Copywriting, Emails, Language, Psychology

5 ways to increase email open rates

Useless unless opened!

It’s very important to spend plenty of time making sure your email copy is as clear, targeted and emotionally triggering as possible before you let it loose on your list, but there is one element of every email that is by far much more important than any other…

The subject line.

If the subject line of your email is not effective enough, all that time and effort spent on the contents of the email is a complete and utter waste.

So what’s the purpose of a subject line and how can we get it to work as well as possible?

Ok, first of all, contrary to popular belief, a subject line is not there to tell readers what the email’s about.

I know this might seem counter-intuitive but let’s think for a second what our overall goal is by emailing our members in the first place: to sell of course.

And in order to sell to our list of members, we need to let them know how great whatever it is we’re selling actually is – that’s where your email comes in. The contents of your email are sales-driven (or at least should be!).

The subject line is the mechanism via which you get the reader to go from skimming his inbox to actually opening your email and learning all about your fab product or service and how it’s so great for him.

In short, your subject line is there to get your email opened.

So how do we do this?

There are a number of ways of increasing email open rates. Here are just 5…

1. Start with the member’s first name – eg. ‘John, this tourney’s for you…’

Why does this work? Well, think about it. Your own name does have a tendency to catch your eye!

This personalisation lets the reader know that you know him, so it’s less likely to be spam and more likely to result in the email being opened.

2. Trigger curiosity – eg. ‘John, have you seen this?’

The vague and teasing nature of a subject line like this triggers an emotional response that can be exceedingly difficult to overcome – curiosity.

If you can work some magic here, your open rates will soar!

3. Boost their ego – eg. ‘John, winners like you will love this…’

Nothing invites a little attention more than an ego massage.

And everyone loves to be complimented, making this approach effective, but ONLY if it’s done right.

4. Add a sense of urgency – eg. ‘John, you’ve got 2 hours left to register…’

No-one wants to miss out on something that might be important, and the ‘time running out’ approach can work rather well when used appropriately.

5. Use symbols – eg. ‘ John, you’re now registered for the tourney!’

(The  is meant to be a club card suit symbol, but it does illustrate an issue you may want to take into acccount, and that’s whether or not the symbol will show in most inboxes!)

Yep, 2012’s big subject line trend saw an increased use of symbols.

They aren’t too common yet (so try them before they’re everywhere and people get desensitised!) and as such are great eye-catchers.

Get these right and keep them appropriate for maximum eye-catching impact!

Remember, subject lines play a crucial role in determining the effectiveness of your email campaign.

Fail at the first hurdle of the subject line and you WILL fall flat on your face.

Dedicate some time to testing what works with your list to make sure your emails at least get opened!

Copywriting, Language, Psychology, Social media

The Dos and Don’ts of social marketing

Nailing social media

Social Marketing.

Surprisingly, many companies are still poking it with a stick, scared about what exactly they should do with it.

Even worse, many more are just using it like it’s just another marketing channel.

So today I’m going to talk about optimal use of social marketing platforms – and in particular, Facebook – what you should and shouldn’t be doing…

– DON’T think it’s just another marketing channel

The magical thing about Facebook is it’s a place where people come together and talk very openly about pretty much anything so it’s very easy to target the kind of people you’re hoping to attract to your brand simply by posting things on a similar topic.

The biggest mistake you could possibly make with FB is to treat it like any other marketing channel.

For your own good, don’t post some marketing rubbish about how you’ve just released a great new version of your casino and you should come and download it NOW! Do you think that’s what people talk about on FB?

Is that what you go looking for when you go on FB? Most likely not.

– DO post interesting stuff

Join in with your target market on FB. Post about stuff they’re interested in. Get into conversations with them and chat about things.

The more you connect with these people on FB, the more they will lower their guard, which is automatically up when they’re met with typical marketing materials. Once their guard is lowered a bit and they can relate to you as a real person, they’re more likely to check out your brand and what you’re all about of their own accord.

– DON’T sound corporate

You’ll find people on FB chat with each other like they would on the street. It’s very colloquial and informal.

