Tag: email marketing

Good, Better, Best Email Marketing

Good, Better, Best Email Marketing


Email Marketing

Contrary to what a few people have predicted about the demise of email, it continues to be one of the strongest online marketing tools available.

Think about it, almost everyone online has an email address, and if you buy anything, or subscribe to anyone’s list, you need to give your email address for confirmation.

It’s also the most widely used communication medium in the business world.

Because email is such an in depth topic, this is the first in a series of posts about using email in your marketing efforts.

When we were first introduced to email – back in the mid-90s – we couldn’t get enough of it, we waited for new emails to arrive and, for the most part, email marketers enjoyed a 100% open rate.

But now? Not.Even.Close.

We’ve all become so jaded and wary of the thousands of spammy emails we receive each day, that writing email subject lines that inspire and beguile people enough to open their email has become an email marketer’s main priority.

After all, the sole purpose of a marketing email is to get the recipient to open it, read it, and click the links inside.

I know when I go through my inbox I bulk-delete great chunks of emails from names I don’t recognise, or with subject lines that make my eyes start to roll back in my head.

Are they serious? Do they really think people will fall for that crap? There will always be those who ruin it for the rest of us.

A lot of time and energy has been devoted to finding the best way to get past the spam filters and get emails opened.

So, for all those who are interested in helping people, who send valuable information by email, and want to know the best practice for creating your emails, here are some tried and true methods for crafting emails that get opened, get read, and get click-throughs.

Email Subject Lines (Getting Past the Spam Filters, and the B.S Filters)

People determine what to do with your email when they read the subject line. First, you have to get through the spam filters, and then you have to get through the recipient’s B.S filter. Neither is an easy task.

Your emails should be targeted to your specific section of the market. That makes writing the subject line easier because you know who you’re writing to. You can craft a subject line that appeals to them and so gets your email opened.

Don’t make them too long, they’ll get cut off in most people’s email programs and they won’t make sense. Say what you need to say in as few words as you can, but still make it interesting or intriguing.

Never use all capital letters, it screams hype. The easiest to read is initial caps, just the first letter of every word. It looks professional and has impact without being too much.

A great way to get your email noticed is to use the recipient’s name in the subject line, or ask a relevant question. Or even both. Everyone loves to see their own name, and we’re conditioned in school to answer questions.

Be sure whatever your subject line says relates to what’s in the body copy of the email. There’s nothing worse than opening an email with a fascinating subject line, only to find the email is completely unrelated, or worse, a badly written spam email.

On the subject of spam, stay away from hype or spammy words like ‘free’, or ‘risk-free’. There’s a chance your legitimate, well-written email won’t even be seen if it triggers the spam filters.

Check your junk folder to see what looks spammy, and what you should avoid. There are also free online spam checkers you can use. Just paste your text into them and they’ll let you know if there’s anything suspect in there.

Get to the Point (I Opened Your Email, Now Get On With It)

You’ve written a great subject line, and your email has been opened. Now what?

Don’t think you can relax and just write any garbage in your body copy. Make your email worth reading. If your recipient is curious enough to open the email, don’t disappoint him. You’ll only do it once, and you won’t get a second chance.

You could open with an interesting story, as long as you can tie it in to what you’re offering.

The body copy of your email should be like a little sales letter. You need to highlight their problem and position your product or service as the answer to that problem. But, you need to do it as short copy, or your reader will lose interest.

State the features and benefits, but spend more time on the benefits. Let them know how your product or service will help them, and what a good deal you’re offering. Make them glad they opened the email, you want to help them with a problem. You want to add value to their lives.

Don’t come across all hypey like a used car salesman. Show them you’re honest and genuine, as I know you are.

And, if you used their first name in the subject line, don’t use it again in the beginning of your email. Using someone’s name repeatedly can make you seem just creepy, and sleazy. That’s not what you want.

How Long is Too Long? (Get to the Point Already!)

Have you ever started reading an email that started off interesting but then lost its way and just rambled on for way too long?

I know I have, and I rarely make it to the bottom before I hit delete.

You want your email to be around 600 – 700 words, no more. If it’s shorter than that you can add more meat to it by adding more about the benefits, or making your story more interesting.

Write like you talk. You want to sound conversational, not like a robot. Don’t keep repeating the same words, use a thesaurus.

Keep plenty of white space in your email. Don’t bunch your text together in big, hard-to-read blocks. Even the most riveting story will go unread if the reader is faced with a wall of text.

Use a clean, simple, sans-serif font. And be sure your email fits across the screen without the need for scrolling. No one is going to keep scrolling left and right to read text that can’t be contained.

Say what you have to say, enough to pique the reader’s curiosity and desire, and then encourage them to click on the links to find out more. That’s the job of your email, remember? You want them to click through to a pre-determined landing page or website page.

Links (Which One Do I click On?)

All the links in your body copy should go to the same page. Very rarely do you have two different links in an email, and if you do, it should be very clear that they will go to different URLs.

You only need three or four links in strategic positions and they should all go to your landing page or web page. They don’t need to all say the same thing. People will assume the links are all the same. It’s their choice which one they click on.

If you really must include a link that goes somewhere else, try to put it in a separate section and emphasize that it is not the link to the landing page, but a link to something else.

Don’t confuse people. If your email is good enough to make the reader want to click through, don’t inadvertently send them somewhere else. They won’t thank you for it.

The All Important P.S (Again, Get to the Point)

Busy, time-challenged people won’t bother to read the whole email. They’ll just scroll right down to the P.S. to see if it’s something for them.

So make sure it has all the information they need, a condensed version of your email.

You can also add an extra benefit or two. Use it to remind the reader of a time deadline for the offer, or to stress the importance of something you mentioned in the body copy.

Whatever you do, don’t underestimate its worth. Make it as pertinent as your email, and leave nothing out. Perhaps you could add something that makes skimmers want to go back and read the entire email.

And make sure you include a link to your landing page.

Other Annoyances (Oh, puulease!)

There are plenty of horribly written, unreadable, spammy, and just plain ridiculous emails sent every day.

If you’ve never read one, well, you’re very lucky, and kind of a unicorn.

I’ve covered the basic email fundamentals but before I go let me just mention a few things you never want to do.

Don’t lie in your emails. Don’t make up false testimonials, it’s not just unethical, it’s illegal. And people can spot a fake straight away. It isn’t worth your credibility and reputation. Do the work, and find real stories and testimonials

Don’t make outrageous promises. Even if they’re true, no one will believe you, and your email will be reported and flagged as spam. There goes your credibility, again.

Don’t send emails too often. You don’t want to be known as that annoying spammy marketer who should be avoided at all costs. You’re a marketer, not a stalker.

Don’t talk down to people, or treat them as if they’re stupid. They’re not, and they’ll delete and block your emails faster than you can send them. Be respectful. These are your potential customers, your business is to help them and provide value.

And finally, never talk about religion or politics in your emails. You’re bound to offend someone, and the last thing you need is to be reported for inappropriate content.

You should be testing your emails to find what works, and what doesn’t. Email marketing isn’t an exact science, and you can never predict with much certainty what people will respond to.  So test everything.

Next time, I’ll tell you why you should be sending e-newsletters to your list, and what to include when you write them.