Lesson 6 – How To Get High Email Open Rates (NOT ONLY about subject lines)
Now that you have people opting in to your list… the next question is:
How do you get them to open your emails?
One of the most important metrics in email marketing is the email open rate.
Open rate is the % of subscribers opening your email. The higher the better.
You send emails to 100 subscribers.
20 open your emails.
Open rate = 20%.
Obviously if you can increase your open rate, you’d have more subscribers opening your emails.
To get good open rates, here are a few tips:
- Give subscribers the right expectations
- Educate, entertain, and engage in 2-way communication w/ subscribers to build relationship and trust
- Your “from name” and “from email address”
- Your subject line
When talking about email open rates, most content cover only #4 (the subject line).
In reality, it takes more than just a great subject line to persuade people to open your emails.
#1 - Give Subscribers The Right Expectations
Are you going to send me emails on a daily basis? Weekly? Monthly?
On my opt in form, I mention they’re going to get daily emails from me. I also mention that they’re going to be added to my newsletter.
This eliminates any surprise -- the subscriber doesn’t feel bombarded with my daily emails. If they don’t want daily emails, they wouldn’t have subscribed.
#2 Educate, Entertain, And Engage In 2-Way Communication w/ Subscribers To Build Relationship And Trust
How many times have you opted in to get a lead magnet, only to get bombarded with sales emails every day?
As the receiver of these emails, what do you think? Are you upset?
You might open the first few emails, but once you start seeing a pattern, you’d have realized that the sender doesn’t care about you. They only have their best interest at heart and just want to make a quick sale out of you.
You then stop opening their emails. You then unsubscribe.
You’re in the business of serving people with your services or courses. These are intangible products which require more effort to sell. These are not the typical physical products like smartphones, computers, TVs, shampoo, furniture, etc -- where it’s easier to sell because it’s very clear what people are getting.
Selling in your first email would be akin to going to the mall and aggressively approached by a sales guy, like this...
(no one wants to play the actor for this, so it's down to me...)
Would you feel comfortable? Would you want to buy from this guy?
You might say: “Nah... I provide great content in my emails to educate my subscribers, and then I soft sell”.
The thing is that... most emails are boring.
Even if you provide value to your subscribers by way of strategies, tips, and hacks… the way you deliver the content… the presentation style… is boring.
(we’ll talk more about content delivery and presentation style in the next chapter)
Boring = no one opens your emails.
There are already TONS of email newsletters providing great content to their subscribers, what make yours stand out? Is your content the best out there?
My guess is no.
The good news is that you don’t need to have the best content, you just need to stand out from the crowd… from your competitors.
And a good way to stand out is to ENTERTAIN your subscribers.
Most email newsletters are either about selling and selling all the time, or about giving content and content all the time. Very few are ENTERTAINING their audience.
Even if you do just the slightest bit of entertainment, you’ll stand out. You become interesting.
And you don’t need to be a comedian or even remotely come close to becoming a funny person to entertain.
Subscribe to my email newsletter and spy how I entertain my subscribers. Look at the style of how I write my emails. When you subscribe, I’ll also throw in my “Email Mahhhneeyy PRACcourse” + “Top 7 Email Mistakes Guide” free of charge.
Bottom line: you want to educate and entertain them so that they engage with you.
Engage means they open and read your emails… they click your links, they reply your emails (you do this by asking them questions), and you replying them back again… thereby creating a conversation → this is what a 2-way communication is all about.
(but what kind of questions should you ask -- I also cover this in my “Top 7 Email Marketing Mistakes guide”)
It isn’t just reading your emails. They’re also actively participating by having meaningful conversations with you.
Over time… you’ll build great relationships with your subscribers, and they’ll eventually trust you. When they trust you, it’s much much easier to sell to them.
#3a - Your From Name
I still see people representing businesses who use their personal name as the “from name” when sending out emails.
I have no clue who these guys are. But when I opened their emails, they turned out to be employees of businesses that I recognize and have previously engaged with.
(I had some spare time so I opened the emails. I’d usually just delete emails from people that I don’t recognize).
Unless you’re using your personal name as the “storefront” of your business… this is a big mistake and definitely will lower your email open rate.
Imagine this scenario:
You are considering engaging in the services of a digital marketing agency -- let’s just call this “SalesUpNow”.
You give them your email in order to get their lead magnet.
One of their sales rep followed up with you using their personal name -- Kimberly Trevor.
When her email shows up in your inbox, do you have any idea who “Kimberly Trevor” is?
You probably thought it was just one of those spam emails and delete it immediately.
The personal name does not suggest or reflect anything close to SalesUpNow agency.
So should Kimberly use SalesUpNow as the from name instead?
That would be to “corporate-sy” and people are usually turned off and disinterested when they receive emails from corporations.
A better way is to use a combination of her personal name + company name.
1/ Kimberly from SalesUpNow
2/ Kimberly at SalesUpNow →
“Kimberly” sounds human and “SalesUpNow” → “ahhh this is the agency from which I’ve read the lead magnet report -- great report with valuable strategies and tips” → more likely to get opened.
I like the 2nd example better because “at” is shorter than “from”, albeit only by a few characters. But these things matter as you have very limited space in the “from” field.
I’ve done a short FB Live training video about this topic in our FB Group:
If you’re interested, you can watch it here. You need to join the group first to view the content -- joining is free. Make sure you answer the few simple questions -- this let us know you’re a real human and not a spammer. We only want real, genuine folks like you in the community!
