email

Never Say "Open the Attachment" (Updated)

The next time you send an email with a file attached, avoid instructing your recipient to "open the attached file." Such instructions are now a red flag to do the exact opposite. Viruses cloaked as harmless email attachments have ruined countless computers and devices in a single click. To many, clicking any email attachment is no longer worth the risk.

So, how do you get your recipients to open your attachments so your sales and projects can move forward?

You stop using attachments. You start providing download links.

Upload your files to a well-known, free file-hosting service like, Dropbox or Box. Then, paste the public download link to your file into your email.

Advantages: 

  • Recipients feel more safer clicking to receive your file
  • You're not filling up their inboxes storage with attachments
  • Download clicks are trackable so you know when to follow up!

Here's an example how to handle it:

"Tom, please download the Word file from Dropbox to review the outlines of our milestones for the month."

or...

"Nancy, here's the Excel spreadsheet (Dropbox download) with our detailed proposal."

When you follow this tip, your files will be opened more frequently, you'll have a new window into recipient engagement (via click tracking), you'll naturally get more responses, and fewer recipients will wonder if opening your attachment will require a trip to their dreaded IT department.

How to write emails worth stealing.

Some people write news articles. Some write novels. Others write poetry. And some people write blogs. But you? You write emails. Big difference right? Maybe. Maybe not. There are actually millions of people who write stories and poems and articles, but there are relatively few who we all know. Why is that? There’s a good bit of luck involved, but there’s a great deal more work involved. People who practice writing are much more likely to become known for their work than those who only do it when they have to.

I’ve gathered a few of my favorite quotes from writers I admire and then added a couple thoughts after each about how they can be applied to a business setting. Take a read and let me know what you think. Tell me in the comments below about what you struggle with when it’s time to sit down and write. Tell me about your successes. Tell me about your (perceived) failures. Tell me anything you want to, just write something and then keep going when you’re done.

 

"I will tell you something about stories. They aren't just entertainment. They are all we have to fight off illness and death. You don't have anything if you don't have stories."

Leslie Marmon Silko (Native American poet & novelist)

There is a place in business for storytelling. Executives use them to open meetings. Entry-level employees are often asked to relate an experience or two they’ve had that they could draw on to find success in a new position. So don’t be afraid to start an email with a story.

Just make it quick, make it relevant, and make it compelling. Use it to capture a reader’s attention and give him a reason to keep reading.

 

"What isn’t said is as important as what is said. In many classic short stories, the real action occurs in the silences. Try to keep all the good stuff off the page."

Colson Whitehead (novelist, poet, essayist)

Don’t overwrite. Write enough to get someone interested, and then get out. If you give your reader everything she needs to make a decision right then and there without ever talking to you, it’s very easy for her to decide on “no" or not now, which is as bad as no. Tease her by letting her know that she’ll miss something really juicy if she doesn’t call. But then make sure whatever you’re holding back as juicy really is.

 

" 'Very' is the most useless word in the English language and can always come out. More than useless, it is treacherous because it invariably weakens what it is intended to strengthen. For example, would you rather hear the mincing shallowness of 'I love you very much' or the heart-slamming intensity of 'I love you'?"

Florence King (novelist, essayist, and columnist)

Some words are just overused. You can distinguish yourself and your product or company by not using them. Stay away from words like very and amazing and incredible and…the list goes on. Spend a few minutes making a compelling argument instead of lazily telling your reader that your offer is amazing and expecting him to believe you.

 

"Write every day. Don't ever stop. If you are unpublished, enjoy the act of writing—and if you are published, keep enjoying the act of writing. Don't become self-satisfied, don't stop moving ahead, growing, making it new. The stakes are high. Why else would we write?"

Rick Bass (novelist, short stories, essayist)

Communication only works when it is ongoing. Have you ever let a client relationship slip only to try and pick it back up three months later? What does that email or phone call feel like? It’s awkward. You have time that you have to account for. The very act of getting in touch is an acknowledgement that you haven’t been in touch for some time. It’s best to always be finding a reason – a good reason – to be in touch with your clients. Doing this will make you much better at it than the competition.

