Secrets to Email Marketing, Part 1

Copywriting makes up the bulk of what I do for a living. Of course, when most people hear or read the word “copywriting,” they think of commercials, online advertisements, and product descriptions. Copywriting is something that is done to gain attention of a certain target market. 

Copywriting Makes the Internet Go ‘Round

It’s no longer a concept that addresses ye olde advertising methods. Nay, brethren, it now includes email, blogs, articles, landing pages…pretty much everything you read on the Internet. Without a doubt, every website you visit wants you to do something. Maybe they want you to sign up for their email list. Maybe they want you to buy something. Maybe they just want to keep your eyeballs glued to their screen (I’m talking to you, Mark Zuckerberg).

Email Is a Fantastic Way to Communicate with Your Audience

An email list is one of the best tools a business has to reach their customers and potential customers. Not long ago, I visited a small costume jewelry store. They sell inexpensive jewelry (duh), purses, and all sorts of things like that. I bought a purse. I paid for it and the cashier asked me if I wanted to give them my email address so they could just email me the receipt. Clever way to get someone on your mailing list. “Here, let me do you a favor AND help the environment!”

I pointed to the sign behind her on the wall that read “No Refunds or Exchanges” and I politely declined. I mean, for $10, I know I’m not getting the world’s best purse. Of course, as someone who just minds the store, I’m sure she didn’t really recognize that asking to email the receipt was a sneaky way of growing a mailing list…but hey….

Needless to say, email marketing is alive and well…not to mention expensive if you violate the CAN SPAM Act. So, familiarize yourself with the law and abide by it. Highlights include don’t email people without their permission and have the physical contact information of your business at the bottom of your email…and have a working unsubscribe button or link.

Good Email Marketing Techniques Aren’t Really Secret But…

Many people act like it is. One of the most common questions I’m asked is how someone can improve their email marketing campaign. So, I’ve put together this list of “secrets” that’s really common knowledge of best practices. You can implement them yourself… Oh, and I’ve avoided silly “buzz” words like “drip campaign.” (PS A drip campaign means that you have a series of emails sent out to your market over a certain amount of time. Remember that one time you signed up for a “5-day email course on X so you can become the best X to EVER exist!” Yeah, that’s a drip campaign – prewritten content that’s sent to you at specific times. You’re welcome.)

Write a Decent Subject Line

Seriously – open your inbox now and look at the various emails that are begging for you to click them. Just look at the subject lines. What makes you want to click something (aside from it being from your wife / husband / best friend / mom / boss)?

The subject line is what gets people to click. It uses actionable language (you know, something that makes the reader WANT to take action and give you that coveted click). Put yourself into your reader’s shoes. If you were them, what would make you want to open it?

Personalizing the subject line damn sure doesn’t hurt anything. In fact, a personalized subject line often results in more than twice the open-rate than non-personalized. You could use their name. You could use their location. Don’t use both. You’ll look like a stalker. No one wants that. No one.

Use a limited-time feel. Yeah, I know it may seem a little sneaky…but it’s a tried and true advertising technique. Why do you think people line up around the building for Black Friday? Why do you think they beat the crap out of each other during a season that’s supposed to be about being thankful and grateful for what you have? Because they think there are only 22 televisions for $100 within the entire universe. And, yes you can use personalization and limited-time together in a subject line…if you’re careful about how you do it.

Tell your readers they’re getting something special if they open the email. It could be a special offer like a coupon. It could be a free list of 101 best tips for (subject related to their needs) because they signed up for your email list. Whatever it is – people love to get things they think are JUST for them.

Make your subject clear and short. Don’t try to trick people into clicking. Don’t try to confuse them. Tell them what they get and make it fun or exciting, but don’t be a liar. (No one likes a liar.)

Ideally, your subject should be 50 characters or less. Including spaces. People scan their email. Keep it short.

Avoid spam triggers in your subject line. Getting sucked into someone’s spam box is bad. HubSpot offers an excellent curated list of words you should do your best to avoid when composing your subject line.

In part 2, we’ll talk about writing good email copy. So, make sure you look to the right of your screen (if you’re on a computer reading this) and subscribe to get email notifications of when this blog is updated. You do NOT want to miss out on this particular series. There’s a big red button that says “Gimme” with a box where you can put in your email address.

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