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Pru Chapman
OC Founder + Head Hustler

Pru Chapman is the Founder + Head Hustler at Owners Collective, a dedicated digital community and global online resource hub for early-stage entrepreneurs. Pru gets giddy supporting business owners to create meaningful, sustainable + profitable business. She loves nothing more than bulletproof coffee, her pooch Maverick, andd an empty mountain hiking trail.

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Did you know that segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all online revenue? Annnnd…..

86% of consumers would like to receive promotional emails from companies they follow. 

With these whopping stats we want to make sure people are signed up AND opening your emails. In today’s episode, I’m throwing down 11 tips to increase your email open rate.

Let’s get to it.

 

Here’s what we cover:

  • How important your first email to a new sign-up is
  • The clever ways to ensure that people look forward to receiving your emails
  • The power in segmenting your list and the tools to do it
  • Email mistakes you don’t want to make
  • How to keep out of spam filters and on the favourites list

 

Links and resources:

 

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Be sure to be subscribed on Apple Podcasts or if you’re an Android user you can follow on Spotify. While you’re there, I’d LOVE you to drop me a rating and review, as is helps get this podcast into the ears of more fine folks like you.

 

Full Transcript

Pru Chapman:

Hey, friends Pru here. And I’m back to talk about one of my favourite subjects, email marketing. Now, in the last episode, I talked all about the power of email marketing and why you need to be paying attention to it right now. In this episode, I’m getting a bit deeper into the how and specifically how to boost your email open rate. So if you haven’t heard the last episode, be sure to swing back and listen to that one because these two episodes, they really do go together. Now I wanted to kick us off with a few stats that are really important to keep in mind when you’re thinking about your email marketing. So, first of all, a whopping 75% of companies agree that email marketing offers excellent to good return on investment. Then 86% of consumers would like to receive promotional emails from companies at least on a monthly basis. Thirdly, two-thirds of emails are read either on smartphones or on tablets, and finally segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue.

Pru Chapman:

This is nuts guys. So when I was talking about just why you need to be sitting up and paying attention to your email marketing right now, that is a whopping big stat right there. People buy off email marketing. Okay, so let’s cut in. We all know the why of email marketing. We know it’s really important. You own the platform, you own that email list. It’s building real value in your business. It’s this opportunity to nurture your people, to be in conversation with them. We know that it increases sales, people buy off email a whole lot more than they buy off social platforms for those higher ticket items. But really it comes down to at the end of the day, are people opening your emails?

Pru Chapman:

Now email open rates have really fluctuated over the time. If you were doing email marketing, I don’t know maybe 10 years when Gary V was doing it, you were getting a 90 to 95% open rate. Whoa, okay. Those kinds of stats are totally unheard of these days, guys. Totally unheard of. But if you’re getting around 20 to 30%, let’s say up towards that 30%, you’re doing pretty good. Anything above that, and you’re kind of killing it. Keep doing what you’re doing, and hopefully there’s some more tips here for you. But there’s some really important things that you can do, which we’ll cover right now, which can boost that email open rate, no matter what your open rate is already.

Pru Chapman:

Okay, so first and foremost, guys, you need to be paying attention to your subject lines, right? This is like asking someone on the first date, it needs to be a catchy subject line. You don’t want to trick people, but you want it to be enticing at the same time. So what I would say is if you’re going to make email marketing, one of your core strategies in building your better business, then get good at writing enticing subject lines. I actually, when I get a really good subject line, when it’s something that just, I have to click in and see what’s inside, I usually save those emails or I archive them, I don’t delete them. And then I go back to them for a bit of inspiration from time to time, to really dig into what was it that made me have to jump into there.

Pru Chapman:

Okay, so you’ll know it. You’re probably getting emails already from people that you can’t help but click in. That’s a skill, that is an incredible skill in email marketing it is the first skill that you need to get really, really good at because obviously it’s the first step that your client, your potential client, your customer is going to take is going to be based on how enticing that subject line is.

