How the Navy SEALS saved my email campaign

Yesterday I mentioned that the best way to see whether or not your email copy is effective is to compare the number of people who open to the number of clicks.

10% is a good benchmark—below that you're struggling, above that you're rocking.

Let's say you're below that 10% number.

What can you do about it?

I'm actually working through a scenario like this with an affiliate promotion right now.

This particular product I'm promoting is a course that helps technical professionals do more of their work while in “flow state.”

Flow is “the zone” where you lose all sense of time and self, and you're completely absorbed in what you're doing.

The course is world class, and the topic seemed super relevant to the audience (software developers).

My first three emails for this kinda bombed though.

The opens-to-clicks rate was around 5% for all three.

The next two were solid hits, with an opens-to-clicks rate of 10%.

What made the difference?

Well, frankly it wasn't that the copy in the second batch of emails was “better,” or even much different in technical terms.

The biggest factor in whether an email soars or flops is the “hook”—the theme or concept that you choose to focus on, and the specific benefit that it highlights.

For example, the theme for one of emails that didn't do so well was what this course calls “the gray zone.”

You've experienced this—it's when you spend all day in a fog and don't really accomplish anything, then sleepwalk through your evening and don't enjoy your “downtime” either.

And then I described how you can work in flow and be either 100% “on” or 100% “off,” with huge benefits to both your work and play.

That one was a no go.

So for my next email, I took a completely different angle.

I talked about how the U.S. military has started using flow training techniques to help elite snipers in the Navy SEALS improve their skill acquisition.

I referenced a study that showed a 490% improvement in learning speed when the soldiers were “in flow.”

Bam, clicks went through the roof.

Same product, same list, different hook, night and day difference.

The takeaway is:

To improve your email results, don't tinker around with rewording your call to action or sprinkling in “power words.”

Try different “hooks” instead. That's where you'll make big gains.