What Makes People Open an Email or Letter?

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Email marketers think they are pretty smart. Some of them make tens of thousands of dollars per email campaign. But the old letterbox marketers are pretty smart too. In fact, some stores make millions of dollars straight off the back of a letterbox drop, while certain politicians get elected to office by virtue of writing letters to their constituent. I wonder which of the two has better open rates?

In this post I am going to look at some lessons from email and letter marketing that might help us discover what really gets people to open an email. This is a vital thing to know if you want to start making money from your blog.

Why is this important?

As you know by now I am always spouting the importance of having an email list that is both large and active. If you have 100 thousand subscribers it is totally useless if they don’t open the emails you send them. I’d much rather have 100 active subscribers that are engaged and interested.

When you have such an email list you are able to make money quite easily by promoting products and affiliates that you think your subscribers will like. For example, if I released an Official Blog Tyrant WordPress Theme I imagine a fair few of my email subscribers would purchase it.

But all of this is completely futile unless you know how to get people to open your emails. I might release the best WordPress Theme in history and sell zero copies and help absolutely no one because I sent out a terrible email with a boring header. But that’s not all. You need to know what makes people open emails so you can:

  • Pitch ideas to the big guys
    I get at least 20 emails everyday from people asking me for this, that and the other. And although I try to treat them all equally I have noticed that I open and prioritize certain emails by sheer fact that they got my attention.
  • Get more traffic from RSS
    Remember, a lot of your readers are reading your blog posts by email RSS syndication. If someone wakes up to an inbox filled with 100 emails and yours is sitting there somewhere you want to make sure it has a pretty amazing title.

If you want to make money with this online gig you need to know how to get people to open up your stuff.

What makes people open an email or letter?

Multitasking in the Park
Creative Commons License photo credit: CarbonNYC

I am including letters in this article because I want you to think really carefully about any offline letter marketing techniques that might help you send good emails. The online marketing world still has a lot to learn from its offline older brother.

1. Personalization
One of the most important things that the good email and letter marketers do is personalize your experience and make it as intimate as possible. There are many examples of this so I will just share a few that I find particularly interesting.

Letters in ink
Hand written addresses always have a higher open rate than those printed out. The pen and ink gives it a very personal touch and also has the brief illusion of appearing as though it came from someone you know. This can automatically put the receiver in a good mood.

Emails with a name in the subject
When you capture email addresses it is important to get the first name as well as the email address. This is one reason why I switched to Aweber because Feedburner only captures the latter. You can then set your emails to automatically use the person’s first name so you get:

“Do you want to make a full time living online John?”

As opposed to:

“Do you want to make a full time living online?”

Without the name the title appears dry and impersonal and some would say rather spammy. When you send out an email campaign you really want to make sure it connects with the person as an individual and doesn’t make them feel like just someone else on a list.

2. Specificity
Something that a lot of new bloggers fail to grasp is that being specific is actually quite alluring. This is particularly true of emails where the bulk of headings that come through are things like Hi, Hey, Quick Question, etc. If you can include something specific in the title you often get a much greater response.

For example, which one do you think works better?

“How I Made Money Online”

Or

“How I Made $125,678 in Six Days with One Blog”

The latter, of course. The reason is plainly obvious. We relate to numbers. When you see that figure of $125,678 staring you in the face you begin to think about how long it would take you to earn that. Maybe it would take you a year, or two years, or more.

But here is a guy who has done it in six days and with just one blog. Not a month and fifty blogs. One blog and six days. The speficicity is very important for helping people create mental images which capture the imagination.

3. Emotionality and cause and effect
When you can cause someone to become emotion and then show a final solution you are much more likely to get a higher open rate and then convert them to whatever is inside. There are some fantastic examples of this but there are two that really stand out for me:

Charity letters with sick animals on the front and happy ones inside
I donate to a fair few charities but I have noticed that I usually cancel my monthly payment after about a year. Greenpeace, the Salvation Army… so many charities got my business and then lost it.

Not the Humane Society International. I’ve been donating for years because every now and then they send me a letter with a tortured dancing bear on the front, bleeding and emaciated and extremely unhappy, and then on the inside a shot of that same bear living it up in his new Zoo exhibit with all the other bears. Very hard to ignore.

