AskPat 85 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up everybody! Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 85 of AskPat. I'm always happy to be here to help answer your online business questions five days a week.
Today we have a question from Ryan about emails. And speaking of email, I want to mention today's sponsor, which is AWeber. AWeber's the company that I've been using for nearly five years to help me build and grow an email list and also send emails out either real time through broadcasts or, actually, and through a follow up sequence as soon as people subscribe to my list. That way I can keep in constant contact with them forever. Then when I send an email out, my open rates are much higher. I love AWeber because it's easy to use, the interface is great, and they have great customer service. So check them out. If you go to AWeber.com/askpat, that's my referral link. Thank you so much.
Now let's go to today's question from Ryan.
Ryan: Hey, Pat. Say, my name is Ryan Kimm and I have a website—MusicWithRyan.com—and it provides instructional material, videos, books, sheet music for guitar—lots of guitar and now starting to expand to mandolin and banjo and other instruments. But I've been working really hard getting a lot of video and stuff like that and my email list is growing all the time. I have a bunch of sign ups and I use MailChimp. Now, my question is, I notice that when I send out large emails with MailChimp, they don't go to everyone's primary inbox. Sometimes they come to the promotions, like in the Gmail or whatnot, and I'm not sure what the other email hosts—or how they show up in their inboxes all the time.
So I guess my simple question is, How do I make sure that the email is getting in the primary inbox and is showing up for everyone to see? Anyway, I enjoy listening to your show and your wisdom. Thank you, bye.
Pat Flynn: Ryan, thank you so much for your question today. Just to give everybody a little background information about exactly what this is about: Google, last year, had a new interface come out for Gmail. A lot of people read their emails through Gmail. A lot of people use the Gmail web interface to manage their email just like I do; even though my email is [email protected], I still use the Gmail interface to manage the emails. It's the best one out there, I believe. Now, last year they introduced a new interface which included filters for tabs. Different tabs, different sections that you could view different types of emails that come in and they have sort of an algorithm that they go and implemented to sort of separate those emails for us. So, they have the primary tab, they have the social tab, and they have the promotions tab. Most people will only read what's in the primary tab. You get a significant decrease in open rate if your emails end up in the promotional tab. That's Google's way of sharing and putting all of those promotional type emails in one section for you to easily organize. From a consumer point of view, it's very convenient to make sure that I'm only seeing the emails I want to see when I log in. And then when I have time or when I want to, I can go check out those promotional emails for Target or for Banana Republic or all those other places I'm subscribed to. That gives you a little bit of insight to the types of places I shop, but anyway.
When you're sending an email out to your email list, it doesn't matter what email service you're part of, MailChimp, AWeber, Infusionsoft, any of the other ones, Constant Contact, GetResponse—many times our emails will end up in that promotional tab. Even though it's not really a promotional email that you might be sending, because it's coming from an email service provider, and there are certain rules in place based on where those emails are coming from, for Gmail, it's going to end up in the promotional tab. Which, like I said, will decrease your open rate.
I remember when this happened, my open rate went from about 35 percent down to about 25 percent. So I did see a hit and there are a number of things you can do to make sure that you end up in people's primary tab. I'm going to go over those things for you today, Ryan, and for everybody out there listening.
The first thing you want to do is educate your audience on exactly what's happening because when people subscribe to your list: That's them saying, “Hey, I want your emails.” So that is a perfect time, within that first few minutes of after subscribing to your email list, to educate people on exactly what might be happening. The best way to get into people's primary tab is to make sure they open that next email they get from you after they subscribe, which is your follow up email, your confirmation email, and actually manually either drag and drop that email into your primary tab if it's not there already, or they can star it, or they can right-click on that email and put it in the primary column or tab from there. So what you want to do is . . . This is the sequence that you want to happen, and this is something that I even have yet to implement because I'm doing some stuff with email very soon that is going to change the way and the sequence that people go through my site, but this is what I would do, and this is what I recommend you do too. When people subscribe to your list, make sure that setting is on—and this is for every single email service provider out there—make sure that after people subscribe, they put in their name, and then their email or maybe just their email or whatever data you're trying to collect, they hit Submit. They need to be redirected to a Thank You page or a page on your site that you create that tells them certain things. Now I have them tell them, “Hey, check your inbox, make sure you click on the confirmation email, if you have a double opt in,” which most people will. That is required so that you know that you're getting real human beings and people's real email addresses. That's important. On that same page, you can say, “Hey, if this email comes in through your . . . if you're using Gmail, these are specific instructions for you to ensure that you will get my emails in the future.” That is where you educate them on going into the promotional tab if they can't find that initial email, drag and dropping it into the primary. Or going into the promotional tab and starring it. That's probably the easiest way to do it.
