Aug. 4, 2021

How to Best Excite People to Want to Open and Read Your Emails - BM 283

How to Best Excite People to Want to Open and Read Your Emails - BM 283

Do you want to know how to excite people to want to open and read your emails?
Listen as LeeAnn Marie Webster shares how to harness powerful ways to improve your email open rate to accelerate your ability to become a recognized expert authority and thought leader.

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Do you want to know how to excite people to want to open and read your emails?

Listen as LeeAnn Marie Webster shares how to harness powerful ways to improve your email open rate to accelerate your ability to become a recognized expert authority and thought leader.

In this week's powerful episode "How to Best Excite People to Want to Open and Read Your Emails" you will discover...

  • How relevant email is today even when inboxes are overflowing with messages
  • What is the most powerful way to use email
  • How to use the email with HEART formula to motivate people to open and read your email messages
  • How to avoid upsetting your subscribers (so they unsubscribe from your list)
  • And a whole lot more

Here's how to get  LeeAnn's email assessment and to find out more about her Email with H.E.A.R.T. programs

LeeAnn shares some extra special email marketing tips on theBook Marketing Mentors Premium Membership site - JOIN NOW!



Susan Friedmann:         Welcome to Book Marketing Mentors, the weekly podcast where you learn proven strategies, tools and ideas, and tips from the masters. Every week, I introduce you to a marketing master who will share their expertise to help you market and sell more books. Today, my special guest is LeeAnn Marie Webster. LeeAnn is the creator of eMail With H.E.A.R.T. and Lead Machine Weekend. She helps entrepreneurs build, grow and nurture their email lists, without being sleazy or cheesy. She's an inspirational speaker, lawyer, coach, and entrepreneur, with 20 years of experience in marketing and business development, in a whole range of different industries. A dear friend and colleague, LeeAnn, what an absolute pleasure it is to welcome you to the show. And thank you for being this week's guest expert and mentor.

LeeAnn Webster:          My pleasure, Susan. I'm thrilled to be here. Thank you so much.

Susan Friedmann:         So LeeAnn, email's been around for a while and now we've got so much going on in our inbox and then with social media, and one thing and another. And the question that I'm sure is on so many people's minds, and I know it's on mine and that is, how relevant is email today? Are people actually opening emails?

LeeAnn Webster:          That's an awesome question. I get asked that question a lot, as I'm sure you can imagine. And here's the way I always like to answer it. I want you to just think about your email box, your inbox, which if you're like me, first of all, I have multiple inboxes. Secondly, they're full and there are still messages that you open and read regularly that aren't from a client and that aren't your Amazon order confirmation, or some other "necessary message". But there are other's messages that you open and read regularly. If you think about why you do that, you'll understand that email is still really powerful, it's just most people aren't using it in the most powerful way.

Susan Friedmann:         Well, you say that, and of course that begs the question, what is the most powerful way to use our email?

LeeAnn Webster:          There's a number of ways. And one of the reasons I created eMail With H.E.A.R.T. is it's my signature system, but it also is my kind of a statement of my point of view. And my real goal to get people to change their perception around email, and also change how they use it because I feel like in the past, well, not in the past, current day, a lot of people teach the strategy to build your list as big as possible through any means possible. And then pummel people with messages until they break down and buy. That's the kind of old school way and what I really want people to embrace is a new and different way to think about email.

Susan Friedmann:         And that's so true because I know that's been the case with so many people, that they have these huge lists, or they want to grow lists because they don't believe that they can sell anything without having a massive list. So I know that your H.E.A.R.T. in your eMail With H.E.A.R.T. is actually, it stands for something. So it's an acronym. Talk to us about what the H-E-A-R-T actually stands for.

LeeAnn Webster:          Sure. The H in H.E.A.R.T. is for how people get on your list. I used to not think I needed to talk about this, but then I realized I really did. A lot of times people are using those kind of, I will call them sloppy practices, for adding people to their list. And again, it comes from what has been taught by many, which is to build a list as big as possible through any means possible. That often turns into scraping contacts from LinkedIn, or when you meet someone at a networking event, taking their business card, adding that email to their list. Or I literally this week just had somebody take my email from a calendar invite that a third person sent. They scraped my email from that calendar invite and added me to their email list. What happens with that is, we all know that phrase that we buy from those we know, like, and trust. And when folks are doing that, you know them, but you don't like them or trust them. And that means you don't want to buy from them.

