Guest Name : Neil Kristianson
Guest Link : http://beyondtheoptin.com/checklist
Facebook Link : https://www.facebook.com/groups/beyondtheoptin/
Guest Bio : Neil is the host of Beyond The Opt-In
Notes : Today I've highlighted six simple ideas you can put into action right away to send better email. Some are about the message, some are about the technical, but all are important...and easy!
Do you want to increase the effectiveness of the emails you send? Today, I’ve got six simple tips, six easy things you can do to increase the effectiveness of every email that goes out.
A while back, I made a checklist of 23 important things you should do before you hit “Send” on an email, and if you stay tuned till the end of the episode today, I’ll tell you how you can get that, but, anyway, 23 is too many to go through in an episode, so I have whittled that down to just six things today. I’ve taken six of the most important things out of this checklist, and we’re going to go through those, and, again, don’t bother to write them down or worry about them because you can go download this at the end of the episode, so let’s go through these six things that you can do before you hit “Send” on any email.
Number one, mobile, we all know mobile is more and more important especially when it comes to email. Mobile is now over 50% of [opt-ins 00:01:03] are now on mobile devices, so it’s very important that we cater to mobile when we send an email, so the number one I have on the list is, “I have tested my email on a smartphone and it is readable without pinching and zooming.”
So many times, I’m an old dude, all right, or at least my eyes are old, so, when I get an email, my soul is young, but my eyes are old, so when I get an email and it’s go that teeny-tiny, little, tiny font that I have to do what I call the pivot-pinch-zoom dance where I have to pivot my phone and pinch and then zoom way in so I can read this, and then I’ve got to scroll back and forth, I don’t do it. Delete. If you’re really lucky, I will wait until I get back to my computer to look at it on a real screen, if it’s really important. Otherwise, I’m just going to delete it. I don’t have time for that.
We all get too much email. There, I said it. We get too much email, so we need to give people an easy path to read our messages. If we make it difficult for them, they’re not going to do it, so test your stuff on a phone. Can you actually read it? Is it teeny-tiny? Do you need to zoom? A lot of people have their phone locked to vertical. They can’t even rotate the phone to get a wider view. Make it easy for them to read.
All right, number two on the list today of six easy things you can do, “Someone is using their thumb to click my emails, so my links are highlighted and easy to click.” Again, mobile, right? When we bury a link in the middle of some paragraph right next to another link, it’s hard to click especially if you’ve got a fat thumb or you can’t see like me, so we need to make those links stand out. We need to separate them from the rest of the copy. We need to give it space. We need to make them bigger, easier to click. Don’t make people try to do the precision thing with the tip of their index finger. They are using their thumb to click these things, so make sure your links are thumb-worthy.
All right, number three on the list, preview text, “My preview text uses the first 100 characters to add to the story of the subject line. It builds on the curiosity without telling the whole story.” Preview text is one of the things people judge whether or not to open your email especially on a phone. It’s right there. It’s so easy to see, and so many times … Have you ever read the entire message in a preview text and never even opened it, you just deleted it? I sure have. I get an email back from someone. It says, “Thank you,” a reply. I don’t need to open it. Delete. I just read the whole thing.
If you are spilling all the candy, like I like to say, if you’re spilling all the candy right there in the preview text, people don’t have a reason to open the email. Maybe that’s important. Maybe you want to do that, maybe … but that should be a conscious decision how you use that preview text.
Many times, I see people waste the preview text. The preview text says the exact same thing as a subject line, so I just read the subject, “Here is my awesome subject line,” and then on the first line in the email is, “Here is my awesome subject line.” You just wasted a hundred characters that help people decide whether or not to open that email, so use the preview text to your advantage. Don’t forget about it. I think it’s one of the overlooked things of the email is preview text.
All right, number four, “My email has an unsubscribe link,” and this is all just about keeping you legal, right? We have to, if we are sending out bulk email marketing messages. If we want to be legal, we have to give people a way to opt out of this email message and, if we just want to be a decent human being and keep our list engaged and clean, we need to give people a way to opt out of this email message, and emailing you to tell you that they want out is not a way to do that.
If you’re using any email service provider to send out your messages, they’re going to do this for you. You really don’t have a really choice. They’re going to put it in there. If you’re using Aweber, OntraPort, Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign, Constant Contact, any of these people, they will have an unsubscribe link in there. You don’t have a choice, but, somehow, I still get email messages that do not have unsubscribe links that are bulk messages.
I’m not sure I am taking the time to figure out how they’re sending it. They’re sending it somehow, and then you know what I do? I hit the “Spam” button in my Gmail and say, “Report as spam,” because I don’t have time to figure out how to get off your list. I shouldn’t have to, so if you want to keep your list clean, make your customers happy, give them a way to get off of the list, unsubscribe link.
All right, number five, where is number five? I’ve got to find it here. Here we go. “My email is focused on my subscriber and uses the words ‘you’ and ‘your’ far more than it uses the words ‘me,’ ‘we,’ ‘us,’ or ‘our.'” Your email should be about your customer, and it should be about your customer as a singular, not, “Hey, everyone.” It should be, “Hey, you. Hey. How are you doing?” not, “How is all this big group of people doing?” I mean, that’s the beauty of email, right? It’s a one-to-one communication.
Even though we’re automating it and sending it to many people at once, there’s still only one reader at a time. There’s one person on the other end opening up your email, and it’s easy to forget that when you start getting big email list. If you’ve got 3,000, 5,000, 30,000, 100,000 people on a list, it’s really easy to forget that it’s an individual on the other end opening that email, but it always is an individual on the other end opening an email. That’s one person. They’re not sitting in an auditorium and they’re all reading it together. It is just one person, so that’s the beauty of email is we can make that communication one-to-one, but, many times, we don’t.
