Companies are seeing a 3800% ROI in their email marketing efforts. That means for every dollar that’s spent, $38 is made.
Who came up with these stats anyway? Or maybe the better question is, how can you get the same or even better results?
Improve your email copywriting skills and make it rain…
Stop focusing on the “perfect” template. There is no such thing.
Stop reading articles that claim a red button will convert 10X better than a blue one. It won’t.
The truth is, no one cares about the colors in your email or whether you use a single or double column layout.
What matters is that your emails get read, your links get clicked, and your subscribers are happy with their purchase.
In this article, I’m going to show you 9 simple copywriting tips you can use to instantly improve your email open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates.
And to put the icing on the cake, I’m including 3 technical “hacks” and case studies to demonstrate how these exact tips have worked for other companies, and how it will work for yours too.
Ready? Let’s go.
1. Personalize Your Emails
The first and simplest step is to personalize your emails to speak directly to your reader.
It has been scientifically proven that people respond to their own name more deeply than they do to any other word in their respective language.
This means that by including their name in the subject line or email opening, you will break them out of the normal “trance” they get into while checking their emails and grab their attention.
2. Be Personal In Your Emails
One of the biggest mistakes that I see in most email marketing is that the copy is impersonal.
In fact, it often sounds like it was written by a robot.
If you want to engage readers and convince them to take action, whether that action is to click through to your website or make a purchase, then you need to write in a more personal manner.
Use words like “My” “I”, “We”, “You”, and “Your”.
To see what I mean, check out this email from Mr. Ramit Sethi below.
It will make readers feel like you are speaking directly to them and will create a feeling of trust.
3. Simplify the Format of Your Emails to Improve Readability
The average human attention span is declining rapidly.
Over the past decade and a half, the typical American has lost around 4 seconds of attention, dropping from 12 seconds to a mere 8.
This makes it much more difficult to keep people interested and engaged in your message.
One of the best ways that you can quickly improve your copy is to format it in a way that is “ADD” friendly.
This means using big, bold headlines so that readers can skim through your email and quickly figure out what you are offering or promoting.
Or you can do what Adespresso does and use bold text to clearly promote your offers in the body.
Use shorter paragraphs, segment each subpoint clearly with a bold headline or numbered list, and write in a conversational tone to keep readers engaged and interested.
Check out this email from Hedge Fund manager and author of Choose Yourself, James Altucher.
4. Make Sure Your Subject Line is Attention Grabbing
This is perhaps one of the most important tweaks that you can use to improve your email conversion rate.
While it is true that increasing your conversion rate requires significant testing and improvement to the body of the email itself, it is all but impossible to write a highly converting email unless your subject line sparks reader’s interest enough for them to actually open it.
Here are a few examples of great headlines that I pulled from my inbox.
While dozens and dozens of articles have been written on the topic of creating captivating subject lines, I am going to simplify things and share a basic formula that will work (almost) every time.
- Present benefit to end user
- Focus on the benefits of speed and affordability
- Use 5-12 words in your headline and 1-2 numbers (odd numbers have a 20% higher click through rate)
So for example, let’s say that you are selling a new social media automation software to your online marketing clients.
Here are a few headlines that you could use to pique your reader’s interest and convince them to click on your email.
How to “Steal” an Extra 10 Hours a Week for Less than the Cost of Coffee
How $15 Will Save You 15% or More on Productivity
Add 10 Hours of Free Time to Your Week with this One Simple Change
5. Ensure that Your Emails Are Congruent
Succeeding in the world of online business (or any business for that matter) requires that you earn and keep your customer’s trust.
And if you are like the rest of the online marketing world, you are probably making one simple mistake that is absolutely destroying that trust without you even realizing it.
What is this mistake?
Let me explain.
All too often, marketers will send out an email with a subject line that sounds good but has very little to do with the body of the email.
And then, the body of the email has little to do with the page that marketers are trying to redirect their audience to.
For example, if you use the subject line “You Don’t Want to Miss This” and your body contains little more than a weekly roundup, readers will feel betrayed and cheated.
6. Implement Power Words in Your Emails
One of the axioms of good copywriting is the use of power words throughout the body of your copy.
These are words that evoke a strong emotion in your reader’s mind (whether positive or negative).
They elicit a response.
The 5 most powerful power words according to most studies are:
While I don’t have time to delve into the hundreds upon thousands of power words in this one article, you can check out the articles from Smartblogger and Dlvr.it for a comprehensive list of the most powerful words in the English language.