Susan Friedmann:         That's a really important thing for people to realize, that you don't go and take emails without somebody's confirmation and approval, that it's okay to put them on the list. Is that what you're saying?

LeeAnn Webster:          That's exactly right. And what I hear sometimes is people saying, "Well, LeeAnn, they can unsubscribe, or what's the big deal?" And again, that big deal is the know, like, and trust factor, because you don't want a list of just random people who may or may not be interested. What you really, really, really want is a list of people who like you, and can't wait to open that email, and I can't wait to hear what you have to say and can't wait to buy from you. And they want to build that relationship with you.

Susan Friedmann:         You just said something really important. And that is they want to open the email for you.

LeeAnn Webster:          Yes.

Susan Friedmann:         That also begs the question, how do we do that?

LeeAnn Webster:          Well, luckily I've got a structure for that.

Susan Friedmann:         Why am I not surprised?

LeeAnn Webster:          Actually the E in H.E.A.R.T. speaks to engaging content, which is one of the fundamentals for getting people to open that email list, or that email when it comes into the inbox. Part of it is that permissive idea from the how, and then part of it is keeping them engaged. And I always say, so often when people are writing me their emails, they are thinking in terms of what their goal is. I want someone to buy my program, I want someone to sign up for a strategy session with me, I want someone to do X, Y, Z. Unfortunately, it often doesn't take into account why the person would want to do that. It's too based on the sender and not based enough on the receiver. But a key aspect of engaging content is to put yourself in the shoes of the receiver and say, "Why would they care to buy my product? Why would they benefit from having a strategy session with me?" And just shifting that focus helps you develop content that is way more engaging and does get people to want to actually open the email.

Susan Friedmann:         Yes, it's so hard sometimes because we don't even realize half the time that we're very self-centered about everything that we put up there, whether it's on our website, or you said, like in an email message it's I, I, I versus you, you, you, is that correct?

LeeAnn Webster:          That's exactly it. And thinking in terms of really connecting the dots, I work with clients on this a lot that, because we know, for example, why would we want to publish with you? We know that you know that, as the content creator. I know why someone would want to attend my Lead Machine Weekend, I know the benefits. And we don't often express those well to the audience. And so what I find is we really need to connect the dots. If you have X problem, here's how you can solve the problem with Y. And here's how I can help you with Z. It's really step-by-step-by-step connecting those dots.

Susan Friedmann:         That in and of itself sounds like a process. And I'm assuming that during your Lead Machine Weekend, you help your clients go through that and really fully put together a process whereby they are coming from being reader-centric rather than self-centered.

LeeAnn Webster:          Exactly. Yes, I do it in my Lead Machine Weekend, and also I have an ongoing program called eMail With H.E.A.R.T. Huddle, and it's where we literally huddle up once a month. And we look at what's driving results and how we can draft our emails in a way that will connect with our audience more deeply and grow the business. I mean, nothing wrong with wanting to grow your business and sell your online course and get strategy sessions. Those are all fantastic objectives. And it's the way in which you go about them that often creates the problem.

Susan Friedmann:         So we've covered the H, we've covered the E, how about the A in H.E.A.R.T.?

LeeAnn Webster:          The A is for being your authentic self. I always bring this up because I find that oftentimes, we have this idea in our head about what a marketing strategist should sound like, what an author marketer should sound like. And I think this comes from my days as an attorney. It was like the role that I played and what I found is the more I am myself, so the more I'm expressing in a way that truly is my personality, and that truly it's just me, the more I'm me, then the more I draw in those clients who like me for who I am, and like working with me, and we have similar personalities. And the full working relationship is just much more fulfilling and fun than when I'm kind of doing the role of the serious entrepreneur with a serious message to say.