Pru Chapman:

So it all starts here. Now there’s a lot of literature out there. There’s a lot of blogs written about this. So you can just Google it up. But people, they love lists. They love numbers. They love confessions. They love secrets. They love hacks. There’s quite a few template of ways that you can introduce subject lines. So how to get this, insert greatest dream, without doing that, greatest fear. So there’s a couple of things around like that. So what I would say is don’t go [inaudible 00:04:57]. Number one, if you want people to open your emails more often, get really good at writing great subject lines. It is everything.

Pru Chapman:

Number two, to increase your open rate is to make sure that people open your first email, right? That sounds pretty self explanatory, but I see it getting done not so good all the time. So be clear on what you’re delivering and be clear on why you’re delivering it. So what I mean by that is if someone has clicked to download your checklist, then make sure in the subject line, you’re saying, “hey, here’s the checklist that you wanted inside.” All right, so you can be really clear in that subject line. You want to make sure that if someone, whatever the action that they’ve taken is, that you’re coming back to them to say, “well, here it is. I’m delivering the goods for you.” Be personal and do what you say that you are going to do in that first email.

Pru Chapman:

Now, another cheeky tip here around this first email, is that you want to make sure, or you want to do your best I should say, for them to respond to that first email, because what that means is that you’re going to stay out of their spam filters. If they’ve clicked on your email and they’ve replied to it. So perhaps if you’ve delivered a certain checklist, you could ask them, “what stage of your business are you at? Let me know.” Or, “is there anything else I can help you with? Let me know.” Or something that just allows them to hit that reply button. That’s going to be really powerful moving forward to keep you out of their spam filter.

Pru Chapman:

Okay, so number three, in that first email guys, we’re giving this a lot of attention. This first email, because it’s really important, is make clear in there why they should keep clicking on your emails. Why should they keep opening your emails? So you want to make clear what value you’re going to give them in the short and the long term. So if they’ve clicked to download your said thing, they’ve got that straight away, but why are they going to open up the next email? And maybe that’s because you’ve got X amount of experience working with people. You’ve helped build these particular businesses, or you can straight up tell them you’re going to be getting a few emails from me, and this is what’s inside. Maybe it is the secrets that I normally save for my paid clients, or maybe it’s the way that I approach every writing, every blog with. So something that feels really juicy, let them know that in that first email, so that they’re then looking forward to receiving follow up emails from you. So that’s the third tip is make clear why they should keep opening.

Pru Chapman:

Number four. Now this is particularly applicable to that first email, but also all the emails after that, is what is the next step that you want them to take? You want to make that really, really clear for them. So don’t have an email that you want them to click here and check out this, and follow that, and here I am on Instagram, and here’s my podcast and here’s all the things. You don’t want 10 actions in there. You just want to be really clear on what is the one next step that you want this person to take. Make it super clear, make it super simple, and you are going to exponentially increase the probability of them taking that step.

Pru Chapman:

Number five. I wish I didn’t have to say this guys, but I do. Format your emails properly. I don’t want to see you throwing up, that’s what it feels like, throwing up a bunch of text into my inbox. Yuck. I want to see line breaks, bold words, italics, pull quotes, maybe the occasional image in there, right? Even if, and I’ll get into this in just a minute, but even if your emails are quite sparse, format them well, it is just easier on my eyes. If I see something, like I’m a busy business owner, as most of us are, I don’t sit around waiting to get your email. So if I see something come into my inbox that’s poorly formatted, I’m not going to give it the time of day. You have lost me in a split second, I’ve deleted that email. However, you come into my inbox, you’ve considered your formatting, it’s easy on my eyes. I can kind of skim through, grab the points that I need to grab, and then you’ve made really clear what the next step is I should take if I’m interested. All of a sudden I’m opening your emails more often.

