Last week I had a bit of a brain freeze and forgot to send out the email notifying everyone of the new 5 Minute Marketing Tip video.
Oops! But it gave me the chance to try a little experiment the next day.
One of the key methods to increase the open rates of your emails, clicks through to your articles and reading past the headline on your sales pages is to build curiosity. Remember Gary Bencivenga’s formula: Interest = Benefits x Curiosity.
So I tested a straightforward subject line of “Get more engagement and interest from your customers and prospects” against a pure curiosity subject line of “Sorry – meant to send this yesterday :(“. Other than subject lines the emails were identical.
The aim of the first subject line is to get people to open the email because they know the benefit they’ll get from it. The aim of the second subject line is to get people to open the email to find out what on earth I meant to send them yesterday, and perhaps why I didn’t.
The results: the email with the plain subject line had an open rate of 32.3%, the email with the curiosity based subject line had an open rate of 36.7%. That’s a 13% increase at 99.9% significance.
But more importantly the click through rate to the video was 5.4% for the plain subject line and 6.5% for the curiosity based subject line (a 21% increase with 95% significance). That indicates that not only did more people open the email to find out what I’d meant to send them, that increased number of opens didn’t fizzle out when it came to taking action, they were motivated enough to click through to the video.
Now you can’t make a mistake with every email or article and use a “sorry” type subject line or headline every time. It would wear pretty thin (not to mention being a bit dishonest if you were deliberately making mistakes).
But luckily there are many ways to harness curiosity in your emails, articles, sales pages and other marketing. And in this week’s 5 Minute Marketing Tip video I share 7 powerful strategies you can use to harness curiosity.
Use them wisely young Padawan :)
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Hi, it’s Ian here. Welcome, welcome to another Five Minute Marketing Tip. Last week I had a bit of a brain freeze, and after recording my Five Minute Marketing Tip video, sharing on social media, [inaudible 00:00:09] to my website, et cetera, I forgot to send out the email with the link to the video in. When I remembered on the Wednesday, I decided to run a little bit of an experiment. I sent out two identical versions of the email with slightly different headlines to a random selection of subscribers, and I got some very interesting results.
One email I sent out with a typical headline that was “Get More Engagement and Interest From Your Customers and Prospects”, which kind of says what was going on in the video, and the other one said, “Sorry, Meant to Send This to You Yesterday”, and the results in terms of open rates was that the normal one, the “Get More Interest and Engagement”, got a 32.3% open rate, but the “Sorry, Meant to Send This to You Yesterday” one got a 36.7% open rate. That’s 13% higher at a 99.9% level of confidence, so a much better result from the pure curiosity-based subject line.
Of course opens are great, but did people actually click? Did people get curious, open the email, and then go, “Oh, no, I’m not interested.” When in fact the reverse, in the first standard subject line, 5.4% of people click through to watch the video, in the second one, the curiosity-based one, 6.5% of people clicked through to watch the video. That’s 21% higher and with a 95% confidence level. It just goes to show that curiosity really does work when it comes to people wanting to open and read your emails, for subject lines for articles, people wanting to read that, for headlines on adverts, curiosity works.
Now in this case you can’t make a mistake every week. I wouldn’t recommend deliberately making mistakes just to send out mistake-based subject lines in emails or headlines for articles. Eventually, even if it was genuine, people would get a bit tired of the same, “Oops, sorry, I made a mistake, have a look at this instead.” In today’s Five Minute Marketing video I have got seven techniques for you, seven different techniques, different ways that you can use curiosity to get more people to take action on your emails, on your articles, on any of your marketing. I’ll see you after the swoosh.
Hi, welcome back. Seven different ways of using curiosity to get more people to take action on your emails, your articles, and all your marketing. The first is an expansion of the “Sorry, Meant to Send This Yesterday”, and it’s the use of what I guess you could call hyper-casual language. “Sorry, Meant to Send This to You Yesterday” doesn’t sound like a proper subject line for an email. It sounds like something you’d quickly rattle off if you were sending it to a friend, and then the friend wonders, “What on earth did he mean to send to me yesterday?”
Other examples of that are headlines like, “Oops,” or “Sorry,” or the famous “Hey!” With an exclamation mark that Obama first used in his re-election campaign, worked really well for him, and since then pretty much every online marketer has used some variation of it. Really casual language that doesn’t sound like it’s an official business email can often work and people are curious to what on earth is inside with such a casual tone to
The second example is the use of schadenfreude. Schadenfreude is of course the morbid interest that people have in other people’s misfortune. If you wrote a subject line of, “My Big Disaster”. One that’s worked really well for me over the years is, “My WORST Sales Meeting Ever” with the word “worst” in capital letters. In fact I’ve done a couple, I think I did “My WORST Email Ever” as well was another one I did. Those always work really well for me, because people are really interested and curious to find out what it was, something bad that happened to someone else.
