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Who Else Wants To Send Opt-in Emails That Convert At 21%?

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So, you have an email list (you do, right?)

Like all good businesses you’ve been emailing your list regularly and are focussed on driving incremental clicks and conversions by delivering valuable, education content that engages your readers and gets them to act.

A lot of business think they have this process down but could you be doing more to drive the value you need from your list when you need it?

You might wonder what should you focus on when trying to upsell your list on a new product or feature and how can you get your conversion rates above your average. You don’t need to wonder any longer because today I’m going to share with you a real life case study that saw conversion rates increase to 21% (a 700% increase)

How to get your readers to act

Want to know the secrets to unlock extra conversions from you marketing list? Let me introduce Maria.

Like most of us, Maria emails her email list on a monthly basis.

Maria recently shared with me an email she sent out that saw her conversion rate (in this case a direct response) soar to 21%.

21% is seven times her usual response rate and it’s also four times the average click-through rate as reported by Mailchimp (and they’re not even talking conversions).

Better yet, each of these responses was an opt-in to a program she had just started running giving her the freedom to send more high-converting emails to an extremely excited and ready customer base.

So how did Maria get such a high response rate? The quickest way is to look at the emails Maria usually sends along with the email that saw this great result.


A great long term strategy

This is the sort of email Maria usually sends her customers. It’s long but it’s extremely well written, so I encourage you to actually read it. You might learn a thing or two ;).

Subject: Goals? Or, no goals?

Hi {!firstname_fix} ,

How have you been? I am doing really well but I am so busy. After a great summer, and wonderful holidays in Greece, I am back to the USA with a handful of goals on my plate.

Even though I generally like having goals, I also realize that in various sectors of my life I have no goals. I mostly have a “direction”. For example, this is how exercise looks like for me: I exercise because it makes me feel good and it gives me energy. But I have no particular goals. E.g., no goals to lift a certain amount of weight or manage to strike a certain pose in yoga. I just do it because exercise is aligned with my long-term direction in life of living healthier and being vibrant daily! I started playing squash a few months ago. The truth is…I was really bad at it. I still am, but not as bad as I used to. I do have an objective – to become a better player. Yet, I don’t have a deadline for that. It’s part of the direction I want to take in squash. So again…no goal. I also like stretching. I do want to become more flexible, and improve my backbends…but I am in no hurry and I just do what I feel like doing. This approach has worked so far: I used to be super-stiff, and then 6 months later I was doing splits. However, I didn’t get there because I had a “goal”. I got there because I was walking the direction I wanted to take, and was doing it consistently (stretching 4 times a week). As you see, at least when it comes to exercise, I don’t really have long-term goals, i.e., goals that need more than 2 weeks time. I don’t think I ever did.

However, I do know the direction I need to follow. And I am using short-term goals to walk the talk.

E.g., my everyday goal is to mark a check in every item of my to-do list. These items are the steps I am taking while walking the direction I have chosen. E.g., stretching 4 times a week is one such step. I set those short-term goals daily or weekly.

I find that this approach of choosing direction over long-term goals works because it does help me focus on the now, rather than on worrying when or whether or not I will achieve the long-term goal.

For example, if you exercise because you want to lose 20 pounds in the next 3 months(long-term goal), then during, e.g., your first month you are likely to worry about whether you will ever get to your goal, or whether you will reach it on time, etc. However, when you have a direction of losing weight but not a specific goal, then during the first month you have no specific long-term goal to worry about. Some people would argue that no goals = nothing done, yet I have found that no long-term goals along with application of short-term goals works!

Now, I am not against long-term goals. They do have their merits too. I am just nudging you to think what works best for you.

So what do you think? Does having a direction work better for you than goals, or do you need goals and deadlines to stay motivated? Just reply back to this e-mail with your reply. I read every response.



P.S.1 I am writing a book!! A real book! It’s called “Unstuck” and it explains why we cannot stick to exercise, why we cannot maintain our weight, etc…and what to do about it. Do you have a related issue or question that you would like me to address? Just reply back to this e-mail and let me know of your situation. I will definitely get back to you.

P.S.2 While I was in Greece I read a wonderful book “Loving what is”. If you have ever felt that you needed to prove something to yourself, to your family or loved ones, or felt bad about things not being the way they “should”, then the art of being ok with where you are will really take the stress away.

