Rumors of email’s death have been greatly exaggerated. It seems that article after article and think piece after piece have proclaimed the brokeness and death of email. But people still check their inboxes and take action based on the content of email messages.
Nearly 60 percent of B2B marketers consider email to be their most effective marketing channel, and more than 80 percent of professionals prefer to use email for communication. Email is also more effective than Twitter or Facebook when it comes to acquiring new customers.
Of course, the trick to sending out marketing emails that succeed and that get people to take action is getting the timing and content right. Whether it’s an email promoting a sale or new product, or just reminding a customer that your company exists, there are plenty of things you can do to make it grab attention and produce results from the second it lands in someone’s inbox.
Tip 1: Nail the Subject Line
The subject line is the first thing people see when an email reaches their inbox. A boring subject line (like “hello!” or “we’ve missed you”) are likely to get ignored, or worse, automatically deleted.
The email’s subject needs to grab attention and convince people to do something (or that they can do something, ASAP). Action words are a must in a subject line, such as “Catch (your favorite band) on their farewell tour!” or “Enjoy the holidays all year long.”
It’s also essential that the subject of the email be clear. Although it can be fun to be clever and witty, don’t let your puns or cleverness get in the way of the subject line’s message.
Tip 2: Get Personal (but not too Personal)
So go ahead and use a person’s name in the subject line of an email, or start your message with something like “Hi (name)!”
Just remember that it is possible to get too personal in your marketing emails. Don’t repeat someone’s name over and over throughout the message or you risk sounding like a telemarketer or a bot.
Tip 3: Provide Something of Value
A marketing email should never be an email sent just to “catch up.” You’re not friends with your email list, and they don’t particularly care or need to know what’s going on with your company — except for how it can benefit them.
So make sure your messages provide something valuable or useful. Just as you used actionable words in your subject line, provide actionable advice to help people solve a problem.
Tip 4: Give People Numbers
If you want people to stop and really take in what you’ve got to say in your marketing email, throw in a number. Eye tracking studies have found that people are likely to stop scanning a message when they come across a numeral.
For many people, numerals mean facts, and facts mean information. Readers of your emails are likely looking for “news they can use,” and a number is going to be a giant flag to them that something important lies ahead.
Tip 5: Write Like You Talk
To put a new spin on an old cliché: write once, edit twice. When you’re writing an email message, don’t put too much focus on getting it “right” or being particularly verbose and grand.
Instead, write quickly, as if you were talking to a person IRL. You can go back in after you’ve written the message and clean things up. But if you put too much stress on sounding posh and professional, you’ll 1) never get the email written or 2) end up sounding like a weird email robot.
Tip 6: Focus on Benefits
The item or service you’re sending the email to promote might have lots of features, and you might want to write about those features all day, but what your reader is thinking is “So, what’s this mean for me?”
Use the content of your email to highlight the benefits of whatever it is you’re marketing. One way to do that is to think about the features of it, then focus on why those features matter. A new toaster oven might toast bread in half the time as an old model, but so what? The so what is that the person making toast saves time and can get their breakfast on the table sooner, so that they can do more important or more interesting things sooner.
Tip 7: Include Links
Here’s an important tip for writing a marketing email: Don’t make people “work.” If you want people to get to a particular page on your website, read a particular blog article, or take any other action, include a link to it.
To be on the safe side, you might want to include a few links to the same blog post or webpage throughout the email.
Tip 8: Don’t Be Pushy
Sure, you want people to do something after they read your marketing email — but you don’t want the message of the email to come across as too salesy. You also don’t want people to walk away from your email thinking it was too pushy.
One way to avoid being pushy is to see things from your reader’s perspective. Instead of trying to get people to see things from your point of view, you need to figure out their point of view, then use the content of your email to help them understand how your brand can help them.
Tip 9: Include a CTA
Ideally, by the end of your marketing email, people will be jazzed up and eager to try out whatever you’ve got to offer.
Don’t leave them hanging. Include a simple call to action that lets them know what to do next.
Tip 10: Give a Deadline
One last tip for writing a marketing email: Include a deadline. Without a clear-cut deadline, people are likely to procrastinate. Your goal is to keep people from putting off whatever action you want them to take.
If you’re running a special promotion, let people known when it ends. Even if your promo doesn’t have a specific end point, including words like “now” or “today” will create a sense of urgency in a reader, encouraging them to take action quickly.