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Case Study Email Updates: Are They Worth It?

I don’t know about you, but I subscribe to a lot of search engine optimization and social media marketing mailing lists. These lists are chock full of information regarding the wide varieties and shapes online digital marketing takes. Of course, they have their specific focus, but I get a pretty broad view of how marketing online is done.

While I do get excited by the late breaking news regarding Google algorithm updates, Facebook algorithm complications, and so on and so forth, what really turns me on are case studies. Case studies do such a good job of getting my attention that I almost have to always fight myself from buying the service linked to the case study article that I get in my email. They’re that powerful.

I don’t think I’m alone. In fact, I’m so sold on the power of case studies to persuade prospects that I have shifted a tremendous percentage of my list marketing activities to using this particular form of email update.

Why are Case Studies So Powerful?

Well, anybody can spit out theory. Anybody with more than two brain cells can speculate. After all, everybody’s got an opinion. However, when you have a problem, you do not have the time or patience for opinions, theories, could haves, should haves or would haves. Instead, you’re looking for results.

Nothing brings the message home more clearly than seeing the problem in context, and that’s precisely what case studies do. They create a story form that the reader can identify with. The reader can instantly zero in on what happened before, what’s happening during the solution, and what happens after.

They will not only be able to associate whatever problems they’re experiencing with the problems of the person or business in the case study, but they can also make reasonable predictions based on the solution that was implemented. This is very powerful stuff because if you are able to get the reader to identify with the problem, like the solution, and get excited about the reward, you pretty much have converted them.

It doesn’t matter where they come from, it doesn’t matter what their educational attainment is, it doesn’t matter what their culture may be. Most people think in logical terms, and this is where case studies pack such a massive blow. People are always looking for rewards.

Keep in mind that when people buy computers, coffee, or cars, they’re not exactly just looking for users. Somebody can buy a MacBook, but they could have easily bought a Windows computer. Obviously, they’re not just looking for computing power. They’re looking for prestige, they’re looking for a sense of ease, they’re looking for the “cool factor” that Apple products bring to the table. Whatever the case may be, they’re looking for intangible rewards.

When you market through case studies, you trigger these intangible rewards in addition to speaking to the logical needs of your readers. In other words, you are hitting them on two fronts. You’re appealing to logic, and you’re appealing to emotions. It is no surprise, given this double- barreled approach, that case study marketing is so potent.

Unfortunately, I’ve got some bad news for you. Most email marketers screw up case studies in their emails. They really do. Either their emails are too long, too confusing, too technical, or too spammy. Whatever the case may be, their emails simply fall flat.

These are supposed to be case studies. This is supposed to be the marketers shooting fish in a barrel. What went wrong? Well, the bottom line is that they did not present the story the right way.

Case studies, make no mistake about them, are stories. No need to complicate things. No need to overthink things. These are stories. Treat them as such. Here’s how I do it.

First, I tell a personal story. You have to understand that a case study loses its vitality if it sounds like some sort of cold, scientific presentation presented by some absent-minded professor somewhere. The more personalized the story, the more people would relate to it. As much as possible, use the word “I.” It may not be always possible, but try to do it.

Second, simplify the solution. When you give out a case study, people are not interested in all the dots that have to be connected. They’re not looking for the minutiae. They couldn’t care less about any of that. People are busy. They don’t have the time. Instead, they want to zero in on the simplified problem, which was solved by the simplified solution.

If you’re able to do this with your email in as short and as compact in form as possible, you have produced an email that does its job. What is the job of your email? It’s not to give all the information in the body of the email. You’re going to run out of space. Instead, you get the reader to get excited about the story that they click on the link to the full blown, step by step, data driven blog post or article.

Now, this is all well and good, but don’t drop the ball by linking people to an article that’s written in Sanskrit or Latin. When people click on that link, they must be stepped through the data, but the blog post must be written in plain English.

If you do this, case studies will work wonders for you. If you blow this, then you join the ranks of many marketers producing one “case study” after another, only to have little to show for it. I’m sure you know which type of marketer you’d rather be.

Turbocharge Automated Selling with Event-Triggered Email

Let’s get one thing clear, part of the reason why you got into list marketing in the first place is the fact that it’s easily automated. Automation, as well as scale, are easily two of the biggest selling points of list marketing.

If you’ve ever done old school person to person offline marketing, you know how much of a blessing these two factors are. There’s nothing more gruelling that picking up the phone, going through contact lists consisting of dozens of prospects, boiling it all down to a short list, getting on a plane, checking into a hotel, and making a sales pitch. You do this all day, every day, and at the end of the day, maybe, just maybe, you have one sale.