Here’s a few comments Maria and I brainstormed when we discussed this email.

  1. Maria focuses on value when she emails her customers once or twice a month. She generally asks her customers to think or consider a new piece of content. This has helped her build up trust over time and clearly connect with her customers.
  2. Maria effectively leverages the PS. Postscripts are copywriting gold as nearly every one reads them (for some reason, we can’t resist!)
  3. Maria nails the tone as if she were speaking to a best friend. By keeping this consistent whenever she emails her list, Maria builds trust and rapport. In this way she keeps her list active and waiting. 3% is a great response rate for this sort of email.

We’ve now got a bit of a flavour for what Maria usually sends. Does it resonate with you? Do your emails sometimes look like this?

Maria knew that to get maximum conversions for her new fitness course she’d have to change some key elements in her email style but could easily leverage the trust she has built over time.

The secret sauce

this is the brilliant email Maria came up with and, without a doubt, it worked.

Hello [Name],

Hope your week is going well! Mine is really hectic. I am working on exercise applications that will be released for computers running Windows 8. So if you upgrade to Windows 8…sooner or later you may see my fitness apps in the Windows market! Oh, and I also have to study for my MBA. Ain’t no rest for the wicked.

Yet, here is what else is on the works that gets me really excited. My passion is to help people who wish they exercised more…yet haven’t found a way to exercise regularly.

Do you feel like this? I want to help you! I want to help you make exercise a habit. I am working on a solution, and I need your help. I am testing an one-week program that includes 5 min of exercise a day for 5 days. It starts on Monday Nov 5th and ends Friday Nov 9th and it’s free.

If you want to be part of this just reply to this e-mail and say “Yes!”. I will then go ahead and add you.

Every day you will get an e-mail from me with links to an exclusive 5-min exercise video. The workout included will be custom-tailored to beginners .

You will also have the option to take “extra credit” and do more than 5 min. It’s up to you, but the “requirement” is just 5 min.

Now you may be worried that you will feel bad if you don’t do those 5 min of exercise. Don’t worry, I have a remedy for this…I can’t tell you what. It’s a secret. But you will find out if you join the program.

This program is not created to make you feel guilty, and pressure yourself to comply to exercising. It’s made to make you feel good. That’s the primary objective. Exercise is secondary. That’s why I called it “Exercise Bliss”!

In return for free training, you will provide me with feedback. I want to know what you liked and what you didn’t like. That’s it.

Anyway, as I said if you want to be part of this, then reply to this e-mail and say “Yes!”. I will take care of the rest.

On a second note, how are you doing? Anything you’d like to share with me? I’m all ears!


What is going on here?

I’m glad you ask. Here are the top five reasons Maria killed it with this email:1. She kept this sales email short and to the point. Paragraphs are clearly spaced, wording is practical and logical.2. Key sections are highlighted for the reader. Maria draws attention to the important parts of this email. Particularly the call to action in the fourth paragraph. Bold works. It helps remove distraction and lets customers read faster. Use bold sparingly and it can be very effective.

3. There is a real, single call to action here. Maria doesn’t just ask her customers to ponder on the topic at hand, she wants action and she asks for it. Not once, but twice. Have a clear call to action and ask for what you want. If you have built up trust over time you will be rewarded with you ask your customers to support you.

4. The subject line is very specific and descriptive. Succinctly describing what you want customers to do goes a long way. Use a subject line that describes what you want before the customer even opens the email.

5. It was easy to subscribe. Customers didn’t have to jump through hoops to subscribe, they didn’t have to provide details or download anything – they just replied with ‘yes’. Keep your call to actions simple. Track post-email actions or asking people to response are both great ways to increase your conversion rate.

Will this work for me?

Absolutely. Whether you’re crafting a welcome campaign, a pre-sales educational series, content-heavy eCommerce newsletters or any other campaigns, the basic principles of clear content, descriptive subject lines and singular calls to action will go a long way.

You aren’t emailing your list for nothing!

Maria has shown that building trust with your customers by delivering value will give you the ability to call on them to act when you the time is right.

Over to you

I only have one question: how are you going to use these tips to your advantage next time you send out an email?

I just wanted to say a big thank you to Maria, of Exercise Bliss, for sharing this case study with me. If anyone is interested in improving their health and fitness, check out Maria’s offerings!

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