Susan Friedmann:         Yeah. And I mean, I think more and more, that whole idea of being authentic now, I mean, that's very much what people are looking for because as we know, there are a lot of shysters out there and people who are out. I had somebody on the line the other day who is bemoaning the fact that a publisher had taken them for a real ride, and it was a very expensive ride. And they come crying to me about it. And obviously, I can't do anything about the past. I can do something about the present and potentially the future, but it makes me cry too, that people are doing this and that it gives everybody a bad reputation. So the more authentic you can be, the better.

LeeAnn Webster:          Absolutely. And it's just like I said, it also draws in the clients that are way more fun to work with. I'm a little bit of a goober and a little bit of a dork, you know me. And what I found is the more I just let my little goofy flag fly, the more I draw in people who at least appreciate that. They don't have to be goofy like me, but at least they appreciate that. And that means that I'm not trying to put on a facade or trying to step into the shoes of something that I'm not when I'm with them. And that lets me access a lot more creativity, a lot more insights, and just do a lot better job with them.

Susan Friedmann:         It's so interesting as I look back on my career and how many times I've tried to be somebody else. And I always remember saying to one of my speaker colleagues, "Oh, when I grow up, I want to be just like you." I was like, "No, I don't." When I think of it now, I'm like, "No, I need to be me." And the me that is, and whether you like me as I am, well, that's what's either going to attract you or repel you. I don't know. I mean, everybody takes to different people differently, but that's okay.

LeeAnn Webster:          That's okay.

Susan Friedmann:         Yeah. We can't all be the same and nor should we, and nor should we try and be somebody that we're not.

LeeAnn Webster:          Exactly.

Susan Friedmann:         Okay. We're onto the R. We're moving right along here.

LeeAnn Webster:          Moving right along. So the R in H.E.A.R.T. is for rhythm. And this speaks to how often you're going to message your list. I get this question a lot. How often should I email? And is there a special day or time? Which I can get to that in a minute. But the key with rhythm is to pick your interval and then stick with it. And it should be at least twice a month. I say that because sometimes people, especially when they're just starting out and this is a beautiful place to come from, they don't want to bug people, so they'll just message once a month. And the challenge with once a month is there's too much space that occurs between the messages, people will forget who you are sometimes in between. And then that will make your unsubscribe rate go up.

Susan Friedmann:         Of course, then you say at minimum twice a month, but is there an optimum time, optimum number rather, because I do go through that, where I'm frightened that I'm overburdening my list if I send something out. Let's say, I was helping somebody promote an event, or I'm promoting an event, it's like, "Well, how many is the right number?"

LeeAnn Webster:          Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, part of that gets driven by your audience. I'd like to say this is the intersection of how often you like to write, and then how often they want to hear from you. I do like weekly. And I think weekly is a good interval to be in. Weekly is still only 56 messages a year. And then if you're consistent with your weekly, you can miss a week every now and then, and it's no big deal. It won't impact your consistency that much because you'll have enough other messages coming. With that, if you're consistent, you can increase it at times for special promotions. For example, if I'm promoting any event for someone else, or if I'm promoting my own events, sometimes I'll do free virtual trainings and I'll send a couple of extra messages around that.

                                    And what I found is I can get away with that in the sense of, I'm not upsetting my list too much if I do it sparingly. I only do that a couple of times a year, and this is key, and it goes right back to that engaging content, I make sure that even when I'm promoting that, there's something of value in the message, even when it's a promotion.

Susan Friedmann:         That's important, that there's something of value. So let's go down that little rabbit hole and talk to us more about that. If you're promoting an event, be it for yourself or be it for somebody else, what would that look like?

LeeAnn Webster:          Let's say, for example, I was promoting my Lead Machine Weekend. And my Lead Machine Weekend is where we create a lead magnet, which by the way, circling back to the H, the way to get people on your list, permissively, is to offer free content, some sort of content in exchange for an email, and the jargony term for those lead magnet. In my weekend, I help you create a lead magnet, and then all the technology with it. When I promote that, the content piece of it is where I say, "Hey, if you're a speaker and you are in front of an audience, you need to have a way in order to grab the email addresses of the audience, of the people who are interested in continuing to work for you." So that identifies an issue for them, and then I'll say, "Here's a couple of different ways to do it."