Chain emails with threats
This might seem strange but those annoying chain emails you get are actually extremely clever at marketing. They use a catchy title like This kids mom died right after getting this email and then order you to send it to at least five other people so that it doesn’t happen to your mom. It is complete nonsense, of course, but how often do they keep popping up? People love sending them on.

With both of these tactics the idea is to create a visceral emotion and then link it to some cause and effect. For example, because of my donation that bear is no longer chained to a pole all day but now enjoys freedom. Emotion, cause, effect. If you can incorporate this into your email titles in a positive way you will get a substantially higher open rate.

4. A grand or group-related call to action
We all know about calls to action; the little piece of text that tells a person what to do next. We use them on our email sign up forms and on our advertisements but we often forget to use them in email titles.

The best examples of these calls to action often come from the local politicians. Some of them do it better than others but often you will receive a personally addressed letter where the back side reads something like:

“Vote tomorrow to move Australia forward”

or

“Tell me what I can do for you in Capitol Hill”

These types of calls to action work a lot better when they are combined with the emotions of the previous point. For example, Barack Obama’s “Change” campaign was perhaps the most successful in history because it represented hope and possibility. Having said that, the fear-based campaign that was run by the Republicans is usually a lot more successful that the positive ones.

The reason for this is actually quite interesting and it has to do with the human brain’s loss prevention centers. Humans are wired to prevent loss – sexual partners, food, money, property – our brains fires out signals that make us act to avoid losing. So when you are shown marketing that tells you that you might lose [insert political rhetoric] you often feel more compelled to act.

What has worked for you?

Have you ever sent an email to a big-shot blogger that got an amazing response? Have you ever had a post title or an email campaign subject line get a particularly high open rate? Please leave a comment and let me know. Finally, if you have never done any of the above then please tell me what makes you open an email. I’m very interested to hear how your brain ticks.

Photo credit: lisaclarke

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95 Comments. Join in. *Closed after 30 days*

  • Ali Aghdam

    wow this is very useful for me,
    your blog is very useful thanks


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      No probs Ali.


  • Bilal Kamoon

    Great tips BlogTyrant! I will apply them on my newsletter right away πŸ˜€


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Thanks. Glad you liked them.


  • Andrew @ Build Blog

    Blog Tyrant

    For me, it has to be the subject line or blog post title.

    I subscribe to numerous blogs and if the title doesn’t catch my attention…I simply don’t open.

    Recently, I can spend just as long on the title of my blog post than the actual post itself.

    A recent title of mine that got a few positive responses was:

    What Sex Feels Like For A Blog

    Andrew


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Ha ha. What was that email about?


      1. Andrew @ Build Blog

        Being creative with your blog. When you are creative with your partner – it adds a bit of spice!

        Andrew


  • Kim

    Do you know why I love to read your posts? You always make me think about what I am doing and how I can improve my site.

    Another great post and I totally forgot about the personalization and I am new to Aweber as well.

    Thanks BT


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Thanks Kim. Means a lot.


  • Trishan

    You should also write a post on whether to include only a teaser excerpt in the mail or the whole post. I include an excerpt as I want my readers to take action of visiting my blog and not just close the mail after going through the post.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hi Trishan.

      I always include the full post as people often unsubscribe if it is only partial. The point, I think, is to make them loyal readers, not visit your site.


  • Rahul Pandey

    I don’t agree with the numbers point unless they are realistic. Because if someone reads “How I Made $125,678 in Six Days with One Blog” the first thing that comes to mind is, ‘this guy must have developed a blog and then took six days to sell it’. πŸ˜‰ Common and laymen constitute the majority of the readers and hence they need a figure/number thats realistic and achievable.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Oh course Rahul – never lie about these things.


  • Heather@Family Friendly Frugality

    What makes me open an email:

    1. Familiarity-Do I know this person/company? People I know get me to open their emails straight away. This does include bloggers I know, friends, family, and stores that I really enjoy.

