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.
(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.
doesn’t always work,
but you can
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
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.