The Marketing Word | Differentiation Marketing

Archive for September 2012

You're in business. You've sent emails. In fact, you send email after email.  Are you tracking your email open rate?

One of my clients emailed me with the question, “How can I get people to open my emails?”  She was looking for tips to make her subject line more enticing.  She had recently sent an email to her list of 527 subscribers and had 124 opens.  That’s an open rate of 23.5%.   

A "good" or average open rate for an email is 15 - 30%.  Her open rate is within range. But it could be better. In her niche, health, the average open rate is higher, in the 30 – 40% range. Here's an article I found with open rate info:

Average Email Open Rates

Her particular email was announcing a local event. Because her list is national, her open rate was probably lower than usual – her subscribers know where she is located.  But event emails are not a one-shot deal. For an event (seminar, get together, webinar) you really have to hit people at least 3 times with emails because they either miss the email, or don't have time to open and look the first time they see it or think they will go back and open it "later on" (which is why I have over 1,000 emails sitting in one of my accounts).

People are in a time crunch these days. One thing I have seen work is a subject line that says -- "This will take less than a minute" (or 30 seconds) and I've also seen something like that in the first line of an email: “This email will only take you about 2 minutes to read but will blah blah blah -- some benefit to you.”

People also respond to FUN.  So, if you’re doing an email series, have at least one of the emails have something about fun or pleasure in the title.  Analysts (marketing and psycho) say people are more motivated by avoiding pain (2.5 times more likely to move away from pain) than moving towards pleasure, but in my experience people go for instant pleasure if the ensuing pain is 1) not that painful and 2) far enough away in time, i.e., “Eating cake will make me fat and isn’t good for me.  I don't want to be fat but that's the result of MANY pieces of cake and this one piece of cake won't make me instantaneously fat so I'll have it."

Do I have a study to back me up on that? No. But I do have whoopie pies and ice cream in my kitchen. And if you take a look around you, you will probably see the results of people making that choice. On a daily basis…   So, give people a little pleasure in your subject line mix.

The same day my client emailed me with that question, I also got this email with a free offer for an email marketing tip ebook from Icontact, an autoresponder company:

10 Rules for Successful Email Marketing

I’m not sure how long it’s going to be available.  It looks like an affiliate link (not mine, probably for whoever runs WebProNews, the company that sent me the email) so you will most probably be put on a list. This particular opt in is especially intrusive – Icontact has put this ebook out and is offering a free trial of their services with it.  (Complete disclosure: I gave them valid information except for my phone number – I can delete emails; phone calls are just freakin annoying.) My attitude on this is if I get tired of the emails or find they are not helpful, I’ll just unsubscribe. But I’m always open to new sources of info.  (Hmmm.  I think I feel another blog post coming on about information gathered for opt ins.)

I know I sound like a broken record sometimes (OK, most of the time) but the best way to get people to listen to you, whether you are sending emails, writing blogs posts, doing videos or posting on social media, is to put out good information. People search the internet for information. Yes, they buy things over the internet, but first and foremost, they want information. The best thing you can do is make sure the information you give is relevant, helpful and applicable.  The importance of the subject line goes down as people get to know, like and trust you and your information. However, if your list is constantly growing, people are in various stages of their relationship with you. The stronger you can make your subject lines, the more likely people are to open your emails and from there, develop a stronger relationship with you.  But don’t let it torment you. They can’t all be diamonds. Better to get the email out than to sit and agonize over the subject line.

Barbara Grassey

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Don't want to read?  Click below for Audio

Use Different Formats for Your Marketing Messages Audio

I received an email from a marketer with a subject line that was interesting enough to get me to open it up.  That is a major hurdle.  Even though I have cut down on the number of lists that I subscribe to, I still get over 100 emails a day and the first thing I do is go down the list and delete emails I am not going to bother with.  I bet you do the same thing.  (This is where you say, “But never with your emails, Barbara.” Yes. Of course and thank you.)

So, I clicked on the email, prepared to give him some of my time and hopefully get a bit of information in return.  But when I opened the email, I was directed to a link to a podcast.  Now, that is really cool for people who learn by listening, but I’m a reader.  In fact, I’m a pretty fast reader and even faster when I am skimming something to pick out the information I want and move on.  I can’t do that with audio or video. (Though I have clever friends who will run a video at 2x speed and slow it down at the good parts. I will leave it up to you to imagine what the good parts are.)  Frustrated, I closed out the email and deleted it.  I was interested in the information only to the extent that it took me little to no effort to get it. Had my interest level been higher, I may have gone on through to the podcast.

