The 4-Step Guide to Writing Flawless Marketing Emails

by Pamela Vaughan

Date

October 25, 2011 at 11:00 AM

flawHow many times have you not clicked on an email because the subject line didn't grab your attention? Well, the same goes for your customers. An email's subject line is critical to get your target audience to even consider opening your email. And once you've opened the email, did you take one look at paragraph after paragraph of text and click "delete" before you even read the first line? Have you ever gotten frustrated by an email that lacked any direction for what you needed to do next? These are all critical, yet common, email marketing flaws.

So how do you make sure your email marketing messages are flawless? Follow the following 4 steps, and you'll be well on your way toward achieving email marketing success!

Step 1: The Subject Line

Is there something specific you are trying to convey in the email? (I hope so.) Make sure it is clear, to the point, and “headlined.” You want it to be easy to read and clear to understand. Whether you're offering a discount, giveaway, webinar, ebook, or something else of value, make sure it's easily and clearly conveyed in the email's subject line.

In short, don't make readers dig for the details. Make sure you are clear, concise, and to-the-point about your email's objective. For example: “Free XYZ Through December 2012.”

Step 2: The Message

Just as in the subject line, keep your email message short and sweet. Most email recipients don't have hours to spend reading emails. Many prefer an emailed easily outlined with what the main points are. It also helps to break down items into subheadings, bullets, and/or a combination of both.

Headings allow the reader to avoid reading the body of the message and still get the gist of your information -- and perhaps even get them to click on a link or act on the call-to-action (CTA). Thus, you don’t have to (and you shouldn't) write a novel to explain your point and the value you are trying to offer. Just get to the point, from the subject line to the headlines to the message of your email.

Cleverness can get a few people to read your email, but more often than not, clear and simple works even better. Are you offering entry into a contest? Then demonstrate the value the customer will receive. For example, “Show us why you love our brand, and win XYZ.” Not holding a contest but just sending information on upcoming events? Perhaps, “Join us at XYZ to learn about ABC.” Key point: demonstrate the value recipients will receive by obtaining the offer. Will the customer get valuable how-to information on a certain topic? Learn something new? Attend an important networking event? Tell them. Short, sweet, and simple.

Step 3: The Call-to-Action

The "pièce de résistance" of your email message is the CTA where you get your recipients to click that button, download that ebook, sign up for that webinar, and move through that content map and lead nurturing program you have so strategically organized.

But at the same time, don't forget to be realistic about your call-to-action. Don't expect them to give away their first born child to sign up for a webinar. Expect realistic actions. If your readers will need to fill out a form on your website to download your offer, be reasonable about the amount of information they need to provide. Gain their trust and show them the value of your offer is worth that download. Be truthful and straightforward about what they will receive. Be transparent and again, just be clear, short, sweet, and concise about the offer/value being given. Your audience will appreciate it.

Step 4: Two Things Not to Forget

1. Frequency and Amount of Emails Sent

Make sure you strategize about when you will send these awesome marketing emails, and how often. If you send too many to the same groups of prospects and/or customers, you'll be at the risk of seeming spammy and annoying. Which, yes, will lead to that unfortunate word we hope we never see: “unsubscribed.”

2. Analytics

Sending a perfect email is great, but until your customers (a) open the email, (b) click on the link for the CTA, and (c) with minimal bounce rates, you won’t know how flawless your email really was. So always be monitoring and leveraging your email analytics, testing your email campaigns, and figuring out what email is “perfect” for your target audience.

What other steps do you take to make sure your email marketing is flawless?

Image Credit: ranti.junus

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