Despite the rise of social media and other digital marketing platforms, email continues to be a powerful and inexpensive tool. So inexpensive, in fact, that it is currently the lowest cost marketing channel, with an average ROI of $44.25 for every dollar spent, according to iContact.
The best use of email is to market to those who are already aware of your services. Email should not be used to acquire new contacts, but should be used to form stronger relationships with those who are already aware of your company and to turn these patrons into life-long customers. According to the Agora model formed by Agora publishing, the best way to drive sales via email is to form a personal relationship before pushing a sale. Try having patrons sign up for free content and newsletters so you know for sure that the person is open to receiving information from you. Rule 16 states that people will always open emails from 16 sources as well as their inner circle, so the key to effective email marketing is becoming one of those 16.
Bob Bly, a renowned copywriter specializing in direct marketing, crafted 16 tactics designed to help you form connections with your customers via email as well as turn those relationships into profits. These tips give a broad foundation for email copywriters and can help establish that ever-important personal relationship with all of your potential customers.
1. Give valuable content
Consider giving a free tip or useful info in the email itself. Even if the patron doesn’t purchase your good it builds trust in that relationship and helps position you as a thought leader.
2. Appeal to a core emotion or desire
Take a step back and put yourself in the reader’s shoes. What do they care about? Is it saving money? Getting ahead? What is their problem that can be solved with your product?
3. Tell a story
This doesn’t have to be exceedingly formal. Tell a story that helps the reader identify with you on a personal level. Statistics are great, but they aren’t the same as a personal connection.
4. Appeal to the reader’s curiosity
Headline your email with a logical contradiction and the reader will most likely read through the body text to find the explanation. A great example of this is recent ad for a fan that claimed it could ‘Cool you house, without air conditioning!’
5. Tease the reader
This blog post is an example of this particular technique. Putting numbers in the subject line, such as ’16 email marketing tactics’ works wonders for luring people in. Likely, whoever reads the title will try to make a mental list of their favorite tactics. They probably won’t be able to think of 16 and will read the body text to learn more. In fact, 64% of people say they open an email because of the subject line, according to Chadwick Martin Bailey.
6. Write from the heart
Online, people desire transparency and personal connections. In your email, write about yourself AND the reader in order to form a stronger bond. Avoid excessive marketing speak and instead think about what you would like to hear if you were the reader. Remember that whoever is reading your email is a person, too, and probably doesn’t want to be spoken down to or have cut through a lot of smoke and mirrors to get the truth. Be genuine. Form that interpersonal bond. Another way to form that personal relationship is to sign emails with your own name and not that of your company. When the reader sees that same name repeatedly they begin to trust it.
7. Just say what it is
Like I stated in #6, readers don’t want all the smoke and mirrors. Tell them bluntly what your product is and let it speak for itself. This method works best when your landing page is more complex and provides any missing information. Also, make sure to keep your offer and call to action above the fold and repeat at the end of the message.
8. Ask a compelling question
Ask a question that the reader will want an answer to and they’ll likely read the body text or visit the landing page in their search for an answer.
9. Lead with the offer
This technique is ideal if your offer is really strong. Don’t be afraid to put the offer in both the subject line and the headline to really drive your point home. Subject lines that contained the terms ‘money,’ ‘revenue’ and ‘profit’ are found to perform the highest for B2B companies, according to Adestra’s 2012 report.
10. Optimize landing pages
Promise useful information on the landing page and deliver! Try videos, testimonials and social media integration for a complete customer experience.
11. Lead with the benefit
Like #9, this method is best if the benefits of your product are really strong.
12. Push the bait piece
The bait piece is an offer or freebie that gets readers to come to your site. Don’t sell your product- sell the webinar, sell the trial, sell the brochure.
13. Give news
Can you link your product to a current event? It may make it seem to the reader that they are reading news as opposed to an advertisement.
14. Make it timely
Reference the month, year or season to make your email seem fresh and new as well as give a sense of urgency. A great example is “Marketing best practices of 2013.” It appeals to the reader by adding currency and relevancy to your email.
15. Give them the pill
Giving them the pill means doing it for them. Make the process as easy and user-friendly as physically possible. Don’t just put a footnote asking your reader to follow you on Twitter, provide a link to your account, such as “Follow me on Twitter,” or even better yet add a widget or button.
16. Sell the online video
Videos are huge in online marketing, just as they have been for the past several years. A high quality video or other interactive element is worth putting on your landing page. You can drive traffic by telling people that there’s a video there. Assure circulation by adding links to social media and encouraging social sharing.