It used to be that one of my most dreaded tasks doing content development for Emphasize was writing a marketing email. It seemed practically impossible to strike the right tone. I want to sound peppy and engaging, but I also want to seem like I know what I’m talking about. I also want to get to the point, but not if it makes the content sound like a robot wrote it. Most of all, I want people to read them, because I am a true believer in not sending an email unless it means something.
And so, throughout the years, I have developed a few guidelines I use when I’m asked to write a marketing email. I try to ask myself these questions to make sure I’m delivering something of value in a way that gets attention.
Is this email necessary?
The first thing that I ask is, “Is this email really necessary?” I find it very difficult to write well about something that isn’t different. I want to be able to tell people about a new idea, offering, or product. I want to be able to advise them of a specific deadline, or if there is something they need to know about the product they purchased. Since people are literally bombarded with emails these days, and because phishing attacks are so prevalent, the last thing I want to do is just end up in the trash bin along with all the other unwanted correspondences.
An easy way for a quick litmus test on this is to question whether or not I am able to write a concise subject line that gets to the point and also lets people know what to expect. If I can come up with something as simple as “20% off winter tires until July 30,” right off the bat, then I know there’s at something to work with. If I’m grasping at straws, trying to think of a way to describe nothing new in one sentence, then that is another red flag that perhaps the email can wait.
What is being asked?
Somewhat secondary to the above point, for every good email there should also be a good call-to-action (CTA). Effective content development means there is value added (whether is be through an offer or information), as well as an easy way to fulfill the ask. Linking to a well-designed landing page is a good start, but take care to not force people to do a lot more work than they already have. Remember, they just read your email and clicked on a link. Forcing them to fill out a lengthy form after that is kind of just rude.
Investing in a proper customer relationship management system (CRM) will help mitigate this. With a good CRM you can mange emails to such an extent that you can send each recipient to an individualized landing page that will fill in all their pertinent details for them.
Who is it going to?
If you want your email marketing to make an impact, it has to pass through the spam filters first. That means it has to be legitimate. Don’t ever use “no-reply” as an email address, it just looks spammy. You should also clean the list regularly. If messages are regularly bouncing, it’s time to get rid of that contact.
Also, remember that the people on your email list are not a unified group. It’s important to segment your list, so that the right messages reach the right people. That often means writing more than one.
What about CASL?
The penalties for violating Canada’s anti-spam legislation are harsh. They include a maximum fine of $1 million for individuals, and up to $10 million for businesses. A good CRM system should help you track CASL compliance so you are not in danger of violating the law.
- The first step is obtaining consent to send email. Since much of your email marketing list will come from people who fill out forms or make purchases on your website, it’s easy to ask for consent as part of the sign-up and check-out process.
- You also need to provide information about your identity. This is a simple one, since it rarely makes sense to send a legitimate marketing email without letting the recipient know where it’s coming from.
- Finally, you need to provide a clear, easy option to unsubscribe. It always hurts to lose members of your email list, but it’s a much better alternative than keeping them there against their will.
What does the email look like?
At the very least a marketing email should have your logo and contact information. And providing contact information is actually the law! But a nicely designed and responsive template can go a long way. It makes it easy for people to view your emails from all devices, plus there’s the added benefit of looking professional. This is yet another reason to invest in a CRM. They should come with a good array of templates to choose from that are flexible enough be easy to work with, but also look good in any situation.
Content Development From Emphasize Design
Need a hand planning your next email marketing campaign? Emphasize Design offers content development and email marketing that will help you convert more leads, as part of our online marketing packages. Grow your Calgary business with our comprehensive online marketing services!