The Basics of Writing Email Marketing Messages That Reach Customers

Most people’s inboxes are full of junk mail. Even with spam filters becoming more sophisticated all the time, commercial emails still get through. Worse yet, Gmail’s tab feature makes it even harder to get your prospect’s attention. To reach them, you need a battle plan. Ironically, the best plan in this instance is to be as non-confrontational as possible.

The Email Marketing Conundrum

When you open your own inbox, do you automatically delete commercial emails? If you do, how do you think non-entrepreneurs feel about these messages? It’s been argued that any email marketing campaign can be effective if the marketer has a big enough list. Unfortunately, most marketers don’t have hundreds of thousands of subscribers. The reality is that people don’t like being marketed to, and the inbox is a very personal space. It’s your job, then, not only to get prospects onto your list but also to ensure that you remain a welcome guest in their inbox. This is easier said than done.

As a general rule, if your emails appears “salesy,” your subscribers will hesitate to open them. At the same time, people are very good at detecting smarmy attempts at creating an overly-friendly atmosphere. You must strike a balance between these two. Keep in mind that prospects will typically join your list because they’re getting something in return, whether that’s access to a restricted part of your site, an ebook, PLR content or something else. After they’ve received their item, they have little motivation to open any emails you send them.

The question you must answer as you’re setting up an email marketing campaign is: how will you address each recipient? Will you write your email copy as if you’re speaking directly to the individual, or will you speak as if you’re addressing a large crowd? Will you make yourself appear as if you’re the head of a huge corporation or will you try to create a more personal touch? The truth is that a barebones email design and a conversational tone outperforms sleek, corporate letterhead and marketing spiel.

Best Practices

There are a few basic rules you should follow at all times when crafting your email marketing campaigns. To begin with, drop any mention of your “list” from emails. Similarly, don’t mention your “subscribers.” These words only serve to drive a wedge between you and your recipient. They serve to remind your reader that they are an entry in a database or spreadsheet. Additionally, writing as if you’re talking to a single recipient creates a personal atmosphere.

Another best practice is to blast your list only when you have something of import to relate. Don’t send emails out every few days that are little more than advertisements. This is a good way to end up in spam folders. An excellent reason to send an email is if you are having a sitewide sale or are releasing a new ebook.

Third, always try to think of ways to help the people on your list. For instance, if you’ve come across a great resource that’s available for free for a limited time, go ahead and let your list know. It’s important to do things from time to time without expecting anything in return. This will allow you to establish a rapport with your subscribers.

Fourth, put your real name in the “from” address. Let your recipients look you up if they want to. This is an easy, free and quick way to build trust. Besides, contrived aliases are often all too obvious. Additionally, be upfront about what your list can expect when they join. Do you have a quarterly newsletter? Let them know. Do you send weekly emails that contain coupons? Let them know. If you tell your list what to expect from you when they sign up, they will be less likely to block you later on.

If you personalize your emails by automatically adding each contact’s name to your template email, don’t go overboard. Using their name in the salutation is fine, but if you use it throughout the email itself you may come off as creepy and salesy.

Finally, it’s important to empathize with your audience. In fact, this is essential. If you don’t understand the problem that your potential customers are attempting to solve, you have no hope of establishing a rapport with them. Make it clear to your readers that you’re on their side. Ask them how you can serve them better. Also, it’s a good idea to reward your readers. Place your most useful information near the bottom of your email. You can even create special coupons just for those who read your emails to the end.

Advanced Tips

One way to increase the odds that your emails will be opened is to use emotive words in your subject line. Words that evoke emotions in your reader are powerful motivators. Words like “free,” “lifetime guarantee,” and “freedom” are always good. However, it’s best to avoid the overuse of advertising buzzwords. If you can evoke an emotion in your reader, they are more likely to decide to give up a few seconds of their life to see what you have to offer.

You should also place a promise in your subject line whenever possible. If you fail to deliver on that promise in the email, however, you will lose subscribers, so keep your promises down-to-earth, and don’t use them to set up a sales pitch. If you’re selling an information product, think of this as giving away a useful tidbit of information that will help your reader move toward their goal. There’s no need to give away your core info for free.

It’s also a good idea to use digits in your subject line–and the body of your email–if possible. Odd digits especially tend to focus the reader’s attention. People tend to scan email and they decide within a few seconds what to keep and what to delete. A number can break this momentum long enough so that they will at least read your subject line.

These tips can take you a long way toward your goal of a higher open rate. Better yet, a higher open rate will naturally lead to a higher conversion rate if you’ve done your homework elsewhere.