Pru Chapman:

Number six to increase this email open rate is to keep in mind that less is more. So really here, you want to be keeping your emails out of people’s spam filters. And spam filters have become very, very clever over the years as email marketing grew and grew in popularity. And once you’re in those spam filters, it’s really hard to get out of them. So of course you want to be delivering excellent value within your emails, that goes without saying, but there’s some extra things that you want to do here. So don’t use too much bold text is the first one. Don’t have whole paragraphs in bold text, use your bold sparingly. Bold should be used sparingly anyway, guys. But that is also to be mindful of, because that’s what a spam filter will pick up, if there’s too much bold text. Also, if there’s too many images, so don’t go too hard on the images. The less images you’ve got, the more likely you are to stay out of the spam filter. Again, not too many links. You can use links in there, but not too many, too many, the spam filters they don’t like it.

Pru Chapman:

And finally, my pet peeve, too many exclamation marks. Exclamation marks should be used as exclamation marks and sparingly! That could have an exclamation mark. You also really want to keep exclamation marks out of your subject line. Spam filters would definitely pick them up in the subject line. But they’ll also pick them up throughout your copy as well. So use them as they should be used, sparingly. And I think this particular point of less is more, remember email is designed to be person to person communication. So what those spam filters are looking for is unnatural communication, too much bold, too many exclamation marks, too much of the word free or sale, or any of these things. That’s not how regular everyday people speak to each other. So that’s what the spam filters are picking up and they’re doing their job. We don’t want spam in our inbox. So make sure that your emails, even though they’re one to many emails, aren’t spammy.

Pru Chapman:

Number seven, point number seven to increase your email open rate is the old, Gary V, how does he say it? Jab, jab, jab, right hook, otherwise known as nurture, nurture, nurture, then sell. So this is especially for service based businesses, products are a little bit different. But especially for service based businesses, provide value, provide value, provide value, and then that earns you the right to sell. Don’t just sell all the time. And I know that this can be tricky when you’re a business owner, because that’s what you’re doing. You need to sell, you need to sell and serve, and sell and serve. That’s how your business operates. So you might not even think about your email marketing until you’ve got a launch coming up, or you’ve got something that you need to sell.

Pru Chapman:

But really when you put in the hard yards of giving value and nurturing along the way. That’s what’s really going to earn you the credibility, the know you, like you, trust you factor within people’s inbox so that they do buy from you when that sell email comes through. I can promise you if you are sell, sell, sell all the time, it is just going to show you a whole bunch of unsubscribes.

Pru Chapman:

Not just a side little note here on unsubscribes is, guys, I think you need to be paying attention to unsubscribes. Definitely keep an eye on them. But if you get an unsubscribe it is not the worst thing in the world, don’t get all hung up on it. Because people subscribed to you for a reason for a season sometimes, and they might be ruthless about their inbox, or they might’ve stopped running their business. They might have… Who knows there could be any number of things. They also might unsubscribe, and then they might subscribe again later. So don’t get all hung up on how many unsubscribes you have. I know people do this when they step into email marketing. Oh no, I got five unsubscribes. Honestly guys, keep moving forward. You can use it as an opportunity to deliver more value and get some feedback, but don’t get all caught up on it.

Pru Chapman:

Tip number eight, which kind of flows on from that actually, is to be consistent with your email marketing. Remember, you are building a relationship, and just like all relationships you’ve got to consistently show up and bring value. So consistency is everything. I think consistency is everything in business and particularly in email marketing. And one great example actually that comes straight to mind, is Tess Robinson from Smack Bang Designs. She has consistently delivered a fortnightly email since I’ve known her, which is, goodness it must be about seven years now. It is always packed with value. There’s so much incredibly juicy information in there, she’s a brilliant writer. There is rarely a sell in there, very, very rarely. And she’s just, every single fortnight offering this incredible amount of value to her community. And it really has stood Smack Bang, head and shoulders out in the industry because of that consistency that she’s stuck to.

Pru Chapman:

Number nine in terms of increasing your email open rate, is really also make sure that you’re talking to the benefits in those emails. And I know that this is a more broad suggestion, but there’s that age old saying that people buy the good night’s sleep, not the mattress. So don’t just talk about the features of your thing, or your product, or your service. Talk about the benefits to your customers, your clients, and your potential clients.