    2. Personal Benefit-Next I go for what email is going to personally benefit me the most. Email from my editor? Open right away, because I get paid by her…what she has to say to me matters to my bottom line. Email from the electric company? Open last if it’s August ($400 bill)…a bit earlier if it’s December ($100 bill). If I feel an email is going to give me something I need (satisfaction, coupon code, information), it gets opened right after those from friends and family.

    3. The Rest-I have to admit…the rest may or may not ever be opened. I am probably one of the worst people to have on your mailing list. As my blog would imply, I don’t buy things often. I can spot a sales pitch from a million miles away, and I honestly don’t enjoy being sold to. That said, I won’t hold it against anyone. I know I am not the norm and that most people WILL buy. So often I just roll my eyes when people are selling to me and just ignore it. If I never again get a non sales pitch…I unsubscribe. Now of course, this doesn’t go for big companies (like Target, Sears, etc), I don’t expect a personal touch from them. But there have been bloggers that have assaulted my inbox with 2-3 sales pitches a week and it’s disgusting. I’m shocked anyone still buys anything from them.

    I’m protective of my inbox AND my wallet. The worst kind of email subscriber. BUT, if I like you…I contribute in other, more valuable ways. I buy when I want to, and if you have loyalty from me, you likely have loyalty forever.

    This doesn’t mean I’ve never been enticed by an email with a big promise in it’s subject line…but as quickly as I open, scan and smell the sales pitch…it’s deleted.

    I also have to say (darn writers never shut up, do they? LOL), as my blog popularity increases…and I get more and more email…I find I am shutting down even more. It’s becoming difficult to tell the difference between the BS and the legitimate and I’ve been known to sweep my inbox clean in a frustrated moment.

    (which leads me to ask, if you could write an article about how handle inbox overflow once your blog starts getting bigger. I am being overwhelmed by pitches and requests and I don’t know how to handle it!)

    Sorry for the book.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Heather you are so awesome. But you are a tough cookie.

      I know how you feel about shutting down the emails. Its hard when you get 30 or 40 a day.

      Thanks so much for this.


      1. Heather@Family Friendly Frugality

        No problem! I am a tough cookie, but a nice one!


  • Radu Tyrsina

    Honestly, I am sick of all these messages like

    β€œHow I Made Money Online” Or β€œHow I Made $125,678 in Six Days with One Blog”

    The Internet seems to be filled with it!

    Thanks God that I know how to find the Disclaimers πŸ™‚


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Interesting point Radu. The thing is, they work. Perhaps we are getting too used to them but I think most readers are quite new.


      1. Radu Tyrsina

        Quite new? πŸ™‚ Maybe you are right, maybe you are not πŸ™‚ If I look at how fast the Internet grows, then yes, you are right.


  • chris

    There are a few points I’d like to address;

    1. You and I aren’t average

    Like Radu said, we get sick of seeing many of these slick email subjects and we don’t open them. But here’s the point that ALL OF US have to remember…we aren’t the average user. What you and I see as slicking marketing tactics, 90% of internet users see as a headline that has caught their attention and is worth reading. Therefore, don’t dismiss any of BT’s tactics because they no longer work on you.

    2. Newsletter open rates.

    I have found that newsletter open rates are much better when the email subject line highlights two of the articles in the newsletter. I would even see rates well above 100% because people were returning to the emails.

    Of course you have to keep it short. A long article in your newsletter on email marketing and an article on aweber might look like this in the subject line:

    Success with Aweber and Easy Email Marketing

    I also found adding the name of the newsletter at the front of the subject line was great. This way, when a person is scanning their email box, they always associate your newsletter name with “great reading material” and are apt to read it first – and not assume it’s spam.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Great points Chris. As always. I love the double subject idea.


  • Erika

    Here’s what just worked for a client of mine:

    Email 1
    Title:
    “Starting today, I’m offering GROUP consulting”
    Opens: 232

    Email 2:
    Title:
    “Awwwww shoot!”
    Opens: 332

    So, exactly 100 more people opened e-mail #2, which happened to be a complete mistake. She realized something wasn’t clear in the first e-mail, and sent out the second to clarify.

    This is fascinating to me! I don’t know if this fits into any of the categories you mention above. The only thing is it was way more personal,like the kind of e-mail you get from a friend, and you open it to see what’s wrong (maybe the same way people slow down to look at car accidents?).