 

"In my own experience, nothing is harder for the developing writer than overcoming his anxiety that he is fooling himself and cheating or embarrassing his family and friends. To most people, even those who don’t read much, there is something special and vaguely magical about writing, and it is not easy for them to believe that someone they know—someone quite ordinary in many respects—can really do it."

John Gardner (novelist, essayist, critic and professor)

“I can’t write." Or, “I’m not a good writer." These are what are known as excuses. Don’t lean on them. If you can fool yourself into thinking this, what can others fool you into thinking? You CAN write. You just have to pay attention and be committed to it.

Let everyone else think they can’t write, but you know what the number one skill is that almost every employer is looking for these days? Communication. Your ability to speak and write well is critical to your success. If you were always in the same room with your clients, email wouldn’t be necessary. But you’re not.

Technology has enabled us to broaden our wingspans and work with people from a great distance. But it has also focused a bright light on the importance of being able to communicate well.

 

"I wish you good writing and good luck. Even if you've already done the good writing, you'll still need the good luck. It's a shark-filled lagoon out there. Cross your fingers and watch your back."

Margaret Atwood (poet, novelist, critic, essayist, activist)

Not every email is going to help you set new sales records. No matter how much hard work you put into your writing, there’s always more to do. Not every message will hit the mark and not every email will get a response. Learn from the ones that do and study some of the reasons why they worked.

It’s a continual effort. Practice practice practice.

So is there a difference between writing a book and writing an email? I suppose there is, but mostly that difference lies only in the final product. Ask any of these (still living) writers mentioned here and they’ll gladly tell you that even they can only write one word at a time. Which is absolutely no different from you.

Happy writing.

Gmail's New Promotions Tab

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Gmail Folders. Why all the hype?

By now, you’ve probably heard about the new 'folders' that Google rolled out in Gmail to help email recipients manage the vast quantities of messages that flood their inboxes on a daily basis. There is a debate going on right now as to whether these changes are affecting open rates or not. Some people even say that it’s improved their open rates.

First, why did Google make this change?

Think about the number of emails you get every day and all the different places and people that send them. Without an organized system of filters and inboxes, it’s very easy to lose track of the important emails that demand your attention. So Google created a basic version of that system for you that automatically sorts your emails into one of three folders: Primary, Social, and Promotions.

Sounds helpful...why all the fuss?

Many email marketers are concerned that if their emails end up in the promotions folder, they’ll be less likely to get opened since the promotions folder is less urgent to most people. But as the article I linked to above states, even across a sample size of over 1 billion emails, there was only a 0.5% drop in open rates in the weeks immediately after the change.

Now, that’s not to say that you don’t want to be in the Primary folders of your Gmail readers, but it does raise the question of how to get there.

Email is about relationships, especially the Primary folder

If you’re concerned about whether your emails are getting overlooked in the Promotions folder, sending an email to ask isn’t the best way to find out. Instead, I’ll proceed with the assumption that you’ve built your list based on relationships with your customers, contacts, and associates.

If you had something urgent to tell a friend, how would you do it? Would you send them a text? Would you call them? Perhaps send a card? Well, why not choose one or more of those options to ask your contacts to move you from the Promotions folder to the Primary folder? After all, this is pretty important stuff. You’re trying to make sure that the people who want to read your email are actually getting them. So what do you do?

1. Find out how many gmail users you have on your list

If someone’s email address doesn’t end with @gmail.com, this issue may not affect them. They could be forwarding their email into a Gmail inbox, but if their address is @yahoo.com, @hotmail.com, or @outlook.com, for example, they will not be affected. ExactTarget estimates that less than 4% of inboxes will be affected by this change.

2. Send a text

What you’re asking people to do is fairly simple and you could do it with a simple text. Just tap out this message:

“Hi! Some of my emails are ending up in some gmail users’ Promotions folders so you may be missing them. If you’re finding this to be the case, would you please move one of my emails to the Primary folder to make sure you get them from now on? Thank you!”

3. Call or meet in person

You’re already meeting with your customers and the rest of your network on a regular basis. Why not use this as a conversation starter? Ask the gmail users you meet if they’re still getting your emails, and then ask them to move one from the Promotions folder to the Primary folder. Heck, offer to show them how to do it if you’re face-to-face. Conversations are always valuable, and this is an especially valuable one to have.

