E-mail Copywriting: Five Really Useful Tips
The delete button can be the recipient’s best friend and the sender’s worst nightmare. Here are some ways by which you as a copywriter can write a marketing e-mail message that is direct, concise, effective, and – before anything else – actually opened and read.
1. It starts (and might end) with your subject line!
You have a few precious seconds to catch your recipients’ attention: don’t waste this opportunity. Use whatever you have in your arsenal to get that message opened. Use humour, such as Groupon’s “The Deals That Make Us Proud (Unlike Our Nephew, Steve),” timing (such as reminders for membership renewals sent at just the right time), or personalisation, which works well on its own and works excellently when timed perfectly (such as “Happy birthday, Jack! Read on to get your surprise from us!). You can also appeal to people’s fear of missing out (“You have just two weeks left to use your loyalty points!”). These are just a few techniques. Do what you can do make sure that your e-mail does not end up in the trash folder.
2. Make clarity your first priority
It is fun to play with words and come up with something catchy, especially when developing the subject line, but clarity must take first priority. The language must be clear and precise enough to prevent any misunderstandings, especially as it could make your readers think you are deliberately misleading them.
3. Don’t bury your core message
Deliver your main message right away instead of hiding it two or three paragraphs down — your reader might not get that far. The main question on your reader’s mind is: “Why am I getting this e-mail?” Answer this quickly, even if the news is not pleasant. For instance, if you are announcing a price increase, state it right away, give your reasons for the increase, and reinforce the value your company delivers. State your main message first, provide the substance in the middle, and end on a high note.
4. Tell a (brief) story
Your e-mail message is your way of telling a story, and the call to action is your ending. Everything you write must therefore lead to it or reinforce it. From the subject line to your last line, the logic must be flawless and the path clear, whether you are announcing a sale, introducing a new service, opening a new store, or promoting a product.
5. Don’t be afraid to make it personal
Your message is you talking to your audience. Talk to them as though they are in the room with you, take them through your message logically, and make them stay with you until you have told them what you are asking for. If you have written clearly and transparently, if you have shown respect for your readers’ time, and have expressed an understanding of their situation, chances are that they will read to the end of your message and will act on your e-mail as you want them to.
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