7. Use a Clear and Compelling CTA
Here’s the deal, if you are not using a clear and compelling call to action in the body of your emails, then you have no business sending the email in the first place.
It doesn’t matter whether you are asking your readers to check out a new blog article you posted, to buy a product, or to share with a friend.
You need to include some call to action.
Without a compelling CTA, your email “marketing” is the equivalent of sending funny cat memes to your friends.
Here are a few examples of some awesome email CTAs that you can learn from (and maybe implement yourself)
Daniel DiPiazza from Rich20something.
Huckberry’s valentines day email.
Gamechanger’s Founder Peter Voogd’s 30 Days to $1k Email:
8. Use the P.S. Section to Promote Your Offer Again
We have all heard the saying that repetition creates recognition.
Well, as far as email marketing is concerned, repetition creates conversion.
Studies have shown that inserting a link in your email multiple times is one of the best ways to ensure that reader’s actually click through.
And since many readers simply skim through your email, including the link in the P.S. section is a great way to ensure that your link/CTA is not overlooked in the smorgasbord of content plastered throughout the body.
9. Focus on the Reader Not Yourself or Your Company
The one key to all great copywriting can be summarized in 4 simple words.
It’s not about you.
Let me repeat myself.
It’s NOT about you!
And in case you still didn’t get it, allow me to illustrated my point…
None of your readers care how great you are or how awesome your product is.
All they care about is “What’s in it for me?”
What value do you offer them, how does your product help to improve their life?
How can you help them?
At the end of the day, that is all that readers care about.
The funny story that you shared might be great to engage them, but if you don’t tie it into a concrete way that you can improve their life, then you might as well email a brick wall.
Focus every aspect of your writing on the reader and you will never go wrong.
3 Quick Technical “Hacks” to Rapidly Boost Your Conversion Rate
Equipped with the above nine points, you will be well on your way to doubling or even tripling your email conversions on your next campaign.
But what if you are looking for an added punch?
Well, if you are an overachiever like myself and want to make sure that you do everything in your power to improve your open/conversion rates, here are a few technical hacks you can implement to quickly boost your numbers and increase your revenue.
1. Aa/Bb Test for Maximum Optimization
So I have talked about A/B split testing pretty extensively on my blog.
And recently, while listening to a discussion with Alex Mehr (the founder of Zoosk and co-founder of Mentor Box) who has email lists exceeding 100 million, he proposed an interesting alternative.
So we all know that there are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics.
And what many of us marketers forget (myself included) is that A/B testing is entirely dependent on statistical relevancy.
And the unfortunate truth is that most of our A/B testing is nothing more than an errant or “shot in the dark” statistical finding.
The sample sizes we typically use are so small and the findings so marginal, that we often base entire campaigns on findings that had no statistical relevance in the first place!
So how can we fix this?
You run Aa/Bb tests.
What are these?
Well, they are exactly the same as A/B test except that you add an extra layer to them.
For example instead of split testing the headlines
How to “Steal” an Extra 10 Hours a Week for Less than the Cost of Coffee
How $15 Will Save You 15% or More on Productivity
In two different tests, we would split test them across 4.
Meaning that our variables would be:
A: How to “Steal” an Extra 10 Hours a Week for Less than the Cost of Coffee
a: How to “Steal” an Extra 10 Hours a Week for Less than the Cost of Coffee
B: How $15 Will Save You 15% or More on Productivity
b: How $15 Will Save You 15% or More on Productivity
While this will might not radically change the results of any of your tests, it will add another layer of redundancy to your campaigns and ensure that you are actually running the highest performing variables each time.
2. Implement Retargeting to Increase the Appeal of Your Offer
Have you ever been surfing the web, looking at products on Amazon, eBay, or some other online retailer?
Have you noticed how after you viewed those products, they kept popping up in your Facebook feed or on other websites?
No, this is not some sort of crazy conspiracy where the NSA is tracking every move that you make (or maybe it is, I don’t know).
It’s a few simple lines of code that tech-savvy marketers and entrepreneurs are using to ensure that their products remain at the forefront of your mind.
It’s called a retargeting pixel and it’s a phenomenal way to follow up with email subscribers and provide personalized offers.
By placing a line of code in the HTML on your website, any reader who clicks through to a product or service page and doesn’t convert will later be served a stream of ads all over the internet promoting that same product or service.