#3b - Your From Email Address
Never ever use a free email address (gmail, yahoo, hotmail, msn, etc.) to send out your emails.
If you’re using a free from email address to send out emails, your emails are more likely to end up in the spam/promotions folder.
Why? Because anyone (including spammers) can get their hands on a free email address effortlessly.
This means inbox providers can’t verify who the sender is -- whether they’re a spammer or legit person.
Rather than taking risks, they’ll just mark your emails as spam.
You should instead use an email address from your domain to send out emails. Not only will it go well with spam filters, you’ll also look more professional in the eyes of your subscribers.
#4 - Subject Line
When it comes to increasing email open rates, most people only think of: “what should I write for my subject line so that I can get the highest email opens?”
I’ve laid out above it’s not only about the subject line. There are other factors at play too.
Nevertheless, below are 6 hacks to write irresistible subject lines that get opened:
Hack #1 - Widely Known Phrase
In the subject line, use a widely known phrase or undeniable truth, but break the phrase into 2 parts… 1 part for the subject line, and the other in the beginning body of the email.
Subject: Apple VS…
Beginning body: Samsung
Subject: All good things…
Beginning body: come to an end
Subject: Jack of all trades means you’re a...
Beginning body: master of none
Subject: Bill Gates is...
Beginning: the richest person on earth
Our brain hates incompleteness. Hence when we see part of a widely known phrase or undeniable truth, we’ll try to complete it in our internal mind.
And we want to verify that we’re indeed correct, and to do that we open the email.
Of course, make sure you tie in this phrase or truth with your content. Don’t just use this hack for the sake of getting more opens.
Hack #2 - Short
Short subject lines catch your attention because they’re easier to scan (remember people scan and not read), plus they just stand out from the others because most people use longer subject lines.
Don’t believe? Go check your inbox to verify.
If you do what most people do, you don’t stand out.
Also, when viewing your email inbox on a mobile device… if you have long subject lines, they’re going to get cut off.
Hack #3 - Benefits
Include benefits in the subject line (i.e. what’s in it for them)
But first, you must understand that benefit is not the same as feature.
Let me repeat:
Benefit is NOT the same as feature.
* Send sequence/Drip emails
* Send broadcast emails
* Collect email addresses using our forms
* Sequence emails enable you to automatically follow up and build relationships with your subscribers, even when you’re sleeping
* Broadcast emails is useful when you have a new offer or newsletter or blog post that you want your subscribers to be aware of
* No more manually copy-pasting emails from Excel to our system. Let our forms do the hard work and collect leads automatically for you
* 8GB RAM
* Fast loading and zero lag -- open every app and your computer will still be running fast. No more waiting. No more frustrations.
Can you see the difference?
Combine short subject line + benefit and you’ll get more email opens.
E.g. Subject line: How to get more email opens
This is short and contains benefits (every email marketer wants to know how to get more email opens).
Hack #4 - Curiosity
We humans are social creatures. We want to know what’s happening with our family, friends, colleagues, partners, etc. Put it simply, we’re always curious about other people.
That’s why everyone is on social media posting status updates.
Here are some examples of curiosity-driven subject lines:
New subscribers not opening your email?
The overconfident copy
Weird culture in my country?
Don’t write another email until…
This person spammed me
All the above are actual subject lines I’ve used in my emails.
Weird culture in my country? Hmmm I wonder what that is.
Don’t write another email until… Hmmm until what? I need to know about this before writing my next email.
New subscribers not opening your email? I definitely got to find out why so that I can avoid this problem.
Hack #5 - Contrast
By contrasting/contradicting in a single subject line, people naturally want to open your emails because it doesn’t make sense. They want to find out what it’s all about (again, curiosity).
See sometimes when you use 1 hack/tactic, it creates/results in another hack.
In this case, contrast creates curiosity.
E.g. of contrast subject lines:
I’m coming back for poor food
(normally you’d never come back if the food is poor)
Overweight beauty expert helps moms lose at least 20% of their weight
(hmm… why is a beauty expert overweight? I’ve got to check this out)
The man with the woman voice
(how come? What happened to him [or her]?)
How this Karate beginner became champion
(how is it possible that a beginner becomes the champion?)
Try it out for yourself the next time you write another email. Use contrast in the subject line and you’ll see an increase in open rates.
Hack #6 - Cliffhanger/Mini Skirt
We already talked about this in the previous email.
This one is SO IMPORTANT that I’ve written an entire email just to talk about this.
When you leave a “mini skirt” at the end of your email, the chances that your email is going to be opened increases.
I know I’ve given you a lot in this email.
Your brain might already be buzzing around with tons of ideas.
My suggestion to you is to apply the subject line hack ONE EMAIL AT A TIME.
Pick ONE hack from above, write your next subject line, and send it.
After that, pick another hack.
Learn and apply ONE AT A TIME.
Improve ONE EMAIL AT A TIME.
Don’t get overly ambitious.
Remember that success is not a one-shot thing. Success is MANY SMALL actions done CONSISTENTLY.
Use each of these hacks sparingly. Mix and match them. Don’t always use the same hack -- e.g. you keep using the curiosity hack successively for 10 emails.
As with anything, anything that gets repeated over and over again becomes predictable, and predictable is boring, and boring = no emails opened.