Email is a marketing channel you can’t afford to scrap. Unfortunately, it’s also one that’s extremely hard to master. Crafting great email content takes time, and convincing readers to open (let alone read) your emails is harder still. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can improve your email marketing efforts and reel in the rewards of this powerful digital channel. In this article, we’re going to share 7 of our top tips to craft great emails that get opened, read, and clicked.
THE POWER OF EMAIL
Before we share our top tips for writing better emails, here’s why you should care about email marketing in the first place. Email is an incredibly powerful marketing platform. No matter how much you hear people rave about the power of social media, email is still one of the biggest guns in your marketing arsenal. There are roughly 2.5 billion email users around the world, generating over 196 million emails per day. So whoever says email is dead doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Furthermore, email has been shown to be one of the best channels for attracting traffic and conversions, outranking SEO, social, and many others. There are a number of reasons for this.
First of all, email is reliable. While Facebook provides a much faster way to share information, the algorithms used to rank content are so complex that FB pages are expected to organically reach only about 6% of their audience. This isn’t a problem with email. If someone subscribes to your list, you can rest assured they’re going to find your emails in their inbox. Secondly, email is much more versatile than other marketing channels. When compared to a social media post or Google Ad, for example, an email can contain much more content. Make good use of this space and you can present your audience with richer, more valuable content in a single hit.
Thirdly, email is way more personalized than other popular digital marketing channels. Once you publish a Facebook ad, for example, deciding who sees your content is out of your hands and passed on to a bunch of algorithms you have little control over. With email, you have complete control over who sees your content. Plus, the fact that an email is read in a private inbox helps your message seem more personalized. There are tons of other reasons why email marketing is important, and we’ll likely cover these in future articles. For now, here are 7 simple tips to help you craft better marketing emails.
7 TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE EMAIL MARKETING:
1: BE PERSONAL
One of the first steps to writing better email content is personalizing your message. Unlike social media and some other conventional online marketing channels, email has the ability to be very personal. And when it is, it can be very effective. Think of it like this; marketing is about making a successful connection with your audience. One of the best ways to do that via email is to present your customers with an individualized message, rather than making them feel like a member of a faceless crowd. There are many ways to personalize your email message. For now, try some of the following techniques:
- Refer to your customers by their name, which you can find on your mailing list.
- Use a casual, friendly tone in your copy, rather than dry, old corporate lingo.
- Write short, snappy, and direct copy that clearly communicates your message.
- Build customer personas; this is an effective way to get a grasp of your target audience and design tailored content for them.
- Use your actual name in your sender address. A message from Matt sounds much more personal than one from a corporation.
- Be straight up. There’s nothing wrong about an honest sales pitch. Be clear about your intentions and you’ll help build trust between you and your customers.
- Connect with your audience. There are various ways to do this, like using storytelling techniques, empathy, and emotive writing.
2: USE A STRONG SUBJECT LINE
The subject line of your email is like the headline of an article. No matter how much hard work you poured into your email copy, no one is going to read it if your subject line doesn’t convince them to open it. News companies have entire teams dedicated to developing headlines for their stories. And while you might not have the resources to make this happen, you should still spend some quality time brainstorming and testing different subject lines for your emails. Again, we could dedicate an entire article to tips for writing better subject lines, and we probably will in the near future. Until then, here are some take-home tips you can use to write better email subject lines today.
- Keep it short. Research shows that emails with 6-10 word subject lines have the best open rate.
- Try personalizing your subject lines. Emails with personalized subjects get over 40% more opens.
- Don’t go with the first subject line that jumps into your head. Set aside some time to brainstorm various alternatives and, if possible, run them past your team.
- Talk about the benefits. Copywriters around the globe agree that working benefits into headlines, headings, and subject lines is a great way to intrigue readers.
- Be direct. Place the most important words at the beginning of the subject line.
- Use numbers. Numbers, especially odd ones, have been shown to attract readers, time and time again.
