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If you’re like most people, millions of questions run through your head when you think about sending an email to your readers: How long should it be? What size font should I use? Where should I put my graphics? Is this good enough to publish?
Relax! These are minor details. Right now, there are just a few key things you need to think about when preparing to write an email.
Let me show you what those key pieces are.
To do that, I’m going to break down our most opened email of all time — one that was read, loved and shared by our readers.
Let’s take a look at one of my favorite emails and I’ll point out the key pieces every email needs:
Tap on the blue highlighted text for more information.
One of the funniest quotes I’ve ever read came from the CEO of Carl’s Jr. He was interviewed about his business and got asked about healthy eating in America.
"My opinion is that the media is the main supporter of healthy eating. We're certainly not hearing it from our customers," said Andrew Puzder, who is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's." And [surveys] show that while consumers say they want to eat healthier, what they actually want is a big juicy burger," Puzder said during an interview Tuesday with CNNMoney.com.
This guy took a question on healthy eating…and got them to print a promotion for "big juicy burgers" in a national article. I love you, CEO Andrew.
Personally, I go for In-and-Out Burger.
It’s funny, but there’s also a lot of truth to what he said.
Critics love to tell companies to do things….
…that nobody actually wants to do.
(In fact, when a dating site tried this, people reported liking their dating experience more.) The problem? The vast majority of people hate it. Turns out in dating, looks are important.
You see how easy it is for random critics to tell businesses what they "should" do…without knowing the full story?
It’s not just for businesses — we’ve all been there. How many of us have parents who told us that we needed to major in engineering or go to med school? (Non-Asian people, ignore that last sentence.) How many of our friends think it’s "weird" that you read self-development? Or that you “really need” to try this one diet?
I’ve been guilty of being a critic, too.
Years ago, I went to a farmers’ market where I saw a guy selling t-shirts. Now, imagine an Indian guy walking into a t-shirt stall. It’s like letting a dog loose with 500lbs of meat. The dog is not going to pause and think about the ramifications of his daily macronutrients or the burden of eating now vs. saving for later. He’s going to eat.
Similarly, an Indian person is going to negotiate.
After a lot of back and forth, here’s where the t-shirt guy and I ended up: The shirt cost $10. I offered $8. He said no.
Now, let’s assume something for a minute. If the guy pays $4 to get those shirts, and I offer $8, shouldn’t he take it? After all, he’s making money — $4 to be exact.
So why wouldn’t he take it? It makes no sense, right?
In the next few emails, I’d like to take you through the fascinating world of business. We’ll start at the farmers’ market, but we’re going to go up to multi-billion-dollar businesses, too.
How do CEOs make the decisions they make? How did IWT go from a simple blog to a multi-million-dollar business? What’s changed as I went from a blogger to CEO?
So many people think business is a bunch of arcane numbers and P/E ratios, but that’s not true. Business is strategy, competition, and psychology at the highest levels. If it works, it’s great. If it doesn’t, you go extinct.
Whether or not you run your own business, I’ll show you some fascinating insights into how businesses work — and how you can use their systems and psychology for your own life.
(If you run a business that generates between 6-7 figures, you’ll want to pay special attention. Send me an email if you do.)
For now, think about why that farmers’ market t-shirt guy rejected my offer for $8. Any ideas?
Leave your comment here or just reply to me.
P.S. Next week: How did IWT go from a blog to a real business? How does a CEO engineer growth? And what was even more important than multiple million-dollar products as I grew IWT?
That’s the first thing people see when your email comes into their inbox.
The job of a subject line is to get people sucked into the email. For example, look at one of my favorite examples of a subject line I wrote: REJECTED: Guy at farmers’ market shuts me down.
Even though it's one of the shortest pieces of your email, it's the one part that you should be willing to spend the most time on.
Get it wrong, go unnoticed.
Get it right, get it read.
My goal is for every email to feel like I'm writing to one person.
And one of the best ways to make an email feel personal is to include someones name in the opening line.
I mean if I saw you in real life, wouldn't I say — "Hey, NAME — how are you?"
So why should emails be any different.
With today's email service providers, it's easy to include. And it makes a world of a difference for the emails you send.
The first line is where people who opened your email decide whether or not to keep reading it.
There’s a reason opening paragraphs are often called “teasers” — they’re meant to show just enough to make the reader want to see more.
Take a look at my opening sentence: it's about a funny quote I heard from the CEO of Carl's JR. Aren't you curious what the quote is? Will you keep reading to the next line?
How often do you get emails like this?
Keep your reader engaged with every line of the email from top to bottom, and they’ll keep reading all the way to the very end.
“Words tell, stories sell.”
Some of my best emails — even the ones selling something — start with a compelling story.
We all want to see how the story unfolds — and that’s precisely why so many effective sales emails and engagement pieces start with them.
Like this one where I talk about going to a local farmers marketing and being shut down.
If you’re not a natural storyteller, don't worry about that. I'll show you how to write in a way that connects with people in part 5 of the guide.
For now, just know that the same kind of juicy stories that you like to read or tell a friend are what go into making a great email.
All good things come to an end.
And when you've said your piece in your email, you need a strong call to action.
Whether it be to simply engage, click or to buy — you need to direct your audience to some sort of action with your emails.
This adds a personal touch to your emails. And even when you're sending them to thousands of people at a time, it will remind your readers that you're the one behind the message. You're the one trying to help them overcome key issues in their lives.
It's YOU — not some man behind the curtain.
Surprisingly the P.S. is one of the most valuable pieces of real estate for your emails.
When people aren't sure if an email is worth reading, they'll sometimes skip straight to the bottom to look for the pay off.
So if you have something really important you should stick it there.
Sometimes, we'll stick a tiny sales link in the P.S. of an email or link to register for a webinar. And that one link in the P.S. has been worth tens of thousands of dollars to our business.
So don't just treat this as a toss in.
Take a look at what one of our Zero to Launch graduates, Graham C. learned just from implementing a few of the strategies we teach in his emails:
Next, we’ll dig into one of the most important parts of getting your emails read: your subject line.