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We are part of the BetaList Bundle for early stage startups

Many tools have been created to help early-stage startups go from idea to market/product fit and finally profitability. There are so many tools out there, that it’s very time-consuming to pick the most efficient ones.

Our friends at BetaList launched a bundle of 22 handpicked tools for early stage startups. They feature great tools such as Stripe, Flow, Drip, InVision, and we are also proud to be part of it!

Check it out.

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For $47, startups have access to 22 services ranging from prototyping software, educational resources, productivity tools, and more. The PR toolkit, ça va sans dire, is pr.co.

The BetaList Bundle is available for a limited time.

"Startup founders often ask which software I recommend, so I figured why not work out a deal to provide access to all these great services?" Marc Köhlbrugge, founder of BetaList. 

Disclosure: Marc was also a co-founder of the first incarnation of pr.co.

Send fewer emails, get better results

We don’t believe in mass distribution, we took a stand before. You don’t have to believe our word, of course.

To further investigate this matter, we gathered data from all the presslist campaigns sent through pr.co, since the feature was released in March 2013.

We’re looking for open and click rates. We want to understand if there is a correlation between the amount of emails you send and the rate of people interacting with it.

Why we care about the amount of emails?

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

You already know writing news about your company is not enough. You need to spread the word reaching out to the right people, at the right time, in the right way.

So, how do you reach out to your audiences? How many people do you usually email? How personal are your emails? 

Here is a breakdown showing how many emails are sent per campaign.

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More than half (53%) of all the campaigns sent through pr.co have less than 100 recipients. To be more precise, 21% of all the campaigns has between 2 and 19 recipients. Another 20% has from 20 to 60 recipients.

Campaigns with more than 200 emails sent are way less recurring. Among the ‘big’ campaigns, many have between 600 and 800 recipients. On the other hand, only 17% of all the campaigns has more than 300 sent emails.

What we measured and why

How do you measure your email campaigns? What metrics are you looking at? The most obvious ones are open and click rates. How many of your recipients clicked on the link in your email?

If they don’t click, they won’t accomplish your call to action - and if they don’t open, they won’t click. So opening and clicking are required steps.

Let’s check then how open and click rates change and if there is a correlation with the amount of emails sent per campaign.

See it on Pinterest

Let’s check the exact rates:

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A correlation between the 3 metrics

When a campaign is sent to 2-9 people, the average open rate is 51% and the click rate is 28%. Up to 80 emails sent, the open rate is above 30% and the click rate is around 10%. As the amount of emails grows, we can notice a drop in the open and click rates.

According to this data, a negative correlation exists between the amount of emails sent and the open and click rates.

We also saw some very successful campaigns, where open rates were above 30% even with hundreds of emails sent. On the other hand, some campaigns had no clicks - regardless of the amount of emails sent.

I would argue that it’s increasingly difficult to maintain bigger lists of emails, as many things can change and it’s hard to keep everything up-to-date when numbers grow.

How we managed the data

We run a simple database query to extract the presslist campaigns since the release of the feature. The amount of emails sent per campaign is the first information we need. In a single campaign, the emails sent may either be the same for all recipients, or everyone could get a personalized email - or something in between the two options.

The more the recipients, the less likely customization is.

We removed right away 5% of campaigns at the top and at the bottom, for a couple of reasons. First off, campaigns with only one recipient are usually tests. Moreover, we also noticed a few campaigns with a huge amount of emails sent - between 1200 and 12000. The amount of emails here is so different from the majority of the campaigns that we didn’t want the results to be twisted because of those.

Want more?

You can read what we already published about the best day to send press releases and the days press releases get the most views.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

What Product Hunt brought us in one day

We got featured on Producthunt yesterday (YAYYY!) and we collected a lot of great feedback from the community.

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We also saw lots of traffic coming from Product Hunt. More on that in the next few days.

About the feedback.

I have the feeling that the commentators were talking about press releases as we all knew them in the past, and not about our toolkit. Nonetheless, some of their points deserve some in-depth analisys.

Let’s check some.

I think the press release is dead. It’s much better to reach out personally with a compelling story to press relationships you’ve built. Why am I wrong? - @eric3000

Relationships are pretty much everything. It’s not like the two things are mutually exclusive, though.

Press releases as we knew them are dead indeed, and their role in media relations is decreasing.

On the other hand, media relations aren’t going to die anytime soon. Businesses are more and more willing to craft stories to engage their audience, and we are empowering them in doing so.

Managing media relations means doing everything to make easy for other people to talk about you. Setting up your pressroom. Preparing your presskit. Reaching out to journalists, bloggers, editors, influencers, and your mom. Checking the results of your campaign, to improve and polish your pitch for the next time. We help people do that.

