Write Emails That Work


How can you get people to respond to emails especially with all the distraction there is today?

Is email the workhorse behind your marketing efforts?

If not, maybe it should be.

Email’s so powerful it’s crushing both Facebook and Twitter when it comes to online selling according to an article on Wired Magazine’s website.

In fact, it ranks just behind organic search and CPC when it comes to online selling.

Email delivers personalized messages to acquire clients, increase brand awareness, and nurture new leads.

It delivers relevant content to opt-in prospects ready to receive them.

It’s simple, low cost, and measurable.

And it can work for everyone.

But this only works if its message is honed and refined.

Here are the questions we ask for one of our client’s emails to pass muster.

1. Is your subject a headline?

Yes. Subject lines are headlines.

Headlines get people interested in stories. Your subject lines either gets people interested in your email or they decide to delete the message without even reading.

Headlines have two purposes no matter where they appear.

They grab your attention and they tell you preview the content.

A tip to writing email headlines and subject lines is to make them personal. MailChimp has found that using actual names helps open rates.

Using personal words like “hey” also makes your email more personal.

Use a few, well chosen, attention-getting words. Preview your content, as I’ve made the mistake sending out “testtest” as my campaign once. Finally, keep them short.

Avoid getting too fancy with your vocabulary. You’re not trying to impress people. Make your wording easy for everyone to understand. It’s about the message, not your IQ.

Use the 4-U approach:

  • Make it useful to the reader
  • Provide a sense of urgency
  • Convey a unique benefit
  • Do all the above in an ultra specific way

Include numbers when you can:

  • “Webinar: Only 4 Seats Left.”
  • “11 Keys To Writing Killer Content”
  • “5 Tips For Better Analytics Analysis”

2. Did you provide a clear call-to-action?

Always include a clear call-to-action (CTA).

Make it relevant to clients’ needs.

Make it easy and painless to respond.

And make it obvious. Confusion is a big conversion killer.

Offer a white paper or access to a free webinar.

Key words to use: “free,” “complimentary,” “customized,” and “get”.

Drop robotic, boring words like “submit” and “click.”

They’re impersonal and too focused on sales.

3. Is your email mobile friendly?

Mobile is not just a buzz, it is the present & future. Studies show that as much as 50% of email marketing messages are opened on mobile devices.

Consider using responsive email design (RED). It uses one set of code to that renders email differently when viewed on a desktop, table, or smartphone.

So your email is optimized no matter where your readers open it—including iOS devices, the Kindle, Android 2.2+, a Blackberry version and Windows Phone 7.5.

CareerBuilder saw an increased in CTR of 21-24% with responsive design on mobile.

4. Does focus on your clients and want they stand to gain?

Successful emails focus on two things.

First, they focus on what your clients stand to gain from the message.

Second, they focus on what your clients could potentially lose.

Fear is a big motivator. The fear of losing something is strong and can be even more powerful than trying to sell based on what your clients stand to gain.

Make your email message personal and make it about fear without going too far.

A good email will focus on how your service can increase sales for those that take action.

A better email will focus on how your service can help clients avoid losing sales.

The fear of losing something is very personal and very compelling.

How do you know what your clients need; what they fear?

Ask them. Then listen.

5. Does it solve a problem?

Business is about solving problems.

Clients don’t care about your company or your product. They care about solving their problems.

Are they losing sales? Are they struggling to grow sales? Maybe they’re struggling to deal with changes in regulation.

Are they overweight? Do they need money? Maybe they need healthcare?

Your service might solve the problem. Your email message needs to communicate that fact.

Address the problem. Then go into how you can help.

Bottom Line

In my daily work I send hundreds of emails.

Each email I send has a purpose (I try to make sure this is the case, anyway).

Many emails go to existing clients. Others go to prospects. Staying in touch and providing value builds trust and understanding.

If you don’t change your emails your business may struggle.

You’re missing out on sales.

Even more importantly, you’ll lose the ability to earn new clients and you might lose current clients to competitors more effective with their email programs.

I’m interested in what you have to say. What are some of your successful or failed email strategies?

About the author

Jeremy Choi

I’m a husband, father, entrepreneur, mentor, and an irredeemable golf addict. Possibly like you, my big hairy audacious goal (vision) is to make a positive dent in this world. I write about creating better leaders, workers, and people. I also write about my experiences in all aspects of my life. These ideas are my experiences living & learning through my own core values; integrity, authenticity, leadership, inspire, and health.

1 comment

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