AskPat 568 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up everybody? Pat Flynn here. Welcome to Episode 568 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 question today from Glen.
Before we get to that, I do want to thank today's sponsor which is FreshBooks.com. One of my favorite companies out there because they're helping all of us stay on top of our business finances. That's one of the things that provides the most headaches for people, especially come tax season. It's really easy to try and find your way underneath that pile of receipts and spreadsheets that you have. You don't have to do that because FreshBooks will completely take care of that for you with their cloud accounting software. For example, if you need to send your accountant a quick summary on the amount of taxes you've collected last year, or put together a profit and loss summary, FreshBooks can generate all these reports in seconds. Sorry, I'm knocking over stuff here because I'm so passionate about that. In seconds, instead of doing in manually like it would normally take you hours to do. Super easy to use. It's especially made for people who don't like dealing with numbers and their taxes. Right now, FreshBooks is offering a free 30-day trial to AskPat listeners. Go to FreshBooks.com/AskPat and enter “Ask Pat” into the “How did you hear about us section.” Again, that's FreshBooks.com/AskPat and enter “Ask Pat” into the “How did you hear about us section.”
Here's today's question from Glen.
Glen: Hey Pat, this is Glen Taylor. I have a question about ConvertKit as it relates to email templates being either all text or involving images and graphics. I definitely see the benefits of all the amazing functionality with ConvertKit and how easy it is to use in setting up courses and automation, but the emails themselves…I feel like I need some convincing that such a lean email that's text only, especially if you've got a lot to say, will get as much engagement in terms of click-throughs and read throughs. I know that emails without a lot of graphics can be seen as very marketing-y and commercial, versus the argument that text only is more personal. I also know from being a marketer for many years that images, embedded videos, graphics stir the emotions and the multiple sense versus a lot of text.
Yes, content is king and that ultimately is what matters, but I'm also wondering if it's a missed brand opportunity or if it will not engage customers as much. This is the one thing that's preventing me from trying ConvertKit versus some other email tool that allows for sending both HTML and text-only email. I would love your thoughts on this. If you either have already talked about this or could address this, that would be great. Thanks, bye.
Pat Flynn: Hey Glen, what's up? Thank you so much for the question today. I appreciate it because I'm an advisor for ConvertKit, just so you all know. I do recommend it as an email service provider, especially for those of us who are just starting out. It has more advanced features that are much easier to use than on some of the other ones. If you want to check that out, AskPat.com/ConvertKit is the link for that. It's my affiliate link. A lot of things to talk about here.
Glen, first let's talk about HTML image-rich emails versus plain text. There is a little bit of confusion here when it comes to “plain text emails.” I don't send plain text emails on ConvertKit; even though there's text only, there's no images, it's not “plain text.” It's HTML but there's no images. That's the standard now, using HTML even if you're doing text only. Plain text, that's a way for you to ensure…this is AWeber has this capability to add HTML and plain text emails. The benefits of it don't outweigh the hassle it is to set that all up. It is confusing. The plain text emails, the ones that literally just plain text, there's no HTML formatting at all. That one is mainly used for people who don't have the capability to read HTML in their emails, but everybody nowadays does. You don't have to worry about those “plain text” emails.
From this point forward, we're going to be talking about image-rich emails versus text only emails. They're both on the HTML format because the text ones you can still have a lot of the basic HTML stuff that is useful to have in your emails, such as bold, italicized, different headers, sub-headings, so on so forth. Clickable links, that kind of stuff. Which one is better?
I lean more toward text-only because of the reasons you just said. It's more personal. It's just like it's coming from a friend. A friend doesn't necessarily…if they're sending you an email, they don't spend a ton of time adding images in there and making it look nice, putting a little box around it and having different sections with different clickable parts. A friend just sends an email like a friend normally would, just with text only. That's how I like to approach my business. I want to become friends with my audience.
There are a lot of businesses out there that do a great job with image rich emails. That's fine, that's totally fine. That's probably better for some businesses too. I know there are some personal brands out there that try to make a great connection with their audience who use image rich emails. For example, Michael Hyatt, his are very much formatted in a way that it is easier to read, but it is more commercialized in that way. It feels less like it's coming from Michael, but more from Michael's team.
The distinction really has to come from you. How do you want to be perceived when people receive your email? Depends on the kind of business you have, obviously. There's a few other things that go along with that. One, emails with images and a lot of formatting typically…this is general, but it is true. There's been articles written on SPI and out there about it. They get put into the promotional folder or tab in Gmail a lot more than just the plain text emails do. There was actually studies done on Amy Porterfield's emails, my emails, Michael Hyatt's emails. Amy and Michael Hyatt both use images, I do not and mine were seen more in the regular, primary tab and theirs were being put in the promotional tab. Same approach, same similar messaging, it's just the formatting of it.
You are right that content is king. I think whatever email format you try to use, whether it's image rich or text only, obviously the content has to be there. I think that's obvious so we don't have to talk about that much more. Design is king too, or queen. People see things first before they read it. That doesn't necessarily mean that the images and the format is the right one though, because sometimes people see those and then they drop off because that's not the kind of emails they want to read. They're more likely to read something without images because it seems like it's coming from a friend. They'll dive into it, and hopefully if your copy is good they'll keep reading. The purpose of the subject line is to open the email. The purpose of the first sentence is to read the second sentence. The purpose of the first paragraph is to read the second paragraph, so on and so forth.
What works for you may be different than somebody else. The only way to know what works for you is to test. Test it. Whether you use ConvertKit, AWeber, MailChimp, or Constant Contact, or whatever, test it. That's how you know what works. Create a segment of your audience and send one email to one group and send one email to another, and see what happens. Also keep track of not only the open rate, which is obviously very important because that's going to help you determine how much of these are getting seen in the primary tab or how many people see this email, but also the click through rates and the interactions through those emails. Are people actually clicking on those links that you put in there? Is it the ones that have images that are getting clicked on more or is it the ones that have no images, but still have that clickable link?
The other thing I would say is ask your audience. Take a small segment of your audience, don't ask your entire email list, but take a few people and have a conversation with them via email or over Skype. Ask them what they think. Which do they prefer? Which ones they would be more likely to click through, and so on and so forth. I think that would help you figure out what's working for you. Glen, that's the answer. You have to test and see it for yourself.
Glen, thank you so much for the question. I really appreciate it. We're going to send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show today. For those of you listening, if you have a question that you'd like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com. You can ask right there on that page. I also want to thank all of you who have, this week, picked up my brand new book Will It Fly? In the audio version, which it just came out earlier this week on Monday. You can check it out at WillItFlyBook.com. Click on the Audible version on Amazon there. You can also go to Audible.com, or if you have Audible already, you can check it out there. Go ahead and check that out. Thank you guys so much.
Here's a quote to finish off the day. This is by CS Lewis. This quote is: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” True that. Cheers, take care, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat. Bye.
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