4. Send a printed card

If you’ve got some people you haven’t spoken to in a while or live outside of your area, you can always send a customized printed card through your account. For $1 per card, you can reach this portion of your list very easily.

There’s a lot of information out there about Gmail folders, and some of it can be pretty alarming. But there’s no need to panic along with everyone else when there are simple, cost-effective, relationship-based solutions at your disposal.

 

9 Tips (Not Wishes) To Get More Email Opens!

aladdin

The email subject line has often been referred to as a keyhole. Your recipients use your subject line to take a peek into your message to make a split-second decision to turn the key. By clicking to open your email, they are acknowledging two things. First, that you are important to them. Second, that your subject line promises to deliver value. "Great to meet you," "Thanks for taking my call," and "Just checking in" do not promise value. They guarantee that the recipient's time will be wasted. There are many forms of value you can allude to with your subject line. Something personal. Something unusual. Something timely. Something the recipient doesn't want to miss. Something they've been waiting for. Something they would love to learn. Something that will make them laugh or smile.

Do you allude to value like this? Do you grab the recipient's attention? Or are you promising... nothing?

Here are 9 ideas to start getting more opens by using your subject line like a keyhole that promises value:

1. Say something different. Often, recipients will click to open if your subject line is simply different. It triggers the idea that your message will be too. Make sure you don't disappoint. Instead of saying the same old thing like, “Following up from our meeting" or “Haven’t heard from you in a while, " try saying "Caution: This message will self-instruct" or "Thank you for the email I haven't gotten from you yet." Then, follow up with a message that makes the recipient laugh and respond.

2. Play to their sense of professional responsibility. Recipients respond to team project emails. They often don't respond to vendor sales emails. Go figure. If you can frame your subject line to sound more like an everyday project email, you will generate more opens and thereby more responses. "I need your input." "Clarifying your comment." "Rescheduled time." "The info you requested." Is 2:30PM better?" "OK with you?" Got it? Actually that's a pretty good one too. "Did you get it?" (Stay away from setting your emails to "urgent" or actually writing "Important" or "Urgent" in your subject line. It's a desperation tactic.)

3. Ask a great question. The very act of asking a question prompts recipients to give an answer. Ever been at a professional seminar when the speaker asks a question appropriate for a 10 year old, like "Show of hands. Can anyone name 3 animals with stripes?" Out of a room of 100, 50 hands shoot into the air. Humans love being the one with the answer. Your question should call for their personal input, not an obvious yes or no answer. Try "Would this offend you?" Or "What side would you take on this?" Or "What's the 1 thing holding you back?" Or "Can you name 3 animals with stripes?" No really. Try it. It's better than what you've been using.

4. Use incomplete thoughts. Using incomplete thoughts has a way of getting a person to. See how odd that last sentence is? It's incomplete. It refocuses the recipient as they're scanning their inbox. They want to know the rest of the story! To do so, they have to open your email. Here are a few examples: "I like it when you said –" , "Did you mean to say –" , "What I meant was –" , "Thank you for the –" , " This completely changed the way I think about –". (Use a hyphen to end your phrase, not '...' because characters that repeat can hurt your spam score.)

5. Refer to the contents of your email message. Statistics reveal that subject lines that directly summarize the contents of the email itself consistently get the highest open rates. "The proven process for selling your house in a week." "3 truths everyone should know before investing." "A hidden gem in our policy handbook."

6. Use numbers. Articles or answers that include a numbered list do well because they're definitive. The keyhole view they promise is a short, important list . "The 8 best tips for getting 1000 LinkedIn followers." My personal best open rate for an email with over 100,000 recipients was, "2 quick questions." Use it and see if it works for you.

7. Avoid industry jargon. Don't use acronyms or words you use inside your industry that customers find unfamiliar. If you're in the technology sector and you need to give a customer access to a demo, say "Click here to see our main demo" not "Your core system access credentials."

8. Keep it short. Some of my examples in this article have been longer. Shorter however, is better. 3-4 words is your sweet spot. It's another reason why "2 quick questions" worked.

9. Have fun and make it personal. Your recipients are human beings. Humans don't respond to corporate language, canned expressions, or the same old thing. They respond to having fun and anything that's about them. Inject more of that into your subject lines and you can nickname your emails "boomerangs" because they'll return to you with a reply!

