Friday, 9 May 2014

5 Ways to Write an Email That Sells

5 Ways to Write an Email That Sells

We all have a love/hate relationship with email campaigns. Some of us avoid our mail box for as long as possible knowing that it will be full of emails from companies touting their wares – and that’s even before you have looked in your spam filter! That is until that one email that comes in that REALLY applies to you and your needs and makes you very excited to use the knowledge you’ve gained and move forward in some way. Online marketing can seem like a double edged sword – on one hand it’s accessible and not too difficult, on the other - hard to be good at. It’s this love/hate relationship that causes nightmares for anyone who has to create an email that sells, but it really shouldn’t be something to be afraid of. 

Why do people still use email campaigns if most of them have a negative attitude toward them? (Delete, delete, delete) Let’s a take a look at a few figures about email campaigns and see exactly what kind of a reputation they deserve.
The ROI on a marketing email is around $44.25 for every dollar invested. That’s HUGE! That makes an email campaign economical and quantifiable.
Those who read brand emails spend 85% more when shopping. That’s another MASSIVE gain. Do I really need to say more? Email campaigns are cheap and work! That’s why you see so many of them in your mailbox. 

So how do you maximize your email campaign and make it into a lean, mean, marketing machine?


Optimize your copy for your real life contacts. Segment your email list to make sure you are targeting the right audience. It has been reported that the average person is bombarded with over 5,000 advertising messages each day so if you continually send out online marketing that is of no interest to your chosen demographic you will condition them to hit the delete button as soon as they see your email address in the ‘From’ line. You can segment your lists in many ways such as stage in the buying cycle, interests, industry, company size – absolutely anything that allows you to target your email to someone who is highly interested in what you have to offer. 

According to HubSpot, eMarketer did a survey and found that 85% of marketers segment their lists in the following ways, and got the following increases:

That’s twelve good reasons to segment your lists. 


Do not fall into the trap of thinking that if you put an eye catching ‘Everything Must Go’ offer in the subject line, then only offer a 10% discount off selected items in the body of your email that people will be fooled into opening all your emails. They may open it once, but after that they will be unlikely to open one ever again. Build trust with your clients by offering value in your email and representing it honestly in the subject line. People are very wary of spam and consider most emails as spam until they prove themselves otherwise. 

Make sure you always offer value in your subject line and continue it through your email in a professional and confident manner. You don’t want your client to only read that email, you want them to open all your future emails too. 


The segment you have sent the email to may contain thousands of contacts but you email mustn’t intimate at that. You need to make it professional, yet personal, and one of the best ways is to write it in the ‘second person’. Write like you were speaking to friend. Use their name at the beginning if possible. Make it seem like you already have a relationship of trust. 

If you are writing to a generic company name such as a ‘Calgary Graphic Design Agency’ and do not have a name or contact, still use the second person. Try to not have the name appear anywhere in the text as referring to your customer as a ‘Calgary Graphic Design Agency’ may be true, but is also patronising – a bit like meeting them in person, knowing their name but calling them ‘Human’ all the way through. ‘It was nice to meet you, Human’, is no way to win friends and influence people.
Use phrases like, ‘If you need….’, ‘You’re probably wondering why…’ or ‘We will be there to help you through the whole process’. This sets the tone of being interested in your customer – and not the sale. 


It’s always a good idea to keep up with what your competition is doing but when you compose a marketing email, it’s essential. Look around and see what others are doing, how they are doing and evaluate how it is being received. Make sure you do the same with your campaigns too. Don’t be afraid to follow a template that works and keep using it until there is a need to change. Take some time to evaluate everything about your email campaign and keep a note of it. After a few successful ones you could find that you have a formula that hits the mark every time. 


Any information on useful tips for writing an email campaign will tell you how important your subject line is – you know that! Think about the emails you chose to open before you read this article – what made you open them? One thing other useful email tip articles may not cover is the importance of the length of the subject line. You have to always think of ‘KISS’ when writing the subject line – which is Keep It Short and Sweet. The question is – how short? 

Mailchimp did a survey on their customer and tested over 200 million subject lines in emails and rated their success. The results? Here they are: 

As you can see, the shorter the subject line, the higher the open rate, and the higher the click through rate. When reading those statistics I wondered what kind of an email subject line was 4 characters long – how about, ‘Open’. Would it work? Try it and find out. 

If you want an online marketing that is cheap to run and very effective, then you need to start a ‘love/love’ relationship with email marketing. With a little practise you can make it work for you, just be sure you have the right tools and have done all your preparation – your success rate will thank you for it.

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