3 Things I Wish I Knew In My Early 20’s

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On Offer: What Your Blog Should “Give Away”

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Blogging is an important tool for marketers trying to , but sometimes you have to give something away to get a bigger reward. In fact, from a sales perspective, you’re not really giving anything away. Instead, you’re hinting at the benefits clients can obtain from working with you more directly.

Give your blog a boost and lure clients by trying some of these basic giveaways. Most bloggers and businesses have an assortment of low stakes tools and tips on hand – put them to work for you.

A Profitable Post

At the simplest level, your blog is a kind of giveaway. You’re giving away valuable knowledge and insights to your readers in the form of your content. Particularly if you’re creating checklists, and cheat sheets, link roundups, and how-to guides, you’re providing material tools to your readers. That’s why people monetize their blogs in the first place – to recoup the value of that work.

Certain fields benefit more than others from information-heavy posts and, in fact, specialties like law and medicine rely on this kind of content. On legal blogs, for example, lawyers typically , for which they could be held responsible. However, the goal of these posts is ultimately to encourage those who need more detailed assistance to purchase services.

Dominate With Downloads

Another popular online freebie employed by bloggers is the . Whether you’re a mommy blog featuring downloadable crafts or a food blogger offering recipes to your readers, these are often the most popular elements of a site. But by limiting the number of available freebies, while offering especially high-value ones, you increase the likelihood that readers will purchase your paid files. WordPress and other blogging tools even offer special plugins for downloadable resources to make this easier.

Discounts Drive Sales

As with blog posts, many people don’t consider offering a discount to be the same as a giveaway, but to users, they’re equal, even though customers only get giveaways if they purchase something. Big retailers use this trick all the time with new and established customers alike, and you’ve probably made a purchase because you were motivated by a free bonus. Don’t underestimate the power of this tactic for your business.

Trade In Data

From a business owner’s perspective, customer data is power – and surveys provide demographic insights, can help determine marketing trends, help you make you meet customers’ needs more effectively, increasing profits. With that in mind, why not make a trade for that information. Customers will sometimes fill out a short survey for free, but once you start asking too many questions, they’ll promptly bail. A better approach is to offer them a freebie, from a file to a discount or a low-cost product, can get them to the end. And that data is worth more than whatever you trade in return.

Businesses have primarily stopped thinking in terms of trades, at least since the era of bartering ended, but in reality, the practice hasn’t ended. As professionals, we make trades every day. From knowledge and files to actual products, offering a benefit is the best way to secure a client. It’s just a small matter of reframing how you think about your blog as a sales tool.

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9 Preheader Text Mistakes that Nosedive Your Email Open Rates

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Getting your business emails opened is like threading a needle.

You fail more times than you succeed.

Inboxes are jammed as brands jostle for people’s attention on the most profitable channel of all— email. In such a highly competitive environment you have to go an extra mile to succeed with your email marketing campaigns.

Success starts with subscribers opening your emails; otherwise your campaign’s dead in the water.

But how do you get your nose in front in the tight race for the inbox?

Stretch every element of your campaign, by, among other things, optimizing the preheader. Sidestepping common preheader text mistakes will put you ahead of the pack and hike your open rates.

First, let’s get the basics out of the way.

 

What is email preheader text?

The preheader is the bit of text that appears under the subject line when an email is viewed in the inbox.

Here’s an example from my inbox.

 

Preheader example.

 

In the above screenshot, the line ‘Everybody’s doing something. We’ll do nothing!’ is the preheader.

Sometimes it’s called the Johnson Box. This refers to a snippet of copy found at the top of direct mail letters, containing the key message of the letter. Other terms used to describe it are:

  • Preview Text.
  • Second Subject Line.
  • Snippet Text.

Why bother with a preheader in the first place?

 

5 reasons why you need a preheader

 

1. The design of the preview pane demands it

The preview pane is structured in a way that affords subscribers a chance to get a foretaste of what a message is about.

It seeks to quickly address three crucial questions your audience might have about an email:

  • Who is this message from? ( Sender) Is it from a trusted sender?
  • What is it about? (Subject) Is the subject catchy enough?
  • Why are they writing? (Preheader) Is the message worthwhile?

If you are like most small business owners, your main focus is the subject line. You probably know that research shows up to 50% subscribers decide to open an email based on the subject line alone.

But what happens to the other 50%?

They linger and then look at the next component that falls within the eyeline of their reading path—the preheader. This gives you a second chance to tease users to open your email.

 

2. The mobile-first world reality requires it

These days most people read emails on mobile devices.

Not only do mobile users read on the move, but they also check their email 3x more than desktop users according to research conducted by Google.