What if you can reduce all of this into an automated format that doesn’t require you to break a sweat? It also doesn’t involve any plane tickets. It doesn’t involve separation from your family. It doesn’t involve any of that. In other words, I’ve just described email marketing.

Now, as awesome as email marketing is, there’s a lot of room for improvement. A lot of marketers think that they just need to put up a list and all of a sudden, all this amazing money will appear. Unfortunately, if you think along those lines, chances are, you are on your way to failure or you have already done belly up.

List marketing must be responsive. This is the key. This is the secret ingredient. If this is not happening, then you’re doing something wrong.

It’s too tempting to think that you just need to attract the right people, pump them with pre- written, pre-canned, pre-published content, and you’re good to go. Well, if you run a volume operation where you’re just trying to vacuum up as many email addresses from the internet, this might work.

I used the word “might” because mailing list automation software costs are no joke. But assuming your costs fall in line, you may be able to get away with a volume operation.

The better approach would be to maximize the conversion rate of your mailing list. In other words, focus on quality instead of quantity.

What if I told that a mailing list of as little as a thousand people can generate millions of dollars in sales every single year? What if I told you that those sales can be recurring? This is not speculation, this is not empty talk, this is the real deal because heavy-duty and heavy-hitting list marketers who generate those kinds of results know the game like the back of their hands.

One of the most important tricks you can learn to maximize the value of email-based automated selling involves event-triggered email. In other words, you’re sending scheduled emails based on the actions of your list recipients.

The key here is to do this using a time lag that gives the impression that the email you sent was a natural response. That’s how people naturally email each other. They don’t just jump in front of their email client and fire off an email the moment somebody does something.

Usually, people are busy so they’re doing other stuff and then they finally get around to acknowledging something that one of their customers did. You mimic this by adopting some sort of time lag, but this time lag is actually preprogrammed. Sounds awesome, right?

If you are raring to go, you might want to hold back. Seriously. Don’t jump in with both feet. There’s another piece that’s missing. You need to also focus on the needs that triggered the actionable item.

This is crucial because if somebody just sent an email because they bought something, that’s okay, but you have to focus on the need that was met when they took action. This is what will ensure higher dollar upsales.

If you screw this up, it’s going to look like you’re just spamming your customer. Do you think they will welcome your email? Do you think they will be pleased that you have automated sending out spam after they took action? The answer should be obvious.

By focusing on the needs that attended the action and crafting an email that speaks directly to those needs, you maximize your chances of getting an upsell. Not only would your email be welcomed, there’s a high chance that your recipient would actually take action on your email.

How does this work? Well, focus on offering better value. For example, if your list member already bought something that’s worth $5, offer something bigger, better, faster, cheaper. Whatever the case may be, it must add value to the life of the buyer. If they can see the value clearly, it would be very tempting for them to buy.

Now, this doesn’t have to always be true. Often times, the impression or the perception of value is just as good as actual value. Whatever the case may be, you need to add value or at least look like it.

Don’t just content yourself with setting up automated emails when somebody does something. That should just open the door. That should just be the beginning of the opportunity for you. You need to take this to its furthest logical conclusion.

However, you need to do this the right way. You can’t come off like a spammer. It shouldn’t be obvious that you’re just looking to milk a few more bucks from your list members. If that’s the impression you give, you might achieve the opposite results.

The Number One Reason Why You Should Sell Via Email

If you’re reading this article, you are probably still on the fence as to why you should put up a mailing list. You probably have heard of the old saying, “the money is in the list.”

If you are anywhere like the average normal online marketer, you probably have also rolled your eyes when you came across that phrase. I can’t say I blame you. It’s very easy to become skeptical of all the marketing hype and common sayings out there.

Still, there’s a tremendous amount of truth to that saying. How come? Well, let me ask you a question. When was the last time you bought from a complete and total stranger? It doesn’t matter how much money is involved. Maybe it’s a dollar, maybe it’s five hundred dollars, the dollar figure doesn’t matter. Chances are, your answer would be, “absolutely never.”

I can’t blame you. You worked hard for your money. The last thing that you would want to do is to entrust it to somebody who’s a complete and total stranger.

People buy based on trust. That was true before the internet, that is true now, and will probably continue to remain true hundreds, if not thousands, of years from now.

Trust is essential to any kind of commercial transaction. If you want to sell anything, you have to get people to trust you. And it turns out that one of the best ways to do this in an online environment is through email. Seriously.

