By: Diane Strand
Email (or newsletter) marketing is one of THE most cost effective tools for promoting your business. At a mailing cost of only pennies per contact, it has the power to connect your business or service directly to the person that needs you. BUT if you miss a number of the following points in your email marketing campaign, you’ll risk having your customers see you as irrelevant or annoying. The following tips can help prevent this disaster and increase response rates and sales:
- Palette – certain colors indicate energy, sophistication, intelligence, expertise, etc. Study what your customers are buying for their businesses or for themselves and who are they buying from. In most cases, the leading companies they buy from have color schemes that their audience relates to. Although your palette won’t close the sale it can be a very strong point for immediately turning your audience off if they do not relate to you. Think of your email as a picture so you do not underestimate how it can be “worth a 1,000 words” before your audience even starts to read your message.
- Headings – we live in a world where we are over stimulated and bombarded with information. If your headline get’s your audience to look at the email you’ll have about 2 seconds to interest them enough to actually read what you may have spent hours or days creating in content. Your headings should read like newspaper headlines for articles – 4-8 words maximum, punchy, intriguing, colorfully worded, relevant to the audience, understandable, simple and more. Your email receiver should understand your entire concept just from a quick skim so even if they don’t read the contents they understand what they’ll get if they do.
- Seasonality – when relevant relate back to the relevant season or holiday. This is a subtle but effective way to separate yourself from competition who only talk about what is going on their business. The importance of relating your products/services in your email/newsletter is that you become more relevant because your audience is quite likely to have this topic on their mind and therefore more easily relate to what you are offering. Also think of what unique a season or holiday has on your recipient. For some businesses summer means less business because their clients go on holidays but for other companies, that offer seasonal services, this may be one of their busiest times of the year.
- Flow – it’s about building anticipation to take action. Think of the flow you see for headlines, visual layout, use of colors you see newspapers, magazines, books and brochures. What the creators for those media have in common is they build anticipation that makes you want to take the time to engage with their content. Think of your headers and content like a great movie that builds suspense so the reader can’t wait to get to the end and are so moved when they get there they can’t wait to tell their contacts how good their experience was.
- Top Section – pay the highest attention to the minimum your email/newsletter recipient will see without scrolling. Don’t EVER expect the recipient to want to scroll past this minimum first impression. Keep in mind, unless you have a well established email/newsletter following, your audience may only have a mild interest in topics you are covering. Your job is to make the minimum so compelling, relevant, valuable and intriguing they can’t help but stop and want to read more.
- Brevity – in most cases say it in 1 to 2 sentences in about 8-16 words. Rarely use 3 sentences in a paragraph. Your job is to stimulate readers into a conversion process where they want to go your website or newsletter directory and read the full article. With practice saying far less will increase your audience’s ability to read more of your newsletter rather than delaying their reading to a “later” they may never get to.
- Provide Value – this goes beyond selling your product/service. Selling or informing your audience is great. However, giving them something that makes a difference immediately in their daily life will deepen a relationship and build an intrinsic trust with your future content. For example, let’s say your business sells coffee to companies of all sizes and your usual email/newsletter talks about prices and product features. Try adding interesting information like, ‘how having a pot of coffee ready for a meeting when it starts can create a better relationship in the room because it helps people socialize and connect prior to addressing meeting topics’. In time, your audience will look for your innovative tips that makes their business better.
- Anticipation – even if you have a full agenda of information to share, leave cliff-hangers that will make people want to look forward to the next email/newsletter. Or create anticipation by using partial sentences that requires a hyper link to be clicked to get the rest of the idea.
- WIIFM – “What’s In It For Me?” Avoid getting caught in the short sighted view that if you tell your audience what you think is important they’ll find it interesting too. Know matter how interesting your products and services are to you or your company, don’t miss the boat by using too much buzz language, more features than benefits, or technical information the average consumer won’t understand. If your average friend or business associate doesn’t find your content interesting there is a fairly good chance your email/newsletter may not interest your audience either.
- Pricing – often best to leave this out. Have a link that goes back to your site. People make decisions based on pricing immediately and if your pricing does not represent something they can make an instant decision on develop a conversion process so that within 2-3 clicks there is a high likelihood they will say “yes” when they do get to the price.
- Discounts – stay away from using percents unless it is a significant number starting at 20% or more. Smaller percents leave people thinking, “no reason to act now, not much of a deal”. Larger percents can grab immediate attention and when used properly can play a key role in the conversion process. Often it is better to show dollars off as a great majority of your email/newsletter audience is interested in how many dollars they can keep in their pocket/bank account.
- Have A Great Hook – A hook in general marketing terms is a simple and specific statement that get’s the email/newsletter recipient to want to ACT NOW. Too many messages sent say lots of interesting things but don’t have one clear message directing you to take action. A hook doesn’t have to be related to a sale either, it could be, “Register for our exclusive mailing list to gain industry insights only our closest customers get”, “Pre-register for our upcoming information workshop to get preferred seating and a VIP package”. Be creative in giving away high perceived additional ‘bonuses’ if you aren’t prepared to giveaway cash.
- Create Urgency – Try some of the following themes to get your email/newsletter readers to take action, ‘limited quantities available’ or ‘this offer is only available to the first 50 customers that respond by xx date’ or ‘$250 off until xx date when you pre-register or $100 off if you pre-register 2 days before the event starts” or “receive our bonus package including…. when you act now”.
- Conversion Model – this can take a bit of experimenting with. Consider what steps gets people to take action and actually buy or sign-up or contact you. The more statistics you can look at to understand where you are losing your readers the more specifically you can adapt you wording to get them to the next step. Numbers are king in this area and understanding trends on why your email/newsletter customers are dropping off will help you change to keep your audience engaged.
- Banned Words – do some good research on what words spam and firewalls are rejecting. You may think you’ve written a very exciting offer but your email may not be even making to the inbox or hitting the junk mail because words like, “Sale, Discounts, Buy Now, Save, etc” are keywords for making a sales pitch but can be enemies of email hosting services. Eventually you’ll find a style for being very persuasive without hitting the email guards that are meant to keep out millions of emails that go out everyday selling junk products and clog up inboxes of frustrated receivers.
Let us know how JDS Video & Media Productions, Inc.can service you with E-Mail/Newsletter blasts.