A 10-15% email open rate is not helping your business. To grow the number of prospects in your marketing funnel, transform your emails into engagement machines with “value exchange.”
The concept is simple. Value exchange is a non-interruptive form of digital advertising that allows people to select their own ads instead of being forced to watch them. The ads unlock all types of goodies including entertainment, points, and digital content. And a staggering 75-80% of people opt-in. Value exchange is so popular that top publishers like Google, Pandora, and Fox have all adopted it. Google even has its own polling apps with tens of millions of installs and rewards users with Google Play points.
Driving a higher open and response rate requires a mental shift. The antiquated reach-and-frequency mindset doesn’t work and must be replaced with something more powerful and respectful. That’s where value exchange comes in. The same methods that are transforming advertising can supercharge your emails and drive much higher engagement. Here’s how it’s done.
- Creating value starts with knowing your audience
It all starts with your audience. Before you write, take time to understand the recipient. Identify his/her pain points and deliver clear solutions that won’t be ignored. For example, if your prospect serves the Latin American market, explain how your product or service provides a better solution at a lower cost than what’s on the market today. Bonus points for including data to validate your thesis.
This is your moment to create a memorable hook, so be specific. Personalized subject lines can increase open rates by 42 percent. You may also want to consider an action oriented subject line, such as the following from JetBlue, “You’re missing out on points!” Actionable subject lines put the “value exchange” upfront, drawing instant interest.
- Cutting through the clutter to get to the value exchange
Here’s the thing: no one has time to read your email. With an average attention span of 8.25 seconds, you need to lead with the value. Cut out what isn’t necessary, and save the niceties for the meeting! Conventional wisdom suggests that detailed, thorough, and specific emails are better, but it’s the concise, easy-to-read emails that draw readers in. Write the way you speak, and consider using words like “imagine” and “because.” These powerful words used in storytelling are more persuasive and evoke vivid imagery.
Including statistics and infographics can also be powerful methods to reinforce your thesis. According to an eyetracking study, people online pay close attention to and spend more time on information-carrying images than they do reading text.
- Reinforce the value exchange with a solid CTA
According to SendGrid, calls-to-action (CTAs) are often absent from emails. Make sure the reader is presented with a clear next step. CTAs lead to audience engagement in advertising and drive actions such as site visits, and downloads. They are just as effective in emails.
After delivering a clear solution and demonstrating ample value, it’s appropriate to lay the foundation for the relationship. Move the prospect down the marketing funnel and ask for a meeting. Don’t be wishy-washy. Be specific. For example, an effective CTA is “How does 3PM on Tuesday work for you?” as opposed to vaguely wrapping up by stating, “Let me know when works best to discuss!” Starting the message with a question and following up with a specific time and action will reinforce a response. Encouraging further engagement reinforces the “value exchange,” directing the reader to take action.
Closing the loop
Lastly, if your emails are falling on deaf ears, you can always try a Hail Mary. A “closing the loop” email is a polite way to give your recipient a final chance to respond. Rearticulate the main value proposition succinctly, include a CTA, and let the person know this will be your final reach-out. The subject line of your note should read: “Closing the loop.” And including phrases like “I don’t want to be a pest” or “please let me know either way,” can gently tugs at your recipient’s heart strings while keeping you on the moral high ground.
As in most important processes, the devil is all in the details. Before you send your next email, consider adopting the concept of value exchange. Do your research and find ways to provide value. Trim the unnecessary fat and make responding fast and easy. You may just find that respecting your recipients makes them respect you, too.