In marketing survey after marketing survey of heavy-duty online marketing firms and digital agencies, email or list marketing almost always comes out near the top five, if not the top slot. The reason for this should be quite obvious.

When people sign up for your mailing list, they trust you enough to at least want to talk to you. They may not trust you enough to buy from you, but they think that you’re credible enough to at least give the benefit of the doubt to.

When you send them update after update, you get them to become more at ease. When they read your emails, they get the impression that you at least know what you’re talking about. This level of credibility increases as they read more and more of your emails. Eventually, you are able to direct their attention to certain sets of problems.

In other words, they feel that you truly know what you’re talking about and at least give you the benefit of the doubt as to what solutions to talk about. They’re still not buying from you, but they like you and feel that they know you enough to want to keep receiving your emails. This is crucial to the sales process.

The LKT Process

To sell to somebody online or offline, you have to go through the LKT process. First, you need to get people to like you enough for them to keep listening to you. Next, you must get people to feel that they know your solution enough for them to keep focused on it. Finally, when they think that you know enough about them and their problems, and that you truly care, they would trust your recommendation.

What follows next, of course, is the point of conversion. That’s when you make the sale. Believe it or not, all sales transactions go through the LKT process. For some people, this is almost instinct.

You just need to say certain words at the right time or you need to be a certain type of person, and it’s a done deal. Other people require a lot more time for the LKT process to totally unwind and work its magic.

The great thing about email marketing is that you’re able to work with people regardless of their timeline. For some people, they just need to receive one email, and they are convinced. Other people take a lot more convincing. It may take them months to get off the fence and whip out their credit card and buy something.

Regardless, when you are able to communicate with them through email because they signed up for your list, you are able to let the LKT process work for you.

The Best Part About Email Marketing

As you can well imagine, in an offline setting, the LKT process takes a lot of work and attention. You’re basically going to have to keep calling the prospect, develop a relationship with them, take them out to ballgames, and otherwise keep working on them until they close the deal at some point in the future.

With email, this can take place on a pre-scheduled, automated basis. When somebody signs up for your mailing list, you can set up your email list software to send an email based on a specific preset schedule.

Maybe you can send them email once a week or every other day, it doesn’t really matter. The important point is that all of this takes place on an automated “set it and forget it” basis.

That’s what’s so awesome about email marketing. You can be selling to thousands of people at the same time by sending them different scheduled emails and you don’t have to break a sweat. You don’t have to lose sleep. You can be traveling halfway around the world and your mailing list can be converting these people.

Sounds awesome, right? This is the number one reason why you should really, seriously consider selling via email.

Sample Email Clickbait Tricks You Can Use For Your Email Updates

I know you’re probably rolling your eyes reading this blog post. You’re probably thinking, “Clickbait. How many times have I heard that term before?”

Well, before you close the window, hear me out. I want to direct your attention to a very sobering fact. Fact: most of your list members are probably on other lists.

I want that to sink in for a moment. Wrap your mind around that concept. Pay attention to the implications of that reality. The implications should be very quite obvious. In fact, they should jump out at you.

If your list members are on many other lists, this means, at the very least, that they are being desensitized, if they are not desensitized already. I know this sounds crazy, it sounds bleak, it even sounds discouraging, but this is the cold, hard truth. Any amount of rationalization, evasion or denial is not going to help you.

There’s a reason why people who join one mailing list after another never bother to open those updates. To some extent, they already know what’s coming. They know the drill. They’ve been around the block. This also highlights the next logical implication, which is that they’re more discriminating. You have to work harder to get these people’s attention.

Unfortunately, the idea that you should look for “virgin eyeballs” is a non-starter. Given how pervasive email list marketing has become and how people are pretty much connected to the internet, thanks to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, you are really boxed into a corner. You have to confront the twin problems of desensitization and increasing levels of email user’s discriminating tastes.

The Solution? Clickbait!

The bottom line with clickbait is that you get more people to open your emails. Keep it simple. This is the end all and be all of clickbait titles. Mystifying it or thinking of it in magical terms doesn’t really help anybody. You have to zero in on its only function: getting your emails opened.

Here are just some ideas. This is by no means a comprehensive list. Instead, I share these ideas with you to get your mental juices flowing so you can come up with your own specific list-based solutions.

“You are Not Alone”

Let me tell you one truth about modern life. Whether you live in Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or the United States, we live in an increasingly anonymous society. It is very depressing. It seems that regardless of our technology and regardless of how rich our societies become, we feel that we’re another face in the crowd. We feel that regardless of what we do, we really don’t matter in the big scheme of things.

