So we’ve started a series of weekly emails targeted at increasing your Response Rates. Not just your Open Rates, but what does it actually take to get a reader to take action, to click a link, buy a product, etc.?
Our topic for this week is temptation. To illicit a response, you need to Be a Temptress. Entice your readers by tempting them to keep reading on the “other side” of the link. Start sentences, but don’t finish them. Create teaser paragraphs and provide a link to the rest of information. Ask a question and provide the link as the response.
Avoid: Dromophobia is the fear of crossing streets.
Instead, use: Learn what Dromophobia is.
Or use: Did you know there is a phobia of crossing the street? Learn more.
Or use: There’s an old joke about the chicken crossing the road. But did you know that millions of Americans fear that same activity? Learn more.
The trick is to create intrigue. Get someone to click to find more, and you’ll then find new opportunities to interact with your reader.
Educators know that if you want to teach something effectively, the easiest way for the student to remember is to involve them in their learning.
Marketers know this, too. That’s why they ask their prospects plenty of questions and try to get their senses involved, as well. Have you ever received a direct mail letter that asked you to put a big “Yes” sticker on the offer letter and return it? If you returned the letter, they know there’s a good chance you are interested in the offer. The “Yes” sticker is just to get you involved.
Email marketers can use this idea, too, for maximum success in your opt-in email marketing campaigns. Placing links in your marketing emails is one way to get your audience to interact with your message. It also helps deliver your audience to your web site, which allows for powerful tracking and statistics.
But how do you get them to click through? Over the next several weeks, we’re going to show you simple, yet effective ways to increase the response from your marketing emails.
Here’s one to get us started:
Communicate the Benefit to the Reader, Not Your Company. Be sure that there is a clear benefit associated with every link. Your audience will be more likely to click the link if they are aware that there is something valuable to them. Don’t assume that they’ll automatically perceive that value simply by clicking the link. Instead, make it very clear: When you click, you will get X benefit.
Avoid: View our latest offer here.
Instead, use: Get a money-saving coupon.
A few months ago, we looked at a study of email newsletters to see what readers were generally interested in. Over time, we found that terms that included or were related to business planning garnered a significantly higher open rate than other terms. Even when we thought that readers interested in business planning would be interested in other business related topics, such as lead generation, our results proved otherwise. Example:
Notice the pattern. Every time the subject line includes terms like “planning”, “strategy”, or “goal” – all related to business plans – the open rate is over 30%. The moment we deviate and include other terms that we think people might respond to, like “competition” or “generating leads,” the open rate drops below 30%.
Look at the last two subject lines. There is a 10% increase in the open rate for the one about our 2008 Business Planning Guide compared to our information on Generating New Leads.
These numbers make it clear: readers want information to help them set goals and write a business plan. The insightful point is how connected our readers are with terms related to business planning, strategy, and goal setting. These terms are our audience’s hot buttons.
So what are your readers’ hot buttons? You can find out by looking through your campaign statistics. For your campaigns with higher open rates, what do those campaigns have in common? Look at everything, from which list you used and the source of that list (readers that opted in on your web site will give you a higher open rate than a purchased third party opt-in list), to the day or even time of day the campaign was sent, news going on in your industry or in the industries of your readers. Knowledge is power. Stay informed with how your campaigns are performing, and you’ll make better decisions about future campaigns.
The CAN SPAM Act, which took effect January 1, 2004, stipulated that all commercial emails that are sent in the United States meet certain requirements. On July 7, 2008, Congress updated the law to clarify some of the ambiguities in the initial law and refine a few points.
The law applies to commercial bulk email, not to individual or transactional
messages, such as a receipt for an online sale. So, if you send an email newsletter or any other form of bulk email communication, be sure to follow these key rules. If you don’t, you are breaking the law and could potentially be sued in federal court.
Three tips for keeping it legal below:
The sender is responsible for unsubscribing email recipients who opt-out. The company, brand, or employee name that appears in the “From” field of the email message is the “sender.” This is important to note if you are running ads for other companies. Just remember, if you are identified as the sender, you must provide email recipients with an opt-out link and ensure that they are removed from list.
When you are conducting “forward-to-a-friend” email marketing campaigns, or if you offer something in exchange for forwarding a commercial message, be sure to also follow the Act’s requirements.
If you’re an Online Outbox customer, you don’t really need to concern yourself with this. We’re handling it all for you, automatically, with every message you send.
Do not alter the Internet headers of the message.
An Internet header is a block of information that a properly configured email server tacks on automatically to identify the Internet Protocol (IP) address of where a message originated and a few other technical details.
Again, Online Outbox customers needn’t worry. We keep things above board to maintain strict compliance with email laws, and to keep your deliverability rate high.
No misleading subject lines.
If your subject line reads “Wine Country Event Registration Now Open” but your message content is about the latest male enhancement drug, you are clearly trying to trick your recipients into opening your message. Just keep your message and subject line consistent. This is a good practice regardless of its legal implications.
Whether you’re using Online Outbox, another email service provider, or blasting out thousands of emails from Outlook Express (not a good idea, by the way!), you, as the email sender, have full control of your content, so you do have an active part in following this rule. However, when you’re acting in the best interest of your readership, you act in the best interest of yourself as well. A willing subscriber will typically continue to be so. A reader who is tricked into opening your email with misleading subjects is likely to delete your message, unsubscribe from your email campaigns, or even submit a complaint of abuse.
More tips for keeping your email campaigns legal are coming in our next edition!
A recent survey conducted by Prospective Marketing found 76% of people who signed up to receive a company’s email newsletter were motivated to do so by a special offer or savings, leaving 24% signing up for the specific reason of getting production information. In other words, offering incentives works.
If you sell a product or service but are not enticing prospects to subscribe to your email newsletter with some sort of offer, you’re missing a significant opportunity to grow your list of subscribers. And chances are, your competition is already doing so.
Rather than simply posting product information on your web site, offer discounts, freebies or other incentives for visitors to subscribe. You’ll have a captive audience, captivated.