Emails generate the highest return on investment from any form of online marketing. The reason is that the connection to your audience can be made very personal and you can keep communicating with your audience daily.
But just having email leads is only half the battle. You also need to be able to write emails that drive your leads where you want them to go.
So how do you do this?
Like anything, there are a number of approaches that work. My personal preference is to build a personal relationship with my readers. A relationship that makes them want to read my emails.
- To do that I use a specific structure in my emails that enables this to work…
- Subject Line
- What I learned
- How it relates to your product
- Re-loop to points made in introduction
- Sign-off and P.S.’s
Let’s go through each of these elements:
- SUBJECT LINE
The subject line is crucial, it’s the first thing that you’re readers are going to see in their inbox alongside your From name.
Of course, you’ll have built a strong relationship with your mailing list so they’ll want to open your email when they see it’s from you anyway.
Your subject line is going to be the driving force. It should drive curiosity and interest as well as being a pattern interrupt. A pattern interrupt is something that stands out from everything else, it disrupts your readers field of vision.
Two of the best subject lines I have used are:
- Please Don’t Share This
- How My Dog Taught Me To Bet Profitably
These both achieve very different things. The first subject line is driving a desire to know what it is the reader shouldn’t share. This is purely curiosity driven.
The second subject line is a strong pattern interrupt. Look at the disconnect between the two pieces of information… my dog… betting profitably. Those two things shouldn’t go together, by putting them together we’re creating a juxtaposition that jumps out at the reader and creats the desire to hear more.
Always, always test your subject lines. Even if your autoresponder doesn’t allow you to split test subject lines on each email. Try different things out on separate emails and then keep a record of results. You’ll be surprised at what generates the best open rates.
A word of warning… don’t be deceiving. Writing subject lines that in no way relate to the content in the email just to get opens may work once or twice, but then you’ll find your list starts to become unresponsive.
This part of the email is crucial. If you think of your email as a shaggy dog story (that’s one of those really long jokes), then this is the part that will be linked back to at the end. The part that allows your audience to go “Ahhhhh!” when they hear the punchline.
It’s in this section that you’re not only setting the stage, but that you’re also creating open loops.
An open loop creates an element of a story but doesn’t finish it. For example…
It’s nearly Christmas, and last year I made $150,000 dollars on Christmas day without trying. But more on that later.
Today I want to share with you something that happened to me yesterday. Something that has enabled me to boost my conversions by 2400% in the last 24 hours. Something which has increased my profit ten fold. But first I want to ask you…
And don’t think you only just have to have one open loop. Personally I like to setup two or three open loops in my emails. Sometimes I will close them all before the end of the email. Other times I may just close one or two so that readers are waiting for the next email to find out what happens.
The introduction is the place to setup your open loops and introduce your reader to what you’re going to be talking about.
It’s in this element that the majority of content is going to be. Here is where you tell your story, build excitement and drive the narrative forwards.
Stories don’t have to be 4000 word epics. It can be a very short tale of just a few small paragraphs, but it has to be interesting and it has to drive your reader to want to keep reading.
In fact your story doesn’t even need to be related to the product you’re promoting, which we’ll look at shortly.
Don’t over think this part of your email too much. Just sit down and write. You can always change it later if you want to, but you’ll find if you just sit and write then most of the time what you’ve written will do the job nicely. It may need a bit of editing but you should be doing that anyway!
- WHAT I LEARNED
I’ve got to be honest, I don’t always put this section into my emails. It depends on the story. However it can be a very powerful lead into your promotion to tell your readers what it is that you’ve learnt from what happened in your story.
Think of it as a bridge into the next stage. It can be used if you want to or you can simply jump straight across the river to the other side of the bank.
- HOW IT RELATES TO YOUR PRODUCT
This is where we link in your product. As I mentioned earlier, don’t think that your story has to be related to your product. It doesn’t, you can take pretty much any story and tie it in. Sometimes I even use the tabloid newspapers to get some good story ideas.
Let’s say you’re selling a course on how to generate traffic. You may have had a story that…
Talks about how you recently went on holiday and just missed your flight. The customer services desk were rude and unhelpful and you were feeling stressed out etc… this could tie into your product because you discovered when you finally sat down and checked your stats you’d realised that while that was going on you’d made $15,000 in profit.
That’s just one example where the story is totally unrelated to the product but you can tie it in at the end.
I mean heck… who wouldn’t want to be able to make $15,000 while they’re at the airport on their way to a holiday.
And that’s the take away your reader would get… they’d see you had a horrendous time… feel a personal connection… most will have been a similar situation of being stressed in an airport where they’ve cut it pretty close. But…
None of them are likely to have sat down on the other side and found they’d made $15,000 when their mind wasn’t even considering what was going on with their business.
Of course they’ll want to take a look at how they can do that!
This section ties everything together. You can re-connect back to the points you made in your introduction, close the open-loops you want to close if any are still open or… create new open loops if this is part of an email sequence.
You will use this re-looping to provide the link for your product…
I told you at the beginning that my experience yesterday had left me in shock and awe! You probably don’t want the shock part, but I’m pretty sure you’d like to be able to replicate the awe…
Replicate the awe that I had when I discovered I’d made an extra $15,000 on my way to our holiday.
You can link the last sentence above to your product which closes the loop you started at the beginning and provides a clickable link with anchor text that drives readers to click on it based on the story they’ve just been told.
- SIGN OFF AND PS’S
The final stage of the emails is your sign off and PS’s. Some marketers like to make clever sign-offs, personally I don’t. And that’s primarily laziness because I don’t want to think of something new to sign-off with every time I write an email.
However it can add a small extra touch of personalisation. Jason Fladlien is one example of a marketer who does this, and I’m always interested to see what he’s managed to come up with in his sign off.
Once you’ve signed off you can then use your P.S’s to great affect.
This is an area where you can open yet more loops with things such as…
Tomorrow I’m going to be sending your my traffic generation blueprint, keep an eye out…
If you thought that was incredible, wait until you hear what happened on the flight!
If you have sent a purely content based email, with no link in the main body, then you can use this area to link out to a product…
Want more traffic? Click here to get personal help from me.
You should always link to a product in your emails, even if they’re content based emails. A P.S. can be a good way to do this sometimes.
Alternatively you can use this area to strengthen points that you’ve already made in your email…
Seriously… the awe I felt at making $15,000 was the best feeling of my life and I want to share with you how I did it.
Following this structure on your emails will help you to create emails that drive open rates and click throughs at the same time as building a readership who are eagerly waiting for your emails to hit their inbox.