Preheaders are more pronounced on mobile devices.

That’s good news.

A longish snippet text line gives you a great opportunity to expand your subject line and boost your open rates.

 

3. The number of preheader characters warrants it

Depending on the email client you are using, your preheader can be anything from 40-100 characters long.

That’s between 8-20 more words to support your subject line or say more about your business.

In fact, preheader text dominates your inbox.

 

preheaders in the inbox

 

As you can see, the preheader uses up to twice as much space than the subject line in some cases.

Surprising, hey!

Don’t let all this precious space go to waste. Use it to bolster your subject line and market better.

 

4. The position it occupies encourages it

Mobile users tend to do a lot of scrolling.

The preview text is visible without having to scroll.

Its strategic above-the-fold position makes it a powerful tool for engaging subscribers right off the bat before they are tempted to leave.

 

5. The role it plays in avoiding the spam folder

If users mark your email as spam, your emails won’t see the light of day.

Good preview text reduces spam alerts.

How?

It sums up what the newsletter is about. Once recipients appreciate the content, they won’t mark your email as spam. You’ll avoid the dreaded spam folder and increase deliverability rates.

 

Now that you’ve got a good handle on preheader fundamentals, let’s move on to blunders SMB marketers typically make with them.

 

 

Mistake #1: Omitting the preheader

What’s the biggest mistake can you make with the preheader?

Underestimating its power and totally excluding it.

By doing so, you miss an awesome opportunity to get more people clicking on your email campaigns. Research shows including a well-crafted preheader can boost opens by

Imagine the difference such a margin can make to your bottom line.

If your email doesn’t have a specially composed preheader:

  • Your email’s first few words may be displayed in the designated preheader space.
  • A default phrases like “This email was sent in HTML only, to view it please copy it into your browser” may appear.
  • An image’s alt-text may appear if your message contains an image.
  • Your code might be dragged into the preview text place.
  • The preheader space will showcase placeholder gibberish text like ‘Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetuer’.

Talk about blowing a great chance to craft a well thought out preview text and entice more newsletter subscribers to click on your email.

Still think having a preheader isn’t a big deal?

Well, think again.

Marketing Experiments did to see the impact of having a preheader in an email. One email had no preheader. It simply displayed the URL of the first image in the email. Meanwhile, the treatment displayed a specific type of text.

The results were impressive: the treatment saw a huge 104% increase in clicks.

 

Mistake #2: Duplicating the subject line

Repeating your subject line verbatim in the preheader is a bad idea.

First, it’s just being a lazy marketer. Second, it demonstrates a lack of creativity—not a good attribute for a marketer. Importantly, readers might think you are a spammer and ban you from their inboxes forever.

Your preheader should complement the subject line, not copy it.

It should add more valuable info not contained in the subject line. Combined, your subject line and preheader should tell one complete story. Below are some quick tips on how to nail it:

  • Use figures to concretize the subject line.
  • Inject a sense of urgency by adding a deadline to your offer.
  • Ask a loaded question that piques your audience’s interest.
  • Highlight your offer’s second benefit.
  • Personalize the preheader if you haven’t personalized the subject.
  • Captivate through visually appealing emoji.
  • Weave fear of missing out (FOMO) into your copy.

In essence, treat your preheader like your second subject line.

Here are a couple of examples of some of the above strategies in use.

Philips Chrysler used personalization to good effect.

 

good email preheader example.

Source: Practical Ecommerce

 

Using the recipient’s name makes her warm up to the message.

Wayfair wooed their newsletter subscribers by using the clapping hands emoji.

 

preheader with emoji.

Source: Ometria

 

The emoji adds a touch of color, emulates a certain feeling, and lights up the dull text.

In short, be creative not repetitive.

 

Mistake #3: Including unsubscribe option

Yes, you must make it easy for people to unsubscribe from your list.

And, yes, the opt-out option should be in a prominent area so people see you’ve got nothing to hide.

But the preheader might not be the best place for it.

In the example below from my inbox, the word ‘stop’ is capitalized, drawing more attention to unsubscribing than to the offer.

 

unsubscribe link in the preheader.

 

One moment you’re excited about saving, then in the next instant you are hit with a message telling you to pull out of the list.

Ugh.

Not inspiring for the reader if you ask me.

It kills the momentum generated by the subject line.

Why not let readers see your offer first and then give them the chance to remove themselves from your list later on inside the email?

Besides, newsletter readers expect the unsubscribe link in your footer. Seeing it much earlier can be unsettling for them.

 


Editor’s note:

While adding the unsubscribe link in the preheader isn’t providing the optimum experience for your email subscribers, there are times when it pays off to move this link further up in your newsletters.