It is no surprise that people have developed the unsettling ability to be lonely in a crowd. This is a very deep and pronounced psychological need that resonates with list members from Western Europe, the United States, and all points in between.

By using headlines that resonate with this sense of alienation, you can’t help but get your emails noticed. There’s a reason why antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication are almost always in the top five of pharmaceutical products sold in the United States. The sense of despair and alienation is all too pervasive.

When you use, “you are not alone” type subject lines, you speak to this and you’d be surprised as to how quickly people sit up and pay attention.

Superhero Questions

(Who is (hero’s) role model or where does (hero’s) get stuff done, etc, etc.)

Superhero-type email titles may seem cheesy to a lot of people. It may seem to almost reach to the point of being corny. But there is a method to the madness.

If you know your audience members’ demographics, you probably would be aware that they tend to consider certain characters heroes. When you appeal to this hero worship, or at least this sense of identification, people can’t help but notice your message.

This works at a fairly deep level  because people like to feel that they are understood. People like to feel that they somehow are worthy of being studied or known to the extent that you would understand something personal about them. By appealing to people’s role models or heroes, you give that impression.

Spell Out Clearly What Your Email Contains

Sometimes the best way to get through to somebody is to be as obvious as possible. I know this sounds paradoxical for clickbait titles, but sometimes, the secret to clickbait is to simply be as upfront as possible. Spell out what exactly your email contains. Reduce this in a compact and tight title.

Now, this doesn’t always work, but you can rest assured that it builds a lot of trust. Your recipients will not feel that you’re pulling all sorts of tricks or are engaged in some sort of sneaky shenanigans. Instead, they can reliably correlate the title of your emails with the actual content.

This is actually a form of branding. It gets the message across that you’re trustworthy and plain spoken. This may pay off, but it often takes several updates to cement the association with certain core values.

Spell Out and Summarize Why the Readers Should Care

Another very popular clickbait approach is to spell out the main reason why the recipient should care. This is a little bit tricky because you only have so much space to work with. There’s only so many characters that would fit in a typical email subject line.

However, with enough experimentation and testing, you should be able to get to the right formula. You need to practice summarizing the email’s purpose. You probably won’t be able to do this well overnight, but if you keep at it, you will eventually get there.

Piggyback on Transactional Email Subject Lines

If you’ve ever bought anything online or if you have some sort of recurring membership, you probably already know what transactional emails are. They are just confirmations of what happened to your order or how your payment got processed.

You might even be thinking that people don’t read this, but you might want to think again. People want to know if their order has been shipped. People want to know if their email address has been compromised and so on and so forth. Since you get a fairly good open rate with transactional email subject lines, try to upsell related products or services in the body of such emails.

Now, please note that you cannot send transactional email subject lines when there has been no transaction. You’re going to lose a lot of your list members’ trust if you do so. However, if you do send out transactional emails, don’t waste the opportunity. These can improve your chances of gaining some upsells.

Ignore This Question and You Will Fail in Email Marketing (and All Other Forms of Marketing!)

Fact: your customers don’t exist to give you money. I know it sounds crazy, I know it’s probably quite a revelation, but let’s get real here. Other people don’t exist to put dollars in your pocket. I know, it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.

Unfortunately, so many marketers promote products and send out email updates with the opposite assumption. They think that the reason why people joined their mailing list in the first place is because these people wanted to be marketed to. They have this assumption in their mind. They might not be completely aware of it, but all their thought processes and actions are informed by this faulty assumption.

Let me clue you in on an old sales truth. Old school sales people who crush it all day, every day, will tell you a very simple truth. They bet their life on this truth, and this is what makes them millions of dollars year in, year out. This old school sales truth can be summed up in one sentence: to get what you want, you must first get others what they want.

That’s right. Sales and marketing are all about serving others. I know this is crazy, I know this is almost an alien concept because almost all the marketing materials you get out there give you the opposite impression.

They lead you to believe that the key to success in sales and marketing is all about having the right tools, having the right techniques, and having the right willpower to get people to do what you want them to do. In other words, it’s all about you imposing your will on others. It’s all about extraction.

This is a serious problem because that kind of mindset is not enough to overcome one key reality of the human condition. The key reality is that we all ask the same question.

Be completely honest with me here. Do you ask yourself this question, “What’s in it for me?” Chances are, you ask yourself that question at least several times every single day. It may not be loud and clear, it may not be unequivocal, it might even come in many different disguises and forms, but it’s always there.

