What is the anatomy of a high-converting email?
If you are a regular listener to this podcast, then you know I am a massive fan of using a mailing list as a central part of your business development strategy.
A lot of people buy into the concept of building a list and regularly emailing that list but then they get stuck because they don't know what to send or their open/engagement levels are disappointing so they get disheartened and quit!
So in today's episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast, I dig into what makes a great email and how to structure an email to maximise engagement.
This episode is brought to you by my brand new programme: The Build, Nurture and Convert Blueprint, which is the A to Z of building a complete email marketing machine to attract new subscribers, nurture them and then convert them into loyal customers.
I'm providing a special offer for podcast listeners.
Join my brand new email marketing & list building programme, The Build, Nurture, Convert Blueprint. Use 'PODCAST20' at checkout to get a 20% discount.
Here’s a glance at this episode…
The importance of building an email list
Understanding the three (3) crucial parts of a successful email
#1: Getting the subject right
Different types of subject lines
Tips in writing emails
#2: Using P.S as a way to sell products or services
#3: Writing the body of an email
How to add value to your readers
Which is better: text-based email vs well-designed graphic email?
The concept of “Pain, Agitate and Solve’ to structure a high-converting email
The ideal frequency in sending emails
The average benchmark rates for conversion, click-through rates and engagement
NEW! Email Marketing and List Building Programme: The Build, Convert and Nurture Blueprint
“..no matter how powerful the content of your email is, the subject line determines whether your email is going to be opened, ignored or just thrown straight in the trash.” - Rob Da Costa
“I think you should send emails at least once a week or twice a month, but certainly no less frequently than that, because people will forget you.” - Rob Da Costa
“Try and get 1% better every time you write an email. Remember, doing something imperfectly is much better than waiting till you can do it perfectly.” - Rob Da Costa
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If you are a regular listener to this podcast, then you know I am a massive fan of using a mailing list as a central part of your business development strategy. In today's podcast, I want to talk about the Anatomy of a Great Email because a lot of people buy into the concept of building a list and regularly emailing that list. Then they get stuck because they don't know what to send or the engagement levels they're getting with. The emails that they are sending are not as high as they hoped.
In this episode, I want to talk to you about, “What is the Anatomy of a Great Email?”. Now, this episode is brought to you by my brand new programme, The Build, Nurture and Convert Blueprint, which is the A to Z of building a complete email marketing machine to attract new subscribers. Nurture and convert them into loyal customers.
Right now, I'm providing a special offer for podcast listeners. If you type in PODCAST20 at checkout, you will receive a 20% discount off the price of the programme. All the details are in today's show notes. I really hope that I will see you inside the programme. But meanwhile, let's get on with today's show and let's break down what the Anatomy of a Great Email is.
Hey everybody! Welcome to today's episode of the podcast. Today we're talking about email marketing again, but specifically what makes a great email. How do you structure an email to maximize your engagement?
I know a lot of you guys listening will buy into the concept of building an email list. I've talked about it many times before. I've talked about why building a list is one of the most valuable assets you can have in your business and how it's one of the most cost effective and consistent ways of getting more people into your world. Nurturing them so that when they are ready to buy, i.e. there is enough pain and they're clear that your product or service can solve that pain. They reach out to you to start engaging.
I hope you buy into that but I know a lot of people struggle to consistently create emails and consistently create emails that convert. That's what I want to focus on today. Fundamentally, there're three (3) crucial parts of an email, and they are crucial in this order. The first thing you need to get right is the subject line. The second thing you need to think about always is the PS at the end of an email. Then, the third thing you need to think about is the body of the email.
Why are they important in that order? Because often people will obviously read the subject line. That's the thing that gets them to open up the email in the first place. Then, they might well scan right to the bottom of the email. If you don't have a really good call to action in your PS, then they may well just leave because they don't read the whole body of it. That's what we're going to focus on.
I'm going to start off by talking about getting the subject right. The subject line is the first piece of your email that a reader interacts with. It shall really be your only chance to grab your reader's attention and then entice them to open the email.
Now, a great subject line creates curiosity. It might highlight the benefits of opening the email. It might touch upon a pain point that you know your reader will be suffering from. It needs to be short enough to convey your message without revealing too much. Not so long or so complex that the reader really has to think about things because by then they've moved on to the next email in their inbox.
You want to invest a bit of time in thought in creating a really enticing subject. Because no matter how powerful the content of your email is, as I said, the subject line determines whether your email is going to be opened or ignored or just thrown straight in the trash. Therefore, it's essential that your email subject line stands out from the zillion other emails that are sitting in your readers' box. Then, you really want to spend as much time and effort creating an engaging subject line as you do writing the email itself.
