50% Of Subscribers Open This Email

Creating an emailing list that users love.

I get asked with frequency to send people interesting things I’ve found around the web. So a while back I decided to make an email list for it.

It ended up generating a highly engaged user base. The list boils down to essentially Reddit highlights. It’s not anything as niche or interesting as how Ryan started Product Hunt. This was far more random. So I called it “Things Of The Internet”

The Page

I couldn't in all good consciousness make this list without making a sweet landing page for it. This was an opportunity to make a cool site & test user engagement simultaneously!

Here it is!

So I created Things Of The Internet! My goal here was simple: Educate visitors about the product/service & make it clear how to sign up.

I used the pitch of ‘awesome things — random times’ and had a clear field with which to enter your email and submit it. I made sure to clarify that you wouldn’t have to do the annoying double Mailchimp confirmation. The only other element included was the call to action of helping me with the list by submitting your own content.

This worked relatively well. Between my network and blasting it to some chosen sites, I picked up a couple hundred subscribers quickly.

The Emails That Users Love (I think)

I decided to structure the emails similar to how Sidebar.io does theirs, since I have always enjoyed those. The big difference was that the content would be random, the emails would be delivered randomly, and I would make sure to make them short & concise.

And there we have a “Things Of The Internet” email!

I used the red to create highlight points and made sure that the headlines were interesting but not too long-winded.

Another trick I used was the subject line. It’s tough to see in this picture but I include a really interesting unicode character:

This, I think, has been key. Apple recruiters use the same tactic when they email you about job positions, starting their tag lines with: .

It really catches your eye.

People really responded to these emails, the interaction has been incredible..

Results & Takeaways

The only real numbers that matter (source):

  • Industry email open average: 16.6%
  • Things Of The Internet open average: 52.37%
  • Industry email CTR (click through rate) average: 2.83%
  • Things Of The Internet CTR average: 26.5%

Woah! That’s awesome! People have loved these emails thus far. Or at least felt compelled to open them and click on something.

Other interesting notes. Where the links were in the email didn’t seem to matter too much when it came to click through.

Swear words and link-bait like titles garnered the most interest. But I found consistently that users were clicking the second link as much as, if not more, than the first link in the list.

Those first three notches ^ are the ones I sent at 5 A.M. Eastern. They also had the highest open and CTR (orange is industry average). Clearly it pays to get the morning email crowd.

So it seems the moral of the story here is to create a compelling landing page, have weird icons in your email header line, make your email simple (text != good), and keep readers curious.

Things Of The Internet

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