It is crucial to the human experience because it is directly linked to self preservation. Everybody asks this. It doesn’t matter how educated they are, it doesn’t where they’re from, everybody has this. And if you ignore it, you are not going to sell anything.

Zero In on the Benefits of Your Product

A lot of list marketers and email promoters fail because they just zero in on the features of the product. If you’re selling a car, you get all excited about the anti-lock brakes, the sleek design and all the bells and whistles that the car brings to the table. But you overlook the fact that people who want to buy that car are looking for specific benefits.

You have to speak that language. You have to zero in on that range of benefits so you can connect with people on a human to human real level. This is where personalization comes in. You have to step in and get them to imagine themselves enjoying the benefits.

You’re no longer focusing on the bells and whistles. You’re no longer focusing on the jargon or the sales talk. Instead, it becomes real. It’s about a personal benefit. It’s about meeting a deep psychological need.

Let me be clear, there’s no compelling reason why people should buy BMWs, Ferraris, Maseratis and Lamborghinis. You can buy a Kia to get you from Point A to Point B. But when you direct the need for transportation to a deeper level of personal truths and psychological hunger, you get a sale.

People who buy luxury goods want to feel that they’ve arrived. They want to feel that all their hard work has been rewarded. They want to feel like they’re somebody in a world of faceless anonymity.

Appeal to these psychological triggers. This is how you personalize your mailing lists. If you fail to appeal to WIIFM, you will FAIL.

Should You Keep Your Personality Out of Your Emails?

One of the most common dilemmas email list marketers face involves the question of personality. A lot of people are under the impression that they are not going to be taken seriously if their emails tend to be personal in nature.

If you believe this, let me be frank with you. I’m not going to mince words with you here. I don’t know where you got that idea from because if you were to market to your list marketers in a robotic, lifeless, dull and impersonal way, you are going to fail.

The worst part to all of this is you deserve to. Why? You have to understand that the core of list marketing is all about developing a relationship. When people enter their email address in a squeeze page, it means that they trust you enough to have you continue talking to them. They’re giving you explicit legal permission to talk to them.

In other words, they want at least a one-way relationship with you. They’re interested in what you have to say when they give you their email address. You end up betraying this trust, at some level or another, when you send out flat, generic, dull, almost mechanical emails.

Let me tell you, such drivel and generic garbage are a dime a dozen. In fact, tons of marketers recycle the same “swiped” files amongst themselves. How credible do you think these people look in the eyes of their target audience members? Do you think their list members love getting such stuff?

Eventually, people tune out. In fact, a lot of people develop the attitude that once you’ve seen such emails, you’ve seen them all. This ends up poisoning the well for a lot of marketers.

The way out of this is to stop sending out flat, generic, dull, mechanical-sounding and looking emails. Instead, it’s all about selling yourself. I can’t even begin to tell you how many marketers, regardless of intelligence and educational attainment and experience levels, are scared stiff of selling.

I don’t want to sound harsh, I don’t want to seem judgmental, but let me be clear. If you are a marketer and you don’t want to influence, persuade or otherwise get people to change their opinion, then you’re in the wrong business. Seriously. You have no business calling yourself a marketer because that is the art of marketing. It’s all about persuasion. And a key ingredient to all of this is your personality.

When was the last time you showed up to a public speech and a robot gave the speech? I would venture to guess the answer would be “never.” People show up to hear another human being because they want to see a personality. Stop denying your personality. Infuse your emails with your distinct personality.

Now, you may think that you’re the biggest nerd in the world. You may think that you’re so ugly that you scare dogs off moving pickup trucks. It wouldn’t matter because you are the product. Even if you’re butt ugly, there would still be people who will become your followers because that’s what they’re looking for.

Don’t hide your personality. Celebrate it. Embrace it. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for failure. This is due to the fact that most of your list members are probably subscribed to at least one other mailing list. In other words, there’s a tremendous amount of competition out there.

Forget about objectivity. Forget about keeping an arms length and maintaining some sort of professional demeanor. Own your list. Remember that your product is your expertise. Your personality and your distinct persona is the product. Embrace this fact. Associate your persona with key values.

Do you want people reading your emails to think that you are an expert or you’re credible? Focus on these. Do you want people to trust you or think you’re reliable or that you’re able to produce proven results?

Whatever the case may be, associate your persona with these and other key values. That is what will make your list stand out from the competition.

Sell your personal brand, not just a set of solutions. Believe me, if people only need to join your list to learn about certain solutions, they can do that with other lists. They’re a dime a dozen. Instead, use this unique opportunity to sell your personal brand.

