My Top 3 Secrets to Getting 50% More Opens (aka 50% More Money)

 In Cutting Through

Today I want to talk about something that is near and dear to my heart: getting 50% more email marketing opens.

Getting our customers 50% more opens and putting a 100% money-back guarantee behind it is the single reason our first business (Robly) ended up doing so well.

I’m going to give you a quick background on where the obsession with opens came from. Then I’m going to give you three tricks that will get you the same result.

Before there were 50% more opens at Robly, there was 50% less money.

When we started Robly, I read a bunch of marketing books (and actually never stopped, I’m still reading them).

One of the many conclusions I came to (I’ll admit, some of them were horrible) was that it was a good idea to emulate things that were working in other markets.

So I adapted Geico’s “15 Minutes Could Save You 15%” slogan, and went to market with it.

Here’s an early version of our homepage:

I may or may not have tweaked the computer screen in this image just to poke fun at ourselves.

As you can see, not much pop there. It got some, but not a lot, of traction.

Meanwhile, things kind of sucked.

We were a small, bootstrapped team working out of my New York apartment. My partners and I were burning through all our savings.

At the rate we were acquiring customers and what they were paying us (around $15/month), I didn’t see an end in sight. Misery.

If any of you have watched Gail Goodman’s speech on the Slow SaaS Ramp of Death, she describes how horrible it is to get SaaS businesses to a cash flow positive state. It’s an amazing speech, and from my experience, incredibly accurate.

Then things changed.

Trick #1: Use OpenGen, Get 50% More Opens!

One night I was burning the midnight oil and poking around in one of our customer’s accounts to answer a question he had. I noticed an interesting type of sending he was doing that, if packaged the right way, could be a real commercial success.

And it was.

Our value proposition change to this, and everything started getting much, much better:

We started selling 50% more opens with a technology we invented called OpenGen.

How does it work?

What does OpenGen do? It sends one campaign as you’d normally send it. Then after one to five days (your choice) the same campaign sends out again, with a new subject line (your choice), but only to those who didn’t open the first email.

This may seem kind of basic, but if you aren’t doing it already, it’s a game changer.

Also, from the data we have, it doesn’t hurt your deliverability reputation, and it gets you 50% more opens.

In addition to OpenGen, we also started upselling customers we brought in with the 50% off trip wire. We ended up raising our subscription price from $15 to around $60 where it is now.

This, for SaaS business especially, and multiplied by tens of thousands, helps a lot.

A few other small business platforms took parts of the feature, but they all miss a critically important piece. You need to change the subject line so it looks like new content.

Trust me, this method works. If you’re not using Robly or Lead.com, do it in your ESP. It will take a bunch of steps but I promise you it will work like a charm.

So to recap: USE OPENGEN!

It’s available in Robly and Lead.com.

There are some copied versions in ConvertKit and GoDaddy’s email marketing tool, but they don’t change the subject line. That part is necessary for the best result. Otherwise you’re just sending the same thing to people who weren’t interested the first time around. They probably won’t be interested the second time, either.

Trick #2: Use OUR Send Time Optimization Tool: Robly AI

Trick number two that will get you MORE than 50% more opens if combined with OpenGen:

Send time optimization.

But not just any send time optimization.

Infusionsoft and Mailchimp will send an entire campaign based on the data they have on your subscribers.

But, they’ll still send that entire campaign at one time.

How is Robly AI different?

It uses artificial intelligence to send your campaign, individually, to each of your subscribers at the exact moment they are most likely to be checking their inbox.

That means if Bob in Hawaii checks his email at 9am after his coffee, he’s going to get the email then. But if Maria in New York checks hers at 5pm, she’ll get the same campaign then.

Turning on this type of sending optimization will get you ANOTHER 15 to 20% boost in opens.

In the enterprise space, there is a send time optimization vendor called Audience Point. Nobody else in the SMB space (to my knowledge, correct me if I’m wrong) does anything like Robly AI.

I’m not actually writing this to plug Robly. I’ve just thought a lot about how to get more opens and we’ve built specific features that do this. If you don’t want to switch to Robly, and there are many reasons not to, just do this stuff using your existing ESP and it will work.

Trick #3: Bounce Exchange

Trick number three is something very new and I’ve only seen it offered in one place, and it’s my buddy Ryan Urban’s company Bounce Exchange.

They’re an enterprise, later stage start-up. They basically convert traffic to leads, and provide agency services that do everything for you.

They’re big in the behavioral automation market. Recently, they came out with something that I want but just can’t get, because they’re the only ones who have access to the data.

In summary, the third way to get more opens is by sending out more abandoned cart emails.

How do you do that? Well, the better question is how do THEY do that?

Bounce Exchange bought a data company called Augur a couple years ago. Ever since integrating them into their business, they can match email addresses with non-logged-in users and their devices.

Before Bounce Exchange, you could send abandoned cart emails to any logged-in users who browsed your site, put something in their cart, then abandoned ship.

A few data vendors offered a service that hashed emails and cookied users, which resulted in around 15% matches so that you could send 15% more email.

Bounce Exchange says they can match 50 to 70% of your unidentified, non-logged-in traffic to accurate email addresses.

I know this works because my friend, Josh Abramson of TeePublic, is his customer. Their match rate was 57%.

I can’t tell you how to do this, but if you’re an enterprise customer and you want to get hooked up with Ryan, just hit me in the comments and I will connect you.

Recap

To recap, these are the three ways to get more opens:

Use OpenGen and RoblyAI in either Lead.com or Robly, or do something similar in your current ESP.

The last trick is to hire Ryan Urban. He’s the wizard master that has so much data he can give you an insane match rate on your abandoned carts.

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