For example, if you’re having deliverability problems and your emails are often marked as spam – for no good reason – then it’s worth giving your email recipients the option to opt out, instead of reporting your message as spam.

High spam complaint rate may for example be related to the local customer habits. In some markets, for example in Russia, you’ll notice that email campaigns get reported as spam more often, as the users there don’t usually trust the unsubscribe links and have become used to opting out this way.

To make sure your email deliverability is intact, follow the and make your subscription process as transparent as possible.


 

Mistake #4: Making a whitelist request

Surely, using the preheader to ask subscribers to whitelist your brand so they never miss an email from you is a great idea, right?

Wrong.

Here’s why.

To begin with, it’s wasted effort. When was the last time you manually added companies you want to hear from to your personal address book?

Rarely, if at all.

And yet you still receive business newsletters. Here’s the thing.  Inboxes have become complicated enough to detect the emails you want to receive without you whitelisting the sender.

So whitelisting isn’t the best use of the preheader.

You are better off focusing your energies on crafting an irresistible . Once subscribers engage with your first email, future emails won’t get stuck in the spam folder. Your deliverability rates will go higher.

A good welcome email:

  • Urges subscribers to open it ASAP.
  • Appreciates the subscriber for joining your list.
  • Sets the tone for the user’s relationship with you.
  • Quickly establishes rapport with subscribers.
  • Spells out what to expect in the coming days.
  • Gives instructions on how to whitelist you.
  • Describes who you are and what you do.
  • Delivers the promised information.

Since welcome emails have insanely high open rates, once you get your foot in the door you are guaranteed your audience will see forthcoming emails.

 

Mistake #5: Too many links

Most people read emails on mobile devices, remember?

Have you ever tried clicking a link on your phone?

It can be quite a challenge, to put it mildly. According to an , the average width of an index finger is 1.6 to 2 cm for most adults so tapping on a 12pt font can be frustrating.

It gets worse.

In a pioneering study on how users hold their mobile devices, UX Matters revealed that touch their screen only with the thumb, the fattest finger.

Chances of inaccurate touches become multiplied.

As if clicking on a link isn’t bad enough in and of itself, too many links are worse because:

  • Readers may end up clicking on the wrong link because links are cramped. This is another reason why putting an unsubscribe link in the preheader is a bad idea.
  • Readers will be overwhelmed by too many choices and end up not clicking on any of the links, a classic case of analysis paralysis.
  • Readers might miss the link they’re interested in because it’s been cut off.
  • Readers may be frustrated by the bad user experience and abandon your email.

Keep things simple.

Trim the copy in your links to the barest minimum. Or, better still, avoid text-heavy links in some campaigns.

And, instead of cramping links into the preheader, try a button CTAs in the copy.

Buttons are bigger, brighter, and nicer, hence they’re more likely to be clicked.

But don’t take my word for it. Test to see which works best for your audience.

 

Mistake #6: No call to action

Why do you send newsletters in the first place?

To get people to act on your offers, isn’t it?

Whether you want them to try your product, enlist your services or attend your event, one thing is clear – tell them exactly what you want them to do.

Failure to include a convincing CTA is a big blunder that might reduce the success of your campaign.

Like any good your CTA should be;

  • Clear, not clever.
  • Short, not lengthy.
  • Active, not passive.
  • Specific, not general.
  • Simple, not complex.

Cut to the chase by leading with a convincing CTA in the preheader.

 

Mistake #7: Making it too long

Crafting a lengthy preheader is a big mistake, and here’s why.

Your words get chopped off before you get your message across. This drastically reduces your chances of users checking out your emails. And, with most people reading emails on space-starved mobile devices, this is a real problem.

Litmus released useful research that reveals how many preheader characters popular email clients usually show on mobile devices.

 

preview text and number of characters displayed in different inboxes.

Source:

To quickly get your message across on most devices before it gets truncated, aim for around 50 characters or 11 words. Since you have very little wiggle room, for best results:

  • Put the most important part of your message at the beginning.
  • Lead with an active verb that instantly grabs attention.
  • Turn the whole header into a CTA and take people straight to your landing page.
  • Get rid of filler words that take up space without saying much.

Bear in mind also that your preheader length is connected to the size of the subject line. A long subject line means a short preheader and vice versa. Play around with both until you hit the sweet spot.

Still having trouble getting the length right?

Don’t despair.

Take the guesswork out of the equation by using email header preview tools like to see how exactly your preheader and subject line will look on different devices.

 

Mistake #8: Preheader and subject line mismatch

If your preheader doesn’t fit your subject, you’re erring.