    What do you think?


    1. chris

      I think more people open the latter because people like to see how someone else has screwed up. In the case of emails, how they screwed up and what are they going to do to try and fix it.


    2. the Blog Tyrant

      Hey Erika.

      Thanks for the hilarious comment!

      I think Chris might be right. Perhaps all the people who read the first one and noticed the mistake then wanted to read the correction email, plus everyone else who was interested in just that title.

      Perhaps for my next email message I’ll just write “Awwwwww blogging!”


  • Rick

    Very timely post! I just started an email campaign and was looking for a book on best practices. This post contains several great tips I will implement immediately. I really like the idea of using the first name within the body of the message and also in the subject line.

    Any recommended sites (besides this one, of course) or books on this topic ?


    1. chris

      Here is a link I have bookmarked on email template design…what works best.
      http://designshack.co.uk/articles/graphics/10-design-lessons-from-html-email-templates-that-actually-sell


    2. the Blog Tyrant

      Rick, check out Dosh Dosh. Love it.


      1. Rick

        Very helpful link. Thank you


  • Justin P Lambert

    Tyrant,

    Great post. As a direct response copywriter (even before I was a blogger) I really appreciate the correlation between online and offline marketing methods. I think a lot of us can learn from the latter even if we only do the former.
    For me personally, the headline is an obvious draw, but I’ve found myself becoming immune to the “formula” headline that we’ve all been taught will work.
    Instead, these days, it’s the odd pairing or the weird metaphor that always grabs my attention:
    “5 Ways to Make Your Blog Sing Like Pavarotti!”
    That’s an e-mail (or blog post, or whatever) I would open, because on the surface, I can’t immediately guess what the writer is getting at. Yet, I know Pavarotti was an awesome singer, and I’d like my blog to be awesome, so I’m reading it to find out. I’m trying to infuse more of that sort of thing into my blog and into my offline marketing as well.
    Thanks again!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hey Justin.

      Love the comment.

      See the thing about the metaphor that always gets me is how do you know the concept is going to resonate with your readership. I know people here are interested in making a living online, blogging, etc. but I have no idea if anyone likes Classical Music.

      Thoughts?


      1. Justin P Lambert

        It’s probably always going to be a tightrope walk because (unless you’re Google or Facebook) you’re not going to know everything about all your readers. Still, there’s a little bit of something from nearly any subject that most people would know enough to “get it”. And, at least in the case of long copy work like a blog post, article, or sales letter, you could lead up to the point with a little background info too.

        To extend my example, if you know the bulk of your audience is Baby Boomer or younger, there are some pop icons and other celebrities that could fit just as easily into my example metaphor:

        “Make Your Blog Gyrate Like Elvis”
        “Make Your Blog Bend it Like Beckham”

        I don’t know. It’s late. πŸ™‚


  • Monette Satterfield

    Before I say what makes me open a message, I’ll say what makes me delete/trash/click off something.

    The worst are the emotional ones – I’m just infuriated by the emotional manipulation and won’t even read or watch them. I’ve stopped watching entire television shows because the network is running those commercials.

    Also landing pages with auto-play video/audio merit an immediate “close.”

    On to what works for me: Facts and believable specificity. It it sounds like something would work and it’s a topic I’m interested in, I’ll likely check it out.

    Since that’s what works for me, it’s what I prefer to use but since other people are different, maybe I should try some other approaches. As Chris pointed out, we’re not our target market πŸ™‚


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hey Monette.

      Why do the emotional emails/shows turn you off?


  • Pete Carr

    Hi BT,
    The problem with e-mail marketing is it has been abused. To many so called “Guru’s” that abuse the people on their lists.
    Also the couple of people I have talked to about this have all said it. We bombard our prospects to convert them to buyers. Well Bollocks to that. These people have no clue how to treat human beings. They don’t deserve the wealth they accumulate.Although I do think their days are numbered.
    It shouldn’t be about list building it should be about relationship building. Something us bloggers know a little bit about.
    Well rant over, sorry for the bad language. Feel quite strongly about this.
    Pete


    1. chris

      [quick googling for Bollocks] Oooooh, so that’s what that means. πŸ™‚


    2. the Blog Tyrant

      Interesting point Pete.

