Don’t sweat the small stuff.
(And it’s all small stuff.)
Remember that book??!
It was a self-help phenomenon in the late ’90s. My parents loved it and I remember it becoming like a mantra in our house.
It’s not so easy to embrace when you accidentally change out of your swimsuit in front of an open window with two of the coolest boys in middle school on the other side. (True story. 😑)
Buuuut in my work as a persuasion copywriter, I find it a pretty great concept to get behind.
A couple years ago, overwhelmed by all the fluorescent, glittery trends in online marketing, I made the decision to focus exclusively on “big-stuff” copywriting:
– Study the greats (to the tune of Claude Hopkins, Gary Halbert, Joseph Sugarman)
– Master proven persuasion strategies that have worked for decades
– Focus on methods that get BIG results…and don’t worry about which button color is getting 0.2% more conversions this week
That decision helps me avoid the fluff and not stress about the small stuff. 0.2% higher click-throughs doesn’t get my pulse racing.
But a 30% increase in click-throughs???
THAT’s a result worth sweating over. (In a good way.)
And it’s exactly what my client Dooli Products™ saw when we applied one simple treatment to their email newsletter.
This technique is super easy and just about anyone can do it. It only takes about 60 extra seconds.
Why higher click-throughs isn’t “small stuff”
When it comes to analytics, there are stats that matter and stats that really don’t.
Click-throughs matter. Big time.
1. Clicks help email deliverability.
I’m admittedly not an expert in this area. But people I trust say that getting people to click on your email helps you show up more often in inboxes (instead of being sent to Promotions or Spam.)
Which makes sense…
Email providers want to deliver messages that people care about. A reader clicking a link in your email sends a clear message that they care about the content you’re sending. So the more people click in your emails, the more likely you are to see good deliverability.
2. On a persuasion level, it’s good when readers click.
You’re using your email newsletter to deliver value and build your brand, right?
Well get this…
You can also use it to train your readers. (Because it’s all about getting double the results for your effort!)
You don’t want readers to just passively consume (i.e. read) your emails. You want them to take action on them (i.e. click a link).
This gets subscribers comfortable with doing something when they see your name in their inbox, rather than just reading. And that habit is incredibly, incredibly important when it comes time to launch your product or service.
3. More clicks show you’re sharing the good stuff.
Click behavior is a sign about what your audience wants and needs.
Increasing your click-through rate shows that you’re sharing more stuff they like, which is a really beautiful thing!
When analyzing email newsletter numbers for Dooli™, I knew we had the potential to increase their click rates.
We needed a simple way to encourage more people to take action on their content, without taking a ton of extra time for us to perform.
So we got to testing, and here’s what we found…
The strategy that created 30%+ higher click-throughs
We added a “Related Posts” section to the bottom of their email newsletter.
We listed three text-only links where we share additional articles on a similar topic.
For example, if they’re talking about safety tips for dogs, they’ll link to three more blog posts about pets. Or if they’re sharing ways to save money with your newborn, they’ll link to three posts about babies, parenting, and/or frugality.
(If you scroll down, you’ll see I do this at the bottom of my blog posts, too — in the Delve Deeper section.)
No images. Nothing fancy. Just three links to additional, topically-related content.
And guess what we saw when we added this section?
A big ol’ increase in clicks.
To the tune of…
– Then 35.71%.
– Then 6.9% (which was a little weird considering the first two findings)
But hey, we’re averaging 25.97%, so I’ll happily take it!
Then I Tested the Treatment with MY Newsletter…
After seeing how well this worked for Dooli™, I wanted to get in on the action myself.
So a few weeks ago, I started adding a section to my weekly emails where I share past blog content.
Mine’s a little different, though…
Instead of sharing posts that are topically related to the email (like Dooli™ does,) I share my three latest blog posts.
Here’s what mine looks like at the bottom of my weekly Inklings emails:
I like that the “Latest From” section gives subscribers four chances to check out my content (the day it goes live, and the next three weeks as the section rotates)…because not everyone will open every email.
I also use graphics, rather than plain text links…well, just because it felt right.
As for my results?
I’ve seen an average of 9.69% increases in clicks since applying this treatment — some weeks more, some weeks less.
I started with a higher baseline click-through rate, which could partially account for why my increase wasn’t as high as Dooli™’s.
But I mean…almost 10% more clicks from 60 seconds or so of effort?! I’ll take that all day long.
Here’s how I calculated the % increase in email clicks
Because I’m a numbers geek…
And because I worked in market research for years and I know how brands can lie with numbers…
I want to be crystal clear about how I arrived at this data!
To calculate the % of clicks that would NOT be present without the new “Related Posts” section, here’s what I did:
# of link clicks from the “Related Posts” section / # of link clicks NOT from the “Related Posts” section
So if we had a breakdown like this…
Main link in email: 900
Other links: 100
Related post 1: 100
Related post 2: 100
Related post 3: 100
The Related Posts section generated 300 clicks — which, out of the 1,000 other clicks in the email, is a 30% increase.
(Pro Tip: ALWAYS look for clarity when someone is sharing numbers! There are a gazillion and one ways to lie with statistics so before you apply something you see online, make sure you understand it.)
2 Ways to Apply This to Your Newsletters (…and Then 2 More.)
To sum up, if you want to get in on the clickfest, there are two ways you can apply this treatment to your newsletters:
1. Latest From: This is the method I use in my newsletter, simply sharing the latest three posts from my blog.
2. Related Posts: This is the strategy Dooli™ uses, where they include three articles that are related to the content of the current newsletter.
You also have two options when it comes to how you present your links…
You can use plain text hyperlinks, like Dooli™ does. Or you can share graphics, like I do.
All options have shown that they work. So it’s really up to you how you implement this puppy. The most important thing is that you do implement it!
Giving subscribers the opportunity to learn more — and making it EASY for them to do so (it’s all about convenience!) — means that you can get a whole lot more action on your links inside your emails.
I’ll continue testing this out and will share any relevant updates with you. (Ya know, ones that go beyond the “small stuff” and actually make a difference!)
But for now, I wanted to hurry up and share this strategy since it clearly provides a big ol’ bang for your buck when it comes to effort. No sweat, my pet.
I love tracking this stuff and seeing you put this into action — so let me know in the comments how you’ll be incorporating this into your email newsletter and what % increase you get when you do!
join the convo
How do you keep the “small stuff” (in life and biz) from stressing you out?
What other ways do you encourage subscribers to click?
Which methods will you be trying out — Latest From or Related Posts? Text-only or graphics?