No matter how nice sounding your preheader is if it doesn’t expand on the subject line, it’ll fail.

A disconnect between the two is jarring for users.

Combined, the subject line and the preview text make up 58% of the first thing people look at when deciding whether to open an email.

By marrying the two so they complement each other and communicate one full story, you raise your chances of getting your email opened.

Here’s an example:

Subject: 50% off our new collection

Preheader: Save big on all latest denim jackets, jeans, and dresses for 3 days only!

The subject line introduces a massive discount. And then the preheader adds finer details about the offer by telling subscribers which items are on sale and how long the special is running for.

These specifics make the offer clearer and add a bit of urgency into the scenario.

 

Mistake #9: Forgetting to split test

Relying on your gut won’t get you far.

In an age of countless analytics and testing tools and toys, it’s surprising how businesses still depend on what they think will work.

Test, don’t assume.

Carry out A/B tests of your preheaders.

Try out various angles and variants of subject lines and preheaders. Keep testing and tweaking until you see a substantial uptick in opens.

 

Conclusion

Treating preheaders as an afterthought is a costly mistake.

Take time to carefully optimize yours.

GetResponse has a nimble preheader feature allows you to maximize your preheader with ease.

If you get it right, you’ll lure more recipients into opening your messages. More opens lead to more click-throughs. More click-throughs lead to more conversions. And, more conversions ultimately lead to more money for your business.

 

Author

Qhubekani Nyathi.

 

According to his cheeky wife’s baseless claims, Qhubekani Nyathi aka The Click Guy, is an irresistibly handsome freelance copywriter. He helps SMBs rapidly grow their income and impact through actionable that ranks high, builds authority, and generates tons of leads. He is a contributor to top blogs like Crazy Egg, Search Engine People, Techwyze, AWAI, and more.

 

 

9 Preheader Text Mistakes that Nosedive Your Email Open Rates.

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"Dad's House" 8/4/09

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"Howl's Moving Castle" – 11/04/10

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What is the Right Newsletter Frequency?

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If you want to increase your email revenue, you should consider increasing the frequency of your newsletters. Two emails may be better than one, after all.

However, bombarding subscribers is not a long-term recipe for success either. It’s a careful balance between too little and too much.

In recent years, top US email marketers have been increasing their email frequency, as AlchemyWorx research shows.

They used data from EDS Analyst to compare between 2013 and 2017 for the top 200 US senders.

 

send volume vs opens 2013 and 2017.

 

Compared on the chart are the number of campaigns (blue), the number of emails sent (orange) and the number of opens (yellow) for 2013 and 2017.

It’s evident that all the numbers went up significantly in those four years.

On average, the top brands increased their email volume by 2.2 times. The total sent email volume increased from 470 billion to 1,040 billion.

The number of emails sent didn’t get higher because of brands having bigger lists – the median list size was unchanged.

So, were the top 200 brands wrong to increase the frequency? Or did they increase the frequency because it increased the revenue?

Interestingly, not only did the volume increase but the open rate increased too, shown by the grey line on the chart. I’ll come back to that.

 

Optimal frequency

You’d be right to think about list fatigue and turning off subscribers with too much email. The question is – how much is too much?

The latest  stats provide the most useful data to calculate the optimal frequency for the best business results.

Previously, I calculated the optimal email frequency using data from ReturnPath. They published data from fashion brands with a total volume of 199 million emails. The analysis showed the ideal frequency to maximize opens was .

The latest GetResponse report provides average open rates and click rates, for frequencies 1 to 15 a week.

 

Newsletter frequency vs email metrics.

See full table here:

 

The reason this data is better for frequency calculation than the ReturnPath’s data because clicks are a much better indicator of conversion than opens.

The key to understanding optimal email frequency is to change the way you think about what it is you’re maximizing.

 

What’s the objective of an email?

In most cases, it’s the click-through. Usually, an email aims to get someone to go to a website where the journey can continue. Turning conversation into conversion.

Maximum email revenue comes from maximizing the number of website visits per month.

See that switch? It’s visits per month not per campaign. This change is subtle but profound.

Let me give you an example.

Say you have a list of 100,000 subscribers. You send four campaigns per month with a 4.88% click-through rate. The number of web visits generated is 19,520 (4 x 100,000 x 4.88%).

Now, multiply the campaigns to 8 per month. The benchmarks show the click rate drops to 3.53%. The number of web visits generated during the month is 28,240 (8 x 100,000 x 3.53%).

Increasing the email frequency made the visits number rise from 19,520 to 28,240 per month – performance boost of 44%.

 

Wait, what about unsubscribes?

The campaign unsubscribe rate doesn’t typically increase along with the frequency. But the number of people unsubscribing per month does increase.

