Of all the marketing channels available to us, email continues to take the lead. Why? One reason: it works. According to a report from the Data & Marketing Association, email marketing yields an average ROI of 3,800%.
Email provides a direct line of communication between a business and its customers that's easily scalable. Email feels personal, exclusive, and less like an advertisement.
So what is it about email that makes it such a successful marketing channel? Well, if you've stumbled on this blog post, you're probably looking for a clear answer.
The truth is, there are a number of factors at play. If you're leveraging email marketing, but your emails are getting opened and not read, or read but not clicked on—or worse, opened then unsubscribed—here are four possible reasons your emails aren't converting:
1. Your emails are all about you
Imagine if someone knocked on your door, trying to sell you a box of chocolates, and the first thing they say to you is, "Hi! We have the best chocolate!"
OK, whoa. First of all, "hi"? That's your opening line? Did they even ask if you like chocolate? And what kind of clout do they have to call themselves "the best"?
In sales and marketing, you have to work to earn customers' trust, loyalty, and dollars. That means focusing less on you, and focusing more on what you can do for them. Consider their needs, their problems, and their desires.
The goal with email is to build a strong relationship between your business and your audience. And to do that, you will have to share a bit about yourself. BUT, when you do, make sure to turn the focus back on your readers.
Here's a great example from entrepreneur Marie Forleo:
This email is short, sweet, and simple. I love how Marie turns her personal experiences (well, embarrassments) into lessons for me, the reader. Keep in mind, I got this email because I've been on her list for some time. We shook digital hands long ago, so this kind of message is more than appropriate.
Your customer's inbox is their personal space. You can't just drop by to blab about how great you are. Readers want to know what's in it for them. What will they get out of clicking through? Why should they care?
Remember: landing in your customer's inbox is a privilege. Don't waste it talking about you, you, you.
2. Your subject line isn't compelling (or worse, it's just clickbait)
To get conversion rates up, you first have to get your emails opened. And to get your emails opened, you need a great subject line. But writing a compelling subject line comes with its own challenges. You have to say just enough to get the message opened, without giving away too much.
When I first started writing subject lines, I struggled. I thought I was a subject line wizard, but the open rates showed otherwise. Of course, with more practice came higher open rates. The more I learned about the audience, the more I understood how to intrigue them.
There's no single cut-and-dried method to writing great subject lines, but here's a quick, go-to tip you can use: as you read through your email, ask yourself, "what is the biggest takeaway for my audience?" Then tease it in the subject line.
Here's a great example from skincare brand, Biossance:
This subject line is hinting at a lot of goodies for me. $22? Yeah, I'll take that deal. I'm down to save some sharks and look younger in the process.
Inside the email, I'm filled in on all the details of this shark-saving sale.
When you write subject lines, go for compelling, not clickbait. Clickbait isn't compelling. Clickbait is clickbait.
I get it, high open rates are important. Know what's even more important, though? Getting your subscribers to actually read and click through the email.
If the subject line has absolutely nothing to do with what's inside, customers will quickly realize their time's being wasted. Always write your subject lines with a not-so-subtle hint at the value waiting inside. Anything else, and they'll just add their address to your 'unsubscribe' list.
3. You're pushing for the sale too soon
Unless you're a retailer, pushing for a sale too soon presents its own consequences. Remember that whole 'trust' thing we've been talking about? Yep, you can't go for the offer until you have it.
People do not like to be sold to. It makes them feel icky. Take the intrusive chocolate salesperson example again. You'd feel pretty uncomfortable with a total stranger knocking on your door, claiming to have "the best" chocolate, pushing said confections onto you. Blegh.
It takes time to build credibility and earn trust from your subscribers. They're the ones who decide if you're worth their money. And every email you send should gently nudge them to that decision.
Let's say you're preparing an evergreen funnel to sell your new online course. The first few emails are not the time to sell. They're your chance to share who you are, how you got to where you are today, and what makes you legit to sell this course—all while tying these details back to your reader. 😉
If your funnel runs about 5-6 emails long, you'll want to wait until email #4 or #5 to present the offer.
Form the relationship first, earn your reader's trust, then go into sales mode—but not like, slimy sales mode. Human sales mode... Obviously.
4. There are too many calls to action
We humans are only capable of grasping so much information. As much as we'd like to believe we can multitask, we're dead wrong. Try eating ravioli while writing a blog. It ain't happening.
When it comes to your emails, be careful not to ask too much of your audience.
Try to stick to one main, clear call to action you want readers to fulfill. You don't want to overwhelm them.
This simple visual from SwipeFile.com says it all:
If you want readers to sign up for a free training, but they instead click the link to download your new podcast episode, you might have more calls to action than necessary.
Keep in mind, too, once a reader clicks your email, there's a pretty good chance they won't come back.
In life, and in email, it's best to keep things simple. (And the ravioli far from your laptop.)
Ready to increase your conversion rate?
It's hard to pinpoint exactly what's impacting your conversion rate. Maybe you're missing the mark to connect with your readers. Maybe your subject lines are saying too much, or not enough. Or, you're simply asking for more than your subscribers can handle.
Open up your Mailchimp, Klaviyo, Drip, or whatever tool you're using, and review your lowest-ranking emails. Check where you might be making these 4 mistakes, and where you can make improvements. Consider setting up an A/B test and see which email performs better.
If you're thinking your emails need more than a simple touch-up, contact me. I help businesses write personality-packed, customer-focused conversion copy across email, web, and more. Check out all the details of my email copywriting services by clicking here.
Whether you need a deep editing session or done-for-you copy for your next funnel, reach out to book my email copywriting services here.