      To say that “these people” don’t deserve their wealth is an interesting statement because, in truth, they sell stuff that is highly useful to people’s lives. If they didn’t they wouldn’t get, retain and convert so many subscribers.

      There are the occasional bad apples for sure, but it seems to me that most email marketers that come from the blog sphere promote very useful products.

      Thoughts?


  • Steve

    I have read more than a few of these types of articles and very few ideas tend to really stick, but your examples and way of explaining things certainly help greatly.

    My list is getting a bit “saggy” due to its age; and in it’s old age I find that the things that seem to work the best are the personalization and anything that simply makes them question their knowledge on a specific topic. Inferiority is a feeling none of us like to have and if I can offer a new perspective on things, this is what people appear to enjoy the most.
    Keeping it easy yet blunt (little aggressive even) is also important for my readers. Complex headlines usually end in unwanted results.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Thanks Steve! Very good point about simplicity.


  • Diggy

    Hey Tyrant!

    One thing that makes me open emails is the fact that I trust or respect the sender.

    I’m subscribed to dozens of IM marketers but I almost never open them because I know how spammy they are. When it comes to your or Viperchill’s emails, I almost always open them regardless of the title. Just because I know you guys always provide super value and information. So trust is a big factor in opening emails.

    With Aweber there’s also an awesome technique I discovered only this week, where you can resend your email/blog broadcast to the portion of your list that didn’t open it the first time. Only this time you can change the title. This increases your total open rate enormously πŸ™‚

    Have a good one
    Diggy


    1. Heather@Family Friendly Frugality

      I would be crazy annoyed if someone resent the same email to me twice because I didn’t open it in the first place…


      1. chris

        I think I remember that aweber feature long ago – or at least discussion of having that option. It played out like this…you can do it, but it’s best not to do it often. The thought is you can upset the subscriber with yet another email. But at the same time, if they aren’t reading your newsletters, maybe that will get then to unsubscribe. There are many many ways to work with newsletters, emailing, and subscribers. It doesn’t mean they are all great. Sometimes the methods are right only in a particular instance.


        1. chris

          It reminds me of when I worked at a hardware store cutting glass. The glass cutting machine works great…as long as the glass is free of dust and dirt, any plastic wrapping has been removed, the glass is set in the machine properly, and I use the machine with the utmost finesse. In that case, a perfect break every time.

          But…if any of that is off, the glass doesn’t break correctly.


      2. Tim

        How would you know if
        a) you didn’t open it, and
        b) it had a different title?


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          Tim, I think because they all come from the same email.


    2. the Blog Tyrant

      Great point about trust Diggy. It is so true.


  • Dean Saliba

    I normally only open emails if I recognise the person sending it to me. It sounds harsh but I receive so much spam that I think this is the only way.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Yeah, I know how you feel Dean.


  • Ricardo Bueno

    First off, headlines matter (totally true). I’ve tried to get better at writing them (both on my blog and in my emails). Have I noticed a difference? Well, in my emails, a higher open-rate. And in terms of discussion and interaction, the more conversational you are in your emails, the better. I try to take a casual approach. You know, converse as if you and I were sitting down for coffee (or a beer). That’s totally important (at least for me it is) because I want you to know that I’m approachable and here to help.

    Great write-up Tyrant and excellent list of things to think about!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Ricardo being conversational is so important. I wish I had thought of that when writing the post because I think it really goes towards trust and personalization.


      1. Ricardo Bueno

        Tyrant: It’s all good, still a stellar post!

        I think that lots of people undermine the value of being conversational in your content (blog posts & emails). Lots of new bloggers (in my niche anyway: Real Estate) get stressed over everything being perfect. But you’re not writing a term paper here, you’re looking to engage people, build your brand and grow your audience. You can’t do that without having basic, down-to-earth conversations with folks.


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          Kind of ironic considering how good Real Estate Agents are at talking.


  • Tim

    100% agree that pre-established trust is a must. In my experience, I find people read my site and want more. The content has already established my bona fides, and my free contents has established trust and credibility.

    So, the message from the user is “hey, I like what you have to say, I want to hear more, via email”.

