Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

Music marketing ideas for DIY artists, managers, promoters and music biz pros

August 21, 2012

How to Get Your Emails Opened and Read

Last year I spent more than an hour on the phone interviewing Joe Vitale. He’s the author of more than 50 books on hypnotic marketing, the law of attraction, and more. You may have seen him in the movie The Secret, on “Larry King Live” or “The Donny Deutsch Show.”

The interview was amazing and wide-ranging, but I want to share one specific piece of marketing advice that Joe offered during our conversation.

Putting a question in the subject line of your email can be a great way to create a “hypnotic” message that compels people to open and read it.

But not any question will do!

The key, Joe says, is to ask a question that can’t be answered unless you dig deeper to find out more. For instance, here are two examples of weak email subject lines:

Would you like to buy my new album?

What’s your favorite love song?

The problem with these questions is that the recipient can answer them and resolve the issue without any further action on their part. It offers no compelling reason to open the email.

However, here is an example of a more powerful, “hypnotic” email subject line question:

Which one of these three beautiful women inspired my latest love song?

A question like that creates a mental state of dissonance. It’s an incomplete thought. And for many people, unresolved ideas compel them to take action to uncover the answer and complete the thought before they move on.

Here’s another example:

Have you ever made THIS big mistake on the dance floor?

See the beauty in a question like this?

It’s similar to when you can’t think of a person’s name that you should know. It often drives you crazy and you can’t concentrate on anything else until you resolve the issue by remembering the name.
Curiosity-inducing questions offer a great way to create a hypnotic message that demands attention. Another related method is to make a provocative statement that doesn’t include all the details, such as:

Don’t let your parents watch this new music video

You could also use the word kids, boss or lover in place of parents and get the same effect, depending on your audience and subject matter.

The point is that the statement creates curiosity and an incomplete idea that begs for a resolution. So start thinking about how you can use hypnotic questions to increase your email open rate.

Important: If you're going to use tactics like this to inspire action, you should put a priority on delivering an interesting message inside the email. If you mislead people or simply don't offer a story that's funny or compelling in some way ... they may not trust you the next time you use a strategy like this.

Also, you wouldn’t want to use questions and statements like these with every email you send. Just sprinkle them in here and there when you have really important info to get out.

What do you think of this email subject line approach? What have you done to get fans to open more of your emails? I welcome your comments.


P.S. You can hear part of my interview with Joe on my Artist Empowerment Radio podcast here. The entire thing is part of this massive audio collection.
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posted by Bob Baker @ 4:14 PM   5 comments


At Aug 21, 2012, 7:29:00 PM, Anonymous Angelo Furlan said...

This is very useful information. I'm on at least one of Joe Vitale's mailing lists. Now I understand why it's so difficult to avoid reading his emails!

At Aug 21, 2012, 8:34:00 PM, Blogger Ramiro Guzman said...

I think it is great to whet their appetite and draw them in...providing you have something interesting to offer. I do not have the experience in this field but am gathering information for when I am ready, I will implement these actions which seem logical and are proven to work.

At Aug 22, 2012, 4:42:00 AM, Anonymous Dreama said...

Really insightful stuff, thanks Bob!

It's sometimes disheartening to think that someone's already part of your mailing list but they are not always eager to read your emails.

Still, this happens - thanks again!
Dreama | Twitter | Facebook

At Aug 22, 2012, 11:25:00 AM, Anonymous Tony Barker said...

Another great post, Bob! I've been reading your material since Al Gore invented the Internet, and as usual you're offering something of immediate use.

As usual, I can also see other areas where this may be helpful as a concept; song titles.

Be well!

Tony Barker

At Aug 24, 2012, 4:17:00 AM, Anonymous Sakis Gouzonis said...

Thanks, Bob, for helping us write better subject lines.

Have a splendid weekend.

Sakis Gouzonis


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