4 Tips for Writing Emails People Want to Read
Have you collected heaps of behavioral data related to clients' needs, purchase habits and email activity history? Good. Do you have a partnership with one of the best email marketing automation providers? Great. These are crucial steps to launching a campaign that can strengthen existing relationships and boost customer sales.
Content creation isn't always easy, but it's something you have to master. Putting enough research, time and thought into your messages will pay off big time in terms of subscriber response rates and customer loyalty. So before you pull out your writer's quill (or keyboard), take these tips into account:
1) Spend half your time creating a killer subject line
Putting together a simple sentence may seem easy, but the subject line is the first thing your subscribers see in their inboxes. The webinar "Writing Tips to Improve Email Responses" explains why nearly 7 in 10 email recipients decide whether to mark a message as spam based entirely on the subject! Because the email subject determines your first impression, you should spend half the time you dedicate to creating the message to the subject alone.
Generally, we've found that shorter subject lines outperform longer subject lines so keep the subject as concise as possible. If you like fancy language, save it for the conference room. Be direct and avoid using full sentences. For example, avoid lengthy openers like, "[Recipient’s First Name], check out our free Newsletter, featuring [really-long-detailed-topic-description]." It's also a good idea to avoid using the recipients' name or email address in subject lines, as consumers tend to perceive these messages as spam.
Other words and phrases to steer clear of include confirm, raffle, requested, 10 percent, savings and coupon. Instead, rely on tried-and-true terms like survey, weekly, newsletter, tips, video, updates, bulletin, join, edition and latest.
2) Send from a recognizable address
The second most important factor recipients use to decide whether to open your email is the send-from address, so make sure your send-from address is one the recipient is most likely to recognize.
For big brands – that might be your company name; for business-to-business email communications, the best send-from might be the regional sales person or account manager. In our webinar "Use Split Testing to Improve Email Responses", we ran several split tests using various send-from addresses to see how recipients in our subscriber list responded. For us, the personal name as a send-from address outperformed a generic 'firstname.lastname@example.org,' reinforcing that our recipients are more likely to open messages from a familiar address. Test your audience to see what works best.
Sending emails from a real person also strengthens the relationship between your business and your clients. Reach out to recipients as a human, not a robot or department. (Pinpointe's send-on-behalf-of' feature allows you to schedule email campaigns and set the send-fro address on a per-email basis. We developed this feature so that marketing teams can schedule campaigns in such a way that each recipient's email is coming from their respective sales representative.)
Never send from addresses that are illegitimate or are "Do not reply" addresses. You'll be doing yourself a favor.
3) Promise something worthwhile and deliver it
If you're going to promise valuable information, don't lie or lead recipients on. After you've collected information about what your clients need or desire, draft ideas for potential emails. Generally, diversify the types of messages they receive and make sure messages are short, to-the-point and relevant to your industry.
Avoid cliche or spammy language. MarketingProfs states there are "seven dirty words" that should be avoided in subject lines, including "act now," any words that relate to sex/pornography, references to cures/medication, "amazing," CAPITALIZATION, "as seen" (and any variations), "apply now" and, interestingly, "avoid."
4) Keep it short. Include an early call-to-action
When clients check email on computers, tablets and mobile devices, they usually see the subject line and the first two or three lines of the message. Forget the fluff – this is where hook comes in. Keep in mind your messages are likely competing with other emails in your clients' inboxes, which is why your intro needs to be especially intriguing.
Recipients should know exactly what your message is about from the start be interested. Consider the 3+30 approach: Tell your story in three seconds in the opening line of your email. Then use your second paragraph to tell a second version in 30 seconds.
When drafting the body of your message, put the offer or main topic first, explain why it's beneficial, and then provide the call to action or tell the reader what to do next (respond, visit a website, etc…) — and include a call-to-action in the first paragraph. Paraphrase, use short, clear sentences and break up emails with bullet points or numbered lists. Be strategic about where you place links; don't place them too close to each other, or else they'll be difficult to click for smartphone and tablet users.