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Video 81: Email Marketing – Senders and Subject Lines

May 23rd, 2011Posted by akassover in Email, Insurance Agent Websites, Videos

Transcript:

Hi, it’s Aaron Kassover from AgentMethods talking about insurance agent websites, and, more specifically, talking about using email marketing to drive prospects to your website and to grow your business.

*And I want to talk today a bit about some of the first things we talked about in the components of an email, the sender, the email address, and, of course, the subject line, and give you some tips on how you can sort of improve those and some ideas for increasing your open rate and your conversion rate in your campaigns. *

So the first one is your sender name, and there are really a couple of two main approaches you can use.  The first is to use your name, so I’d use Aaron Kassover, or the second is to use your business name, in my case, AgentMethods.  You can use either one.  And generally, you want to kind of go with what you think is going to be most recognizable, so if people know your business, use that; if people know you, use that.  On the other hand, if an email really is sort of not just a marketing campaign but you’re reaching out and trying to communicate and connect with them and build a relationship, then you probably want to use your name as opposed to your business because business names just sort of sound distant and sound sort of formal, don’t have that close one-to-one relationship, that level of trust that you may be trying to building with some email campaigns.

Now, one thing to think about is that you want to go with a name that’s both recognizable and sort of familiar, and we had a situation where we had some people that were sending a campaign out internally and some of the emails came from Dvora and some of the emails came from Cathy, and they were going to people who didn’t know us.  And the emails that came from Cathy were three times more likely to be open than the ones that came from Dvora.  And poor Dvora, that’s her name, but we found that having sort of the traditional American or western sounding name does impact open rates.  There’s sort of a belief that spam comes from maybe eastern Europe or Asia or something else, and so when you see Vladimir or Dmitri or something like that in the name, you think it might be more likely to be spam, when, in fact, there are plenty of Americans with names like that, but it’s just something that we see happen where American sounding names have a higher open rate.  So that will work out for you if your name is Mike, so something to think about.

Now, the sender email address, you don’t have to use your personal email address.  We generally tend to use support at agentmethods com in our emails, even if they come from me.  And the reason why is if someone replies back or one of our customers replies back with an issue, that goes right into our support team and we know that email won’t get dropped.  My inbox gets filled up very quickly with lots of different emails and I might not be as fast to reply to a customer with an issue as somebody from support at AgentMethods.com.  So think about what the best email address is to use.  If you can get your email address or even the domain name, add it to their address book or if you can get them to just even reply, it’ll often get automatically get added to the address book.  That will very often get that email address automatically put on the white list so future campaigns will be sent through and will get delivered much better.  Something to think about.

*So now let’s talk about subject lines.  Subject lines are probably the most important part of your email campaign.  They will get your email opened or deleted without being looked at.  And so just a few ideas for writing good subject lines, and sort of the general first most important thing is simply not to sound spammy.  If you’re promoting something that sounds too good, too much urgency, too many caps, to many exclamation points, then it’s going to seem like you’re trying to sell something and you have an agenda that doesn’t fit in line with your audience. *

*The second one is to make the subject line interesting, relevant, maybe something that your audience is going to care about, so when they see these few sentences, they’re going to say, “Oh, this is something I want to know.”  And the more you can get those relevant words to the front of a subject line, the better.  So think about those first two or three words in the subject line and try to figure out what’s relevant to your audience in those words as opposed to having it kind of later on in the word. *

Now, in some cases if your brand is strong, your name is not using your name, we’ve seen open rates be lifted by in the subject line using the brand name and then a dash.  So if I’m sending an email out from myself, from Aaron Kassover, in the subject line I may put “AgentMethods-“ and then rest of the email subject.  That way people see AgentMethods, they say, “I know who AgentMethods is, this is an email I’ll look at.”  So that is something to think about, as well as putting your brand name in the subject line.

Now, a few ideas to try when you’re writing your subject line:  The first one is to get people’s attention by making them curious; having a subject line that’s going to make them think, “Oh, I wonder what they have to say?  What’s going on?”  So the subject line is going instill some curiosity.

*The second one is to talk about the benefit or impact for your customer—how is this going to impact them.  Remember, this is about them and not about you, and so you have to think about not what you want, what you’re trying to sell, or what your perspective is, but what they care about, what their going to see as being important, and make sure that’s what you focus on in the subject line.  Start maybe something about saving money, are you going to help them out somehow, are you going to make things easier for them, what’s the next result of what you’re offering to them, what’s the benefit to them.  Of course, keep it short.  After about five words, your subject lines start to get cutoff because they just go beyond the space that’s being displayed.  So you want to make sure it’s short and the most important words are at the front.  And then, often personalize, if possible.  You can do a mail merge where you put their name in the subject line and people are drawn to seeing their own name. *

*Finally, you can test, test, and test, see if it works, see what doesn’t.  Send emails out to yourself, send emails out to a Hotmail account, a Yahoo account, a Gmail account to make sure that the subject line is displayed properly, and make sure the emails get delivered and that when you send email campaigns out, try different things and really see which works and which doesn’t. *

So that’s what I’ve got.  As I said yesterday, or on Friday, if there are things that you are interested in hearing about for insurance websites, if there are some unanswered questions, make sure you let me know.  I now have 19 videos left.  And so get me those questions and I’ll make sure I address them before this journey is over.  Thanks for watching.  I’ll see you tomorrow.