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The Email Marketing Guide: Part 4

In this post, we’ll take a look at the essence of your email marketing strategy: the content you send out. Never forget that email is one of the most personal forms of online communication—subscribers have allowed your message to arrive in their inbox, so don’t take advantage of that. Here are some other don’ts:

  • Don’t be boring!
  • Don’t spam. Ever.
  • Don’t use “sales speak” and don’t just sell your product or service.
  • Don’t send them something they didn’t ask for, or something that won’t help/interest them.
  • Don’t address your subscribers as a collective mass, but at the same time don’t get too personal (e.g. by repeating their name too often).

Now here’s what you should do with your content:
Subject Line
This is arguably the most important element of your email, as it’s the first thing that the subscriber sees. So it needs to grab attention!
Note: Although you need to capture their interest, avoid click-bait subject lines at all costs! Not only are they tacky, but they will also be very annoying to your recipients, who will probably hit that unsubscribe button soon after.
Use action words, verbs, numbers, or even something unusual or strange. Think about how you’d write a headline for a blog post. Offer them something (and then deliver on that promise!); why should they open that email?
Content (Message)

  1. Have a schedule or plan in place, detailing what type of content you’re going to share over a period of time.
  2. Although your messages should be consistent and regular, don’t send an email just for the sake of it; it should provide something useful or interesting to readers.
  3. Think about your content ratio: will half your posts be company updates, industry news, etc.? How many promotions/giveaways/discounts will you offer?
  4. Make sure your customers feel like they’ve gained something valuable after opening the email—whether it’s a useful tip, interesting article, or a special deal on their next purchase.
  5. Imagine it’s a conversation. Ask them for feedback, about their opinion, or any other questions to engage them.
  6. Tell them a story, include some relevant links, and have a clear call to action. People don’t have time to guess what to do next.
  7. Think about segmenting your emails according to groups of subscribes; what’s relevant to some people won’t matter to others. For example, if you’re having a sale at your local store, then international subscribers won’t want to hear about that.

Tone & Style
Emails need to be a bit more personal. When crafting that email message, pretend that you’re writing to just one person—a friend. Whatever you do, don’t come across as automated. Use pronouns like “you”, “I”, “we”, and sign off with your name.
Write as casually as possible and appropriate. When you write in a formal or business-like tone, you risk venturing into that robotic “salesy” voice. If you are pitching your product or business, make it very clear why it will benefit the subscriber, not you.
Format / Appearance
The shorter the email, the better. When checking inboxes, people are usually in a hurry and often have more important messages to read and respond to. So make your text scannable and east to ready with enough spacing and short paragraphs.
Use sub-headings, bullet points, and images where appropriate (just like you would in a blog post). If you do have a lot of information that you can’t edit out, include a short summary at the top of the email, which has the most important points.
Any extra points or information can be included in a “P.S.”. If you want to change your format once in a while, go for it. You don’t have to follow a strict formula—you can send a blog post-like email one week, a short message the next week, or even an email that’s mostly composed of images (within reason of course).
– – –
You can’t edit a sent email like you can with a published social media post, so before you hit that send button:
– Check that all your links work correctly (and aren’t broken).
– Proofread your email. Spelling errors reflect so badly on your message and business.
– The shorter the better, so make sure you take out anything unnecessary. (Be your own editor/critic.)
Need some inspiration? Check out “12 of the Best Email Marketing Examples You’ve Ever Seen”.

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