In A World With Overstuffed Inboxes, Your Copy Needs To Stand Out
Workers are increasingly flooded with emails. A Carleton University study last year found that on average people send and receive 111 business-related emails per day, more than a fifth of them from home.
And those numbers are only expected to keep growing. With your prospects’ inboxes overstuffed, how do you write emails that people actually open, read and convert on?
Tools like Seventh Sense are great at helping you automate send times and optimize frequency, but you still need engaging email copy to connect with readers.
Without clear, compelling and prospect-focused copy, your email marketing strategy won’t drive revenue.
Here are five best practices for writing emails that get results.
1) Spend Time On Your Subject Line
This is the most important part of your email. You can’t get click-throughs if people don’t even open the message. So instead of hastily slapping on a subject line before you schedule delivery, take time to carefully consider your message.
Your subject line copy should be:
- Brief: Subject lines get cut off if they’re too long, particularly on mobile devices. Marketo found that subject lines with seven words or less (about 40 characters) had the highest open rates.
- Timely: People are more motivated to open emails if they see a reason to take action now. For example, if you’re promoting a webinar that’s taking place next week, state that in the subject line.
- Clear: Creativity is great, and you do want attention-grabbing copy, but don’t get too clever and confuse readers. People need to understand quickly what the email is about.
Much like creating headline copy, writing good subject lines is hard, because you have to convey a powerful message in a handful of words. Spend more time to carefully craft these words.
2) Personalize Your Messages
This goes beyond simply using “Hi [First Name]” as your salutation. Personalizing your messages means segmenting your email list so that you’re providing relevant content to recipients.
For example, if your client has three target personas, the same message is likely not relevant to each persona in every case. While the chief financial officer is focused on ways to optimize spending, the engineering director is more interested in innovation and product performance.
Writing good copy requires a deep understanding of your prospects’ pains and needs. It’s easy to blast a blanket email to everyone in your database, but you can expect lackluster results. When writing an email, imagine that you’re communicating with one person rather than an entire list.
3) Keep The Copy Concise
Most people are sifting through hundreds of emails each day. They don’t have 10 minutes to read your 2,000-word email, no matter how compelling the message.
An email is not an e-book, so limit the copy to about 300 words. Make your message easy to read by:
- Writing short paragraphs (one to three sentences per paragraph)
- Using bullet points for easily scannable copy
- Sticking to one topic
People tend to scan emails, so keeping your copy succinct is important.
4) Write A Strong Call-To-Action
Once you’ve successfully encouraged people to open your email and read your copy, you want to drive a specific action. That could be to download a tip sheet, schedule a consultation, sign up for a webinar or visit a page on your website.
Having one call-to-action (CTA) usually produces better click-through rates than multiple competing CTAs. Always use clear and action-oriented language, like Download, Watch, Get or Sign Up.
We’ve found that using “My” instead of “Your” produces more conversions (“Download My Tip Sheet” or “Reserve My Spot”), but this is something you should test.
5) Edit Your Email Before Sending
You’ve followed the above four steps, so now you’re all set to schedule and send your email, right? Not quite. As with any copy you write, you should have an editor review it before publishing.
An editor ensures the copy is clean, error-free and on message for your target audience. Mistakes may seem trivial, but they erode trust in your relationship with prospects and customers.
If you don’t have an editor available, at a minimum find someone else at your organization to review the copy. If you wrote the copy, you shouldn’t be also editing the copy.
It’s tempting to send emails without spending much time on the copy. The cost involved is low, but you’ll also probably have a low conversion rate. Ultimately, you want recipients to convert on your emails, so take the time up front to write copy that drives conversions.
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