 

2 Infographics For Self-Marketers

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Here are 2 infographics to study! They both directly relate to self-marketers.

Infographic 1

Posted by Formstack (online form creator and data manager) with data from Performable.com, Colormatters.com, and KISS metrics.

The infographic provides a clear visual on landing page layout and design best practices. There are so many factors that determine the effectiveness of a landing page that you should always look to your own tests, stats, and results as your best measure of success and performance. However, this infographic provides both a starting point and solid, data-backed thinking worth following.

anatomy-perfect-landing-page
anatomy-perfect-landing-page

Infographic 2

Here's an update on Email Subject Lines via Litmus, who we use for cross-platform testing of our emails.

Litmus opens the hood on how email filters add up spam points against emails and look first to your sender reputation. We don't agree with their point that it's OK to use all caps and terms like "free" in subject lines, because they do count against you. However, they make some solid suggestions and give some clear explanations worth reviewing - like using geo-location indicators, super-specific language, and making sure your recipients know exactly who is sending them the email.

subject-line-infographic-940x3263-1
subject-line-infographic-940x3263-1

The New Email Newsletter Design

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An Email Newsletter designed for individuals! An Email Newsletter designed for you! The new Ace of Sales editor will sport redesigned email templates - optimized for speed, design, simplicity, and delivery. Take a look at the new Email Newsletter template below. Create and send your Email Newsletter up to 10X faster on your laptop, tablet, or phone! It's the easiest way we could imagine to help you create newsletters that make you, your brand, and your content look killer.

The key in this new template is that we've done so much of the work for you! Everything that can be automated is automated. Speed. Beauty. Simplicity. It's an Email Newsletter anyone can create. It's an Email Newsletter your customers will love to receive.

Check out the new Email Newsletter template coming soon:

emailnewsletter3
emailnewsletter3

The Rise of the Email Update

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Me and a number of my customers are starting a new trend at Ace of Sales. We're sending our contacts a weekly Email Update instead of a full blown ezine. It's a quickie email newsletter. Your contacts will love it because it's fast to read. You'll love it because it's easy to create.

Here's how it works:

You write one strong, value article each week - less than 250 words. The subject matter should be centered on your expertise. Add a compelling graphic to accompany it. (The Ace of Sales Email Greeting template is a perfect fit and will display all your branding and personal info.)

At the end of the article add a no cost offer call to action.

  • Download my complimentary e-book.
  • Sign up for my free webinar.
  • Get my white paper now.

Make sure you capture each contacts' first name, last name, and email address when they request the offer.

It's called a Weekly Update. It's the new quickie of the personal marketing world. It's easy to do, takes little time, and is preferred by many over a long ezine.

Email Delivery Boost Not Working? Password Might Need Updating!

If Email Delivery Boost isn't working in your Ace of Sales account, you may simply need to update your email account password (that is all most people will need to do). Don't know your Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo!Mail, AOL, Apple Mail, Hotmail, etc email account password? Here's help discovering it...

AOL If you're not sure about your AOL email account's password, go to http://www.aol.com and click "Sign In" in the upper right corner. Click the link for "Forgot Password?" to reset your password. Then enter this in Ace of Sales to activate "Email Delivery Boost".

Apple Mail You'll need to check with your IT or network administrator to get your password or any other info you may need to fill in for Email Delivery Boost. They'll be able to make sure you are set up correctly.

Comcast If you're not sure about your Comcast email account's password, go to http://www.comcast.com and click "My Account" in the upper right corner. Click the link under the "Sign In" button for "password" to reset your password. Then enter this in Ace of Sales to activate "Email Delivery Boost".

Gmail If you're not sure about your Gmail account's password, go to mail.google.com and click the link for "Can't access your account?". Follow the prompts to reset your password. Then enter this in Ace of Sales to activate "Email Delivery Boost".

Hotmail If you're not sure about your Hotmail account's password, go to http://www.hotmail.com and click the link for "Can't access your account?". Follow the prompts to reset your password. Then enter this in Ace of Sales to activate "Email Delivery Boost".

Microsoft Office365 You'll need to check with your IT or network administrator to get your password or any other info you may need to fill in for Email Delivery Boost. They'll be able to make sure you are set up correctly.

