3 Essentials to Getting Your Email Opened

Before your email can be read, it must be open. The key to getting your email opened is the subject line.

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Think of the subject line of your e-mail as being the equivalent of a headline in a sales letter. It’s that important. In fact, if you don’t write a good subject line, I can almost guarantee your e-mail will not be opened, not be read, and, in fact, end up in the trash.

So what makes up a good e-mail subject line? There are three essential components every subject line must contain. They are:

  1. Connect. The subject line must connect with the interest of the reader. Fail this test and they’ll hit the delete button.
  2. Attention. The subject line must rivet the attention of the prospect so that they are curious about what’s contained in the rest of the e-mail.
  3. Propel. The subject line must be active and propel the reader to read the rest of your e-mail, leading to your call to action.

Without these three elements, your subject line will not draw your reader into your e-mail, and your e-mail won’t be read.

Another way to think of this is to remember what your reader is always thinking: “what’s in this for me?”

If you don’t have a good answer to that question, you and your email are toast.

Five Ways to Mess up Your Email Marketing

Despite the mythology that says email marketing is dead, it’s still the number one way stuff gets sold on the Internet.

Marketing concept: pixelated words Email marketing on digital sc

Bottom line: if you want to succeed marketing online, you’re going to have to use email.

If it works so well, why does it seem so hard for many companies?

Here are five great ways to mess up your email marketing:

  1. Make it look like an ad. That’s a surefire way to to get your email deleted right away.
  2. Write using the “royal we”. After all, human beings write in the first person.
  3. Make your email all about you and your product. That way it won’t be interesting at all to the reader.
  4. Assume the reader was waiting to get your email. That way you can skip providing any real content or value and just get right to the selling.
  5. Forget the state your reader is in when they check email. Otherwise, it will occur to you that what they were looking for was communication from a friend, something inspiring, something entertaining, or even something profane.

Of course, I hope that you pick up on the fact if you want your email marketing to succeed you should do the exact opposite of these five things.

But I felt like it might be a good idea to point that out.

Just in case.

 

What To Leave Out

Success usually is not dependent upon your coming up with the most brilliant marketing idea ever conceived. Trying to win the battle that way is literally like running “against the wind”.

Businessman trying to keep balance

The classic Bob Seger song, Against the Wind, includes these lyrics:

Well those drifter’s days are past me now
I’ve got so much more to think about
Deadlines and commitments
What to leave in, what to leave out

This describes the dilemma of the modern marketer.

The real question is: what to leave in, what to leave out.

What belongs in your marketing message, and what doesn’t?

The answer is simple, but not always easy. You must leave out the parts your prospects are not interested in.

To quote great novelist Elmore Leonard: “I try to leave out the parts that people skip.”

Of course, to do that, you have to know which parts people skip.

 

Why You Should Start More Fights

Every time I publish something I have strong feelings about, no matter how hard I try to word those feelings with civility, someone is provoked. It often starts a fight.

fight-club

If no one ever objects to what you write, what you say, or what you do… it’s possible you’re not writing, saying, or doing anything of significance.

Strong ideas challenge people.

All powerful communication offends someone.

I think of this as Fight Club for the Brain.

I don’t want to fight for the sake of striking blows, but as the Great Storyteller writes, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)

I’m not suggesting that you be provocative merely for sport.

But I am suggesting that if no one is provoked by what you say, it’s possible that no one is paying attention.

 

 

Two Sides Of The Truth

Using truth in your marketing has two paradoxical sides.

 

First, you must understand that people on the whole, to paraphrase Jack Nicholson’s character in the film A Few Good Men, “can’t handle the truth”. They don’t want to hear it.

But they need to hear it.

This is why we often are forced to sugarcoat the truth in order to get people to swallow it.

For instance, if you are selling a diet product you may, in your marketing, say to your prospects, “it’s not your fault”. But the truth is, it is their fault. Nobody forced them to slam donuts down their neck every day. So how can we honestly and ethically say that it is not their fault? We might zoom out to the macro level, realizing it’s not their fault they didn’t have proper nutritional education. We let them off the hook a little bit, and then we zoom back in and remind them that now that they understand the truth about why they are overweight, it is now their responsibility. That’s an example of sugarcoating the truth in order to get people to swallow it!

Now, to the paradox I mentioned…

Many people are tired of being sold a pack of lies, especially in certain markets (like the diet industry, the investment industry, or the business opportunity industry).

To people who are sick of lies and hype, nothing will sell better than unvarnished truth.

The trick, of course, is to know when to sugarcoat, and when to just tell the hard truth.

For a good example of telling the truth and selling products like hotcakes at the same time, look no further than Beach Body’s P90X program. This program promises hard work, pain, sweat. And results. Everybody knows by now that those are the required ingredients for a set of six-pack abs. So for Beach Body, the unvarnished truth was the right way to go.

Question for you: Do you sugarcoat, or do you tell your prospects the cold, hard, truth?

Direct Marketing Online Is Personal

Marketing, whether online or offline, is personal.

What I mean is, it should feel personal to those we are marketing to.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I am a proponent of direct response marketing. Please don’t waste your money or your time on so-called “imaging advertising” or “brand building”. Image and brand are valuable, but should be a function of your direct response marketing.

Now, on to this business of marketing being personal.

For marketing to be as effective as possible, you should make sure that you’re writing and speaking to a single person. Never use language like “you people out there” or any language that would imply you’re speaking to a large group.

You want every person who receives your marketing (whether it be a sales letter, an e-mail, or even a radio ad) to feel as though you are speaking directly to them and only them.

The more you can make the marketing material feel direct and personalized, the more effective it will be.

Question for you: How do you make your marketing more personal?

Emotion Marketing

Of all the powerful weapons you have in your marketing arsenal, emotion is the most effective of all. What do I mean?

Your marketing must speak directly to the heart of your prospective customers. You must directly target your message… not to your prospect’s brain, but rather to his or her heart.

We human beings tend to be self-centered. Always thinking about ourselves. And by “thinking”, I mean “emoting”.

It might be more accurate to say we are always “feeling” about ourselves.

If, as a marketer, you know your prospects well enough to understand what they are feeling, and you can speak directly to their emotional selves, your marketing will be vastly more effective.

Question for you: how do you employ emotion in your current marketing?

Why People Buy

Understanding why people buy your product or service is crucial. And here’s the truth… people buy for their own specific reasons – usually not the reasons we think they are buying.

Why People Buy

The truth is, we can never be certain what the real reason is that someone buys our product or service. We might be able to hazard a guess, but because buying is an emotional decision, we will never know for sure.

The best possible research you can do for your business is to find out why your customers are buying whatever it is you are selling. Learn that reason. Know it well and let it guide your business in the future.

Worth reiterating: People buy for emotional reasons, logic only comes into play after the buying decision has already been made. In other words people buy because they want whatever they are buying, they use logic to justify their purchase. This includes everything from lattes to Learjets.

Question: What do you think about the idea of selling to people’s emotions?