Your E-mails Might Be Broken Without These 12 Items

by Team Caffeine · 3 comments

Email Broken

E-mail is the most powerful tool in the online marketer’s toolbox.

Back in 2012, 44% of e-mail recipients made at least one purchase based on a promotional e-mail they received.

Unless you’re writing e-mails the right way, however, you might not see the results you should. If that’s the case, your e-mails are broken.

Broken e-mails are about as useful for making sales as broken shop windows: they scare buyers away instead of inviting them in.

Fortunately, fixing your e-mails doesn’t take too much effort. You can start writing effective e-mails, today. Follow our tips, and see the difference it makes to your open rate and click-throughs.

Here’s what you need to get your emails working:

1. Start With an Enticing Subject Line

“February Newsletter” is not an enticing subject line. To make your subject lines work, you must arouse curiosity in your subscribers. Hint at something you know they want, but don’t give the game away completely.

You can improve your subject lines by practicing the art of headline writing.

Most auto-responder services let you split test subject lines. So get testing! Over time, you’ll see patterns emerge for what gets attention and what gets ignored.

2. Open With a Sweetener

“Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” – Dale Carnegie

Always start your e-mails with the name of the person you’re e-mailing. If you haven’t collected the names of the people on your list, start today.

Using names makes your e-mail more personal. And it gets your subscribers to sit up and listen. We all love the sound of our own names or to see our names on the computer screen.

3. Write to One Person

Have you ever received an email that talks about “subscribers” or “the list” or “you guys”? Or how about an e-mail that opens “Dear all…”?

Talking to your e-mail subscribers in the plural makes your e-mail seem impersonal. Remember, every person who opens your e-mail wants the email to be about them, not about 100 or 1,000 other people.

When you’re referring to the person reading the e-mail, write “you,” not “you guys” or “subscribers” or anything else in the plural. “You” is one of the most effective sales words in the English language.

Writing to one person has the added bonus of making your e-mails more punchy and immediate. Keep an image of your ideal customer in mind as you write your e-mail, and you’ll write with more style and personality. It’s a simple trick that works wonders.

4. Deliver on Your Subject Line Promise

Writing an attention grabbing subject line for the sake of getting attention is a doddle. You could promise the reader a million dollars or eternal bliss or an end to all their worries.

Here’s the problem with doing that: if you fail to deliver on your promises, you’ll lose the trust and attention of your readers. They’ll unsubscribe from your e-mail list, or they’ll avoid your e-mails in future.

When you make a promise in your subject line, don’t just do it to get the click. Ensure the content of your e-mail delivers on the promise.

5. Talk From the Reader’s Point of View

Copywriters – those are the people who write adverts for a living – talk about focusing on the benefits of products rather than the features.

That’s a complicated way of saying that when you’re trying to sell a service or product, you should see it from the buyer’s point of view.

What problem will the product help them solve? How do they talk about this problem? How will the product make their lives better?

When you start to see the world from the point of view of your subscribers, you’ll write e-mails they want to read. They’ll see you as someone who understands them and who wants to help.

6. Inject Your Personality

E-mails are a highly personal medium. Access to your subscribers’ inboxes is a privilege. If they open your e-mails, they’re giving you their full attention.

Make the most of this by writing like a real person. Let your personality shine through your words. Don’t be afraid of cracking jokes or telling ordinary stories from your life.

If your subscribers feel like they know you as a friend, they’re far more likely to open your e-mails.

So don’t be dull. Instead, be yourself.

7. Always Reward Subscribers for Opening Your E-mails

Only send out e-mails when you have something useful to share with your readers. This could be anything from a helpful tip to a coupon for your store.

By putting something useful in every e-mail, you’re teaching your readers that opening your e-mails is always a rewarding experience. They’ll learn to keep opening your e-mails to get their rewards.

Avoid the temptation to send out e-mails for the sake of it when you have nothing to say or when you only want to boast about something your business has achieved. If you want to share something, ask: Will this help my subscribers? If the answer is “no,” keep it to yourself.

An e-mail without a link to click is like a buffet without food to eat, pointless and frustrating for all involved.

The whole purpose of e-mail marketing is to get subscribers to visit your blog or website. Whether you’re sending them to an article where they can find out more information, or a sales page where they can buy your product, always include a link

Additionally, limit yourself to one link per e-mail.

9. One Call to Action

Why do you only include one link? Because effective marketing always includes only one call to action. In your e-mail, you want readers to click the link. That’s your call to action. Make sure you state outright that they should click the link.

10. A Sense of Urgency

If possible, attach a deadline to the call to action. For example, if you’re linking to a special offer, make it clear how long the offer will last. This introduces a sense of urgency, which will improve your click through rate.

11. Your Name

Sign off with your name. That is, your actual name. Not your business name. Again, this keeps things personal.

12. A P.S.

Many e-mail marketers neglect to include a P.S., but it’s one of the most powerful things you can include in an e-mail. Many readers will read the P.S. first, and some will only read the P.S. That’s because a P.S. is where people go to find the important information in a letter or e-mail.

Use it to reinforce your call to action, to restate the urgency, and to provide another opportunity to click the link.

Your E-mails Don’t Need These

You now know what to include in a marketing e-mail. But what should you avoid?

  • Multiple calls to action. One is enough. You can repeat it, but stick to one action you want your readers to take. If you want them to do more than one thing, then write another e-mail tomorrow.
  • Images. They don’t add to your message, and many e-mail providers block them by default anyway.
  • Lots of words. Say what you need to say, and that’s it. People have a ton of e-mail to read. You’re just one of many. That’s why short e-mails are more effective.

Lori R Taylor is the founder and executive editor of Social Caffeine. In 2009 she started her own direct response focused social media agency, REV Media Marketing LLC, coining the phrase given by her young son, “You bring the rain, we’ll make it pour.” Follow Lori on Twitter.

David is our acting editor. He’s British, but we don’t hold that against him.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

paulcastain January 11, 2014 at 10:46 am

School was certainly in session for me as I read this post and I definitely have some work to do on my emails.
Thank you so much for sharing such useful content
P.S. I’m a huge fan of the “P.S.” 🙂


David Masters March 24, 2014 at 6:43 am

Delighted that we could help!

P.S. You’re awesome 🙂


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