Imagine you have an email ready to send out to your list. Maybe you’re telling them about a new exciting thing you’re up to, perhaps you’re signposting them to a brand new piece of content - be that a video on your youtube channel or a .PDF download which will be of use to them. Maybe you’re sharing a hot-off-the-press blog post, or you may just be checking in.
Whatever the focus for emailing, you want to make sure your email gets opened, and it’s well received! Here are some things to bear in mind when you’re emailing your list so you get the best reception.
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!
1. Are you making use of merge fields?
Starting the email with ‘Hello firstname’ provides that nice little bit of personalisation. People like to be spoken to like the unique souls they are, rather than addressed as a sea of unknowns. Use it!
But do bear in mind that if the contact doesn’t have a First Name on record, Infusionsoft defaults this to ‘Hello Friend’ which may come across as a little creepy - depending on the tone you usually use in your communications.
Want to change that default setting in Infusionsoft? Take a look at this vid I made for you:
2. Are we friends?
Be friendly throughout. Shirk off monotony, don’t you dare bore your audience. Be conversational, be nice,
How does the opening sentence feel? Does your email have some engaging conversational copy at the beginning?
A warm welcome is always well received, just don’t go on an on and on and on! Keep it light and casual.
3. Is there clarity?
What should they do next?
I’m talking call to action. Your CTA needs to be really clear. Add an image to direct attention - ie. if sharing that new YouTube vid, including the preview pic will communicate that CTA very quickly. Pro tip on video images, make sure they have the “play” button on the image so that it’s crystal clear the image is for a a video.
Email attention is very short, we’ve all got skim-readers aplenty on our lists. Adding a button is another way of making the CTA as clear as day.
Also, consider repeating the CTA in your email - you could include as linked text, as a linked image and as a button.
One more place to consider is including the CTA within a PS at the bottom of the email.
This serves as a clear reminder of the great things you want them to consume - a final one-liner encouraging them to check out the great thing you are offering and rounding your email off with focus!
4. Is there Potency?
How potent is your email?
Does it have power behind it?
Does it encourage and incite something in the reader?
If you feel like you could do with enhancing your copywriting skills, Copyhackers have brilliant resources for copy writing. Both paid for and free.
Some ninja tips for you on email copy: Make sure your email has an intro, a middle, and an end. The intro should ease them into the subject or lure them in. The middle should make it clear why they need this, and the end should get them to action.
Once you’ve done that, make sure the important bits are highlighted, whether by being bolded or stand alone sentences. This is so that the skim-readers will still get your beginning, middle and end.Make sure you don’t talk all about yourself too, you have to appeal to them…
5. Have you read it out loud?
By narrating your email to yourself, you’re more likely to come across grammar errors, spelling slip ups and sentences which ‘just don’t read right’.
Better still, read it aloud to willing colleague.
Oh and best to double check that any links are working correctly!
6. Have you given a thought to follow-up emails?
Does your email deserve a follow up email? Or a couple of them?
Here are a couple of follow up ideas for when the thing you’re offering in your email is big or new or exciting (and maybe it’s all 3!)
1. Encourage people to download/watch/read it - you could send everyone who doesn’t click email 1 a ‘did you miss this’ style email after 3 days
2. Encourage people to consume the initial thing - people so often download/sign up for stuff but don’t actively consume it. It may sit on their desktop for months, or some people get to page 2 put it on their to do list to read later. To disrupt this, be their cheerleader. Remind them of how exciting/important/interesting the download is. You could reiterating some of the content - pique their interest. Cue people opening that download and re-igniting their interest in your offering.
3. Encourage people to take further action or to consume something else after consuming the content in the 1st email. Maybe you want to build on what you talked about in your Youtube video, maybe the action your contact took by consuming ‘the thing’ primes them for consuming another ‘thing’ or even a product.
If you were to send 2 follow up emails, 2-3 days apart, that’s a whole weeks worth of encouragement/engagement to your list.
7. Do you need to 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 direct to you like this.
This type of engagement helps people along their journey to becoming raving fans of yours. It makes your emails stand out, it makes people not ignore you.
Engagement is also great for your email deliverability… For more on engagement and engagement marketing - the what’s, the whys and the hows… take a look at this blog from our archives.
8. Send time
Do you know the best send time for your audience? It differs so much, it’s worth investigating this with split testing - compare open rates on different days, and at different times of the day.
A great time to send is when other email marketers are not popping up in your contact’s inbox, and when your target audience is likely to be browsing their emails with a bit of time to spare.
A word about length
Here’s the long and short of it - long is good AND short is good.
I wouldn’t spend too much time worrying about this one. What’s more important are the following two tips:
9. Are you adding value?
This really is the most important thing. You need to ask yourself -
- 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?
How can you add value with your content? Solve their problems (see our blog How To Create A Content Plan) - its an awesome resource on how to find out the RELEVANT content your prospects would love to consume. And one more blog for you is - How to add value to your content give that a read and get the value added, always and forever. The blog includes this fabulous takeaway:
“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 out 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.
Let me know how you get on in the comments!