3: OPTIMIZE FOR MOBILE
While all your digital marketing channels should be optimized for mobile, email deserves a special mention. Statistics show that up to 70% of emails are opened and read on mobile. If your emails haven’t been optimized for viewing in mobile browsers, you could potentially be missing out on a big portion of customers. Here are some of the biggest things to look out for when optimizing emails for mobile:
- Keep it short. Long copy doesn’t do well, especially not on mobile. People reading on their phone want to get the point of your email fast. Give it to them.
- Images. Make sure all your images are fully functional and optimized for the mobile experience. There’s nothing worse than opening an email on your phone and being bombarded with huge pictures.
- CTAs. Make sure your call-to-action has been optimized for mobile and is clickable.
4: ALWAYS A/B TEST
Never assume you know what your customers want. Instead, use A/B testing to try out your best ideas and run with the one that performs best. A/B testing is a vital part of many marketing strategies and has a special place in email. Luckily, when using mail clients like MailChimp, it’s super simple to test various emails on a small group of users, get instant results, and adjust your campaign accordingly. When A/B testing, be sure to test only one variable at a time. This will help you clearly identify which parts of your emails are influencing your performance. Also, don’t be scared to change various parts of your email, including everything from the subject line and images to the entire copy. Once you get your results back, adjust your strategy and repeat. You’ll be surprised how small changes to your emails can drive big improvements in your conversions.
5: PROVIDE USEFUL INFO
Usability is the key to online marketing. Be it email, social media, or blog articles, the online world is full of content. Unfortunately, a lot of that content is useless. Luckily, you can help your content stand out by providing a clear benefit to your readers. In this article, for example, we’ve done our best to list clear take-home email marketing tips that you can put into action right away. Plus, we also made it clear what you can expect to get out of reading this post from the get-go. You can apply a similar approach to your emails. First, make sure every email you send provides an obvious benefit to the reader. This could be a special discount, access to a limited promotion, or featured articles from your blog. Then, once you’ve honed in on the benefit you’re providing, make it the center of your message from your subject line right through to the end of your email.
6: KEEP IT SHORT AND FRESH
Writing short copy and keeping your content fresh is important for all your marketing channels. Nowadays, no one has time to read rambling pieces of content on something they’ve already read. Hence, make sure your email copy is short and direct, while your content is fresh and unique. The short copy will intrigue your customers to read your piece from start to finish, while the fresh content will encourage them to read more of your pieces in the future. Here are some tips to help you write shorter, more intriguing copy.
- Make sure you’re clear about the subject matter of your email. You may want to create a short outline before you dig into writing the copy.
- Cut out filler words. Anything that doesn’t add value to your copy should be cut from the script.
- Set yourself a word count and abide by it.
- Start boldly. Your intro needs to reel readers in, so don’t be scared to start with short, bold sentences.
And here are some tips to help you create fresh content:
- Start a blog. Committing to weekly blog articles can help you force yourself to look for new content ideas. Plus, you can share these articles via email later.
- Make it better. Let’s be honest, there is so much content online, it’s virtually impossible to come up with completely new ideas. So, rather than fretting over being 100% unique, look at other well-ranking content online and think of ways you can improve it to provide even more value to your readers.
- Do interviews. Interviews with industry experts are a great way to freshen up your content, and their outside expertise often provides a lot of value, too.
7: DON’T RESTRICT YOURSELF
One major flaw we see with a lot of companies is this: They try to use formulas for everything. From automated greetings to formulated email structures, some businesses treat their email marketing strategy like a math equation. Sure, structuring processes is important for a wide variety of reasons. However, too much structure can inhibit your creativity and result in dull, underperforming emails. Hence, while we understand you’ll need some structure to your email marketing strategy, we also recommend you give yourself some breathing space. Don’t use strict formulas or email templates. You’ll just be left with robotic and boring emails. Also, try to scrap the automated greetings. There’s no easier way to suck the life and personality from your copy than by sticking a “warm regards” at the end of your email.
Finally, forget about meaningless stats like optimal word counts. Eliminate some of these stiff practices from your email routine and you’ll start focusing on something much more important: Building a genuine relationship with your readers. Manage that, and you’ll quickly build a strong group of readers who anticipate your emails in their inbox and open, read, and click them.
STEP UP YOUR EMAIL GAME TODAY
There you have it, 7 simple tips to help you write better emails.