Get in there. Become part of the conversation. Make them miss you the moment they switch to another list. They should be able to instantly tell that there is something missing. The “flavor nugget” of your personality is too obvious so it becomes easy to miss.

Your personality is the key ingredient to mailing list success. Stop denying your personality. Stop setting it aside. It plays a tremendous role in your ability to persuade other human beings.

Do This to Get More Mailing List Members to Click on Your Offers

Let me tell you a secret to email list marketing. Regardless of the size of your list, your income will depend only on one factor: your ability to get list members to click on your offers.

Even if you have a list of a million people and you have an open rate of 99%, you’re still not going to make any money if people do not click on your offers. They have to click because the more people click, the higher your chance that somehow, some way, somebody would buy something.

The bottom line with online marketing is conversions. Nothing else would do. This is why you would really need to do this one thing to get more mailing list members to click on your offers.

Obviously Promotional Emails are Too Obvious

If you send email after email and it’s obvious that you’re just trying to get people to buy stuff, you are betraying your list members. Remember, when people joined your mailing list, they wanted a relationship with you. They have problems and they are looking for your solutions.

In other words, they’re there to be helped by you. They’re not there to be sold by you. They don’t exist so they can put extra dollars in your pocket. It’s the other way around. Well, at least that’s the appearance you should give.

Unfortunately, this is all sabotaged by the obvious commercial nature of your promotional email. If it is too obvious that you’re just trying to get into their pockets and fish out a few extra dollars, you’re doing it wrong.

Stop Writing Emails That Don’t Get Read

Pay attention to your open rates. They will tell you, like a flashing red neon sign, whether your emails are getting read or not. If people are not reading your emails, then you definitely need to work double on figuring out why this is the case.

Maybe your subject lines are too generic. Maybe your subject lines are not personal enough. Maybe your subject lines are flatly irrelevant to the niche focus of your email list. Whatever the case may be, get to the bottom of the problem. You need to do it soon, otherwise, your email marketing business is going to go belly up.

Stop Pushing Your List Members to Unsubscribe

Unfortunately, if you send email after email and you refuse to get to the bottom of low open rates, chances are, you’re just pushing your list members to unsubscribe. The first few times, they’re going to look at your emails and they’re just going to disregard them. They might think to themselves, “well, this person sent me a free book, so I might as well give him or her the courtesy of receiving these emails.”

But eventually, it will get old. Eventually, it will get tiring. And unfortunately, during this process, something very important gets overlooked. In fact, you might have even forgotten about it already.

You may have forgotten what the email list is for. It’s not about you. It’s supposed to solve the recipient’s problems. It must be all about the recipient.

How to Reconnect

Now, it may seem that at this point, your mailing list may appear hopeless. You may have been sending dozens of updates that are purely commercial in nature and have been largely ignored by your member base. You might even be tempted to think that all hope is lost. You might even look at your list as completely non-responsive.

Well, what if I told you that there is still hope? Seriously. You just need to change the nature of your updates going forward.

How do you this? How do you “reset” your email list? Very simple: reconnect to the purpose of the list by telling stories. That’s all you need to do. I know that sounds simplistic, but it’s powerful.

You have to understand that human beings understand and process reality through stories. You can blast somebody with all sorts of data, political jargon, technical terms, and they couldn’t care less. However, the moment you tell a story, regardless of how anecdotal it is, people sit up and pay attention because that’s how we’re wired.

Bring it home with stories. Stories do a great job of performing the classic sales formula of A-I- D-A. When you tell a good story via email or through a video or through a blog post, you grab people’s attention.

Next, you filter them based on their interest. When you’re telling a fishing story, chances are, people who are not into fishing will tune out. That’s perfectly okay because you’re just focusing on selling to people who are interested in fishing.

Next, your story awakens desire in people. Everybody has problems. By focusing on a specific set of problems and opening their minds to a specific solution, you open desire. You get them to that “aha moment” where they say to themselves, “I have this problem and this dude has the answer. Aha! I got it.”

And then finally, you call them to action. You make them decide to take action. These are beautifully done through email-based stories. This is the key. If you leave out storytelling in your emails, you deserve to fail. Seriously. Because you are just sending out legal spam.

Does Formatting Increase Email Update Conversions?

If you are a list marketer, you already know that your bread and butter comes from people clicking on the links in your email. When they click on your email links, they can sign up for all sorts of stuff. Every time they sign up for something, eventually, dollars will appear in your bank account. This is pretty straightforward. This is why you’re in the game.

