We’ve all been there …
You’ve carefully crafted an email. You’ve polished each sentence. You’ve racked your brain for the very best subject line.
You hit publish with a sigh of relief. That’s done.
But when you look at your email stats, you notice that the opens aren’t as good as you’d hoped, and the click-throughs are disappointing. It’s depressing.
Does it feel like a big challenge to get people to open and read your emails? And then to go on to click through?
It doesn’t really need to be so hard. You’re about to learn the most important advice I’ve found for writing emails that get opened, read, and clicked.
How to create emails that are eagerly anticipated
Which email do you look forward to receiving most: an email from your best friend or an email from a massive corporation? And which of those two emails do you prefer to read?
Easy choice, isn’t it?
So, when you’re emailing your list, what do you do? Do you write as if you’re addressing a huge, faceless crowd of people? Do you write just like a massive corporate marketing department would?
If you want your subscribers to look forward to your emails, you should consider behaving more like a friend.
You know, like, and trust your friends … right?
Try toning down that corporate look, and create a more minimalist email design. Write in a conversational, respectful voice.
Follow these 8 essential rules for friendly, eagerly anticipated emails …
- Stop talking about your list. Stop talking about subscribers. Write as if you’re emailing one person only. It instantly makes your emails more personal.
- Quit wasting people’s time. Only email when you have something truly valuable or helpful to say.
- Be useful. Don’t just email when you need something from your readers. Be helpful. Be generous. Be friendly. Be like real friend.
- Use your actual name as your from address. Put your name and reputation on the line. That’s more personal isn’t it?
- Be trustworthy. Let people know what to expect. Yes, sales messages should be part of your email marketing, that’s fine. Just be clear about it when they sign up.
- Don’t be creepy. Feel free to personalize emails, but don’t repeat people’s name too often, because it makes you sound like a call center script.
- Be on their side. Remind people that they’re not alone. Tell them you understand their struggles. Empathize with them, and ask how you can help.
- Give people a reward for reading. Make sure people benefit from reading your emails. How? Share a useful tip. Make them feel better. Inspire them.
How to get your emails opened
Most inboxes are congested — filled to the brim with uninteresting, boring emails.
Your emails are easily drowned out in overflowing, noisy inboxes across the world. And Gmail tabs have made it even more difficult to get noticed.
How do you write appealing subject lines that make you stand out … that seduce people to open your emails?
Email subject lines need to attract attention, just like headlines do. Here are a few tips on that:
- Promise something good. If people know specifically what they’ll learn or how exactly you’ll make them happier, more informed, or better at business, they’ll be itching to read more.
- Use power words. Sensory and emotional words attract attention, and make your subject lines stand out in crowded inboxes.
- Use a number. Because digits — like 4 or 37 — stop wandering eyes.
- Pique curiosity. Don’t be afraid to occasionally use bizarre words. Tickle the information gap, or violate the information gap. Your readers will be keen to find out more.
- Point out common mistakes. Because nobody wants to be perceived as silly.
- Quit cleverness. Simple, specific subject lines beat clever alternatives every time.
- Experiment. Be a rebel and try something new. Dare to be different. You’ll be surprised by what works and what doesn’t.
- Learn from the masters. Subscribe to excellent email lists and analyze their subject lines. You’re guaranteed to learn something.
- Stop following meaningless stats like optimal subject line length. No average reader exists. Build a real relationship so your readers anticipate your emails and they’ll open them because they recognize your name — even when your subject line sucks.
How to write engaging emails
So, you’ve got people to open your emails. Now what? How do you keep their attention? How do you keep them reading your emails word for word?
Follow these 11 tips for emails that will captivate your readers:
- Write fast. Because that’s how your enthusiasm and personality come through.
- Keep it short. Edit your emails with rigor. Long and unwieldy emails slaughter your readers’ interest. Challenge yourself to cut your text by half next time you edit.
- Ask questions. Imagine having a face-to-face conversation with your reader. You’d ask questions in that situation, wouldn’t you?
- Don’t follow a strict formula. Blueprinted emails quickly bore the boots off your readers.
- Add a personal touch. Because you’re trying to get readers to know, like, and trust you, aren’t you?
- Don’t automate your greeting. Try warm wishes, best regards, or greetings from sunny England. Mixing up your greetings makes you less robotic, and more personal.
- Use the word you. Because it’s one of the most persuasive words in the English language.
- Develop a natural voice. Stop thinking about email marketing. Consider your emails to be a way of talking to your customers or readers.
- Add personality. Use words and expressions only you can use. Be human.
- Stop being dull. Understand the telltale signs of boring writing. Write short, strong sentences. Be to the point. And break high school rules.
- Quit being selfish. Don’t be cold-hearted. Genuinely care about your readers.
How to sell in your emails
You’re not just writing emails for fun, are you? As a business owner you have to sell to stay in business (whether you like it or not).
So what’s the best way to sell without selling your soul?
Follow these 9 tips to convert more email readers into buyers:
- Don’t sell before the prospect is ready. Become a friend and trusted source of information first; and your readers will more readily buy from you.
- Highlight benefits. Don’t sell your product. Instead, sell the benefit it offers your customer.
- Show what readers will miss. Most people are risk averse. They want to avoid inconveniences, glitches, and complications. Consider rephrasing the benefits of your offer as a problem you’ll help to avoid.
- Don’t follow a strict formula. Because formulaic emails sound robotic and are boring as heck.
- Work toward your aim. Tell interesting stories that lead to your sales message.
- Present a clear deadline. It prevents people from procrastinating.
- Insert multiple links (to the same page). Because it increases your chances of people clicking that link.
- Have an impeccably clear call to action. Tell your readers exactly what you expect them to do next, and remind them why it’s in their best interest to buy.
- Use the power of the PS. Remind people of a deadline. Or repeat what they stand to lose if they don’t take up your offer.
The harsh truth about your emails
Everyone’s inbox is overflowing. Nobody is keen to receive more email.
You should be honored that people have opted into your list and are happy to receive your messages. Each subscriber has given you a hard-earned vote of confidence.
But be careful. Never take anyone’s attention for granted. Because everyone’s time is precious.
Week in week out, you have to prove your value to your email subscribers. Know your readers so well that you can empathize with their struggles. Ask questions. And offer help.
Write as if you’re emailing one good friend, because that’s how people will get to know you, like you, and trust you.
When you’ve earned those three things, you’ve earned the ability to push send and grow your business.
About the Author: Henneke Duistermaat is an irreverent copywriter and business writing coach. She's on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make boring business blogs sparkle. Get her free 16-Part Snackable Writing Course for Busy People and learn how to enchant your readers and win more business.