Pru Chapman:

Okay, guys. So stepping up to a slightly more advanced strategy here. That is that if you’re in your email marketing, even if you’re just setting up and you want to punch above your weight, or if you’ve been rolling your email marketing for a little while, is that you really want to be segmenting your list. And what this means is it’s basically categorizing your email subscribers depending on what action they’ve taken with you. So just say, for example, you offer online marketing services and someone downloads your cheat sheet on how to grow their Instagram following. Well, what you know right now is they’re focused on growing their Instagram following. So don’t send them something immediately about SEO. You really want that to be a funnel into your Instagram program, or your Instagram course, or your Instagram ebook.

Pru Chapman:

So be really considered with your marketing. Obviously don’t just email for the sake of email, that’s boring for everyone. Email with purpose, and that is going to be around offering value in your expertise, which would naturally then lead in people when you’ve been offering incredible amount of value, would the lead them into purchasing your product. And segmenting people along the way, you know what action they took, why they took it, and then you can match your products or services appropriately. So for example, in my business, we really have two streams. And the first one being around people that are launching their business, so we’ve got a great program called Launching Legends. And then we have another program called High End Hustlers, which is really about scaling businesses. So if someone has just recently downloaded our how to start a business guide, I wouldn’t be selling our elite mentoring program to them. It is not a match. It’s not a fit. It’s not going to do them any service. And it’s certainly not going to do us any service with them in the wrong kind of program.

Pru Chapman:

However, if they’ve just downloaded our, how to start a business guide. Guys, you can grab that on the website, if you’d like to check it out, then we could present our Launching Legends program to them, which is another step up. So it’s going to offer them more value, it’s a program, it’s structured, it’s going to walk them through launching their business. Then after nurturing them for a while, then maybe after a year or two, they might be ready for our mentoring services over in the High End Hustles program. But what you can see here is we are segmenting our list. We know just by what actions people are taking, what they’re looking for, what stage in their business they’re up to. And then we can be really targeted in what we’re delivering to them and why.

Pru Chapman:

So moving on to our next step is… I’ll actually loop back a little bit there because with segmenting your list, you’re going to need a reasonably sophisticated platform to do this. Now they’re not expensive. They’re around, they’re really commonplace these days. MailChimp really kicked off email marketing and it did it, and it did it really well for a few years. Quite a few years, I’d have to say, their emails look great, and they started also to build out extra functionality in the backend. However, if you want to get a bit more sophisticated about segmenting, then I would say that there are probably other email platforms that are better for you. ActiveCampaign is one that I definitely recommend. They are really punching above their weight. They have customer service based in Australia. They really help you get set up. They walk you through everything, and they’ve got a visual campaign builder. So what that means is you can actually see what action a client takes, and then they get email one, email two, then maybe they get delayed for a little while, then so on and so forth.

Pru Chapman:

So having a visual campaign builder can be very, very helpful, very, very effective. So look at active campaign, I use Infusionsoft and I got on it many, many years ago. And it did have the nickname of Confusionsoft for quite a while. It’s an all in platform, so it does my email marketing, my CRM, my e-commerce as well. They’ve just been bought out, so they’re now called Keap by Infusionsoft, I think. And so I’m just looking at them at the moment, keeping an eye on how they’re going, and whether it’s becoming less complex. I think they’re really going to come back into the marketplace with a boom. I’m not going to recommend them just yet, because I just want to check on those changes that they’re going to make. I always like to see if someone’s just being bought out what changes, does the price change before recommending? So I’d be looking at active campaign. There’s also things, like there’s ConvertKit out there and a bunch of others, but I’d say start with ActiveCampaign.

Pru Chapman:

Next up. And this is going to be my final tip for this podcast, cause I am very much trying to keep these to 20 minutes guys, and that is list hygiene. Ooh, what does that mean? It means clean your list regularly. So really it’s like keeping your email reputation squeaky clean, alright? Squeaky clean from the spam filters. So if you’ve got a whole big proportion of your emails that are going to spam, or that people are unopening, that doesn’t look good. It doesn’t look good to those spam filters, to those other email, like to Gmail and places like that. So you want to have an active, engaged, high open rate kind of email list. So every so often, you might actually need to clean your list. And you can do this with most platforms now, I believe. I know that I can certainly do it in Infusionsoft, is that I can run a report on how long since someone has opened one of my emails.