So posting in a corporate tone of voice is just going to get you ignored. People are not interested in responding to or even reading your business bumf on FB. They’re there to have fun, socialise and get lost in a bit of Facebook stalking!

– DO remember you’re a real person!

The best thing you can do for brand awareness using the FB platform is remember you’re a real person and people relate to other people.

People cannot relate to the corporate voice so don’t use it.

Use your own voice. Type your posts the way you would say things, in your own voice, with your own personal nuances.

Once people realise you’re a real person just like they are, they’re much more likely to lower their defences a bit and engage with you.

If you find something funny on FB, share it with your members! Why wouldn’t they appreciate it?

– DON’T get caught up in flame wars

Not everyone out there is going to be nice. There are some people out there on FB that will try to cause trouble on your page.

Resist the temptation to give it right back to these individuals. Everyone knows what a trouble maker looks like. Just ignore them and they’ll look elsewhere for their kicks.

– DO address any issues right there and asap

FB is perfect for showing your members how quickly and efficiently you deal with issues.

So if one of your members posts with a complaint about something, make sure you handle it quickly and politely, but also make sure you do it publicly, so everyone can see you care about your members.

It’s another way of building confidence, but in a more indirect way.

Remember, places like Facebook are absolute gold mines if you just approach them properly.

If you start off your FB presence with a business spiel, you will fail.

Use FB the way it was meant to be used – for socialising. Get to know your members, have a laugh with them, connect with them on a personal level, be one of them.

If you put in the time with them and be genuine about it, they will be more likely to trust you and your brand of their own accord.

That’s all for now. More soon. ;)

Affiliate reviews, Copywriting, Language, Psychology

The power of a negative review

Learn how bad can also be good

Continuing on the subject of affiliate reviews, I’m going to talk a little about why it’s just as important, if not more so, to have negative reviews on your site in addition to the positive ones and why your online gaming review site should not consist only of positive reviews.

Too many online gaming affiliates make the mistake of thinking that if they just stick up a site with tons of casino articles all boasting glowing reviews, they’ll stuff their pockets with a waterfall of commissions.

This goes back to a common theme of mine: we’re talking to real people here!

Your reviews are aimed at real people, right? These people are likely to be looking for a decent casino to play at. Imagine they stumble upon one of these ‘all positive’ sites, take their advice and sign up and deposit at some online casino, then discover they’re nothing but scam merchants with a terrible reputation! Not good huh? But that’s gonna have a knock-on effect on the site that recommended that casino in the first place!

And the last thing you need as an affiliate is a bad reputation. People talk, sites get slagged, etc. It’s far easier to have a good reputation to start with and build on that, than to try and put out a flame-fest that’s already all over the net!

So here’s an effective approach to help boost your reputation AND your commissions.

Review bad online casinos too.

Now you might regard this as a waste of time and/or money but think about it logically for a minute…

If readers come across a negative review on your site, they are more likely to respect your honesty and take your positive reviews way more seriously.

Just because you’ve put up some negative reviews on your site doesn’t mean you have to link to them! Just stick your affiliate links on the good ones and be sure to make it clear that you do not recommend the ones you’re classing as bad!


After all, how believable do you really expect the contents of your affiliate site to be if all you do is post one after another of all positive reviews?

This is the perfect example of where honesty will pay off for you as it gives your readers a heads-up on the dodgy casinos out there and gives far more weight to your positive reviews, resulting in more chance of sign-ups on the ones you do actually recommend!

Affiliate reviews, Copywriting, Language, Psychology

4 ways to commission-pulling affiliate online gaming reviews

How to get these right for maximum commission potential!

Affiliate reviews.

An effective approach to affiliate marketing is the production of a review site, where visitors can read about a selection of online casinos in an attempt to find one that suits them best. If the reader fancies checking out the online casino after reading the review, they’ll probably click on a link to join the casino, after which, the affiliate gets their cut.

However, something I’ve noticed a lot when checking out these reviews is they all tend to say the same thing…

‘Check out such and such casino, it’s the best online casino ever!’