The problem is, a lot of list marketers assume that list marketing is all about substance. To a large extent, I would agree. But the problem is, people also pay attention to format. That’s right. Not only do people judge a book by its cover, but often times, they only have time to look at the cover.

The moment they see your email and they think that it is going to be a hassle to read, they’re going to shut down. They’re not going to be interested and they’re going to move on to the next email in their inbox. Eventually, they will delete your email.

In fact, if you make sending hard to read “wall of text” emails a habit, your mailing list members are just going to ignore your email. What you end up doing is you train them to be scared of your email. They think that it’s too much of a commitment to read your updates.

This doesn’t mean that they think it’s worthless. This doesn’t mean that they think you don’t know what you’re talking about. Instead, they feel that they just don’t have the time to actually read your stuff. Accordingly, they would not delete your email, but resolve to read it later. Well, they never get around to doing that because they’re too busy.

Opens are Crucial

It’s really crucial to get your readers to open your emails. But you also have to be careful as to your format. It really would suck for you to put in all this time, effort and energy coming up with killer headlines that get opened time and time again.

The problem is, once people open your email, you fail to deliver because they see an intimidating wall of text. They feel that reading this stuff is going to be a chore. It’s going to be too much of a hassle. They don’t have the time.

So what do you need to do? How do you deliver? How do you get them to see your affiliate links so their actions can make you money? Please pay attention to the following tips:

Keep it Short

The first thing that you need to do is to write short emails. When your average list member receives your update and they see that your email has a lot of white space and the email itself is generally short, they are in the right frame of mind. They’re not intimidated, they’re not scared, they’re not under the impression that reading through your materials would take something out of them or take something away from their schedule.

Keep it Simple and To the Point

One of the best things that you could do when writing emails is to work with tight space constraints. This prevents you from beating around the bush. This prevents you from saying ten words when two words would do. This also prevents you from using $10 words when 25 cent words will do the job.

Keep it simple and keep it focused on the point. You’re sending email updates for a reason. That reason better be about adding value to the lives of the recipients. Keep it at that level.

Plain Formatting Kills Reader Intimidation

Now, I understand that there are all sorts of email systems out there that enable you to put in all sorts of fancy formatting. This is very tempting because a lot of people are under the impression that if the text looks nice and fancy, people would love it better. This is not necessarily the case.

Again, people are busy. Instead, they’re looking for value. They’re looking for ideas or information. When you format in a very plain way, the focus is on the idea or the information contained by your email. That is the payload.

Do yourself a big favor and kill the intimidation of your reader by sticking to plain formatting, regardless of the other fancy formatting options available at your disposal.

Give Yourself a Better Shot at Getting a Link Click

Unfortunately, nobody will give you that shot. You have to do it yourself. You have to run all sorts of tests to your mailing list until you find the right kind of formatting and message length that would maximize your link clicks.

There is no magic formula here. Somebody might be running their own list and they might be doing well with a fairly long email. They should stick with that. You, on the other hand, might have a list whose membership might prefer something shorter and more basic. Focus on what works for you.

Unfortunately, this is one piece of information that you have to find out for yourself. You will only discover this information through actual experience.

Can Dumbing Down Your Email Updates Make You More Money?

There are certain politicians who have made it an art form to speak in 8th grade English. Now, their critics have a field day with this speaking style because they think these politicians are being condescending. They think that these professional legislators and executives are talking down to people. Well, there’s actually quite a bit of method to the madness.

You have to understand that in our modern society, people are busy. Time is a luxury for most Western Europeans and Americans. And given this heightened concern for one’s time when watching a video, reading an email or consuming social media content, it’s easy to see what people do when they get confused. If they get confused, they simply choose to stop reading. Worse yet, when they get confused, they stop caring.

Keep this in mind when you are running a mailing list because your list can easily fill up with list squatters. These are people who, on the face of it, are interested in what you have to offer. Now, the interest is evidenced by the fact that they remain on your list, but don’t let this fool you.

There are a lot of people who remain on mailing lists, but have made it a point to quickly delete updates from the lists they don’t care about. They feel that they just don’t have the time, so they can’t be bothered with actually unsubscribing from your list. The end result is that your list is filled up with squatters.

The Key Takeaway

The key takeaway here is simple. Email recipient confusion is kryptonite to your business. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. If your list members are confused, in any way, shape or form, by your updates, then your business is about to go belly up.

Politicians use the power of 8th grade English because they want to speak at the lowest common denominator. It doesn’t matter whether a person is a high school graduate, did not finish high school, has a PhD, has a college degree or a master’s degree, they all will get 8th grade English.

