Email marketing is one of the best ways to grow any business.
It's relatively cheap, super-easy to scale, and you can see the results instantly - something that can't be said for SEO.
It's not on a third-party platform like Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. You "own" your list.
And you don't have to worry about Google algorithm changes taking it away.
That's why it pays to level-up your email game now more than ever.
To help, I've got 6 tips that can skyrocket your email conversions.
Tip 1 - Check your reputation score
If there's just one thing I want you to take away from this article it's this:
Check your email deliverability.
It's no good creating killer content and sick offers if your emails are landing in the spam box.
That's why as part of my website audits, I always subscribe to the email list.
In a recent audit, I noticed the "Welcome" email went straight to spam. I checked with the client and she told me her friends had also noticed this problem.
When I ran the IP address of her emails through a sender reputation checker, I found a problem:
It showed the spam score was at 58.46%.
When I investigated further, I found the ConvertKit IP attached to her emails (which she shared with other ConverKit customers...) had been placed on a spam blacklist.
My client contacted ConvertKit with this information and they assigned her a new IP address pretty quickly.
The end result?
Her emails were now hitting the inbox rather than ending up in spam.
How can you check your reputation score?
First you need to copy the sender IP address from the email headers.
Then you can run it through an online reputation checker. I like to use a few as they all measure different metrics.
I like Reputation Authority, Cisco has a quick checker, and Senderscore is useful (but was better before it became a paid service imho).
To improve your deliverability score, you should also avoid using certain words and phrases. These are flagged as part of the never-ending war against spammers.
You can find a list of words / phrases to avoid here.
This is handy to use a rough guide. In my experience, some of those (like "take action") are o.k to use once a list has been warmed-up.
Tip 2 - Write with one person in mind
A great way to increase your email conversions is to figure out EXACTLY who you audience is and avoid being too general.
"This productivity program is great for students".
"This productivity program is great if you're an engineering student studying for exams."
It sounds basic, but you'd be surprised how many emails and copywriters fail to hone in on their target audience.
Now you might be thinking, "That's going to exclude a large part of my audience".
But thanks to human empathy, this doesn't happen. We relate to other people's problems and become emotionally moved (read: motivated) by them.
It's the reason why people cry at movies. And why I grew up watching The Fresh Prince of Bell Air living 5,000 miles away with little in common with Will Smith...
How can you find the "One Person" to write to?
Struggling to narrow down your focus? Admittedly, it is easier to do in some niches than others.
Using customer avatars is a tried and tested method for becoming laser-focused.
The "Audience" reports in Google Analytics can also provide a treasure trove of information like demographics and even interests.
If you're sending out image heavy (i.e not promotional) emails, using list segmentation is a good way to make things more personal.
(And there's a great article here from CXL on the science behind segmentation.)
Finally, the important thing to remember here is ABT - Always Be Testing.
If your first email targeting stay-at-home moms didn't hit the mark, try another one for single parents...and then another one for working moms...
Once you make that connection with your audience, your opens and click-through-rates will increase dramatically.
Tip 3 - Write 10 Subject Lines (at least!)
In the famous words of David Ogilvy:
"On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
In short, if your headline (or subject line) sucks - nobody is going to read the rest of it.
The next time you come to write an email, try writing at least 10 different subject lines. This is difficult at first, but with practice it gets much easier.
Want a quick hack?
Then try to answer the following questions with just one sentence.
1. What is this email about?
2. What value does the reader get?
Going back to our student engineers example:
1. It gives tips to help engineering students pass their exams.
2. New ways to remember complex information quickly
With these answers, I can quickly write a few subject lines. Don't worry about how bad they are and try not to delete anything (it's hard - trust me...!).
Try to limit yourself to 38 characters to avoid your subject line becoming truncated in some email browsers.
As you can (hopefully) see below, they'll get better the more you write.
- 5 Studying Hacks That Boost Your Exam Recall
- Never Cram Again With These 5 Study Tips
- The Secret Study Method To Acing Your Engineering Exam
- Ace Your Engineering Exam With These 5 Study Tips
- 5 Study Hacks For Acing Your Engineering Exam
I quite like number 4.
It's specific (see Tip 2), it has a benefit ("Ace the exam") and it promises a return for the reader.
Number 5 might be o.k...so now I have the basis of an A/B test.
If I were to write 5 more, I might look at "failing the test" to be the angle...
Start A Seed Inbox
Something else that pro-copywriters do is using a seed email inbox.
Sign up to all your competitor's lists, industry leaders, and those lauded for their email skills (like Ben Settle or David Perell).
On a daily basis, visit your seed inbox and see which emails you would open from their subject lines alone. Try to reverse-engineer why.
Perhaps it uses a headline formula that you can swipe and use in your next email.
Tip 4 - Don't Write Scatty Emails
There's a great word in British English - Scatty.
"Scatty" is an informal adjective / slang which means:
"Absent minded and disorganized"
(Please let me know if there's an American equivalent in the comments).
We don't want our emails to be scatty. So avoid taking a scatter gun approach and blasting your readers with lots of different topics (unless it's a newsletter).
Instead, every email should have one "Big Idea". One topic that pays off the subject line. The clue is in the name...
Using the engineering students again, imagine if in one email we discussed:
- Studying for exams
- How to write a resume
- How to maximize your earning potential
With exams round the corner, it's unlikely they're thinking of cool leisure activities or why engineering is such a great career. Our aim is to join them with the conversation they're having in their head.
Staying on-point lets you add layers to your message, keeps your reader's attention, and ultimately get them to take action.
Tip 5 - Use multiple links (but wisely)
As Mr Ogilvy eloquently stated, most people only read the headline. If you're lucky enough, they might open your email and read a few more lines.
So how effective do you think it is to have just one link buried at the bottom of your email?
And could it be possible to increase your click-through-rates by having two, three, or even FOUR links in an email?
Well...it does depend on the length of the email but the answer is yes.
It can. And by A LOT.
Within a 500-word promotional email you can place a link in 4 different places:
- The lead
- The body
- The close
- The P.S (see tip 6!)
You might be thinking this is over-kill or your readers will become "link blind". But the secret is to use different mechanisms to get the click.
Here are 4 different types you can use:
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Look through any promotional / broadcast email you've received and you're sure to see these click mechanisms at work.
The key is to use each mechanism only once. If the first one doesn't get them to take action, maybe the 2nd, 3rd or 4th one will...
Tip 6 - Leverage a P.S
When I was part of a year-long email marketing program, one of the instructors revealed the easiest way of boosting conversions was to use a P.S.
That's because people may only read a few lines and scroll down to the bottom - right where your P.S is waiting.
So how can you use the P.S for more conversions?
One way is to provide a brief summary of the offer. This helps the scrollers who have just scanned your article.
Another great way is to drop a testimonial in there. The testimonial shouldn't be too long - about 3 sentences at most - and add a link.
Lastly, you can add any click mechanism that you haven't used from Tip 5.
The P.S makes a particularly good place to remind readers the offer is going away soon...
Here's how I leveraged the P.S area in an email I wrote for an Agora Financial imprint, Hard Assets Alliance:
As you can see, it summarises the offer for the scrollers. It also uses two click mechanisms - #3 and #3.
During my Conversion Rate Optimization minidegree with CXL, I was pleased to see they linked to this blogpost which also recommended using a P.S.
You can find some more email examples in there, too.
Do you already use these 5 tips or have some more that are working right now?
I'd love to read them in the comments box!