                                    And this is the tip. Try Join By Text, or do X, or do Y, or do Z. I'll give a couple of different methods for doing it. Most of the methods are centered around this piece of content called a lead magnet. I'll say, "Here are the different ways. And by the way, in order to do the strategy, you will need a lead magnet. Here's what a lead magnet is." "Oh, if you don't have a lead magnet, here's my weekend that helps you do it." So if they're interested in attending Lead Machine Weekend, that's great, I've just laid out why they need to attend, connected those dots for them. But if they're not interested, they've at least understand now, "Hey, wow. If I'm speaking, I need to make sure I can get the email addresses. And here are some ways that I can do it." So they get value just from that message.

Susan Friedmann:         Lead magnets. Thank you for explaining that because I never want to assume that our listeners know what that is because it's known by many different terms. What kinds of pieces of information make for a good lead magnet?

LeeAnn Webster:          It's interesting, since your audience, I know, are authors, they've got a whole book's worth of content that they can cut up and slice and dice. It really can be anything. I love audios or videos. Podcast episodes can be a lead magnet. If there are exercises in your book, you could create something around that. A checklist, a template, a worksheet, you could do an excerpt from the book. Thinking in terms of what is that kind of, if you're a foodie, what could be an amuse-bouche? What's the little taster thing that will start people on the journey with me, but also give them value? And again, it circles back to giving them value.

Susan Friedmann:         Yeah, I think at the end of the day, it's always giving that value and thinking about what would be useful and important to the reader and to the recipient. Yeah, always thinking in those terms. Excellent. I think we've made it to T. What does the T in H.E.A.R.T. stand for?

LeeAnn Webster:          The T is for technology. There's a couple of different aspects to this. One is the platform that you're using, which that's really more of a discussion, that we won't go down that rabbit hole, but there are some specifics in there. The other key though, are some metrics to watch, or some numbers to watch. And there are three numbers I like for myself and my clients to pay attention to. And they are your open rate, your click-through rate and your unsubscribe rate.

Susan Friedmann:         You can get all of that through your provider, I would assume. Is that correct?

LeeAnn Webster:          Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah, I can log into the dashboard of your email service provider, for every message you send, you should be able to view those metrics. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Susan Friedmann:         Are there some metrics that, should you have a 50% open rate, a 20%, what's considered acceptable?

LeeAnn Webster:          Yeah, that's a great question. The average open rate is 12 to 15%. That's lower than what a lot of people expect. I like to keep myself and my clients at least at 20% or higher. The thing with open rate, it's interesting because some people think it doesn't matter if they have this large list, this kind of goes back to the how. If they have this large list and only 20% of the people are opening, but here's the thing. If you let that other 80 % sit idle for too long, it actually hurts your deliverability. Deliverability, meaning the number of emails that actually get into the inboxes of your [inaudible 00:19:08]. If you're not paying attention to how people get on your list and you have those people who maybe didn't want to be on the list, and so they just kind of let it slide, they never unsubscribe, but they also don't open, if they ride for too long, it'll end up harming you in the sense of getting to the people who do want your content.

                                    That's another reason for being diligent about how people get on your list is making sure that the people who are receiving it really want it and the open rate can help you with judging that. Does that make sense?

Susan Friedmann:         Yeah, it does make sense. And I always think too, I don't worry about the unsubscribe because if somebody doesn't want to hear from me, I'd much rather they got off my list than stayed on it and didn't open it, or it landed up in spam or whatever.

LeeAnn Webster:          Absolutely.

Susan Friedmann:         I'd much rather that they unsubscribe or say to me, "Please take me off your list." It happens.

LeeAnn Webster:          And it's okay.

Susan Friedmann:         And sometimes it serves a purpose, that they connect with you, and then once that purpose is filled, they're moving on and they don't necessarily need your messages anymore. So I can't imagine why they wouldn't, but...

LeeAnn Webster:          Well, I'm with you on that sister. And you're putting out some great content.

Susan Friedmann:         I think so, but at the end of the day, it's the listener who needs to make that decision.

LeeAnn Webster:          That's right.

Susan Friedmann:         Yes. With a podcast, and I mean, I want it to be relevant to our listeners, but if it isn't, hey, and if they've got other interests, then that's totally okay as well. So just go through the different components of H.E.A.R.T. again, the H is for.

