The process of generating successful email marketing campaigns is a creative and slightly technical one at the same time. From choosing the best Email Service Provider (ESP), to growing email lists, and from writing the email copy to finding the best day and time for deploying the campaign, there are some vital steps each email marketer needs to make sure to follow to achieve their objectives. We have put together an email marketing checklist that you can use for each deployment. But in this article we are going to focus on the strategies that produce efficient and engaging email copy.
Email marketing copy that converts
The space of email marketing has grown in scope in the last couple of years in such a manner that businesses are using email to convert prospects through tactics as various as inbound marketing, promotions and discounts, surveys and product or website recommendations, to name a few. The inbox has become crowded and standing out from the crowd often depends on how effective the copy, both in the subject and in the body, is at generating interest and connecting with subscribers.
Following our easy 10 steps plan will help you create email marketing copy that is more likely to convert.
1. Know who you’re talking to
A mistake we often see with email lists is that fields for which you will collect data on subscribers are not clearly defined from the get-go. That leads to gaps in the information you have on your subscribers and makes mapping out the most relevant emails a difficult process and a guessing game. Start asking yourself, except for their name and email address, what other info would be helpful in developing a coherent email marketing strategy? If you’re a B2C company, details such as parental status, gender, age or income level could prove important down the line, while for B2B businesses some useful fields could have to do with industry, company size, job title and experience level. Even if you are not asking for these details directly, you will need to constantly research your subscribers to try to gather as much info on them as possible. Don’t shy away from researching them on social media or sending them periodical surveys to track how that data might change over time.
2. Use the power of segments
While it might seem easier to just stack all subscribers in the same list and to send out the same campaign to all contacts, the data you have already collected on them will need to help you better segment lists based on needs, interests or demographic data. Depending on your email marketing strategy, you could segment your lists based on email engagement, your sales funnel, user preferences or purchase history. Doing this will ensure that you are addressing specific needs or interests, rather than hoping that a generic message connects with all subscribers. As a follow-up reading, MarketingSherpa has surveyed email marketers to find out how they segment lists.
3. Use personalization
An email that has not been personalized in any way is like screaming in a public square and expect your message to appeal to all people there. In reality, this approach never produces that outcome. It is simply impossible to spark any interest from a subscriber when you don’t communicate on a personal level. Develop the habit of including merge variables in your copy, starting with their name, location or company name. When possible, include those merge variables in the subject line as well as the email body. You could also send out emails from a person, rather than a role-based email address, to encourage discussions and replies.
4. Get personal
As we have already said, your email is competing with emails from your competitors, personal email that a subscriber cares about and other communication that a contact might prioritize. Your email copy needs to give them a reason to engage. You are not only providing value to your subscribers, you also want them to actually feel like they connect with your communication. Avoid using corporate talk in your emails and allow your brand to be more approachable and relatable. Write email copy in the same manner you would engage a person in a one-on-one discussion.
5. Use coherent subject lines
Writing subject lines that encourages subscribers to open your email can sometimes feel like a tricky process. But the subject line alone isn’t valuable if what it’s selling is not reflected in the email body. You always have to make sure that the subject line matches the overall email copy. You are not only creating promises and expectations but you are also delivering on them. That’s why it is important to be coherent with your subject lines and make sure they properly summarize the experience you are providing. Otherwise you might end up with email engagement, which should not be disregarded in any way, but not with conversions, something you should care more about.
6. Pay attention to CTAs
Persuasive call to actions have to do with more than just copy, as you can see from this great infographic from TruConverter. But when it comes to copy, the rules are pretty straightforward and easy to translate into actionable items. First and foremost, you need to make sure you use action words when constructing CTAs. That will translate into clear directions for subscribers, helping them understand what action they are taking and how that benefits them. Secondly, try to keep at least one CTA above the fold, both on desktop and mobile versions of your email.
7. Test, test and test
You might not get the perfect email copy on the first try, but that’s where A/B testing and multivariate testing come into play. Work with variants to generate two versions of your email and track results to see which one performs better. You can then use those results to prioritize the more efficient copy for upcoming newsletters, while continuing to test out other variants to further improve your messages. Results from A/B and multivariate tests work as feedback from your subscribers, which should always be taken into account when creating the email copy.
8. Focus on readability
Reading an entire email can be overwhelming when users only have a little time to dedicate. The way you structure the text needs to help those who will skim to get the most information possible. More often than not, the email will function as a gateway to a landing page, that’s why the objective here would be to get users to your website, where they can take the action you want them to. Using short sentences, bullet points to highlight main ideas and bold or italic text to grab attention will work wonders with the type of subscribers that won’t have the time to engage with your entire email.
9. Outline incentives
The kind of emails that convert are the ones that focus on subscribers’ needs. Making incentives clear and easy to understand is an important step in writing email marketing copy that actually converts. You can use different types of incentives in your email, depending on your business, goals and priorities. The most common incentives you should start considering for email are freebies, ranging from inbound marketing content to assets such as templates; demo account or free trials; scarcity, where you try to benefit from your subscribers’ fear of missing out (FOMO); urgency, applicable for time-limited discounts or promotions; and exclusivity, to encourage recipients to join a group membership.
10. Align landing page copy
While this doesn’t have to do with email copy directly, it might be one of the most important steps in making sure that your emails convert. The overall online experience that you deliver to customers and prospects needs to be as smooth as possible. Considering that the landing page is where the conversion will actually happen, it is vital to make sure that the messages and promises that are part of your email copy are also consistent with the landing page copy. Furthermore, also pay attention to the look and feel of both the email and landing page and strive to be consistent there as well.
The role of email copy in generating conversions cannot be understated. Finding the right message that connects with subscribers becomes an easier process if you follow our 10 steps guide above. Here are the main lessons you can take away from this article:
- Gather subscriber information and use it to generate list segments
- Be personal in your communication, both in tone of voice as well as by using personalization
- Align subject lines, email body and landing page copy to offer a unified experience for subscribers
- Use action words when building CTAs while also underlining benefits
- Constantly test out different messages with A/B or multivariate testing