    To me, you don’t need to get all title ninja at that point.

    Unless you’re a generic site.

    Look at Seth Godin. His title could be “I eat batsh$t for breakfast and the Melbourne Footy Club SUCKS, Tim” and I’d still read him. Same for 37signals. They’ve established bucketloads of trust and credibility, and THAT’S why I am there.

    As for your suggestions for title ninja-ness.
    1. Personalisation. From a user’s perspective, I actually read personalised titles as being spammy. It’s obvious the person is personalising and manipulating me, and I automatically recoil from it. I feel like saying “hey man, don’t try so hard. It’s cool. I already want to read your stuff.”

    2. Specific titles. Oh boy. The whole “How I made $59898347 dollars” is way, way overdone. Every second blogger is doing it (it’s one of the reasons I unsubbed from ProBlogger, not that he cares, but, it goes to my point) and to me it’s almost scammy.

    Nope, I think if you have built trust and credibility with your subscriber, you don’t need to go overboard. Just be authentic.

    I know your title is how to get people to open your mails, but, in most cases shouldn’t the fact they subscribed already imply that they’re interested?

    For me, the best results have been simply targeting people’s pain points: save them time, money, hassle. Or “Learn how to …” without getting specific to the point it looks a bit spammy.

    No offence intended in any of my comments, this is just what I’ve noted both from the end user perspective and copy writer perspective.

    Tim


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Great comment Tim.

      I totally understand where you are coming from and in some respects agree.

      I will never disagree that authenticity and honesty are vital, sometimes they aren’t enough. Most local stores are honest and authentic but without advertising and selling their products to people they struggle.

      One question I’d ask you is how Seth Godin got you interested in his stuff initially – was it through a clever title and topic?


  • Rick

    I believe Tim makes a great point. If you have to bait your “loyal subscribers” into opening your emails, I think you’ve got a bigger problem


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hi Rick.

      I’m going to have to politely disagree with you.

      I have an extremely active bunch of readers here on Blog Tyrant (for whatever reason) but I still see 50% of my list not open some emails. In a world where people get 10 or 20 or 100 emails a day you have to a little extra to get noticed.

      I think baiting implies that the content inside is bad. If you are using smart titles to show someone a useful post or resource then I don’t think it is negative at all.

      Just my two cents.


      1. Rick

        I probably used a poor choice of words, but in any case, point taken. Thanks


  • SuperbadIM

    Funny, I went to the grocery store and a gentleman was standing outside trying to get people to sign up for something.

    He asked, “Do you care about the environment?”

    He didn’t say, “Would you like to sign my petition? It’s for blah, blah, blah..”

    He asked a question that he knew would get a response from people. If nothing else, it would break down the initial barrier.

    This is not emails, but same concept.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Great example man!


  • Pangeran

    I usually following the style how the news paper headlines.

    Short, attract interest and sometimes funny miss spelling.
    But it still depends on the type of the blog too.

    I won’t make funny miss spelling title for corporate blog.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hi Pangeran.

      Great lesson there – the newspapers really do it well.


  • Rachelle

    I don’t use hard selling on my blog and I don’t like it used on me.

    I think what makes people open an email or letter is the same thing that makes people click on a blog post. I didn’t believe it until I tried a few “tried and true” title writing techniques I found on Problogger. I got linked to by quite a few sites, included in some weekend linkstuff and saw me bust through my top number of visitor stats twice in one week.

    But you know what the most hilarious thing is? I just realized that if I keep going the way I’m going with my blog driving business to me. I’ll be slated to enter the six figure blogging club by the end of the year. All my customers come from my blog and I did $15K worth of business in December.

    Plus I’m just learning…


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Well done Rachelle!

      Is this from services obtained after someone has read your blog?


      1. Rachelle

        Yes it’s my only form of advertising. Where I make money is in renting apartments for owners. I get one months rent. But… Recently after reading what you had to say about regular subscribers I decided to add some focus on regular property management which doesn’t really pay much but keeps the owner in communication with me. I am the only proprerty management company being real with people. I would only need 150 property management clients to make $8000 per month on management plus a minimum of another $75 k on tenant location. I could easily do this number of clients myself part time.