Again, just being honest about it. “Sometimes these emails go into your promotional tab; I'm not going to always be sending you promotional emails.” Again, you want to be honest with them. Maybe you will. Maybe you are going to be sending emails that include discount codes and coupons and things like that which may be promotional. But again, if you're honest with your audience and they want your emails, you know that they want to see them. So you educate them on how to get them into that primary tab. Then, they're going to go in there and click on that confirmation email and—boom! Every email that's sent from your address from that point forward, because they've manually selected to see that email in their primary tab, is going to land in there. So that's the best thing that you could do and something that we should all be doing and something that I even need to do myself. That's the first thing.
Second thing, is that there are certain things in your email that can trigger a promotional tab filtration. So, making sure that your emails are HTML-based versus text-based, that doesn't matter. There are text-based emails that go into the promotional tab too. So don't worry about whether it's HTML or text. What you have to worry about is what's in the email. Now, there are certain words—and I don't know what those words are, but if you are too hype-y, if you use selling-type words too much, words that are obvious for spam, if you put in Viagra in your subject line or in your email, that's more than likely going to get put in the promotional tab just for that specific reason. There are certain words that are like that. I don't have a list of them, but you want to use common sense. You want to make sure that if a human being is okay with reading it, then that should mean it's okay. So what Google's trying to do is make sure that you're just seeing the emails that you want to see, or that people are seeing the emails that they just want to see. So you want to write for the humans that are subscribing to your list. You want to make sure you don't put too many links in your emails as well.
I had a guest post on my site just recently from somebody who just discovered that my emails were getting through to the primary tab when emails from people like Michael Hyatt, and Amy Porterfield, who have tremendously large businesses, bigger than mine, their emails were landing in the promotional tab. He discovered that it was because my emails looked more personal. They were just written with text only and only included one link, at most. These other emails included multiple links, they had the background images, and it looked very much like an email you might get from a corporation or a company. So he discovered that these simpler emails—which is my style, because I want to talk and send emails to my audience as if I'm a friend—it's sort of worked in my favor in that way, without me even knowing it. Because I had made it just clean and minimal, I was able to get into the primary tab much easier.
Now there's some other things that I want you to think about, which, I did some research on before I answered this question. This will also help you get into the primary tab as well. Making sure that people open your emails, so working on headlines that are intriguing that will get people to open them, that sort of counts as a vote in Google's eyes or in Gmail Apps' eyes and will allow you to become—it's almost like the EdgeRanking score for Facebook. If people interact and engage with you more, if they click on those links that you're putting out there, your posts are more likely to be shown on people's newsfeed. Because not all people's stuff is shown on your newsfeed, only the people who you told Facebook through your interaction and engagement that you want to see and that you interact with. Same thing goes with email, Gmail and the primary tab.
So if you can get your people, people on your list, to open those emails, the more they open those emails, the more likely they are to going to be shown in the primary tab. The best thing you can do, and I've been reading on this, the best thing that you can do is get people to reply. So interact. Engage. That makes sense because if you're having a real conversation with somebody, a friend or a family member, you're going to reply and respond – and those are the emails that are going to be put in the primary tab. If you can ask your audience a question every once in a while, and this is something again, that I do—that's just what I did and it just happened to work in my favor in this regard—ask questions to your audience. You can ask questions like, “Hey, what are you struggling with?” Which is a great question, because you're going to get information on the pains and issues that your audience is having that you could provide solutions for. You can ask anything. “What was your first impression when you came to my site? How could I improve?” Things like that are great because not only do you get the interaction, which helps your email be shown in the primary tab, and also that engagement you have with your audience, but it gives you information on what else you could do better to improve your site. So making sure you can interact and get those replies from people, too. A lot of people don't think of their email list as a way to communicate actually, and get responses back. People think it's just push, push push, but you can actually get information from your audience at the same time.
So Ryan, I hope that answers your question. Thank you so much for submitting that question and I think it's going to be really helpful for a lot of people. If any of you out there have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com. And of course, Ryan, you're going to get an AskPat teeshirt as a result of getting your question featured here.
Thank you again to AWeber, which is today's sponsor. AWeber is the company that I've been using for over four years to help me build and manage my email list. Currently, there's over 120,000 people on all the lists that I have. You can have multiple lists on the same account. You can move people to different lists and really do some amazing things as far as understanding what it is that your audience is doing and where they are in your business. The only thing that I wish was different in terms of email for me and my history was, I only wish I had gotten started sooner. I waited so long to start an email list and that was a huge mistake on my part. So, I hope you don't make that same mistake. Get on over to AWeber. If you go to AWeber.com/askpat, that's how they know you came from the show. Thank you.
Of course, I'm going to end today's episode with a quote as I always do and this quote is from Ayn Rand. That quote is, “The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me?” Whatever it is that you're trying to do, whatever it is that your goal is for the next week, do it. You got this! Nobody's going to stop you, except you. Peace.
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