When it comes to email marketing, most marketers have mixed feelings. They know it has the potential to get results, but it also can feel like a really tired, overused tactic. After all, how many times does a customer get super excited about an email newsletter? The answer is: not often. Still, reaching your audience at multiple touchpoints throughout their customer journey (e.g. in their inbox) is a crucial part of marketing and customer retention – and emails can play a key role in this. To help you get started, here are some tips about how to craft emails that customers will actually want to read.
Appeal to the Eye
Even though we all know first impressions are important and that pictures are worth 1,000 words, design is often overlooked in email. Sure, there are times when a plain text email is the way to go. But more often than not, you need something visually interesting to capture your audience’s attention. Make sure every email newsletter you send out is neatly organized and designed to be aesthetically pleasing.
Also keep in mind that your emails should look clean. Most people just want to skim the highlights in an email, so don’t give them an ocean of text. This means keeping your copy succinct, using bullets when possible, and including a URL to a landing page to learn more or access further resources if they wish. Furthermore, think beyond copy alone. Use different formats like a short video, an image, or an infographic to keep things interesting. Of course, the caveat here is that you want the email to load quickly and not bog down someone’s inbox, so don’t overdo those large files either.
Back to Basics
Next, consider the actual content of what you’re putting in your emails. What is the purpose? Are you using them more as sales tools (e.g. including promotions or discounts to get people to make a purchase)? Or are you trying to give your customers useful information or help? Both can be appropriate, but make sure that your ratio is skewed more heavily toward delivering value versus sales tactics.
One of the best ways to get people to read your emails and deliver value is to keep it simple. What are the FAQs your customers tend to ask? Answer a couple in your next newsletter. What do customers get frustrated by when using your product for the first time? Include a brief tutorial or a tip about getting started. Sometimes, companies unintentionally overcomplicate email copy, investing all their energy into trying to make it funny or attention-getting. But what your audience wants more than anything is something that will help make a part of their life better (e.g. their job, their skills, their quality of life, etc.).
Before you think you already check this box, allow me to clear something up about personalization: it doesn’t mean slapping a merge field on your email and calling it a day. Consumers are used to seeing “Hi Wendy!” at the top of every email and, while it’s still a perfectly acceptable practice, it doesn’t move the needle on whether they feel your company knows them.
Instead, personalize email content by offering information that is relevant to the recipient. For example, you may have 100 customers, but you may choose to segment your email list into two or three groups, sorting them by job title. Each email newsletter you send to a given segment has only the content that a particular audience is likely to care about. This makes them feel seen and heard, and ups the value they receive by opening your email.
Repackage & Repurpose
One final note to keep in mind: Some of your target audience may be too busy for email, even if your subject line is snappy, your content is valuable and your design is on lock. In this case, think about how you can repackage and reuse the content you’ve taken the time to create in a different way that may be more accessible to them.
For example, tease out three key takeaways from the video you had in a newsletter and bullet them out at the bottom of the next update their customer service rep sends them. Or, transform the special offer you put in your email into a piece of direct mail that you send out to anyone on your list who didn’t open the email.
Using the same content but making it bite-sized and easier to consume on their terms is a great way to still make an impact – and make sure it’ll be seen. Email marketing – and email newsletters – can be valuable tools, but only get results if used with intention and care.
Any questions? We’re happy to help set your digital marketing and email marketing strategy!