Although it may sound easy, writing emails to send to your list isn’t the easiest task in the world. Your emails need to be engaging, entertaining and add some form of value to those who are receiving it. Even well established content creators can still find writing decent emails a mean feat. With all of that hard work that goes into writing your emails, you need to know that you will be sending them off to an engaged mailing list.
Whether you’re sending a sales email, general updates, a newsletter or following up with a customer; you want to make sure your email gets opened and that it’s well received. If well received emails are the aim, you might want to keep this blog handy.
I have 13 email marketing tips for an engaged mailing list hidden away up my sleeve and today, I’m feeling very generous and I want to share them with you. 13 ways to write valuable, captivating emails that will keep your mailing list engaged and waiting for the next one.
Before we get into the nitty gritty, I wrote this post to be used as a checklist for while you’re writing and before you send. I recommend you get the skeleton of your email written first, then work your way down this list and optimise, optimise, optimise before you hit the send button!
Are you making use of merge fields?
Starting the email with ‘Hello *Insert first name here*’ provides personalisation. People like to feel thought of and important. Adding their name into the emails you send to them is a great starting point for an engaged mailing list.
For those of you that use Infusionsoft - do bear in mind that if the contact doesn’t have a first name on record, Infusionsoft defaults this to ‘Hello Friend’. This may sound a little creepy, even if you are super friendly in your usual communications.
If you want to know how you can change that setting, there is a great little ninja video waiting for you to enjoy just below.
2. Are we friends?
Sometimes, it can be hard to distinguish what the right level of professionalism is in your emails to your mailing list. Should you be formal? More friendly? Light hearted and jovial? Or, concise, straight talking and down to business?
Ultimately, it’s down to you and the kind of business you run. Of course, if you run a funeral home, it probably isn’t wise to be cracking jokes to your clients. That would probably be the best way to unengage your mailing list. But, use discernment and choose what works for you.
Here at Automation Ninjas, the way we write our emails is very tongue and cheek. We like to have fun with it. Add a joke in there, maybe a couple of less than PG words and a meme for good measure. People respond well to the way we write because it feels fun and friendly. That’s not to say you need to write like us. But, do keep in mind that most people will respond well to you writing in a way that makes you feel like their friend.
So, be friendly throughout. Shirk off monotony, keep it interesting. Be conversational. Make it fun.
3. Crystal clear
Let’s talk about clarity.
In order to maintain an engaged mailing list, you need to make sure that your emails are clear. Whatever the message may be that you’re trying to get across, you’ve got a very short amount of time to get the reader's attention and get them to hear what you have to say.
The average person spends 13.4 seconds reading an email. That means clarity has to be on the top of your list. Before writing each email, plan it out. Figure out what you want to say and plan a clear introduction, body and conclusion. Now, take that plan and execute!
More often than not, your emails will include some form of call to action. Whether that be downloading a lead magnet, booking a call with you or buying your product / service. This needs to be REALLY clear. How can you be disappointed that your leads aren’t interacting with you, if you’re not clear about how they can?
Add an image or button to direct attention to your CTA. Yes, your copy is important. But, it’s you vs 13.4 seconds of attention, do what you can to make sure those on your mailing list pay attention to what you need them to.
Ninja top tip: Consider repeating the CTA in your email - you could include as linked text, as a linked image and as a button. Another way to strategically place a CTA is with a little P.S. message at the bottom of the email.
4. Writing class
Writing emails or any kind of copy for your business can be tough. Especially, if you’re not a copywriter.
(Take it from me. Copywriting is my job but somehow, I always look something like this at least once a week)
Luckily, you don’t have to be a writer to create good content to send to your list. Over time, you will be able to recognise which style of writing suits you best. And, which style of writing your mailing list engages with the most.
This usually takes a little bit of time and some trial and error. So, while you’re on your way to finding your feet, here are a few things you can do to make sure your writing is up to speed:
Before you begin writing, think about what point it is that you’re trying to make. What can you do to get your point across in a way that will resonate with your reader? Think about the common ground that you have.
Make sure that your email has a clear introduction, middle and end. Adding a question at the end of your email to encourage further engagement will benefit you while helping those on your list to become more comfortable with you.
Sometimes, less is more. Especially if you’re not an avid writer, using longer sentences and more complicated vocab might work against you. It’s always a lot easier to get your point across without the fluff.
Even if you are a grammar wizz, we all miss things from time to time. Grammarly is great for checking a document after you’ve written it. It will edit your work based on the settings you choose around tone and fluency while checking your grammar. Grammarly also works as a plug in, so you can check as you go if you prefer.