There's a whole range of different types of subject lines that you can use, including questions, kind of a concept of missing out or creating curiosity. As I said, touching upon a pain point or even making it a personal subject. Let me just give you a few examples. If you were creating one that was a fear of missing out, it might say something like, “Urgent. You've got one day to watch this.” Or, “Your plan goes away by midnight. Get it now before it's gone.” and so on.
The next type of subject line would be a curiosity one, and this can often be where you ask a question. For example is this, “The best career move you could ever make 10 bizarre money habits making millennials richer?” Or, “What's the one common trait that you and every agency owner suffers from?” Those are examples of curiosity subject lines.
Then, the other type of subject line I’ll mention is touching upon pain points. “Get more kitchen space with these easy fixes.”, “Stop wasting time on things that don't matter.”,
“Learn a new language in only 15 minutes a day.” and, “How to delegate in nine (9) easy steps.” Those are examples of pain point subject lines.
The last category I’ll mention was using something personal. This could be something like, “A piece of adviceI wish I could give my younger self.” Or, “How I doubled my revenue in 12 months.”
You obviously have to make the subject pertinent to your reader, and to that point, you need to make sure that you really know who you're talking to. A good tip here is that when I write my emails, I'm always picturing the person I'm talking to sitting opposite me. Thinking about having a conversation with them. It's super important to have a clinician. You understand exactly who your ideal target customer is.
There's lots of other examples of subject lines you can find on the Internet. You might think some of what I gave you is too salesy for your audience. Then, you've got to get that balance right between being interesting and enticing versus being overly salesy. The latter turns people off as well. Those are some examples of your subject line.
Now, the second most important thing I mentioned was the PS at the end of your emails. You always want to be thinking about what PS can I add in? I talk about the focus or the balance of 80% adding value and 20% selling. I will often use my PS as my 20% selling. You'll see emails from me that say, “P.S. Here's three other ways I can support you” Or “Here’s four (4) ways we can work together.” Then, I'll list out what they could be. For example, I could offer them to book a strategy call with me. I could promote this podcast in an email.I could tell him about one of my programmes in my PS.
Think really carefully about your PS because people will often go straight from the subject straight down to the PS. Like I say, I often use my PS as a way to talk about how I can further support the reader. You could also offer. For example, a free pdf that's connected to the subject of your email. Then, it's kind of like the call to action. It's like, what do you want the reader to do next?
Of course you can put them in the body of your email. But, let's just think for a moment that a lot of people will look at the subject line and they'll skirt straight down to the PS. Then, if they never read the body, are you clear what you want them to do next? I'll always highlight my PS, and they'll always be bold so that they stand out. That is the second really important point, which is the PS.
Let's move on to the body of the email. Of course, a lot of you will be thinking that the body is actually the most important part because that's where I get my key message across. It is, but the point I'm making is that if you don't get the subject right, you'll never get people to read the body of your email. Even when people open your email, they may still go straight down to the PS, which is why those two points are super important.
Your readers opened your email because of your enticing subject line. Now, you need to have an opening introduction, just like the first couple of sentences and that is the thing that's going to trigger someone's interest to keep them reading. My advice here is get to the point quickly, but keep the first two sentences of that first paragraph short to the point and maybe create more curiosity, ask a question or make a statement that they will be able to relate to so they carry on reading.
Whilst in the body of your email, you might want someone to take action. Remember that we are trying to add value to our audience. We are trying to build know, like and trust through these series of weekly or however frequent your emails are. You're trying to build that know, like and trust.
What we want to be doing is adding value, demonstrating to our reader that we really understand them in the pain that they suffer from. They look forward to receiving your email. Also remember, it's only when we've built know, like and trust that we can then start really selling to them.
You really want to focus the body of your email on adding value rather than making it too salesy. Because that will just switch people off, especially if they don't really know you yet. So use your body to build value, to offer some solutions and some ideas without giving everything away of course.
My next piece of advice is make sure that your email and the body of your email is about one topic. I'm not a big fan of newsletters. I don't think people have got time to read them. I also think that people feel like if they're subscribing to a newsletter, then it's just an opportunity for you to sell where, if you're sending one topic emails that are going to hit home and hit that pain point with your customer. Then they're much more likely to read it.
I think the ideal email is going to be somewhere between three hundred (300) to six hundred (600) words. I think text based emails are better than designed emails because they get through the spam filters much more easily. Also, people tend to see a text based email as something that isn't salesy whereas, a really well designed newsletter is obviously sort of salesy. Unless people are really signed up to that newsletter, it's hard to interact with them.
