Ben Settle

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Your Daily Email Addiction

File under: Email Marketing

Came a question from an “Email Players” subscriber.

I know you talked about how you don’t pay attention to open rates.


Even with my tiny-small list I can see, let’s say tendencies, with regard to ORs.

At what point (what list size) can I take those parameters serious?

The short answer:

Almost never.

It’s an almost completely pointless vanity metric, possibly only a little more useful than your last Frogger arcade game score from 1981. There is far more power in the consistency you send emails and in focusing on getting better each day. And while I won’t say open rates have zero value — as there are a few times where it makes sense to track them, like to monitor the overall health of your list for example — don’t fool yourself into thinking they have anything to do with sales or anything but maybe an ego boost or bragging points in a Facebook group full of copywriters who find such vanity metrics worthy of getting excited about.

On that note:

Following are 12 far more important markers than open rates.

1. Sales — the ultimate engagement (see the next one), plus if money is the game, sales is the scoreboard

2. Replies/engagement — ESPs like Gmail & Yahoo tend to give more inbox delivery love (instead of shunting you to the spam or promotions folders) to you when you get replies from your list, since they see you as a person and not a worthless spammer

3. Clicks — which means engagement, and are far more practically useful than opens

4. Opt outs — probably don’t count as “engagement”, but if you aren’t getting lots of opt-outs you ain’t doing it right

5. Complaints/trolls — which, ironically, help your overall delivery since they are engaging with you (i.e., why trolls are your unpaid interns if you let them be)

6. Testimonials — not just for the engagement factor, but the practical factor too

7. Questions — even more engagement, plus can make great fodder for future emails

8. Customer service requests — yet more engagement, plus probably the greatest opportunity for selling there is

9. Interview request reply to an email — not only means engagement, but interviews are great for list-building

10. Forwards — if people are forwarding your emails to their friends, social media, etc, that can lead to referrals & a bigger list

11. JV proposal reply to an email — not only does this mean engagement, but could also mean new business

12. Spam complaints — not a good thing, but does tell you your lead gen & curation is weak, an important thing to know in the grand scheme of things

The goo-roo fanboys won’t like this list much.

But if you care what they think, you got bigger problems than open rates.

All right, on to the business:

My “Email Players” methodology is designed to get you far more of the 12 actions above than you are getting now. The evergreen info is in the “Email Players Skhema Book” I give to new subscribers, with the ongoing stuff in the monthly newsletter.

Speaking of which:

The November issue is all about copywriting.

And, specifically, mastering copywriting.

Not just being good or even great at it — but mastering it.

If that appeals to you, go here before the looming 10/31/20 deadline to get this issue:

Ben Settle

  • Book & Tabloid Newsletter Publisher
  • Email Supremacist
  • Alt-Copywriter
  • Software Investor
  • Pulp Novelist

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