Local retailers and e-commerce companies both struggle to find the best methods for writing effective marketing emails. With so much noise on the internet, email marketing offers a chance to capture your potential customer’s attention for a few seconds.
In addition, if you organically built your list, then recipients will be interested in your brand and products. An email list may include your previous customers, window shoppers, people who attend your events and your social media page followers. These people already expressed an interest in your brand, product, or service. You’re one step ahead of the rest.
The best email marketing is, in fact, permission-based marketing. If you’ve read our previous articles on email marketing best practices, you know how important permission-based emails are to your business. If not, we recommend reading this email marketing article to catch up. Your existing and potential customers subscribe to your email list because they want to hear from you. As long as you don’t abuse the relationship, your list may generate sales over and over.
Effective email marketing involves a mix of strategy, design, targeting and effective copywriting.
Tips on Writing Effective Marketing Emails
The following tips help when designing and writing effective marketing emails. Before you start, research your existing customer base and create “buyer personas” to represent your ideal customers. The more specific your email campaigns to your buyer persona, the better email results.
Design and write your email marketing messages to speak directly to one of your ideal customers. In addition, try the following tips and strategies.
Creating Subject Lines That Drive Open Rates
The subject line is one of the biggest factors in determining whether your subscribers open your email message.
Advertising legend David Ogilvy said that the headline of an advertisement is the most important part of the ad. He claimed that at least five times as many people read the headline as the text. Therefore, a successful advertising copywriter spends more time perfecting the headline. Similar is true for the subject line of your marketing email messages.
According to CoSchedule, 35% of people report that they open emails based completely on the subject line.
Try these tips to optimize your open rate:
1. Use shorter sentences
2. Communicate a clear benefit to reading your email
3. Avoid sensationalized, clickbait, spammy sounding subject lines as they don’t inspire trust and often backfire
4. If possible, choose words that convey a sense of urgency
5. Try testing A/B variations as different audience members will respond to different messages (more about that later)
Be Aware Newsletters Don’t Sell Products
Email newsletters promote top of mind awareness and relationships with your customers. Unfortunately, newsletters may feel too generic and you face the extra challenge of creating valuable and engaging newsletter content. Finally, newsletters don’t sell products.
Effective sales email messages feel more targeted and personal. You speak directly to your audience and address specific pain points. Present your product or service as a solution to your customer’s pain point. Effective sales copy is:
- Personal in tone and personalized
- Addresses your customer’s pain points
- Presents your product as a solution or partial solution
- Contains a clear call to action
- Conveys a sense of urgency and immediacy
- Spoilers are fine, feel free to reveal the punchline
- Summarize the content in your email since people who open it are interested in that topic and will feel annoyed if your message addressed a different topic
You may still wish to publish a newsletter. That is fine as long as you have realistic expectations. Too many retailers start a newsletter and expect it to sell products. While you may sell a few products, a more personalized sales-oriented approach tends to drive more sales and conversions.
Use A/B Testing To Dial In Your Message
We’ve talked a little about A/B testing in our blogs. If you’ve missed out, let’s talk about how A/B testing can help you write effective marketing emails. As previously mentioned, you can follow best practices, but you don’t always know which approach works best for your customer base. Most brands experience a little trial and error when fine-tuning their best marketing messages. This is where A/B testing delivers. Test two variations of your message and see which version converts best.
When A/B testing, only test one set of variations at a time. If you test too many factors, then you will never know why one converted better. For example, vary only in the subject line, or vary only your “call to action.” But don’t test both factors in the same test pair.
Keep track of your A/B results and use those results to perfect your marketing message. Ongoing testing is the secret weapon of many advertising agencies. David Ogilvy advised other advertisers never to stop testing. Small business owners and retailers tend to seek feedback from customers. A/B testing is basically another way to collect feedback from your customers. Use that feedback to perfect your message.
Personalization Sells But Don’t Go Overboard
Part of the beauty of email marketing is that you reach your customers on a one-to-one basis. Make use of the personal feel of email by “personalizing” your message. Most email list management programs allow you to capture basic information like the customer’s name, city, birthday, etc.
You may also segment subscribers by interests. All that means is you’re creating a list based on something that makes one customer group different from another. Maybe 100 people came to your retail store in 2017 looking for a Chesterfield sofa. If you have that information in your RMS or CRM database, you can take that unique quality and separate those customers from the ones who just bought accessories in 2017. Your message will vary based on what they’re interested in. Some of the most successful businesses use email marketing segmentation. For example, if someone attends your holiday sale, you can include that in the segmentation. The segmentation offers even more powerful customization options when you’re writing effective marketing emails.
Just remember, a little personalization goes a long way. Using a first name in the subject line of an email can improve the open rate significantly. If you can personalize your email content inside the email with something that sets you apart from the other retailers, do it. Don’t include so much personalization that your readers feel concerned about their privacy. Like every good thing, it is best with moderation.
Finally, another aspect of personalization is to personalize your message to fit your brand. Every successful brand has a unique personality. Loyal customers love the brand personality as much as they love the product or service. Show your brand’s personality in your email copy and design. An engaging and personal copy is more likely to convert than bland, generic copy.
Mix And Match Text-Based And HTML Email Designs
When planning on writing effective marketing emails, be sure to think beyond the text. When people read onscreen, the design is integral. Design your messages to look good on mobile devices since so many people check their email using their smartphones.
Use a nice mix of text and HTML based designs. Recent email marketing trends embrace video, animated GIFs, and other multimedia. These new factors add an engaging touch to your marketing email messages. Just don’t overdo it.
Basic email formatting is similar to formatting website content. Avoid walls of text, visually break the content with headings, subheadings, lists and compelling images.
Be sure to make your call to action stand out. Some people prefer to purchase through a text link while others are more likely to use a graphic button. Experiment with different CTA approaches to find out which works best. Some audiences may even prefer a few calls to actions within the message.
Your images, media, and text work together to sell your product. Next, your CTA drives the conversion.
Your Next Step To Writing Effective Marketing Emails That Sell