This ain’t no instant win game.

I know what you’re thinking. Because I’ve thought the same way too.

If I can just get the show open, if I can just get the product launched, it’s going to be a instant smash hit.  It’s that good of an idea, script, score, whatever.

The money will pour in. The reviews will be stellar.  And the tickets will sell like hotcakes at an ‘I Love Hotcakes’ convention.

It’s perfectly fine to think that way . . . it’s perfectly fine to fantasize . . . as long as you’re ok with that fantasy not coming true.

Because odds are, it’s not going to happen.

Does that sound negative?  It’s not.  I’m not saying that your show, product, whatever isn’t going to be a super smash hit, but I just wouldn’t count on it being an overnight sensation.

Because business is not like the lottery.  You don’t wake up one morning and find that you’ve hit the jackpot.

No matter how good your show, your product, or your hotcakes are . . . you have to be prepared to put in the work.

But if you’re an entrepreneur, that’s when you’re going to have the most fun anyway.

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FUN STUFF:

– Play “Will It Recoup?”  You can win a Kindle!  Click here and enter today!

– Need a writing partner?  Come to our Collaborator Speed Date!  RSVP today!

– Enter this Sunday’s Giveaway!  Win 2 tickets to see Priscilla Queen of the Desert!  Click here!

 

5 Ways to get higher open rates on your email blasts.

Yesterday we dismissed the myth that the size of an email blast list determines its value.  Since we know that the true success of any advertising campaign is the number of conversions and ROI (return on investment), it’s essential that we examine ways that we can increase those conversions.

And before we get to the message inside the blast, we’ve got to make sure as many people are opening it as possible.

Here are five tips you can use to increase the open rates on your email blasts, whether a third party is sending them for you (Telecharge.com, etc.) or whether you’re blasting the subscribers to your own lists.

1.  Customize your “From” field.

Most third party email blast providers (like Benchmark, the service I use and recommend) allow you to send emails from whatever name you’d like.  Make sure it’s not coming from ’emailblast@yourcompany.com’ or anything impersonal like that.  It should come from you or your show or maybe even a character in your show.  The more personal your communication, the better. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s as instantly recognizable as possible.

2.   Avoid Spam flags.

A lot happens to every email you send before it (hopefully) gets to your intended recipient.  Their ISP scans that sucker a few times looking for signs that you are a spammer.  If it sees one of those signs, your email will be sent to your recipient’s Spam folder faster than it would take you to throw up after eating a whole can of Spam by yourself.  Or worse, the ISP may just bounce your email back at you!  How can you decrease the chances of being seen as Spam?  Here are some things to avoid in your subject lines specifically:  exclamation points, dollar signs, all caps, words like “free,” “discount,” “special,” “save,” etc.

3.  It’s all in the timing.

There are not only better days of the week to send emails to increase your open rates, but there are also better times of day.  The tricky part is determining the best day/time for your specific message.  My research has shown more success on mid-week email blasts for the best open rates when pushing a sales message, so I focus on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday when I have a choice. Since most folks get their emails at work, I try to avoid Mondays (when their inboxes are overloaded from the weekend) and Fridays, when people are trying to get out of work.  Weekends are more successful than they used to be, but I try to steer clear of selling on a Saturday or Sunday.  I time my messages for the middle of the day (around lunch time), in the hopes that the recipient may open it while they’re munching on their salad or sandwich, since they have more time.

4.  Your subject is not a subject, it’s a headline.

A well written subject is the equivalent of old-fashioned direct response copy (click here to read one of the most successful headlines of all time).  It’s an ad for the ad.  Don’t just slap a few words together to say, “save $20 on tickets to XXX show.”  Your subject has to rev up your reader so that they are compelled to hit that “open” button.  Spend time on your subjects.  And watch what subjects intrigue you as you open emails every day.

5.  Test it and tweak it every time.

Split test your emails with two separate subjects, if you can.  If you can’t split, then try different ideas with each blast and see how your open rate changes from blast to blast. Testing is the key to improving anything, not just advertising and not just open rates, but this is one of the areas that we seem to ignore in this industry more than anything.  If we are so dependent on email blasts and open rates, then we have to try different things with each effort and adjust accordingly.

Email marketing isn’t going anywhere.  It’s still your show’s strongest asset, whether you’re buying email blasts from third parties, or sending them yourself (I hope both).  If you focus on improving your open rate with these tips (that, by the way, don’t cost you any more) you can make that asset even more rewarding.

What do great Chefs and great Producers have in common?

Successful chefs and successful Producers have one thing in common.

In the old days, I’d say that they both wore big hats.

Nowadays, it’s as simple as this:

They both have to have great taste.

There are all different kinds of chefs in the world.  Some chefs cook to their own taste, ignoring those that they’re serving.  They may not be very “successful,” but they may be fulfilled nonetheless.

Some chefs cook only the way their diners enjoy, at times serving dishes that they wouldn’t eat themselves in order to guarantee their survival and their “success.”

As a Producer, you have to decide what type of chef you’re going to be.  Do you want to force-feed people a menu that suits only your own taste buds?  Do you want to serve the lowest-common denominator dishes, but serve a ton of it?

Or do you want to be one of the masters, who can find the balance between the two?

Do you want to be the kind that both satisfies and challenges both yours and your customers’ taste buds?

If you can pull that off, you can wear whatever kind of hat you want.

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