LeeAnn Webster:          For how, how people get you to get on your list.

Susan Friedmann:         Mm-hmm (affirmative).

LeeAnn Webster:          Making sure it's permissive. The E is engaging content.

Susan Friedmann:         Yes. And the A?

LeeAnn Webster:          And the A is an authentic voice.

Susan Friedmann:         R?

LeeAnn Webster:          R is for rhythm.

Susan Friedmann:         And the T?

LeeAnn Webster:          Is for technology.

Susan Friedmann:         Wonderful. That's a great little acronym. And I know it serves you well. One of the things, LeeAnn, that I know our listeners love learning from is mistakes. What are some of the common mistakes that you find people make when it comes to email? And I know we've talked about a few, even though we haven't said exactly that they were mistakes, but what else?

LeeAnn Webster:          A couple of key mistakes I see people making are within that rhythm idea. And one is they do what I call ghosting their list. And that's when you sign up for somebody's email list, they might even have a lead magnet. You sign up for that piece of content and then you might get one message or something, but then you just don't hear from them again. Or it's six months before you hear from them. And we experienced this, almost all of us experienced this back in 2020 when COVID hit. All of a sudden, a lot of us got emails from places. And we were like, "I was on your list?" Remember that? It was like what, what, what happened? I bought tickets from you six years ago and do you still have my email? So the ghosting because it's not, again, not building the relationship.

Susan Friedmann:         You always want to look for ways in which you can build that relationship and not let it slide, and I know that I've been guilty of that with some people. So yeah, that's a really important one. What else?

LeeAnn Webster:          The other one I see also happens to be in the rhythm category, and it's doing what I call booty calling your list. This is when you only email when you need something. I see this a lot with people that suddenly they've got a digital course and all of a sudden, they're emailing me a million times about it. Or they've got a retreat coming up, or they've got something that they want to sell. And then all of a sudden they start emailing me a lot about it. And it's like, again, it's okay, it's perfectly fine. And I recommend it, selling to your list, but build the relationship first, so that you have the right to ask them to buy something from you.

Susan Friedmann:         And that's a really important one. And I know, I've had those booty emails, I love that name. LeeAnn, I know that our listeners would love to learn more about your services. How can they do that?

LeeAnn Webster:          The easiest way is to go to just the way it sounds, emailwithheart, And that will take you a couple of places. First, to my lead magnet. Of course, I've got a lead magnet.

Susan Friedmann:         Practice what you preach.

LeeAnn Webster:          That's right. It's my eMail With H.E.A.R.T. assessment. And it's basically a 32-point assessment, where you can walkthrough. I have very specific things to see if you're doing with your email list and it'll give you an idea of where you can use some brushing up, and it'll give you some very specific things to do to up your [inaudible 00:24:02] with it. Of course, then you'll be on my email list so then you'll also get an example of what not ghosting looks like, and what engaging content looks like. Hopefully, if I'm doing my [crosstalk 00:24:15].

Susan Friedmann:         You're your own model so if you're not modeling your method good, yes, we're going to learn from that. So yes, listeners, eMail With H.E.A.R.T. and get to LeeAnn's assessment, email assessment. And LeeAnn, if you were to leave our listeners with a golden nugget, what would that be?

LeeAnn Webster:          The way I like to think about this, all this email is, I call it honoring the inbox. And it's really that idea of that is sacred space, the inbox. It's an invitation into a sacred space for someone. And so it's just thinking about everything you do around your email marketing. How can you make sure that you're honoring the inbox with everything you do?

Susan Friedmann:         Beautiful. Honor the inbox, it's a sacred space. That is beautiful. LeeAnn, thank you for sharing your wisdom so generously. There's so much packed in this. Listeners, you're going to have to listen to this a few times because there was so much that LeeAnn shared, such great information. Thank you. And thank you all so much for taking time out of your precious day to listen to this interview. And I sincerely hope that it sparked some ideas you can use to sell more books. Here's wishing you much book and author marketing success.

Here's how to get  LeeAnn's email assessment and to find out more about her Email with H.E.A.R.T. programs