        But I also have other plans. A small ebook to get more subscribers. A chapter in a full size book that will be for sale.

        I also have an idea for an affiliate program for mortgages.

        My biggest problem right now is time. I am devoting all my leisure time to being the best blogger I can. The better I get the more business I will generate. Seriously I am working on a guest post right now for problogger there’s more than one way to be a six figure blogger. There’s tons of small businesses like mine sitting with ranked sites (for me pr4) not using them to communicate with their customers. It’s sad really.

        I just want to point out that the site that pushed me to the next level is this one. Thanks BT πŸ™‚


        1. Heather@Family Friendly Frugality

          Wow Rachelle, that’s amazing! Be sure to let us know how things go. I’ll definitely be following along with you. You have some awesome ideas!


          1. Rachelle

            I’d like to say it was my awesome business sense that got me started… but it was a complete and total fluke. A friend of mine asked me to do a guest post on his blog after meeting me in a forum. Then my husband got sick and all I could do while sitting there panicking about money was write and write. So I did.

            So far the journey has been awesome and the people you meet are fantastic. The best thing about the clients I meet through my blog is that they are “prescreened” I used to get some real whack job clients before. There was a lady who used to screen her tenants using astrology and a one guy who thought his tenant was “spying” on him. Now I’m getting nice new condos and beautiful properties and owners that are cool, tech savvy young people. I cannot emphasize that point enough. Not every one is going to be your client. Getting clients that work with your business style is essential πŸ™‚


  • Robert Dempsey

    One of the latest post titles that got my attention was by Ana at TrafficGenerationCafe.com – “Google PageRank: When Your Think PR, Think Public Relations.” The reason this got my attention was the way the headline was worded, and also because I know PageRank is abbreviated PR, so I was expecting to read about why I shouldn’t pay attention to it. The post delivered and was a great read.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      That is a very good title.


  • Matthew Needham

    Hi,

    What has worked for me is when I put in the subject heading [BRT – Newsletter] TITLE to remind people where it’s from. As long as you’ve got valuable content then people will typically open it.

    Thanks, Matthew


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      That’s a good point Matthew – I wonder how many emails get deleted from list users who don’t recognize the sender?


  • Stuart

    The thing that never ceases to amaze me is how successful the blatantly ‘spammy’ e-mails are! I get spam e-mails in my e-mail account, but they are only about:

    – viagra
    – having a larger penis

    If I don’t sign up, my girlfriend will leave me (apparently). I know my girlfriend is a lot smarter than that, but not all men think the same.

    I guess that’s the power here, exploiting the ‘fear of loss’ principle. I would never use fear to get at my customers/readers though, my heart is too pure πŸ˜‰


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      I think the thing we have to remember is that 99% of internet users are slow adopters to medium adopters – not experts like us.


  • Joy

    I manage email for a well know restaurant (Chick-fil-A) on a community/local level. I just looked at the results of my email campaigns.

    Sometimes it is very easy for me to get people to open an email b/c I am giving away FREE Chicken or inviting them to a local event.

    Two that stood out to me were two campaigns I did that were simply asking guest to purchase trays from Chick-fil-A.

    Subject 1:Order Your Party Tray at Chick-fil-A at Waugh Chapel – Open rate 20%

    Subject 2: Chick-fil-A on Sundays? – Open rate 37%.
    I obviously got their attention!!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Well done Joy!

      My next question would be about how many of those people come in to the restaurant?


      1. Joy

        Not sure how many guests ordered/or came in to the restaurant other than tray sales were up this holiday season and overall a good year. Cold tray sales were up and was the subject of both emails. I was trying to educate fans that they can purchase a tray of nuggets/strips (frozen) and heat it up on Sunday or Christmas/New Years. (hence the subject line: Chick-fil-A on Sunday?)

        The subject line is SO important. I am really trying to focus on creating a great subject line for any email I send out. When I write one – I always give it the “Joy” test….that is simple “Would I open this?”

        It is a simple but good question to ask yourself.


