I send millions of emails a month. I also publish blog posts. Why do people read them?
Today, a counterintuitive insight into one of the principles we use at IWT to get outstanding results with our emails and blog posts.
You can use this for your own emails, too.
Recently, one of my readers sent along a link he thought would be interesting.
In his mind, he did me a nice favor. He saw this site, thought I would find it interesting, and took the time to write an email sharing it with me.
The problem is, nobody will ever click that link. Blunt but true.
Worse, it’s actually a burden for the recipient (me).
“Ugh, another link I should click…but I have 1,500 emails today already…I’ll do this later…(code for ‘I’ll never do this later’)…”…Ignore
Can you spot why?
The insight: YOU HAVE TO SELL FREE.
“Sell” has negative connotations, but what it really means is showing people why they should care.
For example, do not just send people a book recommendation or random URL. In a world full of thousands of links a day, you might as well send that email straight to the trash.
Sending people a random link — even if it would change their lives — isn’t a favor. It’s a burden.
You have to “sell” free. You have to explain why this link matters and what they’ll get out of it.
Here’s a better way to send that exact email:
I’m a big fan of your blog. I’ve been following you since 2005 and watching you move from personal finance to careers to psychology and now ZTL. I’m also hoping to attend your meetup in NYC next month. [BUILDS RAPPORT]
I wanted to send you a link from the Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance. I noticed you wrote about the psychology of lattes on your recent post, and I wanted to send you this journal. [SHOWS HE FOLLOWS ME]
The most relevant article is their latest study on the psychology of spending. It validates exactly what you talk about (Big Wins), and I thought you might also like their conclusion. It’s something you haven’t mentioned on your site before. [SELLS FREE]
Here’s the link.
Notice the difference. When you sell free, you take the time to show people why they should spend time out of their day to pay attention to your recommendation.
This email took 2x longer to write, but will get 50x the results.
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Now, to go even deeper, let’s look at the emails and blog posts I send you. We’ll even analyze this very blog post.
In the world of online business, your blog post is in the Olympics stadium of engagement. Blog readers are flooded every single day with plaintive, annoying, and hyperbolic pitches. Mere mortals, AKA degenerate internet marketers, face the predictable doom of an “unsubscribe” click.
As a result, my blog posts have to keep you interested and be incredibly valuable. If not, you’ll unsubscribe from my blog feed, I won’t get to pay my team, and my tear ducts will produce an odd, saline-based liquid for the first time in over 12 years.
I believe I need to earn your attention with every single blog post. So in this very blog post, I could have simply showed you a before-and-after rewritten email.
It would have been short! To the point! Just give them the facts!
This is what most people think blog posts and emails should be: quick and to the point.
Emails and blog posts can be 15 pages long…if they’re engaging and highly relevant. Or they can be 5 lines and be incredibly meaningful (“Hey, I just wanted to tell you I was thinking of you yesterday when I saw this guy help a friend who’d fallen down. It feels great to know you’ll always be a friend.”)
In fact, like women who delusionally claim they just want a “nice, funny” guy (only to realize that a nice guy will bore them in 1 month vs. a guy who knows what he wants and has a backbone), people sometimes actually email me telling me to make my emails shorter…not realizing that if I did, and gave them what they claim they wanted, they would end up unsubscribing!
* * *
I’m writing this blog post because I want you to know how to get better responses from people.
I have nothing to sell. (In fact, even if you try to pay me to join my course on 50 Proven Email scripts, you can’t.)
I do want to give you one more thing.
If you were interested in the persuasion and psychology I shared in this blog post, I recently sat down with my friend Lewis Howes as he interviewed me about my fears, mistakes and psychology of growth.
Here’s what we covered:
- The weird obsession I had as a kid (most people would be ashamed — I’m not) (14:32)
- The huge mistake almost everyone makes when hiring (I did this over and over) and the simple solution that became key in building my team (26:36)
- How IWT may be radically different in the future — and how I deal with that (40:52)
- What I’m nervous about (43:12)
As always, thanks for reading IWT.
You have a lot of choices for who you read, and I’m privileged that you’ve chosen to read my material.