Third example is the use of curiosity adjectives, adjectives like “strange”, “unusual”, “surprising”, or even “secrets”, or “Five Strange Techniques for Improving Your Marketing,” for example. In that case, people are opening it because they’re wondering what these strange techniques are. You’re actually making them curious with the use of that adjective. Probably don’t over-use the word “secret” because it’s been used so many times, but “strange”, “unusual”, “surprising”. I guess the classic example of that, not quite in an adjective but the same principle is Mark McCormack favorite book, “What They Didn’t Teach Me at Harvard Business School”, or maybe it’s called, “What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School”. You’re wondering, this famous, successful businessperson what did he learn that they don’t teach at Harvard?
Another useful technique is the use of demonstratives. Demonstratives are the words “this”, “that”, “these”, and “those”. They are very specific, but they don’t tell you what they’re being specific about. What I mean by that is the classic advert, “Do You Make These Mistakes in English?” Is much better and more effective than “Do You Make Mistakes in English?” “Do You Make Mistakes in English?” Your mental answer is yes or no, probably yes, but “Do You Make These Mistakes in English?” You’re then curious to wonder what “these mistakes” are. They’re implying some specific mistakes that you might be making, but they don’t tell you what those are, so you have to read on, read the advert in that case, to find out what those specific mistakes are. The use of “these”, “this”, “that”, and “those” can invoke curiosity because people want to find out what those things are. “Don’t Make This Simple Mistake”, “Get More Clients With This Simple Technique”, that’s much better than just, “Get More Clients”, for example.
You can also do things with links to famous people. I think I had an email called “What Jeremy Clarkson Taught Me About Marketing”. You could do, “George Clooney’s Marketing Tips” or something like that, and people are wondering, “What on earth could I learn about marketing from George Clooney?” It’s the juxtaposition of the topic they might be interested in with a surprising but well-known person who might be able to teach them something about it. It makes them curious as to what they could learn from George Clooney or the Dalai Lama or whatever about this specific thing, and there has to be a contrast there. It can’t be someone obvious. It shouldn’t be “Winston Churchill’s Leadership Secrets” because everyone knows Winston Churchill was a great leader. “Peewee Herman’s Leadership Secrets”, then you’re curious to what on earth those might be.
Linked to that is a completely offbeat subject line. Good one that worked really well for me over the years was, “Dripping Blood, Sponges, and Something You Might Be Missing”. The end result, people read, “Dripping Blood, Sponges, what on earth is he talking about?” They’re curious to read to find out what on earth that strange subject line means, so if the subject line sounds like nonsense, it’s really weird, but obviously makes sense when they read the article, then that can be a good one.
Finally, the use of numbers. The use of numbers works because when you say something like, “Five Marketing Tips Stolen From My Local Coffee Shop”, people wonder what those five techniques are . if you were just to say, “Marketing Techniques From My Local Coffee Shop” they would kind of think, “Well, I know some marketing techniques, I’m probably okay,” but when you say “five”, or if you give a very large number, much bigger than the number of marketing techniques that they probably know, or whatever techniques it might be, then they’re going to get curious to know what those particular techniques are.
Other ones that have worked for me are simple things like, “The Top Three Mistakes People Make With Sales”. That’s not quite the exact title, but implying it’s the top three, people want to know what the top three are. This very video itself, I’m planning on the subject line being something like “Seven Curiosity-Based Techniques to Get People to Take Action”. Hopefully you’ll read that, you’ll think, “Well, I do want to get people to take action. I know some curiosity-based techniques, but I don’t know seven. I wonder what the other ones are? I wonder what the seven that Ian thinks are important are?” It invokes curiosity.
That’s it, those are seven techniques for invoking curiosity, building curiosity, and therefore getting people to take interest in what it is you have to say and then to take action afterwards just like they did for my mistake and “sorry” type email last week. Do try and roll those into your marketing. Don’t overuse them, don’t use the same technique again and again, because it becomes a bit monotonous and people become a bit blind to it. Mix and match. That’s why I’ve given you seven techniques. You don’t have to use them every email, but throw them into the mix every few emails, every few subject lines on a blog post, every few headlines on a sales page or piece of marketing, and they will work really well because curiosity drives people into the body of the article or the email, gets them engaged, and that’s the first step to them taking action.
That’s it, see you next week.