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The four things you need to know to write a better marketing email

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Tis the season for... email? In the lead up to Christmas, your customers are going to be receiving more and more marketing emails. There’s a good reason for this. Email marketing is one of the most effective ways of driving sales with every dollar you spend generating $38 in profit.

And that’s before the holidays. From the sales of Black Friday & Cyber Monday to free shipping in time for Christmas, email real estate is expensive property towards the end of the year.

So how do you make sure your customers are opening your emails and then making a purchase? You just need these four tips.

Make sure your emails are personal and relevant

This seems an obvious one, but for many companies sending a personal email simply includes the customer’s name in the subject line.

While this is a good start, sending personal and relevant emails goes far beyond that and their effectiveness is clear. According to a study by Direct Marketing Association, segmented and targeted emails were responsible for 58% of revenue, but what does this mean for you?

Consider this example. A customer has been buying from you for three years. In those three years, they have bought only red wine. Would you send them an email announcing a sale on white wine? While there is a small chance they might decide to try something new at a lower price point, it is far more likely they will delete your email without doing anything. And that's if they even open it. This isn’t necessarily an issue – a customer of three years will forgive you for one email that isn’t right for them, but will they forgive months of this? Beyond that, if sending them the email is unlikely to do anything, what’s the point in spending the time and effort creating it?

Instead, you should use the information you have about your customers to create emails that resonate with them. Bigger is not better. In fact, having smaller (and more targeted) lists should be your approach here and this doesn’t need to be complicated. Using the example above, why not create three versions of the email? One that announces a sale on white, one on red and one on both? You can then look at a customer’s previous purchases to determine which email is most likely to be effective.

Give your readers something to do

Make your emails actionable. This is twofold. Use verbs such as buy, enjoy, experience (particularly in your subject lines) to indicate to your customers what they can do in your email and use the second person. Draw them in with this and then give them somewhere else to go.

This may vary depending on what you’re trying to achieve but for our wine sale example, you will likely need to direct them to your website. Use Call to Actions or CTAs ie those well-placed buttons that make it very clear where you need to click.

Don’t leave anything up to chance. Make sure the buttons are obvious and the text in them is actionable. Shop Now or Buy Now are easy examples that your customers will immediately understand.

Ideally, your emails should only have one CTA to ensure your readers don’t get confused but don’t be afraid to include other text links. These can be to the same location on your website or somewhere different, depending on what works with your copy.

Pro tip: Make sure you link the images you use too as you know where a customer might try and click.

Keep it short (and mobile friendly)

With over 55% of emails now being opened on a mobile device, it is even more important to keep your content short and skimmable. Most email platforms will have a series of templates that are designed with this in mind, so just use one of those and update the colours to match your brand.

Ideally, your reader should be able to understand what you are emailing them about in a single glance. Make sure to highlight the most relevant points and take a top down approach ie the most important information should be at the top and the finer details lower down. You can also use sites like Canva to create strong images that grab attention, but do test these on your mobile to make sure they’re still easy to read.

Show your personality

When writing the copy for your email, think about who you are as a company and don’t be afraid to show your personality. Very few people who have signed up for your newsletter will be expecting to read corporate speech from a winemaker after all. Having a casual and welcoming tone will suit you better.

If you’re not quite sure how to do this, our best advice is to simply write as you would speak. Then, once you’re done, read that aloud. Chances are, there will be sections that you’ll stumble over or words that you will add that aren’t on the page. Use these to guide your edits and if you have the time, ask a coworker or friend to read over the final draft. They might see something you don’t.

And that’s it! Happy emailing!

Think you’ve got the tools you need to write a better marketing email? It doesn’t stop there. Download our free Christmas Marketing Guide to get a week by week guide to all the emails and other tasks you should be doing to maximise your holiday sales now.