  • Richard G. Crockett

    Hi BT,

    The only thing that has ever worked for me is the only thing I have ever done; that is, establish a personal connection somehow in advance. Most times, in my life, that is face to face. I ask for the person’s email. I ask permission to use it. When it is not face to face, as in a social network of one kind or another, it is still the same process.

    Then, when they see who it is from, I almost always get an answer back. (Yes or no, it does not matter.) And I always honor their choices.

    Now here’s an example. This is a test. Not in an email, but right out in public.

    I have been following your blog now for several days. I have been reading what you had to say, and you interest me.

    Did I get your attention?

    I hope so because I have been considering doing a review of your blog on my ownβ€”not that that is much of an honor, for my readership is tiny; nevertheless, I would like your permission. I can guarantee your work will be treated with courtesy and respect. I would not ask if I did not like you.

    What do you think of that pitch?

    Cheers,
    Rick
    Latest: It’s Not About Me


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hi Richard.

      Thanks for the great comment.

      Of course you can review my blog – no need to ask. I look forward to it.

      Tyrant


      1. Richard G. Crockett

        I’m just old fashioned. People have a right to protect their image, so thanks.


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          Thanks Richard. Appreciate the sentiment.


  • Trevor Watkinson

    I think the key to getting people to open your email messages is presenting value in the proper way.

    The recipient should be able to make a quick mental connection about how the information you are about to provide will make an immediate impact on their life, regardless of the title you choose for your email.

    If you sell cell phones for a living like I do, then the difference between the following two statements is obvious:

    Poor Title – “The Blackberry Bold 9780 has two times more RAM than the Blackberry 9700”

    Good Title – “The NEW Blackberry Bold 9780 loads web pages in a flash, which means you’ll spend less time browsing and more time having fun!”

    People don’t care about specifics. They want to know how you are going to make their lives better.

    If your email title states information that will improve the lives of your readers, you are bound to get a great response.

    Customers care about value. That’s what makes them open your emails and letters.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      I love the different titles Trev. I often wonder if value is enough these days though; there is good value everywhere.


  • thang@noodlies

    I usually open emails from people that has built credibility over time with either their blog or the emails which they send me. Their content generally seem relevant well thought through and useful.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Thanks Thang. I think everyone agrees.


  • Denise Hamlin

    BT, I subscribe to your blog via RSS and the reason I read this post at the end of a long day was because of the title. I think questions are always good in titles. As long as it’s something the reader cares about they will click/open it. A “How To” is another good one.

    If you provide people useful information they will read it. Of course you will need to make yourself a credible source before it will work. But once you’ve done that it’s really not rocket science. In fact, once you’ve done that you won’t even need a killer title every time. You’ll just need to provide consistently good information.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Thanks Denise. I’m chuffed you think of this site as good information.


  • TJ

    Tyrant, mail art is fascinating for this very reason. Most people who come across a piece react with a mixture of confusion and awe. I’ve heard of mail carriers actually ringing the doorbell and hand delivering pieces! In a world where stuff is so mass-generated a letter that’s been hand painted and sewn is almost revered. Many mixed media artists submit their work in hand-painted/printed and stamped packages to the magazines, etc. It’s so magnetic, you can’t help but want to open something so rare and beautiful – so custom. Great post! Your reader in germany, tj


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      I love your work TJ!


      1. TJ

        Wow thank you Tyrant, I’m flattered. Have a great creative week!


  • Dipesh Patel

    I liked this post a lot. I get about 10 emails from different places that shares their views and offers discount and other stuff. The emails that I get more attracted is of course an email with personalize message but more important thing according to my liking is images and proper use of colors.

    Everyone of us wants to be sweet. I have just started adding events and text in http://www.dipeshpatel.com which will benefit from your post.

    Once again thank you for your time and knowledge sharing.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      No worries Dipesh.


      1. Dipesh Patel

        I have a general question. For my website i think I want to add all type of content and events. Is that advisable?


  • Udegbunam Chukwudi

    I decided not to add a name field to my email list ’cause truth be told those of us who have been around the internet for long already now that these “Dear Chukwudi”
    emails are not personalized @ all.

    Besides I wanted to amke it easier for folks to join my mailing list. One hurdle less I call it πŸ˜‰


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      I wonder, though, if most people are like us and recognize it as marketing?


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