aidan has said, the specific job of the subject line is to get people to open our emails. The fundamentals of the environment YOUR subscribers are generally dealing with here are a “sea” of subject lines in their email program or website, way too much “junk” or “junkie” stuff, BUT some messages that could potentially be Super Important to them or Personal. So, they are almost forced to skim the subject lines and not always enjoying it.
The way most marketers do this is by using hype or underhanded tricks. Both of which are extreme relationship killers. Instead, try to focus on forcing them to open your email out of curiosity WITHOUT ruining your relationship with them to achieve this goal (that’s the important part).
Cliffhanger Subject Lines are perfect for this. A cliffhanger is a fragment of a thought that ends with 3 dots to imply there’s more info inside the email (…).
Most email marketers don’t do this and of the one’s I see attempting them, there’s usually a fundamental flaw that ruins it. That flaw is just splitting a sentence in half, using the first half in the subject line, then the last half in the body of the email.
It’s not that “simple”.
Effective cliffhangers work because they LITERALLY leave your subscriber NEEDING to know the rest of the thought. Therefore, simply splitting your sentence in half doesn’t always work because sometimes the first half of YOUR sentence can be mistakenly assumed to be an entire thought. I think it’s time for some examples.
Ineffective Cliffhanger Subject Line Examples:
This is the coolest product…
I really love this tool…
You can make money with this…
Effective Versions of the SAME Examples:
You can make…
The important difference between these is that it is literally impossible to “guess” what’s inside the body of the email from just these subject lines and THAT’S what a Cliffhanger is for.
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Once your subscriber opens your email, your objective will normally be to get them to click a link and be taken somewhere else.
NOTE: I realize that some emails may simply be to inform, and in this case, your objective should be to get your subscriber to read your entire email and absorb your message.
Here are a few things you can do to maximize email click through rate:
Keep your emails short
Unless you’re a master copywriter, keep your emails short, and keep them simple. Long-winded emails are not best for most objectives as they appear daunting and get ignored.
Keep your emails simple
In addition to keeping your message short, make sure you keep it simple. Studies show that the average reading age in the United States is about 8th grade (13 – 14 years old).
IMPORTANT: This does NOT mean your readers are stupid, so don’t make them feel that way with your emails!
This may not be the average reading age of your specific audience, but it does give a compelling reason to keep emails simple. Use simple words, don’t try to make yourself sound intelligent by using confusing word – it’ll backfire every time. Don’t over-complicate your message, and use as much white space in your emails as possible (short paragraphs).
Make a compelling case as to why someone should click on your links
For the best click through rate possible, you need to make a compelling case as to WHY your reader should take the time to click on a link in your email.
Make it very clear what the big benefit is for the reader… do they get access to some useful information? Will they get added to a draw to win a cool prize? Will they “feel good” because they’ve helped an important cause?
Work out what the big reason is that someone should click through, and leverage this as much as you can.
I like to normally include 2-3 links in each email, and each link should go to the same place (you should have just ONE laser focused objective for each email, don’t send emails with multiple different links that try to achieve multiple things at once).
The first link comes right after the first paragraph, so just a few lines from the start of the email.
The second link comes before you sign off, so at the end of the email.
And the third link comes in the “P.S. Section” – I’ll discuss this more shortly.
The reason I recommend you limit the number of links to 3, is because more than this can trigger spam filters and see your emails landing in the spam folder.
Another thing is to use “call to action” text as your links.
For example, instead of using the following:
To find out more, click the link below:
Use the following:
There are times and reasons when you may want to use the full page URL, however I most cases you’ll get better results using a clickable call to action.
The P.S. Section is something I like to use on most of my emails, and there are a couple of reasons why:
- You “train” your readers to read right to the very end of each email.
- It’s the perfect place to develop other stories, sub-plots, and build intrigue about future emails.
I mentioned a moment ago that your emails should be laser focused and only have ONE specific objective, the P.S. Section is where you can break that rule.
I often use the P.S. section of my emails to talk about completely different topics, to hint about things that are coming in the pipeline, and to entertain readers with interesting things that are unrelated to my main message.
You can keep a close eye on the engagement of your readers by tracking every email you send. This is extremely easy to do (and often done by default) with all good Auto-Responder companies.
If you see your open rates and click through rates declining, then you should do something to re-engage your readers.
Test new types of subject lines, try something completely new like using a video in your email, or give something of massive value away for free.
In extreme cases where you have very low open rates on your emails, you can even segment your “non-clickers/non-openers” into a new list and get them re-engaged using a specifically prepared re-engagement campaign.
Un-engaged subscribers can actually hurt your overall deliverability rate, because they indicate to Gmail (and other mail services) that your messages are spammy, and it can cause your messages end up in the spam folder (or on a lesser level, Gmail’s ‘promotions’ tab).
This is a simple little thing that many marketers just don’t do and something that I’m guilty of from time to time…
Anytime I don’t test an email, something goes wrong.
I find I have spelling mistakes, incorrect links, bad formatting etc.
Ideally you should test emails in two ways.
Firstly, use the “Test” button inside your Auto-Responder sequence to send yourself a test email. This is the way you can quickly check grammar, spelling, formatting, links etc.
Once you’ve done this, send another test to a test email list.
This is an email list that you setup inside your Auto-Responder account that has just a few different emails addresses that you own on it. This test is to check deliverability, and to make sure that your messages land in the inbox and NOT in the spam folder. This test takes only a few minutes to do, and is something that’ll help maximize your deliverability.
In addition to the providing you with the 8 part video checklist, I thought it’d be handy to include a few templates and examples that you can “plug in” to your existing business. I’ve created a special PDF for you that you can get by clicking the link below:
Leave a comment below or use the comment box to ask any questions you may have
Until next time,
P.S. If we’re not connected on my Facebook page, head over to http://www.facebook.com/aidanboothonline and click the LIKE button. This will ensure you stay up to date on what I’m working on, and get notification about future case studies