Sounds like a contradiction? It’s not.

Imagine you have 200 contacts unsubscribe every campaign. That number doesn’t change much when you increase frequency; it’s still 200 per campaign.

If you send four campaigns per month then at the end of the month 800 people unsubscribed.

If you send eight campaigns per month then at the end of the month 1,600 people unsubscribed.

Think of it like this. The more you email, the more opportunities people have to click and convert. But you also provide more. chances to unsubscribe.

Increasing frequency does increase the number of people who unsubscribe over time, which reduces long term revenue.

Additional to list size reduction is email fatigue, sometimes called . As frequency increases some subscribers stay on the list but open less frequently or not at all.

The benchmark stats show this clearly, campaign response rates decrease as frequency increases.

 

Putting it together

The optimal email frequency is found by finding the maximum number of web visits over a long period when these metrics account for a reduced performance:

  • Campaign click rates reduce with frequency, as shown by the benchmarks.
  • List size reduces due to unsubscribes, reducing success from future campaigns.

The chart below plots the average number of web visits per subscriber over three years against the weekly email frequency during the three years.

The impact of click-through rate reduction and unsubscribes with increased frequency causes the drop in the performance as you move to the right on the chart.

 

total web visits over 3 years

 

The maximum number of visits occurs at six emails per week though there is little performance difference for frequencies five to seven per week.

Remember this analysis is after considering email fatigue, list churn and any deliverability impact of frequency increase. Even with these impacts, the optimal is five to seven emails per week.

Only interested in the short term? This is the same analysis, but for the scenario when we’re optimizing performance over just three months.

 

total web visits over 3 months

 

If you want to optimize your performance over the next three months, the answer is almost alarming. Just email as much as you can. The impact of list fatigue and unsubscribes don’t bite in the short term.

But it will damage your success for the months following, and I don’t recommend it! Better not show this to the board if they worry only about the short term.

 

Healthy lists are growing lists

List churn due to unsubscribes and bounces means whatever your email frequency is, your list reduces with time.

Unlike the number of unsubscribes, the number of email addresses becoming invalid and bouncing each year isn’t related to frequency.

I don’t recommend you trying to reduce unsubscribes by hiding the link in small font in a dense footer. This practice often backfires as show.

Because of unsubscribes and bounces, lists reduce by 20% to 40% per year. The optimal frequency analysis charts above account for this.

Growing your email list is a must. You need some new subscribers every month to replace those who left your list.

So, aim for the optimal send frequency when you have an email list growth strategy.

 

Are six emails per week right for me?

The analysis shows aiming for five or six emails per week is a great choice – on average.

But it’s not right for every brand.

What’s right depends on the type of product or service you offer, e.g.:

  • Stressed purchase. Car repair, emergency products, and services
  • Necessity purchase. Annual insurance policies, toilet tissue, printer ink
  • Desire and impulse buy. Holidays, fashion, gadgets, hobby goods

If you are selling goods that are desirable or an impulse buy, then a higher frequency is recommended more than for something that is a stressed purchase.

Consumers may be happy to browse travel and fashion offers, even when they don’t intend to buy. They read out of curiosity, and to stay up to date with the latest trends.

That isn’t the case for insurance. Few people are curious about insurance except in the run-up to renewal.

Every brand, offer, and audience is different, so the optimal frequency is different for every brand.

As a guideline for desire and impulse buys think in the range of 1 to 5 per week, for necessity once or twice a month and stressed – a couple of times a quarter.

 

Frequency and Relevance

By now, you’re probably wondering about relevance. Shouldn’t I be sending more relevant emails rather than just more emails?

The answer is simple: do both. Frequency and relevance can work together. Making your emails more relevant means you can increase frequency without the negative downside, unsubscribes and list fatigue. You’ll keep your subscribers engaged even when sending them a lot more content.

Going back to the chart at the very start of this article, where the opens increased from 40 billion to 130 billion. In terms of the open rate that’s an increase from 8.5% to 12.5%.

The top 200 email marketers not only increased frequency but open rates too. Great strategies to do this include:

  • Segmentation
  • Personalization
  • Automated content based on behavior such as browsed, purchased or abandoned.
  • Send targeted emails at the moment of interest.

Getting the sending frequency right has a big impact on results. When was the last time you reviewed how often you send?

Sending more emails is harder than sending fewer because keeping engagement also becomes harder. But not impossible.

So, practice creating emails so engaging, that they’ll allow you to increase your email frequency without any damage :)!

 


Author: Tim Watson, a specialist email marketing consultant focused 100% on email marketing, .

 

What is the Right Newsletter Frequency.

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