Sometimes, when I read a blog post, I just don’t want to stop reading. And, when I finally finish reading the post, I just get back at the top and start reading every single word again. It doesn’t happen often, but it happened this wednesday.
I read The #1 Trick for Increasing Email Open Rates by Steve Scott. And as I was reading it, I was thinking, why on earth haven’t I thought about this before?
I love watching movies. I love reading books, and I’m currently writing a novel – but I never thought about adding open loops or cliffhangers to my emails.
What are cliffhangers?
If you’re as old as me, you have probably watched the movie Cliffhanger starring Sylvester Stallone. If you have, think about him hanging by one hand on a cliff, and the height is enourmous. And, we have no idea what’s going to happen next. Now, a real cliffhanger is when an episode (of a series) ends with a shocking revelation or a difficult dilemma. Ending the episode with a cliffhanger is a way to ensure that the audience will want to watch the next episode.
So, writing a novel, I should have understood the importance of cliffhangers already. I am doing my best to add cliffhangers to every chapter of the novel. If I do it right, people won’t be able to stop reading. But, I haven’t given this much thought when it comes to emails and marketing.
A great example of a cliffhanger comes from the TV series Criminal Minds, when season 4 ends with one of the stars of the show, Aaron Hotchner, is shot in his apartment after returning home from work one night. As a viewer, we have no idea what will happen next. And, since I had been watching all four seasons of Criminal Minds, and I have been watching Aaron Hotchner for what seems to be hundreds of hours. I just couldn’t wait to see the next episode.
The real reason why cliffhangers are important to get people to open up your emails
I use email to create relationships with my visitors, and I believe that sending emails are very important in order to be successful selling anything online. The reason that it’s important, is because of lead nurturing. Very few visitors comes to a website and are ready to buy. They come because they are looking for information. That’s almost always true.
We need to give them the information they are looking for, but we should also provide them with more information, and better information. And, not just one time. Keep them updated, and keep sending high quality information about the product. This is the best way to turn a prospect into a customer. But, the emails you are sending won’t matter at all, if people are not opening them.
What we need to be doing is to create relationships. That’s the important part of sending emails. We start by providing them with information on a blogg, then, we do our best to get them to subscribe to our newsletters.
Regarding relationships, we can use lead scoring, and assign points to each prospect, in order to categorize them. For instance, a person who visits your website for the first time is less likely to buy your product, than a person who have been to your website many times, and have received many emails about your product. And, a person who have already bought one of your products, is a lot more likely to buy more products from you. By adding points, and keeping score, you will now what type of prospect or customer you are dealing with.
But again, nothing works if they’re not opening the emails.
An example of how I can use a cliffhanger
The first email, in my 21 days to marketing success, is all about finding, connecting and interacting with the right people. I am talking about why it’s important to create relationships, and who I am currently ”talking” to. I am actually listing the top people I recommend that you should talk to and connect with when it comes to marketing. And I am telling you exactly how you should do it. But, that’s it. I am not saying anything about what the next email I’ll send will be about, and I’m not saying when you’ll be receiving the email.
So, the only reason why you’ll be opening the next email is if it has an interesting title, or you’re already a friend of mine.
There are two things I could, and should be doing in order for people (who are not already my friends) to open up all my emails.
First, I should let them know exactly when they can expect to see my email in their inbox.
Second, I should give them a cliffhanger. For instance, in my first email of the 21 days to marketing success, after listing all the people you should connect with, why, and how you should do it, I could add a sentence like this:
But, one of these brilliant people did a huge mistake and lost $1,900 in sales in 6 hours… I’ll let you know all about the mistake tomorrow. Look out for day 2 of 21 days to marketing success.
Two questions for you
I haven’t added any cliffhangers or open loops to my emails yet. But, I’m definitively going to. Are you using cliffhangers in your emails? And, do you have any examples from reading a cliffhanger in an email lately?
Thanks a lot for reading.