PrabhakarProduct Marketing

How to make someone click-open and respond to your email

Here’s a very simple story that illustrates a test driven approach to copywriting.  A few months ago I attended a Lean Entrepreneur workshop in Austin.  As part of the workshop fee there was a promise to deliver a book to me when ready.

Yesterday I got an email from The Lean Entrepreneur with the subject Your Copy of The Lean Entrepreneur.  Tonight I got an email from Brant Cooper with the subject “I owe you a book – Please reply”.  Guess which one I clicked and responded?

When I looked at the first email in my Inbox stream, while I recognized the email, I didn’t get a chance to open and respond – I was too busy with other things. But  when I saw the second email, I knew what to do.  It was 6 words in the first instance and seven words in the next instance.  I responded to the second request with my mailing address so the author could mail me the book.

Brant and team are walking the talk for being agile and testing their email header copy the next day when they realized they didn’t  get desired response the first day.

What can we learn from this simple story:

  • Write good email copy – subject and sender identity matter;  If you have a call to action (CTA) in the email, test if moving the CTA to the subject line will make a difference
  • Be willing to change copy – don’t let your ego get in the way of copywriting.  It doesn’t matter who wrote the copy. Let data drive decisions instead of your opinion.  If Brant and team had thought what they did first time was right they’d have never attempted to change copy and get the desired response next day.
  • Iterate quickly – Brant and team didn’t wait for a week.  Their email response wait time was less than 24 hours.

Digital marketing has made data do the talking.  Why not let data from your testing dictate what is right, not who is right.

Prabhakar Gopalan (@PGopalan)