A good structure for your emails is following the PAS approach and that stands for Pain- Agitate-Solve. The first part of your email is you're identifying pain. The second part of your email, you're kind of sticking the knife in and making it even more painful. And then the third part of your email, you're giving them some solution to that pain.
If I was writing an email about delegation, for example, the pain part of it would be talking about how perhaps you're not good at delegating. You like to be in control. You're not good at letting go and giving other people opportunities.
Then, the agitated part of it would be the consequence of that. Like, if you don't delegate, you're going to work really long hours. Your team is going to get really demotivated. People are going to leave and you're gonna get stressed and have mental health issues and so on. That's the agitated part.
Lastly, the solved part would be, “Here's my nine step plan to help you become a better delegator.” In fact, if I was doing something like that, I might only share the first three (3) steps in the email and then say, if you want to read the rest of this, download my free e-book on the “Nine (9) steps to Great Delegation”. Then, taking this Pain-Agitate-Solve approach to emails is a really good structure and one that you know will hit home, provided you understand who your ideal target customers are, of course.
I mentioned that you might put your call to action in your PS, which is something I often do. But of course, you might also want to put the call to action at the end of your email. So, we're following that delegation email and following the Pain-Agitate-Solve approach. Then the call to action would be, “Hey, if you want to learn about the full details of these Nine (9) Steps to Great Delegation, then download my free guide.” that would be the call to action.
Hopefully if you stuck with me to this point, you've got some ideas around creating really curious and interesting subject lines.You've got this great body in your email following that Pain-Agitate-Solve approach. Also, you've got a really good call to action in your PS and next steps.
Let's just talk about a couple of other things while we're here and talking about emails. First of all, frequency, which is a question I get all the time. Just bear in mind that if you are sending value added emails to your audience, why wouldn't you send them frequently? I send an email at least once a week. I know sometimes when I tell some of my clients or my audience about that, they kind of feel no.I can't send an email every week.
Yes, you can if you send value added emails. At the end of the day, if a subscriber is getting really fed up with it, they can always unsubscribe. That's the first thing. I think you should send emails at least once a week or twice a month, but certainly no less frequently than that, because people will forget you. You'll go with your emails to move people along the buyer's journey and get them to know I can trust you. Then, they buy from you when you're ready to sell and when they're in enough pain.
The second thing is, what are good open rates? If you’ve got my email list and created these good emails following my structure, what's a good open rate? Well, somewhere between 20% and 35% is pretty good. If you're heading towards 35 higher, then you're doing really well. Then the second question is, will the click through rate be where I've got links in my email. What expectations should I have about click throughs?
This is obviously going to change massively, depending on what the click through thing is. But if we were following the e-book on Delegation, for example, I would expect somewhere between 3% and 6%. Then, that's 3 to 6% of the people that opened my email would click through. If I got a thousand people in my list and I've got a 30% open rate, that means 300 people have opened my email and then 6% of those click on a link in the email. That means I'm going to get 18 people clicking through and then hopefully downloading my free guide.
Those are just some kind of rough benchmarks and kind of approximately what I get with my emails. Of course, it depends massively on the mood of the person in how busy they are with the desk when your email pops in. Also, what's going on for them in terms of their current pain points.
The other thing that you want to do is experiment with both the time of day. The day of week that you send your emails to find out what is the time that's going to get the most engagement. Again, that is different for different industries.
Also, if you can, you can try some A/B testing on your subject line. Some email automation systems allow you to try different subject lines. It will send the email, let’s say 15% to one subject and 15% to another. It will wait for four hours, see which one gets the most engagement. Then send the other 70% of the list to that winning subject line. That's A/B testing. That's something you can do if you want to get a bit more advanced.
Anyway, I just wanted to talk about the Anatomy of a Great Email today. I hope this has inspired you both to keep writing emails but also to keep improving your emails. Try and get 1% better every time you write an email. Remember, doing something imperfectly is much better than waiting till you can do it perfectly.
Of course, if you want more help with this, please do check out my brand new email marketing and list building programme, The Build, Nurture and Convert Blueprint. I will put a link to that in the show notes. I'll also put a link to the voucher code that you can use a check out to get 20% off.
Other than that, have a great rest of your week. As ever, if you found this useful, please make sure you hit the subscribe button. I'd love you to leave a review about the podcast because that really helps the algorithms show the podcast to more people, which means I can help more people. But other than that, have a great weekend and get emailing.