How do I create emails that convert? It's a common marketing and sales question. Once you realize email marketing is still the most powerful marketing tactic in the digital realm, you want to make sure you're truly extracting that value.
The key to effective email marketing starts with understanding that the email relationship is personal, powerful-yet-tenuous, and needs nurturing. Here are 10 tips to creating powerful email marketing.
1 Stop Selling
Sure, the goal of all marketing is revenue. But here's the thing - consumers don't want to be sold to all the time. We don't want an ad every time our email inbox buzzes or chimes at us. When you’re writing stellar email copy, you don't want to come across with a hard sales focus.
How do you write email copy that converts, but isn't all "selly"? Avoid sales words that sound spammy, like “Great deal,” “big discount,” or “product is going fast—get yours NOW!”
Also, avoid shouting - too many marketing or sales emails have capital letter copy. YOU DON'T WANT TO YELL AT YOUR READERS!
Instead, create emails with copy written to gain trust. Show empathy and understanding. If you do, you have a real advantage. We're more likely to trust someone who has been in the same situation as us and can speak from experience. Gain that trust with empathy and authenticity.
When you write email copy (or any writing for that matter) from a place of seeking trust instead of purchase, you allow this expertise to show. People do business with those they get to know, like, and trust. Trust = business.
2 Write a Compelling Subject Line
The subject line is the first thing we see in our inbox. A lackluster line leads to swiping left. Plus the preheader or preview copy acts as a secondary point of contact. These entry points are what tell the reader if your message is something they’d be interested in or not, so make sure they’re supporting the rest of your email message.
Use actionable language in your subject line. Tell the reader exactly what to expect and why they should open your email. Keep it clear and concise. Then expand more with the preview text.
Remember to respect your reader, too. No click-bait-and-switch.
Bonus tip: Test personalization and emojis in your subject lines. Depending on your brand personality, you might find higher open rates and response rates when you add a little personality.
3 Keep it Relevant
When you know your audience, you'll keep your messages relevant. Picture who you’re talking to as you write your amazing email, and you should send relevant, readable content. Work to be conversational and approachable.
Think about where your reader is when they receive your email, what challenges they face at that moment, and how you can you help them.
Before you create your content, ask yourself: "Why am I sending this email?" Then keep the message relevant to the reason, and to your audience. You'll create brand loyalty and increase open rates by meeting them where they are when they need it most.
4 Keep it Brief
Sure, we all want to write the best copy ever and wow our readers. But the reality is, we're not writing the next Great American Novel. Look, there's a time and place for epic prose... but email marketing is not it.
Storytelling is one of the best marketing strategies out there. Stories empower people and inspire them to take action. But if your story is long or doesn’t connect with your reader, it can actually hurt more than help.
In email marketing, less is more. Use fewer words. We're reading emails on phones more now than ever. So writing long messages frustrates readers more than it helps them.
Research shows that the ideal email length is shorter than you may think—about 50 to 125 words. That's about the size of this paragraph. Be honest with yourself. You know that your message isn’t the only one in your reader’s inbox. So you want to make sure to capture their attention right away and maintain it with clarity and a message that gets to the point quickly.
5 Break it Up
Again, we're reading emails on our phones. Have you tried to read an email that's one long, run-on message? Short, punchy paragraphs are better. A few lines each.
Don't lose your readers in endless text. Of course, there's a cadence to writing. Sometimes you can use longer, slightly complicated sentences. Then you go short.
But the idea is to keep your overall email short and skimmable. That's how we read.
6 Don't be Self-Focused (Focus on Your Reader)
Yes, your business has a lot to offer. You want to shout it from the rooftops so everyone knows. But at the same time, no one likes the friend who only talks about themselves.
Instead, be the kind of brand that focuses on how their solutions make a customer feel. Focus on the reader.
Bonus tip for focusing on your reader: Use personaliztion. Since you know your reader’s name because you asked for it when they signed up, use it as a way to show you care about them as an individual as well as a business. Campaign Monitor found that personalization increases open rates by 26%.
When you write from a place of empathy, acknowledging and understanding your reader’s needs, they’re much more likely to listen.
7 Write Good Well
Sure, we aren't all perfect. That's why we all ought to have an editor; because bad grammar or spelling could stand between you and a customer who converts. It might be the one thing stopping that conversion. Typos and lack of proofreading make readers feel like you don’t have time or desire to carefully craft a message for them.
Start with spellcheck, but always proofread your emails before sending them. Sometimes the word is spelled right, but it's the wrong word. Enlist a second set of eyes to look out for things you may not catch as easily. We read what we see in our heads, not what's on the page. The extra time spent on editing your email is way better than the long-term embarrassment of using the wrong form of “their,” “there,” and “they’re” or "you're" and "your."
8 Have One Clear Call to Action
We're often pulled to add a bunch of "stuff" to emails. After all, we think we only have this one shot to get readers to take action. But the truth is, too many choices lowers action. Every. Time. In fact, research from Wordstream shows that emails with one call to action (CTA) increase click rates 371% and sales 1617%.
This CTA should be the focal point of your email, and your reader should never question why you sent it. Here are a few examples that drive clicks:
- Book your next appointment
- Let us know how we did
- Count me in!
- Sign up and save
- Reserve your seat today
9 Communicate Value (Not Just Price)
Good: Our brand new feature YY will save you time and boost your ROI 150%
Not so good: Get 20% off your order!
Remember: you aren’t just sending an email, you’re providing valuable information and solutions to your readers. Emails get a bad reputation for causing “noise.” We all complain about it. But when an email offers obvious value, it rises to the top.
When you’re writing copy, approach it like you would a business proposition or collaboration—lead with the customer value of your product or service, and let the rest of your message support this idea.
10 Be Human, Helpful, Humble
When creating emails that convert, be brave. Show personality. Have fun. Test new ideas. The idea, just like truly remarkable marketing everywhere, is to add a human touch, to help, and to humbly serve your audience.
Here are a few ways to add personality:
- Share insider information on your company
- Highlight employees, partners, and clients
- Write conversationally
- Use emojis
- Answer questions, share resources
Email marketing can become one of your best relationship-building tools. It can help you discover and develop meaningful business relationships with your prospective customers. It can even lead to creating true ambassadors for your brand. Technical aspects like grammar, calls to action, and personalization are critical, but your email marketing will fail without the expression of understanding your reader and the intention to build a relationship.