First of all, we talk like we’re a corporation and we’re not a real person and, secondly, we talk like we’re talking to a whole group of people instead of just one person and then, even worse, we don’t even talk to that person. We talk with that person. We talk to them, right? We use the words like ‘me.’ “I am awesome. You should come check out our website.” No, that’s not what we want. What’s in it for them? Why should they take this action and how are you helping them improve their life?
When we focus on the customer when we write copy, when we focus on them and their needs, we will naturally have more things that say ‘me,’ ‘we.’ I mean, I’m sorry, I got that backwards. We’ll naturally have more things to say ‘you’ and ‘your,’ instead of ‘me,’ ‘we,’ ‘us.’ Don’t talk about yourself. Talk about the customer.
All right, I think I’ve gone off on that one long enough. Let’s see, that was number five, so, number six, the final one, oh, this one, all about deliverability. You know it’s getting harder and harder to get email into the inbox. All these ESPs, Google, Yahoo!, Hotmail, all these people are cracking down, making it more difficult. They don’t want spam in their customers’ inboxes, and there’s a lot of things you can do to say, “Hey, I’m spam,” inadvertently. Obviously, we’re not trying to obviously look like a spammer, but we do. Many times, we do things that make us look like a spammer.
One of the things, one of the most popular things I see that causes people to end up in the spam box instead of the inbox is that they will use the actual URL in the email and not a hyperlink URL, so why does that matter? Okay, what does that even mean, first of all, and why does it matter?
What does it mean? A hyperlink, that’s when you highlight words. You say, “Click this link,” and you highlight that, and then you put a link behind it. If you’re using the direct URL, you would have http://mywebsite.com. Okay, so that’s the difference, hyperlink versus a direct URL.
You want to use hyperlinks. Why? Why does this matter? If you’re using an email service provider or an email platform like MailChimp, Constant Contact, Aweber, any of these guys, the way they track your clicks so that they can give you all that great reporting that says how many people clicked on a link is they have to redirect that link through their server first so that it can be counted.
When someone clicks on the link, they’re not really clicking on your awesomedomain.com, they’re clicking on your awesomedomain.aweber.com. They’re really clicking on an Aweber website. It goes through Aweber server. Aweber says, “Oh, this link matches up to my awesomedomain.com, so I’ll direct them off to my awesomedomain.com.”
Again, why does this matter? This is what spammers do. Have you ever experienced the Bank of America scam where you get an email, and you probably don’t see these anymore because they’ve figured out how to filter the stuff out, but you’re getting caught up in this filter if you do these things, so you get an email, and it says, “Hey, go to bankofamerica.com,” and they’re showing you http.bankofamerica.com, but when you click on the link, there’s a mismatch because, behind the scenes, you’re really clicking on bankofofamerica.com, and that’s a ghosted site where they’re trying to get you to give them your personal information so they can steal all your money. When Gmail or Yahoo! look, they see Bank of America in the front, but, in reality, they see Bank of of America, and there’s a mismatch. It’s a phishing scam, right?
You’re doing the same thing when you put my awesomedomain.com, but Aweber in the background has aweber.com, or MailChimp or Constant Contact or whoever, so there’s a mismatch. Gmail, Yahoo!, all of them, they don’t really care that it’s Aweber in the back versus Bank of of America. They just see these two things are not like each other. These two things are not the same. What is it now? It’s time to play our game. Yeah, these two don’t match, so, therefore, this is phishy, right? This is a phishing scam, so we’re going to send this to spam.
That’s a good way to get yourself put in the spam box, and it’s a really easy thing to fix, but people are so in the habit of doing this because they want to look transparent, right? They want to say, “I want to show them the real URL so it doesn’t look phishy,” but, in reality, you’re not showing them the real URL, you are showing them phishy, at least in the eyes of all the email service providers or all the Internet service providers out there, you are looking phishy, so don’t do that. Use hyperlinks instead. Say, “Watch my video,” and link that to your site. “Check out my awesome sales page offer,” and link that to your site. Hyperlink words, and then you won’t have a problem with that.
All right, so that’s my six things today to make your emails more effective. Let’s review that.
Don’t make people do the pivot-pinch-and-zoom dance. Make your emails readable on a phone. Again, mobile in mind, people have to click a link, make your click … or your links thumb-friendly. That is number two. Number three, don’t forget about preview text, the forgotten child of email. Preview text is important. Use it to your advantage. Number four, you’ve got to have that unsubscribe link to keep yourself legal. Number five, you want more “you” than “we.” Make the email about your subscriber, and, number six, the final one here is use hyperlinks. Don’t use direct-to-URL links. Use hyperlinks.
That’s it. That’s the six things I picked off this list of 23. Now, I promised at the beginning of the show, if you want the full list of 23, you can do this. Go to beyondtheoptin.com/checklist where I will have for you the entire list of 23 things and, yes, you will have to give me your email address. Full disclosure, this is an email marketing podcast, right? Of course, you’re going to give me your email address, so go to beyondtheoptin.com/checklist where you can get that full list of 23 things broken up into different segments, deliverability, mobile, engagements, just some things you need to think about before you hit “Send” on any email.
All right, that’s enough for today, another kind of short show, but, hey, you don’t want to listen to me battle on forever. All right, I’m Neil Kristianson. Until next week.