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How to get more people to read your emails and convert

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I mentioned a couple of weeks back that I started working on an email sequence optimization project. Today I want to share how I’m approaching it so that I don’t guess, but almost guarantee more opens, clicks and sign ups. Let’s dig in.

Quick question…

What do you think when you think about email optimization? Especially if you’re working on a SaaS trial or onboarding sequence…

Dread? Overwhelm? Not sure where to start? Guessing? Takes ages?

Well, I feel you.

It’s quite a scary prospect.

But having worked on a few, I can tell you, there’s a bad way to approach it, and a good way.

The bad one is where you start frazzling to copy-edit emails, change timers in the sequence, remove emails, replace them, mix and match, and so on…

The problem is open rates and click through rates can’t tell you much really.

So what do you do?

If you’ve been reading this for a while you know the drill…

…you go back to the market and ask.

“But Chris” you might say, “It’s going to take me ages to collect the data I need, and I no one will want to share their feedback, much less get on a call with me”.

Don’t fret.

I’ve got you.

Here’s my simple, super fast 3 layer approach to email sequence optimization:

Design 3 quick surveys that map your prospect’s journey.

  1. A survey for the “pre” (collect feedback from prospects before they enter the sequence)
  2. A survey for the “during” (get feedback from those who just entered the sequence)
  3. A survey for the “after” (ask those who completed the sequence successfully achieving your conversion goal)

By doing this you’re covering the 80/20 you need in order to improve your whole email sequence.

Both copy and structure-wise.

You can learn things like:

  • The primary drivers for site visits; and segment users for targeted emails
  • The awareness level; to tailor email content for beginners vs. experienced users
  • Identify key features to emphasize in email sequences and on the site
  • Identify urgency; and inform time-sensitive offers or reminders in emails
  • Identify the top triggers that bring people to the site/product. Useful for email subject lines and content hooks
  • Highlight pain points that can be addressed in the email sequence, possibly with testimonials or case studies that show how the problem can be solved
  • Understand the main drivers for conversions; can be used to refine the value proposition in emails
  • Understand where the majority of your engaged audience is coming from; helps in allocating marketing efforts
  • Gauge the specific needs and interests for more targeted email content
  • Measure how much comparison shopping is happening; can be useful for competitive analysis

And a lot more…

Not ANY type of survey or questions will do obviously. But that’s a topic for another email (would you like me to share the exact questions and templates? Just hit reply and let me know).

In the meantime hopefully this will help you think in more strategic terms when you have to dive into such a complex project.

Sometimes even if you’re looking to optimizing the copy, that is the last thing you want to get into.

Start with the data.

Start with your audience.

✅ In case you missed it

  • I just published a new Youtube video on how you can crush procrastination and get WAY more done. It’s not fancy, it’s not easy, but it’s SUPER EFFECTIVE. Get in on my exact weekly review process and let’s nerd about productivity in the comments.
  • Here’s the latest episode of my live business mastermind with my Buddy Josh. We go into our plans for what’s next, offer optimization, splitting business or focusing and much more.
  • I’m in the process of rethinking and redesigning my whole service offering (more on that below). So if you need any help with your copy/conversions, we can still hop on a call for some time (but not much probably!).

📚 3 things to get better at copywriting

1. How to crush procrastination and attack the blank page

This week has been a lot about process and practice for me. I’m always trying to get better at how patient and diligent I am with deliberate practice. With embracing and enjoying the process more than the outcome.

3 things I learned from the book “The practicing mind” (Thomas M. Sterner):

  • The best way to approach anything complex and energy intensive is to make it simple, small, short and slow. Easy 4 Ss to remember.
  • Use a “Pre-shot routine” and a trigger. The same way golfers calmly and patiently discuss their goals before hitting a ball, the same way you can plan upfront. This detach yourself from the emotionality of the moment. Then create a trigger to remind you that your in application mode (for example: a pre-shot routine can be as simple as deciding how you’re going to react when something upsetting happens to you; the trigger can be your heart’s pounding in your chest when you’re approaching that situation).
  • DOC, do observe correct: Like for an archer, the only way to improve your shot is to do the damn thing, see where you land and then correct. A lot of times you have to jump in and learn to swim. Which is very similar to what Scott Adams says in his new book “Reframe your brain”:

Momentum can often create more momentum, especially if you find “fuel” along the way, like the way some video games work; you can only complete your mission if you find energy sources as you go.”

2. AI is weird. And that’s amazing

In this great article Ethan Mollick talks about how embracing AI’s weirdness: can help with your writing.

As I was reading, I was so happy to realize I’m actually not far from how he recommends using ChatGPT and other AI tools. At moments in my day to day experiments, I started thinking I was just going nuts.

But no, when you get creative with AI and when you use what you know, together with a good, solid, simple conversation with AI – that’s when you start getting amazing results.

For example, I’ve been redesigning my entire service offering. How? I’m reading $100M Offers by Alex Hormozi and I’m feeding ChatGPT with the exact steps from the book on how to do it.

Add to that my own knowledge and experience and BAM, you get instance results. And a lot of ideas you can then take further.

I’ll write up a case study soon.

Other cool ideas I’ve been playing with:

  • a tool that looks at a website and does a copy audit in seconds (final score included)
  • a ChatGPT “bot” that acts as my copywriting coach (can even edit my copy or come up with recommendations)
  • another bot that I can customize to act as my (or my client’s target audience) and give feedback on my copy as if they were reading it, so I can see if it fits the right awareness and sophistication levels for example.
  • And more…

It’s crazy – and fun!

3. A newsletter I love:

Stuck in Startup limbo? Can’t get more people to look at your amazing, revolutionary product?

Check out the Startup Business Tips newsletter. You can get bi-weekly 3 actionable tactics (Sales | Marketing | GTM strategy) on how to quickly grow your B2B SaaS business from €0 to €1 million ARR.

Here are two super cool pieces I recommend you start from:

  1. SaaS Growth Strategy Workbook
  2. The Ultimate B2B SaaS Pricing Guide

🤔 Thought of the week

“Ask yourself: At what point in a flower’s life, from seed to full bloom, does it reach perfection?”

Thomas M. Sterner, The Practicing Mind

Forget perfection. The goal is to practice and to stay with the process. As long as you’re present and pay attention, you’re winning.

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brain dump?

Every week I write about what I’m learning at my copywriting/UX desk ,with fun, insightful and quirky stories.

Let’s nerd about decision making, persuasion, habits, and conversion optimization.