3. Properly Segment Your List so Your Emails are More Pertinent to Readers
The third and final technical hack that you need to implement to optimize engagement is the proper segmentation of your email list.
Let’s say that you run an online blog focused on men’s interest.
You cover topics from grooming to fitness to dating to parenthood to “manly” skills (like shaving with a chainsaw and juggling polar bears).
But here’s the catch.
Not everyone who reads your blog will be interested in every topic.
For example, you might have individuals who are in excellent physical condition who are exclusively interested in your style and grooming content.
Or, you might have incredibly dapper individuals who could care less about your style section but want some advice on being a better husband and father.
So how do you make sure that these individuals with distinct needs and desires are able to receive only the most relevant content?
By segmenting your email lists.
The easiest way to do this is to create different lead magnets that align with the categories your website covers.
This can easily be achieved for bloggers with the use of content upgrades – bonuses or lead magnets specifically created for a blog post.
Whereas most websites only have one lead magnet to attract email subscribers, you, the hyper-savvy marketer, know that you will need several in order to service the most pertinent content to your lists.
Let’s go back to our previous example.
Instead of having one lead magnet called “10 Days to Being a Better Man”, you could create one for each specific subject.
You would have one lead magnet for style, one for fitness, one for relationships, and one for “manly” skills.
As long as you effectively integrate these lead magnets with your email marketing software, you will be able to easily send hyper-targeted offers to individuals and ensure that they convert quickly and easily.
Now, if that sounds like a lot of work, just take a look at the statistics Lyris compiled.
Putting a little work into your segmentation can increase open rates, lower unsubscribe rates, and enhance deliverability.
3 Epic Case Studies to Help Take You to the Next Level
Ok, so now that you have the technical and literary tools necessary to start boosting conversions, let’s take a look at some real world examples of how other companies have used these same tactics to achieve incredible results.
1. The One Where Whirlpool Increased Clicks by 42%
We have already discussed how A/B testing can improve your results with email engagement and conversion.
To prove this, I wanted to share a case study from the company Whirlpool.
While running their email campaigns, Whirlpool probably read an article (similar to this one) where they were told to include several CTAs within the body of their email.
But Whirlpool made a mistake with their execution.
Instead of having multiple CTAs that were all congruent and pointing back to the same landing page, they created an email that was filled with CTAs directing readers to different places and looking about as organized as a hoarder’s closet.
Here’s what their old email campaign looked like.
Unsurprisingly, this email wasn’t generating the results that they wanted.
So they decided to split test their campaign with an email that had only one CTA.
This study shows that even when you are running with “proven” methods, it’s never a bad idea to run a few tests for posterity’s sake.
2. The One Where Mailigen Increased Open Rate by 9%
Mailigen was struggling to increase their email open rate.
When I say struggling, I mean that they were massive overachievers who were unsatisfied with a 20% open rate (well within the industry average).
So what did they do?
They retargeted the segment of subscribers who had already received their emails but left them unopen.
They sent the same email with a more targeted headline.
After seeing a small improvement with this tactic, they segmented their list yet again and repeated this tactic, sending a newly optimized headline to the remaining subscribers who had yet to open their emails.
As a result they saw an increase of over 9% in their open rate, taking their campaign from “good” to “freaking great!”
3. How Obama Raised $2.7 Million through Email Marketing
All political views aside, one cannot help but admire the success of President Obama’s email marketing campaigns.
According to his campaign team, the majority of the $690,000,000 that he raised online for his campaign was generated through email marketing.
By rigorously testing subject lines and other email variables to find their Goose that would lay the golden egg.
One email in particular raised over $2.7 million.
Regardless of your feelings toward our previous President, one cannot help but admire the tenacity and incessant pursuit of excellence displayed by his campaign managers.
The takeaway for all of you non-presidential types?
Virality, novelty, and excellence in marketing are manufactured by hard work and testing, not through sheer luck.
If you want a wildly successful email campaign, you have everything you need at your fingertips.
You just have to be willing to commit to the long game and continuously try new things until you figure out what works.
Equipped with the above knowledge, you now have everything that you need to create incredible email campaigns that will convert like crazy.
Now it’s up to you.
You have the tools you need.
It’s time to get to work and build the best email campaigns that your company (and maybe even the world) have ever seen.
Do you have any questions about writing emails that convert? Have you found a tactic or tool that worked great for you that I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments below!
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