If you ever find yourself struggling with a business challenge and want to get it resolved, here’s one of the fastest and most effective ways to do it. I use this daily and have taught it to thousands of people.
It’s about making a list… but not just any old list. I’m specifically referring to an every list.
If you’ve never used an every list before, here’s a quick look at what they are and how they work.
How to use an every list
In this example, let’s imagine you want to improve your email marketing open rates. You’d start with a list called something like:
Every way to increase my email open rates.
Then, you would begin writing every possible way to increase your open rates.
When you start, you find the first things on your list come easy.
- Write subject lines that are more compelling, so people are really curious about what’s inside.
- Make sure my subject line doesn’t contain trigger words or characters, which are blocked by some junk mail filters.
- Use fewer images, as these can also trigger junk filters.
- Identify the best time of day and best day of the week to send my emails, by testing new times / days.
- Try different gaps between emails – increasing or decreasing how often I send them.
- Improve the content. If my emails have become less useful or interesting, my readers will be less inclined to open them.
- Use professional email marketing software, from respected providers. They are experts at getting emails delivered and bypassing the kind of hurdles that block emails. They also use clean IP addresses, which increases delivery rates.
Then it gets trickier, because you’ve listed the most obvious things. However, you still find some more.
- Put fewer links into my emails as this can be a red flag for some email servers.
- Use fewer merge tags.
- Check the meta data in the images I use.
- Clean my list, so abandoned (hard bounced) email addresses are removed.
- Make my emails look more like regular email.
Now things get really tough. You’ve already listed the obvious and the less obvious ways to increase open rates. Plus, you now have a number of options to look at, so it can be tempting to start working on those.
This is where an every list makes all the difference
It causes you to dig deeper. Because you know there must be more possibilities. This additional commitment to keep going, even though it can be extremely frustrating, pushes you to the edges. And it’s at the edges where we find the innovative, creative answers.
So, you keep going. And find one more possibility.
- Look at my open rates over the past 12 months and see if there’s a point, where open rates started to drop. If so, there’s probably a clue right there.
The example used here is based on a marketing professional I’ve mentored, and her experience using the every list technique with one of her clients. In this case, the 2 things that created 75% of her client’s improvement was cleaning the email list… and the very last possibility; examining historic open rates and looking for clues.
Had they stopped after the first 8 or 10 items on their list, they’d have missed the answers they needed. And they wouldn’t have massively increased their open rates.
When we’re faced with a pressing challenge, we need to invest the time and energy required to solve it. And the every list helps us do just that.
Einstein famously said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Well, he was “so smart”. He was a genius. Yet his core point is solid. If a man like Einstein is willing to dedicate more time and dig deeper, when solving problems, then surely we should too.
Use an every list and keep looking for ideas even when (especially when), you think you’ve exhausted the possibilities. Because you almost certainly haven’t.