FAILING AT EMAILING: PART 2 – Good Content is all about Effort

From my experience, the difference between an email with good content and an email with bad content is almost always effort on behalf of the marketer.  I get it, I can be lazy too sometimes and sometimes the creative juices won’t flow and I can’t seem to come up with a witty subject line. Deadlines tend to loom and there isn’t always time to wait for an awesome image from the design team, I get that too.  Its’ just…when we find ourselves in these situations we have to avoid hitting the send button.

The thing is, we all have been on the receiving end of bad emails and we have to remind ourselves what that feels like, remember what it feels like to receive an email that is overly markety, and remember that those markety emails didn’t work on us.  Email marketing is a catch 22 in that people know they are being marketed to, but don’t want to feel like that’s what’s happening.  It’s why we put a person’s name as the From Name rather than “Marketing Department” and it’s why using cliche marketing taglines or buzzwords doesn’t work well.

In part one of this series, I focused on email marketing best practices for template design. In part two, I will focus on filling those templates with the content that yields results.

I want to preface this by saying I haven’t been fishing since I was a kid, but I like to think of emails as a fishing pole.

The subject line is the bait

Like bait, the subject line is what you use to lure in your catch.  Now, imagine you could drive a little further and spend a little more to buy colorful bait that looks like the fish’s actual prey, but instead you decided to go to the store closest to you and dropped a few bucks on rubber worms, ignoring the fact that the fish you’re trying to catch don’t even eat worms.  You’d probably have to get pretty lucky to get even a nibble, right?  That same concept applies to subject lines.  Go the extra mile and write something clever that will appeal to the people you’re sending to.

The banner image is the hook

Once someone opens an email, the reaction to its appearance is immediate.  Therefore, the banner image is a major tool to make a connection or “catch”  their attention.  Further, if you know the persona(s) of the audience you are talking to, which you should, it’s an opportunity for you to “hook” them with imagery that they can relate to.

The headline is the rod

When the reader gets to the headline, you need to begin pulling them in.  This short and concise message should describe the offer you’re delivering and should provide the interest or “tug” readers need to be reeled in.

The CTA button is the reel

This is the action you want the reader to take or what reels in your catch.  The headline and CTA need to be a cohesive message and should work together just like the fishing pole bends and allows the fisherman to pull while they reel in their fish.

What success looks like:

There can be other elements to an email like body copy, icons, and secondary promotions, etc.  But, more often than not, the four mentioned above are going to give you the best opportunity to convert. In order to get conversions, they all need to work together.  In our latest newsletter, we went with the subject line: You’re not looking so good, {{First. Name}}.  It was different, mildly insulting and had the readers name in it, which apparently was enough to spark their curiosity and net us a 40% open rate. When they opened the email, readers saw a nice image that quickly told them what the email was.  We played off the subject line with the headline: Make Your Marketing Look, Feel and Sound Great.  We finished the section off with the CTA: Visit our Blog.  Not to toot my own horn, but the extra effort I put forth worked out well for us and the final version looked pretty good too.

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