5. Have you given a thought to follow-up emails?
Follow up emails are a digital marketers best friend. When you send a follow up email, your lead or client gets a little nudge on the previous email you’ve sent them. Life gets busy. So, more often than not, follow up emails are appreciated.
Sending follow up emails also helps you to establish a relationship with your consumer. Instead of feeling like you’re sending out a hoard of emails and waiting for the sales to roll in, they will notice that you’re checking in with them and are lending them a hand should they need it. Remember earlier on when I said people like to feel thought of? Here we are again!
- Encourage people to sign up / download / interact - If someone hasn’t interacted with the first email you sent, another email with a soft nudge will do the trick if they’re interested.
- Encourage people to consume your content - It’s not uncommon for someone to sign up to or download something only to not actually consume it. It may sit on their desktop for months, or it just keeps getting further and further down that to do list.
You can encourage them to take action by being their cheerleader. Remind them of how valuable, important and interesting the download or sign up is. You could add a sneak peak of the content to pique their interest or sign post the benefits to them.
What is that I hear? Ah yes, the clicking of your engaged mailing list opening your emails.
7. Ask for engagement
If you want engagement from them, ask for it. You should always be connecting with your customers and prospects in a meaningful way.
How about adding in a question - ‘Hit reply and tell me x…’ people LOVE to contribute, and they feel like you’re right there with them when you ask them to reply back to you in this way.
This type of engagement helps people along their journey to becoming raving fans of yours. It makes your emails stand out, it keeps your mailing list engaged.
Engagement is also great for your email deliverability… For more on engagement and engagement marketing - the what’s, the whys and the how's… take a look at this blog from our archives.
8. What's the time Mr. Wolf?
Do you know the best time to send your emails to your audience?
It can be easy to think ‘’Well, I’m just going to send it whenever. They will see it in their inbox.’’ You might be right. You also could be very wrong. Are you willing to do all of this hard work only to fall at the last hurdle?
Unfortunately, there isn’t any rule I can tell you about that will solve this problem. Each audience is unique. So, it will differ for everyone.
I would recommend that you begin to investigate this for yourself with split testing. Over the next month, plan to send your emails on different days and at varying times. When the month has come to an end, look into your open rates. Where was it good? Where was it not so good? Take stock and act accordingly.
9. Are you adding value?
When you are sending emails to those signed up to your list, you’re asking if they will take the timeout to read what you have to say. And, in exchange for their time, you need to provide them with something of value.
If you're consistently sending valuable content to your list, you can be sure that you will be the proud owner of an engaged mailing list.
Now, value doesn’t always have to be something a consumer can buy or hold. You can add value by educating them, sending them relevant information, keeping them in the loop or even sending something in your emails that will brighten their day.
There are so many ways to add value. You just need to make sure that you’re doing it!
When you’re planning your emails, take these points into consideration:
- What are your readers gaining from reading this email?
- Is reading this email going to positively impact them? (ie. make them curious, give them amusement, be interesting to read, be useful, be insightful... )
- Will your content be interesting to them?
“Create content that is intentional, has a purpose and adds value to your consumers. Whatever is going on in your head isn’t important, you want to join the conversation in their head.”
10. Are you writing for your audience?
Do you know the ins and outs, the nitty gritty of your customer avatar? Is it an idea in your mind, or have you got something solid documented, and if so - do you revisit this?
Being able to write about what your audience wants to read about comes down to a clear understanding of who your audience with.
I know a GREAT book which can help you with that… *toots own trumpet* Our chief Ninja, Kenda Macdonald wrote ‘Hack The Buyer Brain’
Here’s an excerpt from the book:
Know this - your writing needs to show that you know the needs of your audience. Show them that you know what their pains are, and that you care about offering a solution that will benefit them.
11. Subject Lines and preview text
Your subject line needs to be intentional, unique and emotionally triggering. For more on this, see our blog ‘8 reasons why people aren’t opening your emails’ and don’t forget to make use of the ‘Preview text’ section. It’s a powerful tool - it’s what they see in their inbox, and can dramatically improve open rates. Use it to add more intrigue. It’s another driver to get that email opened. You can add up to 75 characters here, and the preview text can include merge fields.
12. Alt text on images
Please add alt text to your images! This is important as some email clients default block images. You need alt text to be there to give your reader the gist of the image - highlight what they’re missing in the hope that they will hit the button to ‘load images’ within the email. Alt text for images is also important for contacts who are visually impaired and using a screen reader.
So there we have it.
Use this list before hitting send on your next email to your list. I really recommend that you write your email first with your audience in mind, of course and get those creative juices flowing!
Then, work through this list - refine and optimise that initial copy.
And if you need a helping hand with your email marketing, us Ninjas can help! Get in touch.