Google Email 102: Write Email Content That Compels Your Customer to Act | Eclipse Communications: Content Writing & Copywriting

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Email 102: Write Email Content That Compels Your Customer to Act

Recently I read an article reporting that 30% of people online aren’t there to read a review on Amazon or shop for shoes at Zappo’s—they’re surfing for a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Maybe that’s not surprising, when you realize Match.com alone claims more than 20 million members. So in the interest of marketing research, I spent some time checking the profiles of men within a decade of my age, give or take.

Happily hundreds—no, thousands!—of men could be possibilities. Leaving aside looks and vital statistics (not that I really would), I found it informative to focus on the section ungrammatically titled “About Me and Who I’m Looking For.”

After a short time spent browsing these descriptions, it’s easy to form an opinion of what works and what doesn’t. I admit to surprise (aka skepticism) to learn that most men like to cook, snuggle on the couch, take long walks on the beach and give flowers for no reason.

But whether they know it or not, the men are marketing themselves and making an offer: a friendship, a relationship, a night out or in. They hope to compel prospective partners to click on the Call to Action buttons: Email Him or Wink For Free or Get His Number. Most of the time, of course, the target market just moves on to the next man in the list.

But much of what works and what doesn’t in profiles also applies when you send prospects or customers an email offer. Because it’s just as easy for them to click the Delete key as your Call to Action button.

Today’s topic: Email content

What do I mean by an email offer? After all, if you’re a marketer, you probably send emails for many purposes, with one or many offers. For example, you may deliver enewsletters or digests to customers with valuable information and insight. Or perhaps you send communiqués to nurture leads or to thank buyers for orders.

But that’s not what I’m writing about here. Instead I’m talking about a dedicated email that makes a single offer. And like a Match.com profile, your one and only purpose is to give readers enough information that they’re excited about your Call to Action. So how do you make that happen?

Start with a clear idea of what you want your email to achieve.

Know your goal. What do you want to do? Get leads, sell products, sign up subscribers, explain a service, invite donors to an event? Whatever it is, every word of your email needs to support that goal.

Ultimately you want your prospects or customers to accept your offer and click through to a landing page. Anything that distracts them is something that should be removed.

Make sure you have only one goal and one message. That will keep your email focused—and brief. If you have more than one message, write more than one email. (This is different than Match.com, where a man might refresh content but probably shouldn’t put up more than one profile, even if he does have multiple personalities.)

Pace yourself and your emails! Regular but not insistent communication builds your relationship. You want to get the timing right, because urgency looks desperate. After all, if you were wooing a member of the opposite sex, you’d probably start with cofee and then dinner and then a movie before you spent the weekend away. (Call me old-fashioned.)

So be patient when building relationships with customers, especially if you’re a marketer facing a lengthy B2B sales cycle. Once you’ve built a relationship and your customers are more comfortable with you, you can make more offers.

Focus on your customer.

Personalize the email if you can. Do you know your recipient’s first name? If you do, use it in the greeting. Even though readers know a program inserted their name automatically, it still warms up your message.

Make your main message obvious in the first paragraph. This is no place to be subtle—provide enough (enticing!) information up front to explain your offer and pique your readers’ interest.

Make your main benefit to customers even more obvious. Remember: It’s not about you; it’s about them. Keep them tuned into WIIFM: What’s in it for me? If they can’t answer that or don’t like the answer, they’ll hit the Delete key in a nanosecond.

Count the times you use we and you in your email. The scale must tilt toward you, meaning your audience. Research shows that even in writing, you gets your readers’ attention.

Make your message easy to grasp.

Write in a conversational style. Relax your tone but not your structure. And keep your message only as long as necessary to explain your offer and excite your readers.

Encourage skimmers too, because not everyone (translation: no one) will read every word of your message. Break up your text into chunks using subheads and bolding so even those with picosecond attention spans will get your message.

Build a story from bolded text. In a blog, writers often bold key points. But in a marketing piece as short as an email, you can tell readers a short story by bolding judiciously. That way, a single glance will give them all the information they need to say an emphatic Yes! to your offer.

Spotlight the Call to Action.

You’d be surprised how many emails don’t tell the reader what to do next. What you want them to do is to head to your landing page.

Next up …

Email 103: Write an Email Call to Action that Clicks

PS—What did I think of all the Match.com profiles? That I could score big if I opened a marketing agency dedicated solely to helping guys write profiles in a way that encourages gals to click through.

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