When it comes to getting higher newsletter click throughs, the answer is a matter of common sense: just send out newsletters that people would want to open and read. Of course, the real difficulty lies in knowing just exactly what kind of newsletter people want, or what you can do to make your newsletter attractive to prospective readers.
Many novice marketers stumble when it comes to this part, because they are under the impression that there’s no way to know every single one of their thousands of subscribers, so they won’t be able to find out what which one wants and how they can write a newsletter that would appeal to everyone (or at least the majority).
This is a self-defeating way of thinking. It’s true that the sheer number of people on an average list means that the preferences and tastes you’d have to deal with are varied to the extremes. However, social psychology has already proven that there are general principles you can follow in order to give the majority what they want, giving you impressive open and clickthrough rates. Here are a few of them:
Take Advantage of People’s Natural Curiosity
Curiosity is a very powerful motivator, you can see this in animals, and it is even more pronounced in humans. In fact, a study conducted in 1982 over what is known as the Zeigarnik effect had people do a brain buster puzzle, but were interrupted and told that they can stop as the test is over, while they’re still in the middle of solving. It turns out that nearly 90% of the test subjects continued working on the puzzle, citing that their curiosity got the better of them and they want to see it finished.
You can find many of the best storytellers taking advantage of this, what with cliffhangers being one of the most popular methods used in order to get people to turn the page or continue watching a show. It can also work well within the context of newsletters.
Unfortunately for many novice marketers, their approach to newsletters tend to run counter to the idea of stoking people’s natural curiosity. They hit people with all the info right at the subject line. They write “this eBook will increase your conversion rates!” when they could have written “find out how you can increase your conversion rate.” Note that both subject lines are say the same thing, but one tells all the information upfront, while the other teases and goads the reader into investigating further.
Avoid Choice Overload
There is such a thing as “action paralysis,” wherein people who are saddled with way too many options end up taking too long to do something or end up doing nothing at all. This is especially true when it comes to newsletters – as much as possible, you want to streamline the whole experience and guide your readers towards one thing, not to overload their attention span with way too many things that need doing.
Think of an ice cream store that offers 1,000 flavors. People tend to spend way too much time trying to decide on what flavor that they end up selling less ice creams than the store that only offers six flavors. In fact, there are real life studies backing this up, with the studies showing that having way too many choices will increase customer interaction, but will drive down the number of customers who actually bought something.
In newsletters, this means getting many readers but getting vastly reduced click-throughs, which is worse than having less readers but a higher clickthrough rate, as any seasoned marketer can attest to. With this in mind, make sure you follow the “one newsletter, one goal” principle.
Inspire Strong Emotional Responses
In order to get people to do what you want, which in this case is click to a link, you have to appeal to their emotions instead of their logic. Think of these two possible subconscious responses people may have when presented a link: “I know I should click this” or “I feel like I should click this.”
Let the two keywords – know and feel – sink in. Majority of people are already dead set on what they know. You can’t challenge what they feel they already know, even if you do – you’ll come across as antagonistic and you’ll only inspire a negative response. However, you can always appeal to a person’s feelings.
And here’s the thing: once you manage to appeal to a person’s emotions, you’re going to get a much stronger response. This is why Starbucks can sell coffee for 100 times it would cost if you made it yourself or why Alienware can sell a 2,000 dollar PC using only components that would cost less than 500 dollars if you bought them yourself. People buy it not because it is logical, but because it feels right. You have to go for the same approach in your newsletters.
How do you do this in your newsletters? Put yourself in the reader’s shoes and stop writing like a statistician or a programmer. Stats, figures, and specs are useful, but they don’t inspire strong emotional responses on majority of your readers. While there are times where you need to present hard data and numbers, what you really need to present to readers are benefits and real world effects. If you just say that this tablet has a 1 Ghz processor, you won’t inspire as strong an emotional response compared to saying that it has a 1 Ghz processor that can run programs faster.
One thing you will notice about the above tips is the overuse of the word “people.” It’s the key takeaway to this article. In order to get higher newsletter click throughs, you have to treat your readers as people, not sheep or mere numbers that can be taken advantage of with deception and manipulation. The true trick is to realize that they are humans and respond to certain stimulus as people. Approach them as one.