But for those people who learn by listening, the podcast was probably a welcome change in a sea of printed material. Different people like to learn in different ways -- some by watching, some by listening or reading or actually doing. We all tend to put out information in the way that we prefer to receive it. But we’re shutting off a large part of our marketing reach.

While I didn’t listen to the podcast, I may have learned a better lesson from that marketer’s email. It pointed out what I’m NOT doing – I need to offer my blog posts with a
couple of options – podcast or video along with the written word. Do I need to do every one like that? No.  But it might be nice for my readers if I break it up a bit.

If you’re like me and don’t like to be seen on camera (Really – change out of my shorts and t-shirt and put on make-up for a five minute video?), you can do Camtasia style videos.  (Try the freebie version for short videos using JingProject.)  Or just record what you’ve written using your computer or a digital recorder.  You may not want to read it word for word.  You may add in or take out a line or two.  And it may take you more than one “take” to get what you want.  If you normally do video or audio messages, then have them transcribed and give people the option to read instead of watch or listen.

The next time you sit down to write a blog post or send an email to your list or create a marketing piece, add another dimension to your marketing.  I’ll guarantee that your information will be heard and seen by a wider range of prospects and clients.  And, don’t forget to cross-post your message on YouTube and other video sites, article submission directories and podcast sites.



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Who’s Zoomin’ Who?

Get a 1,000 followers in a day!
Get 20,000 followers in a week!
Be on the first page of Google!
Sell 3,000 books on Kindle in 7 days!


I don’t know why anyone goes to a job anymore since making millions on the internet is so easy you can do it in your sleep just by pressing a button.

What?  Oh?  You can’t?  It’s a little tougher than that?


The above are the headlines that make me crazy.  I sit there and say, “I’m not pulling numbers like that. What am I doing wrong?”

Two separate articles and the latest Google algorithm update went a long way towards making me feel better.

The Google update knocked a lot of people off the front page of search listings. One strategy in particular – backlinking -- back-fired big-time.  (I love alliteration.)   I remember when that strategy came out. I had a friend who had tried an SEO backlinking technique that had totally screwed his rankings. Then someone came out with a big SEO backlinking “System” and everyone jumped on the bandwagon.  I was ignored when I posted in a marketing group that the system wouldn’t work.  In fact, I wrote a blog post about it (  But all the SEO guys knew better than I did.  A month later, BAM. The Google hammer came down. The latest Google algorithm change popped one of my websites up to the first page. It is a website that has fresh, original content. No gimmicky SEO anything. Go figure.

About a month ago, the BBC broke the news that Facebook had over 83 million fake accounts – about 8.7% of its population. (  This affects the dollar value of Facebook’s advertising.  But it also calls into question some of those strategies that promise to add 1,000 or more “Likes” to your fan page. They may “really, really like” you, but do “they” actually exist?

Then, about a week ago, it was revealed that many of the high-profile Twitter accounts – those social media rock stars with massive followings – were purchasing their followers, not attracting them with their message or even getting followers who, well… actually followed. ( There are thousands of inactive Twitter accounts.  Having these “followers” doesn’t do anything to bring in business.

It comes down to the old adage: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  And I hate that. I wish there was an easier way to let people know that I put out quality work and I care about whether or not what I do helps my clients.  But it just ain’t that way.

Marketing, online and offline, is damn hard work.  Or maybe I should say marketing ethically is damn hard work.  But in other ways, it is very, very easy.  Create strong content. Give value. Deliver on what you promise. Work consistently towards your goals. Most of all, interact with your clients -- on social media, in real life, through your emails.  Just because the world is using more technology to market and to buy doesn’t mean that the personal touch, a real relationship, is obsolete.  In fact, it is even more necessary now than ever before.

It doesn’t make any sense to go skyrocketing up in numbers – followers or Google rankings or fake five star Amazon ratings -- if it is all going to get taken away from you.  Build your business for the long term.  It’s sometimes frustrating.  You feel like everyone else is zooming past you. But a solid business will take care of you long after all the “rock stars” have fallen off the map. And the relationships that you build, the real relationships, will create a successful life that no impersonal, automated business could ever produce.



September 2012
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