this guest post is by Moon Hussain of Experiments in Passive Income.
Contrary to popular belief, you need great copywriting skills to make a successful income online. For over a year, I thought publishing good material would not only help me go viral but also hurl me and my blog towards Planet Success faster than Superman gets rid of Kryptonite every time it’s in his sight.
No. Such. Luck!
In fact, very recently, I sent an email to my small email list and conducted a split test using Aweber. The idea came on a whim.
Since I was releasing my new free report, why not also alert the people on my email list of it, and get a few more downloads, re-tweets, and Facebook likes from them? After all, these so-called gurus keep yelping that the money is in the list. I decided to give it a go.
Here are the only details you need to know:
- I have a super-small email list.
- The only difference between the split tests was the email subject line.
- The main email message was exactly the same for both versions, word for word.
Check out how my message fared with both groups:
The full subject line for Group 1 reads, “You Won’t Find These Details Anywhere Else [Free Report].” The second subject line reads, “I Think This Could Help Your Rankings Tremendously [Free Report].”
What is really interesting to note is that while the percentage of opens is very close (47.8% versus 41.6%), it’s the percentage of the actual clicks within the email that’s really surprising: 28.3% vs. 5.1%.
The nerd within me is ecstatic and has learned a valuable lesson here. What if I had not tested with two different subject lines? I would have received a small number of actual clicks and would have been quite bummed that I didn’t get a good response.
For some reason, even though both email messages are the same, the subject line alone triggered the first group to take action.
Could this make or break someone’s product launch? You bet. Pay attention, small bloggers.
Do the math, kid!
Suppose someone has 500 people on their email list. Assuming their product is in demand and their copywriting skills are top notch, this person of course would love to sell as much of their product as possible—especially on launch day.
47.8% versus 41.6%? Who cares?!
If this person didn’t test their subject lines, and even achieved the open rate as I managed, that would mean that out of 500 people, only 210 people would open their product-targeted email message (42% * 500 = 210).
Out of 210 people only 5% would click the link to the product page. That results in 10.5 people, rounded down to ten. How many of those people actually buy is a mystery … but we can agree that the more people click, the better.
But now let’s image the better case. In this version, 48% of 500 people open your product email, which amounts to 240 people. Of those, 28% bother clicking the link to your product page, resulting in about 67 people checking out your slick product page.
What sounds better? Ten people checking out your page or 67?
Yeah, I thought so! That’s almost seven times more people!
You can use this data to tweak your sales page as well, making a huge difference in sales numbers!
If you have a blog and a small email list, and want to transition to an income-generating blog, you need to pay attention and follow these four ultimate copywriting rules… you know, so you can buy the latest tech gadget that will light up your social life (like the commercials show!).
#1. Create hounding curiosity with your email subject line
Consider both these headlines: “You Won’t Find These Details Anywhere Else [Free Report]” and “I Think This Could Help Your Rankings Tremendously [Free Report].”
The second subject line makes the reader think a little, bit but in the MMO niche, people are tired of the same old thing. Perhaps this subject line alludes to something these people think they’ve already read about.
The first headline hints to exclusivity (details that can’t be found anywhere else), which gets people excited and curious. Seems like they were more curious to find out these exclusive details through my report, which is indicated by the number of clicks the link within the email received.
Send a boring subject line to your email list and you’ve failed at the start line.
#2. Tell people what’s in it for them
Of course you want fame, fortune, and money, but you can’t come off as a money-grubbing fool who uses his or her email lists for pure profit. You have to serve your readers first, or your actions will come back to haunt you.
These people are on your email list for a reason: they want to learn something from you. Here’s an excerpt from the email that I sent to the people on my list:
“I’ve been pretty busy the last few weeks, which is why you may have noticed that I’ve scaled back my posting frequency on my blog, EIP. However, I’ve also taken that time to create a free mini-report for you that details how I’ve managed to rank several sites in the top 10 and top 20 of Google.
“I don’t like wasting anyone’s time, especially yours. But, you’re reading this for a reason. You are trying to rank your sites and need some powerful information. There are details here that I thought twice about sharing but I’m really glad I did.”
Not only do I indicate what my report is all about (ranking sites) but I also remind the readers that I’m only sharing this with them because they are on my list for this type of information.
It’s a win-win. The readers get a free report and I get the traffic I want.
#3. Direct people where you want them to go
Stop being shy! It got me nowhere, and it’ll do the same for you. Here’s how I asked people to check out my report:
“Here is the direct link to my free mini-report: [link].”
To be honest, I could have done a better job here. This is a soft pitch. I could have directed them a bit more aggressively by rephrasing the call-to-action to “Download my free report…” or “Check out my free mini-report…” Words like “download” and “check out” not only tell the reader what to do, but also give the reader a mental command to go ahead and take action.
#4. Build on the curiosity to the point where readers can’t resist
If you read the two paragraphs from my email, you’ll see three key sentences in there that really made people curious.
Phrase 1: “I’ve also taken that time to create a [free mini-report] for you that details how I’ve managed to rank several sites in the top 10 and top 20 of Google.”
My readers come to EIP to see how my niche sites are doing and how I rank them in Google. I know that they are interested in this information because they are interested in doing the same thing! I created a highly relevant report for them and enticed them by sharing the fact that I’ve managed to rank my sites in the top ten and 20 in Google.
Phrase 2: “I don’t like wasting anyone’s time, especially yours. But, you’re reading this for a reason. You are trying to rank your sites and need some powerful information.”
I reminded readers why they’re on my email list. I reminded them of their own need to do well with their niche sites and blogs. If I have something powerful to share (especially for free), they could use it to do well with their own sites and blogs.
Phrase 3: “There are details here that I thought twice about sharing, but I’m really glad I did.”
That’s not some slick phrasing for the sake of a few clicks—I’d think more than twice about using that phrase again. When I was writing my report, it’s quite true that I did think twice about going very in-depth with the details. At this point, the readers were really curious about what I had in store for them.
What’s so smart about split testing?
Not only is split testing necessary, but writing with a purpose goes hand in hand with testing. If you are going to put hours and hours into growing your email list, and creating autoresponder emails and guest posts, you may as well work hard to demand the utmost attention from every reader who comes across your work!
None of that will happen in great numbers if you don’t improve your copywriting skills.
Copywriting skills are the difference between making $50 a month or $5000 month online. In other words, your copywriting skills will either make you or break you.
Moon Hussain lives in sunny Southern California and loves exploring passive income ideas. Check out her blog, Experiments In Passive Income, to read all about her niche site experiments or download her free ebook, To the Moon & Back, in which she details everything she has learned about ranking niche sites.