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10 Sneaky Tricks To Boost Email Conversions

10 sneaky tricks to boost email conversions

When it comes to sending emails, you should be looking to make money but while this is a goal of virtually every business, not every company is able to achieve this. This is because to have a successful email campaign you need to engage, please your audience and you need to convert.

In this guide we will show you how to:

  • Increase engagement
  • Boost your click through rates
  • Dramatically boost your email open rates

No matter what you want to achieve with your email strategies, you will need to engage your audience because this is the thing that matters when looking to get through to your audience.

Did you know that the leading email service providers such as Google or Hotmail have an Engagement Score? This Engagement Score determines whether your email is going to make its way to your inbox or your spam folder.

There are four key metrics for engagement, and they are:

  • Email open rate: The more emails opened, the higher your engagement score
  • Lateral scroll rate: The deeper a user scrolls, the higher the level of engagement will be
  • Hard and soft bounce rates: The fewer bounces, including hard (which is where the email address doesn’t actually exist) and soft (the email inbox is unable to accept any more emails), the better your engagement score will be
  • Unsubscribe and complaint rate: The fewer number of unsubscribers you have and the fewer people hitting spam, the better your engagement score will be

It is important to be aware that clicks don’t actually count for your engagement score as this is deemed a breach of privacy by the big email providers. So you need to be engaging to make sure that your message is seen by your users but of course, you need to make sure that you are engaging so you can actually interact with your users and have a chance of making sales.

Trick #1 Use subject lines that work

When it comes to successful subject lines for emails, there are 4 categories

  1. Blind or Curiosity
  2. Direct or Benefit
  3. Urgency or Scarcity
  4. Proof/Results or Credibility

Blind or Curiosity

These are subject lines that use mystery or tease their readers to open the email. You won’t state the benefit to the user of opening the email but they imply that there is a real benefit involved. It is human nature to be interested in this sort of subject line and this is a style of subject line that has had a great deal of success in open rates.

Some great examples include:

  • Fewer______ leads to more sales
  • 1,254,879 free clicks from…
  • 8 brilliant business “hacks”?
  • This is a very weird but profitable tactic

Direct or Benefit

This is the opposite style of approach where the benefit of the email is stated in the subject email. This can receive fewer opens but the people that do open will have an area of interest in what is on offer.

Relevant examples include:

  • Writing bullet points that sell
  • Build a list for just £1
  • Generate traffic that leads to big sales
  • Create opt-in pages that convert every day
  • Steal these templates

The benefit is clearly outlined in the subject line which means that the user knows exactly what you are getting from them.

Urgency or Scarcity

This style of subject line is based on the importance of acting now or the user may miss out. You must have a genuine element of scarcity when you use this style of subject line, but if you do, it can be of great success.

Examples of this style of subject line include:

  • 75% off sale closes at midnight
  • Your last chance to be a gold member
  • You will miss out on this
  • Last of the discounts

You need to communicate a sense of urgency in your subject list for this style of list to work for you.

Each of these subject lines communicates the need to act fast or risk losing out on something.


Proof/Results or Credibility

This is a style of subject line that utilises logic or proof in order to convince a user to open their email. Examples of this style of email include:

  • Stay at home mum earns £12,647 in a week
  • 45,835 leads in a month
  • This guy earns a 6 figure salary a month – see how

These subject lines leverage proof and results to build credibility and get the email opened. You will also find that the numbers involved in this style of subject line are not rounded up or down. The numbers look “odd” so that makes them stand out, which can lead to more opened emails.

Trick #2 Use Unicode Symbols & Personalization

When it comes to standing out and grabbing attention, being a bit odd and different can work wonders. This is a great way to make sure that your subject line stands out from the crowd and a number of companies have reported success by working in this manner.

Examples of using these codes in a natural manner can include:

  • Using the play button because there is a video or video link available in the email
  • Using an arrow to ensure that people’s attention are drawn to a subject line
  • Using a skull and crossbones to provide a warning about something.


It is important to be aware of these symbols and using them can be of benefit but also make sure that you don’t overuse them.

You will also find that personalisation can be used very well in a subject line. After all, what sort of email would a person called John respond to:

You’re about to miss out…


John, you’re about to miss out …

Trick #3 Optimising The Second Subject Line

When an email arrives in the inbox of your recipients, they will see three things:

  • The From Line
  • The Subject Line and
  • The Second Subject Line

You get an additional chance to make an impact with the second subject line and you have to look to utilise this as best as you can.

Examples of the 'second' subject line done wrong..

                                                                                    Examples of the ‘second’ subject line done wrong..


If your second subject line isn’t compelling, it will provide no reason to open the email. Also, if your second subject line looks like it belongs to a promotional email, you will find that people won’t open it. If your second subject line looks like it belongs to a mass-sent email, you will find that people won’t open it.

A good way to optimise the second subject line is to think about your opening subject line. If you have opted for a blind subject line, why not make your second subject line more direct. This means if you lose some users due to the blind nature of the initial subject line, you may win them back thanks to the second line. Going direct with the second line is often of benefit as it indicates the further you go into the email, the more obvious the benefits will become.


