In the previous post in the series, we talked about the philosophy and objectives of an email marketing campaign. We also touched on how nearly every email you send out should either solve a problem or meet a core desire of your audience. This helps to increase the effectiveness of your email campaigns, because it ensures that you are providing something of value to your list.
Email marketing isn’t necessarily easy. Even if you have something of value to offer to your list, it may not even matter. There are countless other companies and marketers that are vying your customers’ attention. People are spammed relentlessly and recklessly. There is a sea of white noise that you must escape if you want your campaign to be successful.
And if you want to be successful, you must craft powerful emails. The emails that you send out need to seize and command the attention of your readers. They need to provide value. They need to hook your audience to the point where they are glad to see your email in their inbox.
Step 1: Know what you are trying to do.
You need to focus on driving sales and engagement. Driving sales means retaining the customers you already have by offering them new deals and promotions, while also reeling in new prospects.
Engagement means maintaining a relationship with your list to cultivate familiarity and brand authority. Keeping your readers engaged will help boost the open rate of your emails and will increase sales in the future.
Don’t send out emails without a purpose. Every email should work to a specific goal that you are trying to achieve.
This will shave off the fluff that is too common with the average promotional email.
Step 2: Lock down the look of the email
You have a few options when you send out an email. The format of the email is one of the most important aspects that you want to lock down. You can either have all-text email, or you can have images in your email.
Both of them serve a good purpose. Some businesses benefit from all-text emails. Some don’t.
Images can work well, especially for a florist business. Emails with colorful and lively graphics make sense for the market. Colorful graphics evoke liveliness. And that liveliness can help your emails stand out.
But ultimately, you need to decide what’s best for your business.
Step 3: Know your market
You need to know who you are marketing to. If the majority of your customers are young to middle-aged women looking to purchase flowers, do not write your emails as if you are sending them to 40 year old men. Every word you write needs to have the needs and desires of your target market in mind.
This means that you need to talk the language of your audience. Knowing what makes them tick will help you produce more effective emails.
You should also have multiple lists that you can email. Having only one list is a massive misstep. You need to have a list for customers that bought your product, people that have just subscribed but have not yet bought, people who have been on the list for a while but haven’t purchased, repeat customers, etc. You get the idea. Doing this will optimize your email campaigns, as you can personalize each email for the specific lists.
Step 4: Select the offer
The offer needs to either fulfill a desperate need or a core desire. And the offer you select needs to be marketed to the correct list. You may not want to sell an offer that is suited best for new customers to the list of people who have never bought anything from your business.
Create a sense of urgency in your offer. If you are selling floral arrangements on a discount, then put a time limit on the offer. You can also sell only a limited amount of flowers at that price.
Step 5: Write an attention-grabbing subject line
This step deserves its own blog post, but we can talk about it here. Let’s narrow this down to the do’s and don’ts.
Write a subject line that is relevant to your list. This goes back to the basic objectives: driving sales and pushing engagement.
Frame your subject lines as questions. Set the email up with a simple question. Let the actual content of the email answer that question.
Be specific as possible. Be upfront about the content of your email from the get-go. No-nonsense email subject lines means that you are not going to waste your reader’s time, increasing the likelihood of your email being opened.
Incorporate urgency. If you have an expiring offer, weave the urgency into the subject line.
Be random. Your email subject line needs to be relevant to the actual content of the email.
Use too many strange symbols and characters. Things like brackets, parentheses, and exclamation points can be very useful. On the other hand, do not use out-of-the-ordinary characters in your emails, as that screams “SPAM” to the general reader.
Make it too long. Keep your subject lines brief. Preferably 50 characters or less.
Step 6: Craft the email
This is the fun part. This is where you need to figure out the length of the email. You can either keep it short or long. When it comes to length, there is no right or wrong way. You have to know what works for your offer. When the email is short, it goes straight to the point, which is what you may need if you are just trying to sell your offer. If you want to engage and entertain your readers, then long-form email content can work—just make sure what you put in the email is interesting enough to sustain a reader’s interest.
As for the actual content of the email, you need to talk about the benefits of your offer.
When you talk about the benefits, you need to discuss how it will meet the core needs and desires of the average member of your list. If your customers/prospects are concerned with the floral decoration of an event, then the email needs to appeal to their needs and desires.
And if your product fixes a problem or provides a solution, the email needs to be based around that. You can highlight the problem in a subject or in the first few lines of the email. The rest of the copy will explain how your product will solve that issue.
The call to action is extremely important. The call to action guides the readers to that solution in the form of a hyperlink. A strong call to action is specific and clear (e.g. Buy now, register here, call today, etc.).
Step 7: Test, test, and test some more
Test everything. Test the subject lines, headlines, email copy, email length, format, and call to actions. Email marketing, just like anything else, needs to be optimized to absolute efficiency. The best way to do that is to dive right in and test every important element.
In the next post of the series, we’ll go through some successful examples of promotional emails, and how you can use these examples in your own campaigns.