Press releases as we knew them are gone, but their original purpose is still alive in this game, whether we like it or not.

If your goal is to get press, you need a targeted 1-1 approach with key journalists which may require exclusives to break your story. - @knakao

I do agree personalized approaches are required. Exclusives depend a lot on the situation IMHO.

The real tools that help with PR often do show up on this page. Take Yesware, which will help you see if journalists are actually opening your pitch and clicking the links it contains. This isn’t a positive PR tool because it’s invasive, it’s great because it gives you insight to build a better relationship and waste less of their time. - @MaxTB

Yesware is a great tool if you use Gmail. We have a similar feature, since we track open and click rates on all the emails you send through pr.co and aggregate data in real time reports.

I think the bigger and more likely risk is that innocent companies will sign up, thinking that they are doing the right thing and looking the part, when in fact they are just spamming journalists with more elegant-looking chaff. - @MaxTB

I agree again. There’s no way to skip those time-consuming tasks, unless you hire someone to do so. We always try to help our users invest more and more time and effort in their PR activities, since crafting a pitch, finding a new angle or planning a big launch are never easy to accomplish.

Would like to hear your thoughts on that, comments are open. Twitter works, too.

We got featured on Product Hunt​ today

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Please upvote us: here!

Tags news startup

How to write subject lines for emails that get opened

Have you ever looked at emails as a marketing channel that belongs to the past?

You may need to change your mind: email marketing is alive, well, and expanding. We send 182 billion emails on an average day (source) and we’ll probably send slightly more in the near future.

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As inboxes get more and more crowded, though, you need to figure out the most efficient way to reach your goals. When it comes to email marketing, what’s the main issue between you and your goals?

Your emails must be opened.

This is a bottleneck you have here - any different outcome means missing your goal. Much have been written about how to set up your emails to maximize the opportunity to have them opened. The most time is usually spent crafting the subject of your emails.

Here are some tips about it.

Personalization is not only a name

If you let people subscribe in the right way, you can include the recipient’s name in the subject. Most email marketing tools allow you to do so. Since this is a very common technique, your open rates may not vary that much.

You can also customize this further, according to the specific needs of small groups of subscribers. For this to work, you’ll first need to segment your email list into groups that are based on similar topics.

Moreover, what about localization? If you can be specific about a geographic area, do it. Usually, the more specific you are, the better the results.

Avoid cold emails as much as possible

If you don’t keep in touch with your contacts for a long time, they won’t remember who you are, what you do and why they signed up in the first place.

This example here from this post is quite meaningful I think.

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A quick recap of what you do can also be helpful if you’re cold emailing people. When readers remember your name or know what they’re going to receive, they’re more likely to open.

Variation VS. consistency

If your subject is something like “Newsletter #47 - July 2014” - I see your problem here. It’s good to give continuity and consistency to your communication, but each new email should provide a clear indication of what is inside.

These 4U will help you

As simple as that. The headline is the teaser of your content, so it should be meaningful while not revealing everything. What is the press release about? Why is this important for the reader? If you don’t give your readers a reason to click, why should they?

This can be summarized with the 4U approach: make it Useful and Unique, provide a sense of Urgency, be Ultra-specific.

One rule for all occasions

If there’s one only magic rule that will help you crafting the prefect subject line, here it is: just describe the subject of your email. Give the reader a reason to explore your message further. The Golden Rule is:

Tell what’s inside, don’t sell what’s inside.

Some words to Avoid

According to an extensive study by Mailchimp over 200 million emails, three words usually have a very negative impact on your results. Not because they trigger spam filters, but because people will be way less likely to open your email.

They are: Help, Percent off, and Reminder. Also, avoid extensive capitalization and exclamation marks. AT ALL COSTS!!!

Is length still a big deal?

The length of subject lines is one of the most debated issues. We believe many different factors can influence such results, and therefore length itself can’t tell us much.

If you want to dig further into data about the length of subject lines, you can find a goldmine here.

What President Obama can teach us

Obama’s email campaigns experimented a lot with subject lines. The main goal was usually to raise funds for political purposes, and it was clear that a casual tone was getting the best results. You can read about his best subject lines here - my personal favorite is still “Hey”.

Try, measure, repeat

Remember your mailing list is yours only. All the suggestions in the world can’t replace the advice you get from your past results. Did you run experiments on your subject lines already? Do it as soon as possible. Check how you list of contacts reacts. Change your plans accordingly. Repeat.

As in real life, use common sense and don’t do anything your mom wouldn’t approve. Well, your mom doesn’t need to know everything ;)

Further readings:
Subject Line Comparison, on Mailchimp
The perfect email, on Vero
Email opening infographic, on PR Daily

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.