Email marketing involves a unique form of copywriting that a lot of people, especially when just starting out, have difficulty planning and executing. There are many similarities with other forms of copywriting, but there are also some unique opportunities and pitfalls as well. In this article we will examine some of the elements of writing for email marketing and walk you through the basic steps of crafting your message.
As with writing for the web, there are a number of mechanical considerations that you must remain aware of. For example, just as web pages are listed on search engine result pages with brief “teasers” that describe the relevance of their content, email clients also display snippets of email messages. If the first line of your message is not compelling, it is therefore less likely that your message will ever be opened and read.
1. Target Your Audience
One of the most important aspects of any kind of marketing effort is to know your audience. Different types of messages and arguments will appeal to different age groups, ethnic groups, regions, etc. You’ll want to write much differently if your message is targeting businesspeople than you would if you were targeting housewives. Twenty-somethings respond differently to email marketing than fifty-somethings.
If you don’t know much about your market, then stop planning your email campaign and come back to it after you have conducted an appropriate level of market research. Without doing this you are just wasting time and money.
You also need to build up your email marketing list, which should always be highly qualified and doubly opted-in. Don’t bother buying email lists. The better qualified your email list, the more people will actually receive and read your message.
2. Determine Your Ideal Outcome
If you don’t know why you’re sending an email message, then you shouldn’t do it. There should always be a very clear and specific goal that your message is trying to achieve. Often your ideal outcome will be to have your recipients respond to your message by completing a purchase. But that is not always the case.
Many time people want to send out email campaigns to increase brand awareness. This requires a different approach than a direct-sales strategy. You may, for example, want to consider a viral email marketing strategy by offering incentives for your readers to forward your message on to their friends.
3. Establish A Connection
The way you do this is going to depend on the previous two factors. If you’re selling lifestyle and entertainment products to the 18-25 crowd, you may want to grab their attention with a fresh or amusing graphic. Businesspeople at the prime of their lives may want you to get right to the point and tell them what you have to offer before getting into too much detail, while an older or less time-crunched demographic may be more intrigued by a loaded question about the state of their life or business.
4. Tell Them Why They Want To Take Action
This is basic sales writing. Don’t tell them about what you have to offer them, tell them why they want it. Tell them how it makes their life better.
This can be tricky if you’re not writing direct sales copy. If you’re trying to get the message recipient to forward your message to a friend, for example, you can’t just sit on your hands and hope it happens, because it usually will not. Offer up the reward: “Imagine how hard your friends will laugh about this video.”
You want to be as specific as possible here, and offer up as many details and benefits as you can. Focus on the ways in which the individual reading your message will personally and directly enhance his or her existence by taking this action.
5. Inoculate Against Objections
As with every other type of copywriting, you want to introduce potential objections that your reader might have while they consider your proposition. By bringing up these arguments yourself, you are able to provide counter-arguments that assuage the doubts that your reader did not even yet know they had! If you do this effectively, the reader will not only want to comply with your request, but will want to get others to do the same.
6. Ask Them To Take Action
Once you have told them what a wonderful world it would be if they were to comply with your request, and systematically annihilated their doubts, that is the time to formally pose your request. If you want them to go to your web site and buy your product, say to them “Click on this link to go to our order page, then click on the button marked ‘Check Out’, enter your payment information, and Click ‘OK.’” If you want them to forward your message along, tell them so.