Of course, that can’t be true for all online casinos out there so why is it so common to find all the reviews on one review site claiming the same thing?

With the marketplace of online casinos, bingo sites and poker rooms bursting at the seams, any edge an affiliate can get over his/her competition obviously means more commission for them.

So what can you, the affiliate, do to get that edge when it comes to your online gaming reviews, and end up with more click-thrus to the sign-up page, and more commission in your pocket?

Here are a few tips on the kind of reviews you should have on your online gaming review site and how they’ll help you pull in more sign-ups.

– Everyone wants something different

First of all, you have to realise that everyone’s looking for something slightly different from their ideal online casino and claiming that all the ones on your review site are ‘the best’ is not gonna achieve anything.

You have to go a bit deeper and think about what your visitors are looking for. It could be a massive first deposit bonus, a huge selection of games, one game in particular, better odds of winning than most, promotions that reward players of a specific game, a unique VIP program… the list goes on.

Potential online casino members know they have hundreds of online casino sites to pick from and it can be quite a daunting task sifting through them all to find one that’s just right for them.

So make this task easier for your visitors and get real about what’s really great about the casinos you promote. What makes them different? Why choose them over the thousands of others out there?

If you can make your reviews more specific in this way, you’ll be giving your visitors exactly what they’re looking for, increasing your chances of more sign-ups.

– Remember you’re talking to a real person!

I really can’t emphasise this concept enough. It’s sad to see online gaming communications of any kind that are aimed at members or potential members with absolutely no personality, no character, no style, not a scrap of human element to them at all – it’s like they’ve been borne of the computers we use themselves, complete with robot tone of voice!

Think about how you would convince a friend of yours to try dining at your favourite restaurant. Since it’s a friend of yours, you probably have a good idea about their likes and dislikes so you’d relate your dining experience to your friend in terms of things they also like. Maybe this particular restaurant has a knack for cooking the steaks to perfection and you know your friend loves a well cooked steak!

Chances are you wouldn’t be droning in monotone about something general that isn’t relevant to your friend in the slightest. How could you class that as convincing?

The point is, remember you’re talking to real people through your online gaming affiliate reviews. They have likes and dislikes, they landed on your site for a reason, they’re looking for something in particular, so tell them you have it. Don’t scare them off with corporate talk about things they don’t care about and don’t talk to them like you’re a couple of machines exchanging binary information!

Put some feeling into your reviews, give them depth and a personal touch. We’re all people and we all relate to written materials much better when we know there’s an actual person with similar tastes to ourselves behind the words.

– If you can, give visitors a special offer.

Many affiliates have at their disposal a special bonus offer they can present to visitors of their site as an extra incentive to encourage sign-ups.

If you have such an offer, make it clear in your review! Specify that it’s a special offer and that it won’t be around for long. Emphasise that now they’ve found their ideal online casino, the deal does get even sweeter with this great offer…

It could be that tiny extra nudge that makes the difference between trailing off to some other site or actually signing up. And we know what difference that can make in terms of your commission.

– Tell your visitors what they should do!

So you’ve got what you think is a pretty good review that speaks to people, specifies what’s really great about this particular online casino, puts the special offer up front and emphasises that it’s a limited offer.

So you slap it on your affiliate site and wait for the page views and click-thrus to start piling up.

The page views mount up, cos you probably already get a good amount of traffic to your site.

But those page views are just not converting into click-thrus. How come?

One vitally important addition to any review is your affiliate link, of course, but also a call to action.

A call to action is exactly what it sounds like. You’re telling your visitors what action to take now with one simple sentence, the shorter the better.

The problem is, if you don’t tell your visitors what they should do, they’re not gonna automatically know. You have to guide them in the right direction, make it clear what they should do next.

So something like ‘Click here to deposit and start playing’ would be a call to action.

That’s it for online gaming affiliate reviews for now. They can be a very useful way to direct people to an online gaming site that suits them, and something of a cash cow for those affiliates who are smart enough to do it right.

If you need reviews written for your affiliate site that actually work, get in touch and we can have a chat about what I can do for you and your commission. ;)