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Regular Ugly Email Works Best. Here’s Proof.

What gets you the best email open and click through rates on Infusionsoft emails?  I've heard a lot of different opinions, many of which conflict with mine, so I ran an experiment.  It's one thing to say, "My way works best." It's another thing to show with numbers that taking a specific approach gets you better results.

A Little Background

I blog weekly.  It supports my website SEO strategy.  It showcases my skills and it provides my followers with a resource on Infusionsoft and Internet marketing topics.

I have a list of about 800 potential prospects, clients and other contacts.  I email that list every two weeks promoting one of two blog posts I publish during that time.  I typically send out these messages on Wednesdays.  It's a simple short teaser with a link to a blog article on my site.

My standard mode of operation is to write this messages using Infusionsoft's legacy templates specifying HTML (graphics & colors).   I modify the template using black text on a white background with my regular signature.  I include a short teaser telling my readers what's in the blog article and provide them with a link to the article on my site.  I want these readers to think the email came right from my regular email account.  It isn't until they scroll down the email that they may notice the Infusionsoft unsubscribe link and other information that would tip them off to the fact that it's not originating from my email box.

Take a look at the picture below for an example.

#1-open-in-email

 

My Experiment

Here's what I did in my test.  I divided up my list of 800 into three roughly equal groups.  I wrote the exact same email using three different templates.  The first template followed the standard I just described above.  For the second template, I took the standard Infusionsoft template that comes with the system.  This is the green one with the fruit that is used until you change it in Infusionsoft's branding manager.  I updated their logo with my company's and changed the border color to a dark grey so it would match my corporate colors.

Here's that template so you can review it.

#2+open+in+email

The third template was exactly like my first one except I used the Infusionsoft legacy template's plain text option. For those of you unfamiliar with the legacy system, it allows you to specify plain text email messages. (Please Infusionsoft, add that function to the Campaign Manager because every once in a while, plain text is what I need!) Since it was plain text, I could NOT specify a link so I included a link to the blog post right in the article. Depending upon the email system being used, my recipients could either click to open the link or copy and paste the link into their browser.

#3+open+in+email

The results are as follows:

Template Used Total Sent Opens Click Through
#1, HTML Basic Format 244  25% (60)  4% (11)
#2, HTML Pretty Format 289 17% (49) 0% (1)
#3, Plain Text 282 Not Available 5% (13)

As you can see, the difference  between #1 and #2 is significant.  Not only does #1 have a better open rate, but it has a much better Click Through rate.  To understand why that is you have to see how the two appear in the recipients email box.  Take a look at the two images below.
Basic Format
#1-in-email-inbox
v.s. Pretty Format
#2+in+email+inbox

The problem with the default templates that come from Infusionsoft is that they show, “Having trouble viewing this email? Click here…” right after the subject line. That tells the recipient immediately that this did NOT come from someone's email box. It raises a red flag right away. I did want to mention that the 11 clicks #1 received were all on the link that got the recipients to the blog article. The one click for #2 was someone unsubscribing from my list.

Email #3 is Plain Text so Infusionsoft doesn't provide open rate statistics.  I used my Wordpress stats to determine how many clicks I received for that one.  What this tells me is that for this experiment, #1 and #3 performed equally well in getting my contacts to visit my blog page.

I don't want to declare this a conclusive scientific experiment where all the variables were 100% controlled, but it is a statistically significant enough sampling to get some insight as to what works and what doesn't.

People interact with people.  They do NOT interact with companies.  No matter how important your brand may be to you, people receiving your email think you are even more important and want to hear what you are saying and not what your company says.

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