Most of us complain that we receive too many emails. But that doesn’t stop us from checking our email throughout the day, which is why email remains one of the most effective mediums for marketing.
In fact, email has an average return on investment of $38 for each $1 spent based on a survey of marketing professionals by emailmonday.
Need more proof? Optinmonster notes that 99% of consumers check their email every day, and many check their email account more than 20 times per day. And that explains why 91% of B2B (business to business) marketers in a Content Marketing Institute study rated email as “important” or “extremely important” to their content marketing distribution efforts.
But what makes one email marketing campaign successful while another gets ignored or causes the recipient to hit unsubscribe? What motivates a reader to take action? How can you cut through the clutter?
To get the maximum benefit from your email marketing, learn what goes into crafting an effective message or work with a professional copywriter, someone who can write copy that will resonate with your customers. Let’s take a look at how it’s done.
The copywriting in your emails should provide a steady flow of interesting information that will get the prospect to trust you, like you and then eventually buy from you.
The goal is to establish a relationship with your prospects. Help them to get to know you. Build rapport with them via your e-mails by imparting interesting, useful information. Yes, you can promote your services and products, but you’ll see better success when you focus more on educating than selling in your emails.
Individual emails on relevant subject matter can work, but you might find it easier to think of emails in terms of campaigns. Each campaign should have an objective, and each individual email separately and together should contribute in some way toward achieving that objective.
Permit me to share a few examples of successful email campaigns I’ve written.
One of my clients manufactures a pharmaceutical for preventing tearstains beneath dogs’ eyes. They wanted to market their product to veterinarians.
We created a series of five emails to be mailed over the course of one month that sought to educate the prospect on the medication and ultimately led to the client trying the product on their patients. Here’s how the email progression broke down:
A UK client of mine sells subscriptions to standards information for various industries. Let’s say you own a restaurant, you need to know what the standards are for food service.
Or imagine you have an engineering firm, you might need to know the latest standards for say building a bridge or a road.
Or, if you’re an architect, you might want to know the building standards for the best fire safety in skyscrapers. My client has documented the latest standards into advisory guides for hundreds of industries.
For a recent campaign, my client was looking to promote a subscription to their engineering standards to a segment of their mailing list comprised of engineers, architects and building developers. They had me write a series of eight emails. Each one highlighted a different set of standards (i.e. standards for fire safety, standards for windows and doors, etc.) and explained its importance.
The emails were educational and informative. At the end of each email was an offer to learn more about engineering standards. And the final email was wholly dedicated to an offer for free demo software of their product.
A real estate company I work with specializes in selling investment (rental) properties. About twice a month they send out emails they call Property Alerts.
Each Property Alert email highlights a new investment property about to come on the market. It includes the property’s description, details such as features and floorplans, photos of the exterior and interior, information about the location and an offer to arrange a site tour.
The company, which now has a mailing list of over 25,000 prospective buyers, has built its success around these Property Alerts, which have generated millions of dollars in property sales every year for 15 years and counting.
A company that does cargo shipping had me create a series of emails to send to a targeted mailing list of global businesses. Each email was essentially a story or mini case study describing some difficult shipping problem they solved.
One was about how they helped an aeronautics company ship a helicopter from the U.S. to Europe.
Another email was about a client whose business involved shipping frozen bull sperm to breeding farms around the world.
Another email told the story of a large ship stuck at a port in the Middle East while awaiting some extremely large and heavy repair parts from China, which the shipping company transported.
Every email ended with a call to action, “Contact us to solve your shipping challenge.”
My client, a professional photographer, wanted to promote his services to realtors so they’d hire him to take photos of their property listings.
We designed an email campaign to send to realtors in which each email highlighted this photographer’s capabilities in text and with sample photos of his work:
Each email included a link to the photographer’s online portfolio and also an offer for the prospect to request a free quote on photographing their next listing. The final email also offered a 10% discount for booking their first project.
As you may have noticed in each of the above campaigns, every email had a singular focus and was designed to take the reader on a journey that ultimately motivates them to take action.
Most of the emails also had an educational angle. Although they included a call to action, they weren’t overly salesy or pushy. Instead they delivered useful, interesting information.
A large data analytics company I’ve worked with for the past three years has found this educational approach to be extremely effective. They use their email campaigns to generate interest for long-form collateral they’ve created.
So, for example, they’ll have me write a blog post (approximately 500 words) and then a brief email to promote that blog post to their mailing list. The email will provide just a few key points, enough to intrigue the reader and get them to click on the LEARN MORE button in the email, which takes them to the published blog post.
We’ve also used this same technique to generate interest in white paper reports, case studies, infographics, brochures and ebooks. In each case, the email is a teaser to persuade the recipient to take action and read the more comprehensive collateral material.
The collateral is almost always informational, not “salesy,” however it does include a call to action at the end, something along the lines of, “For more information, contact…” or “To schedule a demo…”
I’ve been a copywriter for more years than I care to count. Suffice to say, I was writing before the internet and email existed. That means I wrote a lot of sales letters and direct mail promotions that were sent though regular mail.
Because snail mail was (and is) so expensive when you figure in printing and mailing expense, we had to be highly selective in who we mailed to. And mailing multiple times to the same list, a proven technique for direct mail results, was often a luxury we couldn’t afford.
Email changed all that, thankfully, and is why it makes sense to include it in the marketing mix for most companies, no matter their industry.
“When you want to communicate something about your brand or sell your stuff, email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to do so,” according to Mailchimp, a mailhouse company.
Data collected in 2018, reveals that email marketing is still ranked as the most effective marketing channel, beating out social media, SEO, and affiliate marketing. It can deliver huge returns. So if email campaigns haven’t been part of your marketing program, you might want to rethink your strategy.
If you want your emails to be effective, you must make them worth the reader’s time. Consider working with a professional copywriter, someone who can come up with a strategy for your campaigns and follow through with carefully crafted wording that resonates with your customers and motivates them to take action.
The money you invest in working with a professional email copywriter will come back to you many times in the sales your email campaigns generate.