Pru Chapman:

Now, if someone hasn’t opened an email for six months or even 12 months, I delete them off my list. Cause I want to be in active, engaged conversations. Same thing I go through every month. If people have unsubscribed, then I delete them off our email list. Now there’s a few reasons for this. One, like I said, we want to keep your reputation squeaky clean. But two, with most email marketing providers, you are going to be paying based on the amount of email subscribers that you have. So if you get a whole bunch of people sitting on your email list that are unsubscribed, you’re paying for them to sit there. You don’t want that. You want a nice tidy, clean list. So cleaning your list is very, very important.

Pru Chapman:

And another thing as well, is that just so you’ve got someone on your list and they’ve unsubscribed, and they’re still sitting there in your database, but they’re unsubscribed. Then they come back to you in a year’s time and they think, “oh yeah, I remember that person. They’re great at Instagram marketing. I want to go back and reengage with them.” And so they download your free thing, or they try and jump on your email list. They’re already going to be flagged in your email provider as spam, and they can’t take that off. They physically can’t take that off, so even though they’ve tried to get back in, your email provider has recognized that they’ve already marked themselves as spam. Sorry, not as spam, as unsubscribed. And so we won’t send anything else out to them. So that’s another really good reason, and particularly if you’ve been doing big launches where you’re getting a lot of people on your email list and maybe they unsubscribe quickly, is to get rid of them. So if they do want to reengage, they are an active email member for you. So they’re not marked as unsubscribed.

Pru Chapman:

So guys keep your list really, really clean. I got to say, I did this the other day. Our email list is about 25,000 and I just went through it ruthlessly. I was on a real spring clean in our business, and I deleted about 15,000 email contacts because they were either unsubscribes or they hadn’t been engaged for quite a while. I was like, “you know what? I just want to be in conversation with people that really want to hear from me.” And it felt so amazing. I have to say it was just cleaner, it was lighter. Our open rate went up significantly and it just energetically, it actually felt really good as well. I was having conversation with people that wanted to hear from me. So do pay attention for that with cleaning your list, unsubscribes opt-outs, and the non openers as well.

Pru Chapman:

So there you go, guys. They are my 11 tips to increase your open rates. So to run through them again really quickly, we have got number one, pay attention to your subject lines. Number two, make sure that people open your first email. Number three, make clear why they should keep opening your email. Number four, be really clear on the next step that you want them to take. Number five, format your emails properly. Number six, always remember that less is more. Number seven, nurture, nurture, nurture, then sell. Number eight, be consistent. Number nine, talk to the benefits. Number 10, segment your list. And then finally number 11 is clean your list regularly. So they are my 11 tips on increasing your email open rates.

Pru Chapman:

So like I said, if you haven’t already listened to the episode before this one, which is why email marketing is so important right now, then please do jump over and have a listen to that also. And guys, get over and sign up to our list. If you want to see how I do this, I pay a lot of attention to it. It is crucial to the health of my business is our email list, head over and subscribe. You can find us over at the owners collective dot com. And when you get that email, let me know what you think, hit reply. I’d love your feedback. So as always guys, I hope that this was super useful for you. And if there are any topics that you want to hear more about, just holler.

Pru Chapman:

Thank you so much for tuning in. And if you never want to miss an episode, be sure to subscribe over on Apple podcasts. I’m also dropping some juicy business building tips on Instagram, so head over to at owner’s collective to join in the fun. And finally folks, if you’re hungry for a deep dive into the entrepreneurial story behind some of the best businesses around. Be sure to listen to my other podcast, One Wild Ride, where we talk all things, good business, positive impact and epic adventures with the most inspiring entrepreneurs around.

 

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