Outlook You'll need to check with your IT or network administrator to get your password or any other info you may need to fill in for Email Delivery Boost. They'll be able to make sure you are set up correctly.

Yahoo! Mail If you're not sure about your Yahoo! Mail account's password, go to http://www.yahoo.com and click "Mail" on the left side of the screen. Click the link for "I can't access my account" Follow the prompts to reset your password. Then enter this in Ace of Sales to activate "Email Delivery Boost".

If your email program is not listed here, please check with your network administrator to make sure you have the correct information for "Email Delivery Boost". They'll make sure you're set up correctly.

3 Tips for Email Subject Lines that Work

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The time you spend writing and creating your emails is a complete waste of time if your customers don't open them. Here are 3 tips for writing subject lines that work:

1. The Element of Surprise - Use words and phrases that aren't expected in the business world, like "10 Business Tips from the Super Mario Bros." or "Why There's No Crying in Marketing."

2. Strike a Juxtapose - Use a combination of words not typically read together, like "Kindergarten - a Year in Prison?" or "Social Media:  The New Fax Machine."

3. Keyhole View - Trade creativity for clarity by simply summarizing the subject matter inside your email, like "Ding! Your Proposal is Ready" or... "3 Tips for Email Subject Lines That Work."

The #1 Reason Your Email Subject Lines Stink

bad-romance-email-subject-lines

Your email subject lines stink because your writing stinks.

Seriously!

Reread your last email or ezine to your customers - blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Your writing is more strangled by corporate speak than Lady GaGa in her own clothing. Extracting an alluring two or three word subject line from a boring article is impossible.

Here's an example.

If you're informing your customers why you dropped a service provider, you could simply state in your email, "We were no longer pleased with their level of quality." Or you could really grab their attention with, "We fired them. It was just a bad romance." That sets you up to use the subject line: "Bad Romance."

Scared to take a risk like this? Try it once. When you see your open rates soar, the fear will float away and you'll "Just Dance."

PS: I'm emailing this article later this week with the subject line - "Strangled by Lady GaGa References." I'll tell you how it goes.

Zingers! More Amazing Email Subject Lines

"Bouquets and Brickbats"Sent to us from customer Mark in Perth, Australia. This is a favorite! What does it mean? Absolutely nothing! The use of alliteration and unusual words provides two ideas in one.

"We Play Dirty" Sent to us as an example from a customer who has had success with it. We agree it's provocative, but be careful. If the recipient doesn't know you...it may backfire.

"Who Wears the Pants?" Another excellent one submitted by Jeff Blair. It's casual, playful, but begs for an answer. We're reminded, questions works well as subject lines!

This isn't the first time we've highlighted the Best Email Subject Lines.

Zingers: The Latest, Greatest Email Subject Lines We've Come Across:

"Two Quick Questions..."Used by Jeffrey Gitomer in a recent Ace of Sales promotion. This one contributed to one of the biggest email open rates we've seen!

"Man, I hate making these calls..." By "The Ladders" CEO, Marc Cenedella. This guy writes great subject lines. He leads you right in to his column about how painful it is to call friends when you need a job.

"Carry Questions Around with You" By Social Media Sherpa, Chris Brogan. This subject line works because it's a challenge that resonates with everyone on the front line of business. Chris draws you in to his article about asking questions that give you value.

"Rebecca's on Vacation nanny nanny boo boo" By Ace of Sales customer Rebecca Drabent in Yuma, AZ. The subject line says it all and every recipient is reminded that she is fun and full of personality. You can't help but open the email!

What Address Do My Emails Come From?

The email address that recipients see is the same email address that you entered in your Contact Info. To change it, click Personalizer, then click Contact Info. If you enter an email address that has not previously been verified, then we will send you a new verification email. If you don't see the email for at least 15 minutes, check your spam or junk folder.

You can also change your email address by changing your profile. See our blog post on Multiple Profiles for more.

Email Greetings

email-marketing-e-mail-crmWow your customers with professional and personable Email Greetings. Choose an image from our large gallery or add your own custom design. It’s easy! These pre-designed HTML templates are much like Branded Emails, except you can choose from one of our high-quality, pre-designed graphics to go in the top.

Or, you can even create your own image design.