You should think of your emails as a jumping-off point, a place that gets the reader started on the road to what you really want them to do. This could be buying your album or book, liking you on Facebook, checking out your new video, or anything else that brings them closer to you and your work.
If people come to expect useful, fun, easy-to-access content from your emails, they’re going to not only look forward to your mailings, but they’ll also become more engaged with your content because they’ll know they’re bound to get something from it.
So: how do you get people to click through from your emails to your site, where all the action goes down?
I’ll provide some tips below, but first, try this: Think of the emails you look forward to getting from bands/authors/brands, or think of recent emails you’ve received that got you to click on a link in that mailing. What was it that made you want to make that jump from your email program to your web browser? Keep that in mind and try to reproduce that interest, excitement, or curiosity in your own email.
Learn from the emails you trash
Then, think of the emails you get that you’ve relegated to the Junk folder, or the ones you immediately delete when you see them pop up. Why don’t you care about these? You’re getting them for a reason – you probably bought something from the sender at some point – so why are you soured? I know an email from the place you bought your grandma’s birthday present isn’t the same as an email about your craft, but you get the idea: sometimes it’s what you don’t do that can make a huge difference.
Some quick tips for getting people to click through from an email to your site:
Have fun with your subject lines.
Other than the sender’s address, the subject line in your email is going to be the first thing people see when your message hits their inbox. If you can come up with something funny, succinctly informative, or intriguing, you’re going to hook people who want to see what’s inside that email. Never underestimate the significance of your subject line. If people don’t open your email, none of the rest of this matters.
This is an old standby, and it still works wonders. A catchy title and the first few sentences of an article/blog post/piece of news, followed by a “read more” link can drive traffic like nobody’s business. Don’t give away the meat of the post in the email. Encourage the reader to click through to your site to get the details.
Got a video? Make an image link.
This one’s a little sneaky, but it’s used so commonly that I can’t imagine anyone feeling duped. If you’ve got a video you want people to see, take a screenshot of the player – make sure it includes the “play” button – and make that image the link to the page on your site that contains the video. The basic idea is that people will click on the video, thinking that they can play it in their email client, but instead the image will take them to your site, and they can watch the video there. They get to see the video; you’ve got a new visitor to your site. Win-win.
The curiosity piquer.
Ever see those headlines on Huffington post that say something like “You’ll Never Believe Where This Kid Got Stuck” or “She Wore What?” You’ve clicked on those links, haven’t you? It’s OK; so have I. The point being, we are inquisitive creatures. I want to know where that kid got stuck, and I couldn’t tell you why. But not knowing is killing me. This approach can be used in your emails: “You’ll Never Guess Who I’m Opening For!” or “No One Told Me This Was Part of the Editing Process.”
Note on this one: If the payoff (the actual news, article, or whatever) doesn’t live up to the hype, people will feel burned. Don’t get cocky and overuse this method or people will eventually realize you’re crying wolf.
Have you had success getting people to take action on your emails and have you seen a spike in traffic to your site as a result? If you’re cool with sharing your secrets, fill us in in the comments!
[Picture of faces from Shutterstock.]