Focus on the least common denominator so you can communicate to the needs of your list members in a direct way. If you fall for the common trap of talking in jargon or technical talk, this is going to come back to haunt you.

The Double-Edged Danger of Jargon and Technical Talk

There are a lot of list marketers who are under the impression that if they talk in a scientific or technical way, they will gain credibility. To a certain degree this is true, but it totally depends on your audience.

If you are speaking to graduate students, for example, then you can talk a lot of theory. If you’re speaking to scientists, you can jump in with both feet and use all sorts of technical language. However, if you have a mixed audience of different educational attainment and people from different backgrounds, you cannot play that game.

For every person you convert and convince that you are some sort of authority, you will turn off ten people. The bottom line is simple: stop trying to impress. Instead, focus on communicating and motivating people in a clear way.

Write in 8th grade English. Shoot for the lowest common denominator. If people understand you, it’s easier for you to persuade them. If people cannot understand you or have the impression that you think you’re better than them, then it’s going to be doubly hard for you to convince them. That’s the bottom line.

Try This Simple Trick to Explode Your Email CTR

Your email’s click through ratio (CTR) is crucial to your mailing list business’ success. There are no two ways about it. If people are not clicking on the sales link in your updates, you are not going to make any money. It’s just plain impossible.

It doesn’t matter how many people are on your mailing list, it doesn’t matter how many people open your emails, if they do not click on the affiliate link or product sales link embedded in your emails, you’re going to continue to struggle.

Unfortunately, most sales page links in emails are designed to fail. Otherwise intelligent, skilled and experienced list marketers commit the following errors. They obviously don’t do this purposely, but the end results are the same.

Many marketers send irrelevant offers. It’s easy to see why people fall for this trap. You have a mailing list about cars, for example. You’re so pumped up about the huge number of people joining your list and opening your emails, but the subject matter involves automobiles. So what do you do?

You hear that an affiliate program has an amazing high converting new product for hair care. You think that even though your list has nothing to do with hair care products, there should be enough people who might be interested, so you give in. You send out an update with an offer that is completely irrelevant. Let me tell you, if you keep doing that, you will kill your mailing list.

You have to understand that your list members are very busy. They don’t have time for games and they have very limited patience. If it becomes apparent that you are sending out too many irrelevant offers, your list members will become blind to your updates. At the back of their mind, they have written off the value of your list.

Now, keep in mind that this happens regardless of the fact that they did not bother to unsubscribe. This is what makes it tricky. So do yourself a big favor, just because people remained on your list, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re still interested in your list. It’s only a matter of time until your open rates start sinking like a stone.

Another common problem with unresponsive emails is the fact that even though your offers are relevant, you’re too blatant about what you’re doing. You have to understand the premise behind your mailing list. The premise is to add value to people’s lives. It’s supposed to be a two-way conversation where you can help list members overcome certain problems.

While they understand, at some level or another, that you have to pay the bills, you can’t be too blatant about it. If it becomes apparent to them that the only reason why you have this mailing list is to make money, they’re going to tune you out. The relationship, while it is focused on certain content that they’re interested in, has become too commercial. It has become too mercenary for them.

Finally, you have to be careful of the length of your email. If it turns out that you’re sending really lengthy emails, which can be a chore to read, people will tune you out. You have to understand that people have better things to do than read through a wall of text. This is especially problematic if your emails are formatted in an intimidating way.

Believe it or not, the best performing emails tend to be short. They get to the point, they tell a story, they engage the reader, and they do the job. Writing your life story in an email might be cathartic for you, but it probably does nothing for the end user. If anything, it scares them because they might think that your future updates will be equally long.

The Solution? WIIFM

So how do you get explosive CTR rates? It boils down to WIIFM or “what’s in it for me?” You have to understand that people all over the world, regardless of where they come from, regardless of their color, regardless of their religion, are always asking this question.

You need to address that question quickly, directly and instantly. You have to quickly get across what they will get if they click on the link. Otherwise, you’re going to lose a sale.

If you find yourself stumbling all over yourself trying to explain what the value is, then chances are, you’re doing something wrong. The key here is to send relevant offers that directly address the problems and concerns raised by: number 1, the general niche of your email list; and number 2, the specific problem raised by your email update.

If you do this right, you can then go on to number 3, which is to tie the call to action in the email to the main benefits of the solution you’re promoting. Fail to do any of these and your CTR rate will drop like a rock. In fact, you remain blind to this. It’s only a matter of time until your email list becomes non-responsive because people feel that you don’t really get them.