How many marketing emails have you received in the past 24 hours? If you’re like most people, you could easily wake up to ten in the morning, and receive 20 to 30 as the day goes on – and some of us would love to get as few as that.
That’s not including personal or work email, either. It’s those promos from shops, food deliverers, travel companies, car dealers and whoever else you vaguely recall signing up for.
In short, it’s a jungle out there – and email marketers are resigned to the fact that more than 90% of their emails will never get read.
But there are ways you can at least try to get that percentage down, and some of the easiest aren’t technical – they’re just about using the kinds of tricks Mad Men’s Don Draper would recognise from the 1960s. Here are some easy wins for making your emails more interesting.
Monitor your readership
First up, we now have tools at our disposal to monitor exactly how emails are interacted with, so learn to use them if you don’t already.
Your readership might seem dispersed and random, but they all signed up to hear about what you have to offer, so make sure you satisfy that need.
Subjects that might seem boring to one readership could be highly interesting to yours, so pay attention to the subjects that tend to be well received and amplify them.
Open with a bang
Emails have several stages where you get the chance to grab the reader’s attention: the subject line, the design, the main headline and the first line of the text.
Fall at any of these hurdles and it’s game over, but keep readers interested for the duration and you’re in. Try a teaser for a subject line – a question or a solvable problem. Then give a strong hint that you’ve got the answer with the opening. You’ve primed the reader to read on.
Keep it short
Your email will be one of many in the reader’s inbox, so keep it concise. If it leads on to a landing page with more copy, that’s fine – if they click, they must be interested. If it’s a simple link to a new product or a special offer, go straight to the deal.
Talk to the individual
Humans are social animals, and like to feel like they belong. Write informally and address readers as “you” – avoid passive language or talking to customers in the plural. If you auto-insert the name, make sure the syntax and format is right. Nothing sounds as robotic as being addressed wrongly, and you can easily lose the human connection.
Hire a copywriter or editor
A lot of newsletters and email marketing are written in-house, which is great as you project the expertise and enthusiasm for your product or service your customers appreciate. But it still has to sound professional, amusing, reliable and worthwhile, so if writing isn’t necessarily among anyone’s most noticeable skills, get some help in.
An editor can take your work and make sure it’s readable, but a copywriter can start from scratch and produce great newsletters every time. Just make sure they’re immersed, well briefed and understand your business and its tone of voice.
Use calls to action
Finally, don’t leave readers hanging. Your newsletter has grabbed the reader’s attention and led them through its premise, but how are you going to end it? If they’ve got this far, you may as well guide them towards the parts of your business that are discussed in the email.
A call to action is where you switch your tone of voice from being informative to giving an instruction: Find out more; Buy now; Enter the competition; Contact us. It’s the perfect way to end a newsletter. Do it.
As I said above, the design of your email is every bit as important as the text, and possibly more so where first impressions are concerned.
That’s why a beautifully designed HTML email template, which is responsive to the device and client it’s being read on, is such a help in getting readers past those first stages. And we can help you create it.