AskPat 624 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey what's up everybody, Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 624 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today, as always I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week. We have a great, very interesting question today from Michael, but before I get to that I do want to thank Active Campaign which is today's sponsor.
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All right now here's today's question from Michael.
Michael: Hey Pat, this is Mike, I hope you're doing fantastic. All right here's the question: Do you think the subject line of an email can affect the click through rate of the email? All right quick scenario: You're split testing subject lines of an email, one subject line gets more opens than another subject line, but the subject line with less opens gets more click throughs than the first one. What do you think? Now assume that you've sent enough emails, and I have, to get accurate data. So I've sent over a thousand emails of this specific, what I'm talking about, at least that seems like enough to me.
So 500 people got the first one, 500 people got the second one, same subject line. One subject line has less opens, one has more, so you think “okay well I want to pick the subject line with more opens,” but the subject line with less opens had more click throughs. So I mean, what gives? Geez, any thoughts would be great, or is it just crazy talk? I don't know, have a great one. Take it easy, Bye.
Pat Flynn: All right Michael, I love this question. This is like one of those questions where after conference if I'm sitting with a bunch of other friends at a bar and we're just talking about the conference, and then somebody just is like “dude,” and shares this scenario I mean we would talk about it for an hour or two because this is just one of those things that we share experiences and stuff, and I have noticed the same thing, actually I've seen it before. What people read in the email subject line can change how they act within that email. Even if the entire body is the same, even if the call to action is exactly the same, if the only difference is the subject line yes, it can actually have a difference on the click through rate.
Now for those of you listening this is the click through rate, the amount of people who actually click on that link within that email, not the open rate. Obviously the open rate can be affected by the email subject line too, but what's more important? What's most important is the click through rate, I hope you would all know that, but if the click through rates are higher on emails that are being less opened then, well we have to figure out what's going on here. Now I think what this comes down to is, well what kind of tone, or what sets the expectation there in the email. I think when the expectation in the email subject line meets the expectation or exceeds the expectation or the actual reality of what's going on in that email then you're going to get a higher click through rate. If the expectations are not met in the body of the email versus what was read in the subject line, then you're going to get a lower click through rate. That's kind of what it comes down to.
I think when the expectation in the email subject line meets the expectation or exceeds the expectation or the actual reality of what's going on in that email then you're going to get a higher click through rate. If the expectations are not met in the body of the email versus what was read in the subject line, then you're going to get a lower click through rate. That's kind of what it comes down to.
Now I don't know what the subject lines were that you used or ones that you tested, but obviously it made a difference if it's somewhat significant in terms of the percentage differences. Now an extreme example would be, or if an email subject line said “Your free guide to something, something, or whatever”, it says the word free in it, right? So that sets the expectation that something is being offered for free, and then in the body of the email it says “you have to pay $4.95 for it.” Obviously you wouldn't get very many clicks because the expectation was “well this was a free thing”, and then, well you have to pay for it.
Whereas if the subject line said something like “Hey pay for this high-value product,” yes less people would open it because less people would want to pay for stuff versus what they can get for free, but if that's their expectation and they read the emails, it's great, and the call to action is there, again $4.95 to get it, same exact everything, you'd see a higher click-through rate just because of that expectation.
So really, you have to think about, well what do people expect, or what should they expect in order for them to want to click through. And I think there's also other factors involved, for example where are they coming from? Where are they subscribing from? That's another factor, so I don't know how your email lists or segments are divided but it might be also important to think about well where are they coming from? Or also what part of your segment are they located in, or what bucket are they? Are they in the more advanced group, are they in the more beginner groups so there's a lot of different ways to cut this up, but what's most important is that you're looking at the click-through rates and you're trying to figure out what works, and the only way to know what's going to work for you; this is unique for every single brand, every single website, every single email list, is to just keep sending emails, keep paying attention to the numbers because the numbers don't lie, and like I mentioned in a quote earlier is marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed, and you are definitely keeping your eyes open here.
You aren't sure what's going on, but at least your eyes are open and you just need to pay attention and see what works and I think over time you're going to notice some patterns and be able to focus on what works and what doesn't and focus on what works and do those things and stay away from that which does not work and things are going to improve over time as long as, like I said you got to keep your eyes open and that's exactly what you're doing.
So hopefully that makes sense, hopefully it maybe guides you a little bit. If anybody wants to comment on this use the hashtag #askpat624 because this is really interesting. Like I said this is one of those things that could be a great conversation starter amongst these sort of entrepreneurial online business people who have an email list crowd. I think it would be really fun to talk about, so if you wanted to continue that conversation and help Michael out and just talk about it let me know what you think. Use the hashtag #askpat624 on Twitter. And I appreciate you guys. Thank you for listening in.
And Michael I want to send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show, and for everybody else out there listening, if you have a question that you would like potentially featured here on the show, just head over to AskPat.com you can ask right there on that page. And as always, I'd like to finish off with a quote, and this is a quote from my good buddy Gary Vaynerchuk who said “The best marketing strategy ever? Care.”
Take care, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat. Bye.
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