Write More Effective Marketing Emails

August 14, 2014 Steve Maurer

Write More Effective Marketing Emails

There's a reason that headline was written as it was.

I'll get to that in a moment, so I want you to keep a keen eye out for the answer. But for now, understand that the way it was written is one of the keys to getting your emails opened, read and acted on.

And it's particularly crucial for one very important and very large segment of your audience. You'll just have to read on to find out who they are.

Sorry!

The topic today is how to write an offer so effectively that your reader has no choice but to open and read it. And so effectively that they almost automagically heed your call-to-action and become a convert.

But first, in this day of social networking and quickie content, is email really all that necessary?

Yes.

Why email still rules the marketing arena

"The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." – Mark Twain

Despite the social media naysayers, email isn't dead either.

In fact, according to this January 2014 article by the global management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, email is nearly 40 times more effective at customer acquisition than Facebook and Twitter combined.

Need more proof?

In October 2013, Forbes published an article on why email is still more effective than social media marketing. The reason should be obvious, but sometimes we forget when something new and shiny comes along.

Email marketing is permission-based.

We've asked for permission to contact them and they said yes. The readers have allowed us to send emails to their inbox by choice.

Email use is actually exploding. Predictions indicate that the number of email accounts will grow to over 5.2 billion by the end of 2018. That's a 27% increase over 2014's projected number.

Here's something else. Myriad studies are made to find out the best time to post to social media. After all, if you don't get the timing right, your message has scrolled off the page before the prospect had a chance to read it.

Research shows that there are some optimal times for sending email too. However, consider this: people access their email any time they want and from anywhere they choose because of mobile device use.

And your email is there waiting for them, whenever and wherever they do.

Establish authority

Give before you take.

To be honest, standalone emails don't stand a snowball's chance in Hawaii of bringing top results.

Email marketing is more effective when coupled with solid content marketing on a well-written, persuasive landing page. Just ask Copyblogger Media. They built their success by promoting quality information via email that establishes trust, and promotes their expertise and authority to their readers.

Because their readership considers them likable experts — someone to know, like and trust — their email marketing is more effective.  If you give your readers something free, reciprocity kicks in. At the very least, they'll feel obligated to check out your offer.

Make sure to include valuable and verifiable content. This increases your credibility and puts a chink in the natural armor of resistance. Use several landing page versions for your email and split test them.

Master the art of rhetoric

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines rhetoric as the art or skill of speaking or writing … effectively, especially as a way to persuade or influence people.

You can't just recite facts if you want to persuade people to value your offer. You really need to use persuasive language to get your point across. Use ethos, pathos, and logos.

Ethos is selling you. This is developing your persona as a likable expert. It promotes your credibility over time by creating content that is trustworthy.

Pathos is the art of swaying emotions. Metaphors, stories and the evoking of strong emotions move your audience from passive to passionate. Talk to your prospects – not at them – by keeping it sociable and casual whenever appropriate. In fact, storytelling works amazingly well in email marketing. But don't use the same old generic stories. Tell them something unusual and you'll get their attention.

Logos is the use of statistics and logic to advance your argument through solid reasoning. While you still need an emotional contact, logic does provide lucid answers through natural social proof, testimonials, and facts. When you're writing the text, don't forget to keep it simple and to the point. And get to that point quickly.

Write irresistible subject lines

There is a ton of information available about creating magnetic, irresistible headlines. Writing email subject lines is similar to writing article headlines, but there are some additional considerations.

When you're creating a subject line, you should try to include some of the four U's.

  • Useful
  • Ultra-specific
  • Unique, and
  • Urgent

Most likely you won't be able to include all of them. Useful and ultra-specific are two that pack a real punch when used together.

The headline for this article — Write More Effective Marketing Emails — carries those two elements. Learning to write them is useful if you want your email opened and read. And it is ultra-specific because we're talking about a specific type of copywriting: marketing emails.

Using urgency to promote time-sensitive offers can be very effective. However, make sure it's legit. Not only are fake deadlines deceitful, but they are illegal in some countries.

There is one more issue when writing your attention-getting subject line.

Mobilize your emails

We all know that our websites must be mobile-optimized.

But have you considered your emails too? The people who are checking out our websites on mobile devices are using those same devices to read our emails.

Think about your subject line. How will it look on a smartphone, for example? Most phones truncate a long subject line. The headline for this article is five words, with 37 total characters that include spaces. Mobile devices will render that entire headline.

Keep your subject line between five and seven words. Make sure you include key information in the first 40 to 50 characters. Doing so ensures that your important message is readable, even if the rest gets lost in space.

Don't forget your call-to-action. If using hyperlinks in the body copy, make sure they aren't jumbled or garbled by surrounding text. Make them easy to click. And as in any copy, sprinkle them appropriately throughout the email.

Follow the 95/5 rule

To be frank, most marketing of any kind is selfish and self-centered.

The copy is all about the company and not about the prospect. The focus is, well, out of focus. The copy should revolve around what the customer feels, wants and needs and not on how terrific the business or offer is.

This not only applies to marketing emails, but to all of your marketing content. Certainly, you do need to promote your company, and explain how you provide the best solution. But 5 percent of the copy will do nicely.

Spend 95 percent of the email message and landing page copy focused on the reader. They are, after all, the reason for your existence.

Effective, mobile-ready headlines. Authoritative, persuasive email copy and landing page content. And a focus on the reader, not yourself. These three ingredients, blended together properly, are your recipe for creating an email marketing plan that works.

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About the Author

Steve Maurer

Steve Maurer, Maurer Copywriting is a freelance copy and content writer in Fayetteville, Arkansas. His tagline at Maurer Copywriting , Professional Freelance Business Writing – Plain and Simple, explains both his target audience and his writing philosophy. You can meet him on LinkedIn or call him at 479-304-1086.

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