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Email Guts – The Innards Of An Effective Email Marketing Message
In terms of their success as effective marketing tools, the composition of email messages is more important than ever. With the mountain of email that’s launched into cyberspace these days, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for marketers to get their messages delivered, opened and read by prospects and customers. The success and effectiveness of email marketing campaigns, whether large or small, essentially comes down to one factor: the message. If the message is not properly developed, nothing else matters.
Offered here are some tips for creating email marketing messages with the best chance of reaching, and being read by, your target audience.
Great Subject Line – Just as using the wrong key to unlock a treasure chest will leave you flat broke, failing to create a great subject line for your email will have much the same effect. Absent a dynamic subject line, there’s at least a 90% chance (in my humble estimation) that your email will NOT be opened, and will be immediately deleted.
I cannot over-emphasize this one point. You must have a subject line that captures your reader’s attention, arouses interest, and compels them to open and read your message. No small feat. Unfortunately, too many marketers choose their subject heading almost as an afterthought, when in truth, this one line is arguably the most important portion of your message.
It is worth every minute of time, and your utmost effort to craft a suitable subject line for your email. Accomplished correctly and consistently, this one element can put you light-years ahead of your competition.
Engaging First Paragraph – After your subject line, this section is the next most-important portion of your email message. Many readers never make it beyond the first two or three sentences of an email. You’ll lose them if you can’t give them a reason to read further, and hint or demonstrate that what’s to come will be of great interest or benefit to them.
The copy developed within this paragraph should be the “anchor” for the remainder of your message. It should contain your best and most persuasive writing. This is your opportunity to pull the reader further into your message. Entice them, whet their appetite, arouse their curiosity until they’re absolutely driven to read more.
A Great Story – People love stories. When they become immersed in a good story, it’s hard for them to remember that they’re being marketed to, and people hate being marketed to. The stories you create can be informational, educational, and interesting as well as entertaining. Stories provide an excellent means for communicating your message, and lay the groundwork for the formation of a kinship or relationship with your audience.
Keep Your Message Focused – Each email marketing piece should have one, and only one subject and purpose. It doesn’t matter that you have ten different websites, or 100 different products or services. Focus your message on one thing and one thing only. Your message will be most effective when laser-targeted for your audience, not relying upon an approach of “shotgun” hit or miss.
Great Copy – Only the highest quality copy will do. Well-written, persuasive, clean. Stupid mistakes like spelling errors and incorrect grammar ruin the most convincing sales and marketing copy. It will immediately brand you and the business or organization you represent as amateurish and of low quality. If you can’t write copy, either learn or hire a professional to do it for you. If your copy is of poor quality, then sending your email message is pointless.
Another point about copy: keep your information organized and brief. Keep paragraphs short. Use “bite-sized” chunks, and numbered or bulleted lists. Choose your words carefully so that you communicate your message effectively, but as efficiently as possible.
Be Personable, But Find A Balance – You know the stereotype of the “sleazy car salesman”, kind of creepy and super-slick? That’s what it feels like to read email from someone who is a bit “too familiar” or informal. It makes your skin crawl. Not a reaction you want your readers to have from you.
Trying to build rapport with your audience is a good thing, and makes your email message more personable, warm and inviting. However, realize that there is a delicate balance that must be maintained.
You are not your reader’s friend (at least not yet). You are a stranger, a marketer; not a neighbor, not a confidant. Be careful to recognize that there are unseen boundaries in your communications. And, if you make the mistake of causing your reader to feel that you have overstepped one of those boundaries, it’s very difficult to repair the circumstance.
Under-Hype – Remember that your readers receive hundreds and hundreds of emails. This makes their “hype radar” extremely sensitive. Rather than use a lot of hype and fluff, provide statements, statistics, facts and resources to support or provide proof of what you’re telling them. Doing so will go much further toward persuading them that your message is valid, valuable and credible.
Be Clear About The “Ask” – If you are marketing a business, a particular product or service, don’t make the mistake of creating a great marketing message only to wimp out at the end. Be clear about asking for the business, inviting the reader to receive more information, directing the reader to subscribe to a list, or whatever “call to action” you may require.
By the time your reader gets to this portion of the email, if you’ve done your work properly, they’re already inclined to do as you ask. So ask! Politely, professionally, but with confidence.
The email marketing tips discussed above are by no means an exhaustive list, however, I think we’ve covered most of the basics. While keywords were not mentioned earlier (because email messages don’t require search engine optimization), it’s always a good idea to use them in emails when practical. The advantage in doing so is to get the reader to focus on what your message is about. Then at some future point, if the reader loses the initial email information, she still knows what keywords to use to find you via search engine search.
Email marketing can be a highly effective and profitable marketing strategy. Used intelligently and with planning and forethought, it can be informational and beneficial for your readers, and incredibly advantageous for you.
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