Examples of the 'second' subject line done right..

                                                                                   Examples of the ‘second’ subject line done right..


An increasing number of email providers give you the chance to designate the second subject line and this option is growing all the time. Be sure to check with your email provider to see if this is available to you.

Trick #4 Avoid “The Purge”

When it comes to thinking about how users react and respond to emails, think about how you react and respond to emails. You, and most of us, will check our emails when we wake up thanks to the -omnipotent presence of our smartphones.


However, most people don’t engage with these emails, the plan is to get these emails cleared before they make their way into the office or start work. This means that you want to avoid the purge, which means you should be aware of the office hours of the recipients of your emails (in general, you don’t need to know the working practices of every intended recipient) and look to deliver emails in the late morning or early afternoon. You definitely want it delivered after people have settled in at their desk but you don’t want to send it too late in the day when people let things slide, because this will mean that your email can get caught up in the purge of the following day.

Trick #5 Give People 4 Chances To Get Engaged

As a rule of thumb, you should be looking to provide 4 links in every email. AT times you can include 3 links or 5 links but on the whole, the more links you offer, the more chances of someone clicking. Of course, you need to provide a viable and purposeful reason for people to click a link so sticking with four gives you a number of chances without running out of reasons.

You should also look to vary and later the nature of reason you give people to click. An example would be:

  • Link one – Provide a benefit based reason
  • Link two – Provide a scarcity based reason
  • Link three – Provide a curiosity based reason
  • Link four – Provide a social proof reason


You should look to test your rests and see what works for you but it stands to reason that if a benefit based reason didn’t work for the first link, why should it work for the second, third or fourth link? Different people respond to different things, so altering the nature of your links will increase the chances of someone linking through from your email.

Trick #6 Using click triggers

When it comes to getting people to click in your email, these following triggers are great ways to achieve what you are looking for.

Ask a question that is driven by a benefit. As an example “How do our highly converting email templates work?”

Provide a link between the product and proof. As an example “Our system boosts your conversion rates by 42%. See how it works here:”

Leads users into giving you the yes. As an example, ask questions that a user will answer yes and then provide them with the link so “Do you need more conversions? Are you looking to optimise your email marketing strategy? Do you want templates that help you create email templates quickly?”

Show people how they will be after they click. As an example, “With this system, you will be able to write effective emails that get the click every time”

Open up and get personal. Sometimes you need to make a personal connection with your audience to get them to click so add some personal information.

Go Negative! As an example “If you’d prefer to lose money from your email list, DO NOT CLICK THIS LINK”

Trick #7 Press Play

There is something about human nature that means when people see a play button, they will click it. This means if you can use an image of a video player in your email with the play button that is clearly displayed, people will click play and this then takes them through to your landing page.


Trick #8 Get Animated

This is becoming a really great way to get clicks and you will find that animated gifs are a tremendous way of getting clicks in your email. You may associate gifs with money moments on the internet but they can used to show users your product in action or as a demo.

You can use a gif to generate a click itself or you may decide to use a gif to act as a countdown timer. This visualises the sense of urgency in your email, which can encourage the desire to click.

Trick #9 Use A Survey

Okay, this is a bit of a sneaky one but if you are looking to get a really great return and you will only use this strategy on rare occasions, use a faux survey.


No matter what answer a user clicks on they will be taken to your landing page, so make sure that the landing page is relevant to your call to action. If you use this tactic too often, people will get annoyed and may think less of you but every so often, it is a great way to get a high volume of clicks.

Trick #10 Perform List Hygiene

This isn’t going to be the most exciting trick to use, but it is an important step in maintaining good returns on your email list. This step will help you maintain a good level of engagement score, so don’t overlook the simple and dull steps involved with maintaining an email list.

Things to look out for and steps to take include:

Duplicate contacts – if you have the same email address on your list a number of times, remove the duplicate contacts

Fake emails or typo’s – Check for false emails and remove them

The hard and soft bounces – If you are getting hard or soft bounces, remove them. You should remove hard bounces immediately and give soft bounces a couple of tests

If you have any email addresses that contain the word “spam”, remove them immediately.

You should also look to ensure that anyone who has unsubscribed or complained about your email service is removed. If you have any inactive subscribers, you need to take action. If someone hasn’t clicked or opened an email in 90 days, they need to re-engaged or removed from your list. This is the sort of user that will have a negative impact on your engagement score so either work on re-engaging them or look to remove them.

If you are looking for some serious additional tools to help manage your email list, the following options are of benefit.

Tower Data

This service provides you with information about your subscribers with the most important piece of information being whether the email address is valid. Using this service on a monthly basis will ensure that you have a list that is active.

Mail Monitor App

This will provide you with information and data on how well your emails are being delivered. This will include information broken down by email provider, by ISP and whether your account or address is being listed on email blacklists.


This service provides you with a credit rating with respect to the reputation you have as a bulk emailer.


About James Nicholson

James Nicholson is the founder of Rocket Marketing Hub. He’s worked in Digital Marketing for over 10 years for companies like Utility Warehouse, NHS and hundreds more.

You can connect with James on Twitter and Facebook

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