This is Inbox Hacking, a Free Newsletter for email marketers. Email marketing insights, tools, & tactics sent twice per week. If someone forwarded you our Newsletter, please sign up for your Free subscription. Today→ 8 highlights from Jonah Berger’s Magic Words you can use for more effective email campaigns.
Here’s what’s in our feature story today, Inbox Hackers.
I’m sharing highlights from a 7-hour read, Magic Words: What to Say to Get Your Way. These powerful insights will help you keep, convince, and convert your subscribers.
Sound good? Then let’s go.
3 Quick Magic Words Concepts
Mr. Berger, a genius of some sort, points out:
#1 Using nouns over verbs can help gain cooperation.
When kids were asked to be ‘helpers’ versus asked ‘to help’, volunteers increased.
#2 The word ‘you’ can persuade in email campaigns and social posts but is not helpful on customer service pages or FAQ sections.
Why? You is personal. So phrases like “if you have a paper jam” it seems like your company is blaming the customer for printer problems.
#3 Weak language won’t convince your readers to click or buy.
Be definitive and watch out for watering down your message with words such as: “likely to” or “should help.” Are you confident in your coaching class or not! Will your Swiffer Killer really end all your customers’ household dust issues for the rest of time?
*Sidenote. You works better than I for positive self-talk.
The Spoken Word, Also Magical
It wasn’t just written text. Berger’s research found words had a magical effect when flying outta mouths.
One business owner had terrific marketing materials and leads running out her ears. But sales were droopy.
The problem? Her presentations. The word ‘umm’ specifically. And there were other filler words. All of which made her less convincing. Once she put in some AI practice, yeah, 🏀practice, and cut out all filler words… conversions jumped by a third.
Speakers (preachers, coaches, lecturers, business owners, etc.) who stand out to me don’t use filler words, even when they stumble. They keep going. No umms as a crutch. Some talk super slowly, and surprisingly, this is even more effective in keeping my attention because they’re great storytellers.
Up next, matters of authority.
I’ve harped on the authority principle before. Get 9 dentists to recommend your mouthwash and Bobby Badbreath will buy a barrel of it.
The Magic Words author backs this up— better to use a professor versus a teacher to recommend a book, for example.
Goes back to the famous experiment where people with no capacity for abstract thought just kept shocking other study participants because a man in a lab coat said “you must continue.” We are not that smart y’all – and that’s why magic words work.
Point is: when using testimonials, use ones from the highest status people for the most visible and vital locations (landing page or next to a buy button).
Moving on to tense…
Magic Email Words Don’t Live in the Past
I first came across the notion of present tense power from a former tv reporter who said to keep viewers tuned in they would say “wildfires raging versus raged.” No need to watch if the fire is in the past and danger averted, right?
Berger’s book backs this up with research on tens of thousands of book and music reviews. Readers found reviews using present-tense words and phrases more impactful.
Example: Atomic Habits is helping me build habits in a systematic way (versus, Atomic Habits helped me build habits…)
What about questions?
Questions Draw Subscribers In (the right questions)
When you want to make a connection with someone, what do you do?
Ask for their advice. It flatters them. Plus, they’ll hold you in high esteem since you’re smart enough to ask them for advice.
But you can’t use this magic tactic with easy questions like ‘how do I restart my router’! People will see your empty attempt at connection and get turned off.
So ask things you really don’t know. I don’t find this difficult myself 😃.
Example→ What book would you recommend to me for video marketing?
Ok, final magic act…
How do You Know if Your Words are Concrete?
It’s easy to toss around vague terms when you’re busy writing promo emails, newsletters, and 39 different social posts. But if you take time to read your emails’ words as a beginner would view them, this helps you replace empty words with concrete words.
That’s one way to ensure your writing has solid meaning.
⭐Another way suggested in Magic Words is this— “Can you draw it?” Vague ideas are tough to draw.
⭐One more way to practice using concrete language is by reviewing song lyrics. Perhaps even sing along (live a little, people). So I’ll leave you with one of the clearest visuals you can imagine.
“I just sat on the porch, smoking one of his cigarettes, and waited for the cops to come.”
3 Easy Actions to Take Right Away
- Remove any weak language from your email campaigns
- Use stronger proof in subject lines using status
- Move your readers with present-tense wording
Read on for… a case study on event marketing via email, a habit myth, and Today’s Hack for more effective ads.
How would your revenue look if you improved email deliverability… and boosted open rates by as much as 300%?
There are many possible reasons your emails aren’t delivered and opened:
🤔Your subscribers aren’t engaged
🤔Your IP reputation
🤔Your sender score
But the good news is Inbox Mailers created a new technology that fixes these problems all at once, so your emails actually get delivered.
Not only that… their unique engagement trigger system makes sure your emails get opened, too.
See, it’s not always your copy. Or the relationship with your list. This trigger system helps even if you have a disengaged list.
Inbox Mailers’ new inbox technology can tell you when your users are actively in their inbox… And uses that signal to get subscribers to open your emails.
Imagine what revenue would look like if you started improving your open rate by as much as 300%…
🏋️♀️Knowledge is power but first, Dr. Tracy’s nap how-to
Survey says… what brands and consumers really think of AI
🎧Adding a podcast to YouTube? Tips & insights from HubSpot
Case study on event marketing via email (audience knowledge section)
🎲Being memorable in B2B (roll the dice)
Reload your call-to-action quiver (11 CTA options)
You can follow Inbox Mailers below:
An old truthy tale→ building good habits takes 21 days.
Reality is harsher. It can take 200 repetitions to build more difficult habits like going to the gym on days not named January One. (According to a world-class habit researcher).
So keep that 200 number in mind when trying to change your behavior or that of your email subscribers.
200 reps sounds daunting. But not when you realize all you have to do is show up, not show out all 200 times.
*Shout-out to Inbox Hackers:
📢Gern at Schutte Metals
📢Debbie at Cancer Advocacy.org
Facts and Stats
- Reputational factors can trigger hard bounces (e.g. “email rejected because sender looks like a spammer”) ~Validity
- The single most important factor that persuades subscribers to open marketing emails is recognition/trust of the sender ~DMA UK
- #1 app downloaded last month? CapCut (video editing) ~Stacked Marketer
Bonus: Do you know the average lifetime value of an email subscriber? $50 ~Validity
Email marketers’ major struggle?
Inactive subscribers. Aka, dead email lists.
But most re-engagement campaigns seem awkward, sometimes desperate.
“Please come back… we’re begging over here…”
Overused. And played out!
Real re-engagement can happen though. By getting your emails placed alongside other emails your inactive subscribers ARE opening.
How? Inbox Mailers’ triggers. Triggered by your subscribers actively opening other emails!
Repetitive ads are certifiably annoying. An IPG and Nexxen study found high recall (92%) of the same ad viewed 6 times. But, ouch, 48% of consumers felt annoyed by the repetition.
Worse, 83% of participants saw the repetition as intentional.
This study was for CTV ads but we can assume…
…it holds true for repetitive newsletter ads.
So today, freshen up stale ads / CTAs that your subscribers have stopped noticing… or have noticed— for all the wrong, repetitive reasons.
*Know other good-looking email marketers? Please forward this newsletter to them. Thanks!
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