Email Marketing Basics

Writing great marketing emails is about creating as seamless an experience as possible between online and in-person engagement, which means getting brand and messaging consistent, connecting genuinely to clients and their needs, and excellent execution. Even though everyone’s inbox has no shortage of sales emails on a given day, with the right touches, yours can still get the respect it deserves. Here are four things to remember as you build or touch up your sales emails in 2018.

#1 – Nailing the first impression

No matter if your marketing strategy is brilliant, if you fail this, you will get flagged as spam. Nailing the first impression involves proving professionalism and competence. If you get someone’s name wrong, for example, or worse, fail to enter a name and send clients an “[INSERT NAME]” greeting (yes, it happens, even to good companies), no one is going to want to read any further. It sounds basic, and it is, but so basic it can get taken for granted and not receive a triple check before launch.

And watch out for common spelling and grammar errors. Brilliant people, business whizzes, creatives, executives–everyone is susceptible to this plague. And for many readers, if they see your business or firm mistaking “its” for “it’s” and “there” for “they’re,” they can quickly lose confidence in your information. Pull out that fine-toothed comb on:
names (including your own company’s name–again, it happens)
your company’s contact info
spelling and grammar

#2 – Containing your emotions (emojis)

Using all caps for emphasis? Don’t. This should only be reserved for headings, urgent subject lines and, if used in body text, for serious warnings, such as warnings of a legal nature. They should not be used in your main email copy to express excitement, a deal that’s about to end, or a point you’re trying to make. All caps looks as if you are shouting, feels aggressive and overboard to many people, and if used to make a sale, reads like a Big Bob’s Car Dealership ad from the 1980’s. That is not appropriate for a 21st-century professional email marketing strategy. Use bold or underlining instead of all caps.

And though currently popular, you want to avoid venturing into subject line emojis unadvisedly. Attention-getting, clever, humorous, attractive–subject line emojis can be all these things. But there is a fine line. Too many, the wrong kind, the wrong placement, even using them at all under many circumstances can move from looking hip to unprofessional or even silly. Get good guidance, and test any experiment in emojis across at least two generational gaps.

A great alternative to pushing too much emotion a customer’s way is to figure out how to transform the energy and excitement you want to share into a question or a teaser that piques interest. A subject line like “Are you ready for more from your IRA?” or “We can’t wait to share the news” conveys excitement, but is far more effective than an emotional blast.

#3 – Nailing the ask

With a solid, legible email, the battle for a great email is already half-won. Now, what about your content? In person, you understand your level of relationship with your client, and you can intuitively adjust your ask or upsell, as well as the narrative in which the ask is embedded, to the person with whom you’re connecting. Not so with email. You have to find from the front-end an effective strategy that hits the golden mean between a hidden ask and an overwhelming ask.

Hidden ask. This is the call to action that gets obscured by your narrative. An email campaign does (briefly) engage the reader in some aspect of your company’s vision and mission, but without knowing what’s in it for them, a reader will be very quickly thinking, “What’s the point?” Make their next step upfront and clear.

Overwhelming ask. This happens when the sale expectation is not proportionate to the relationship. Like a first date who gets asked for her hand in marriage, your reader is likely to run. Keep it simple.

This is where a drip marketing campaign might be helpful, too. Drip campaigns send series of highly targeted emails to different clients, pitching customized asks over time that take many factors into account, including your current level of relationship with the client and their history with you.

#4 – Formatting for the win

The first task is to get the format sharp and streamlined. Resist the urge to use a multitude of different font sizes or images, and go first for consistency over cool. White space–visual silence–can also hold a lot of power. It gives the eyes room to breathe. It bespeaks confidence. Don’t fill it up. That’s not only going to make reading easier, it’s going to give you a chance to experiment with the arrangement of the email, curating the format until someone can clearly recognize a flow, a point, a pitch, an ask, even if they’re not reading carefully.

And when you check your email before sending, do a test: squint and scroll through, asking yourself whether you can already tell whether words, section breaks, emphases and, headings are making visual sense and if you can get a feel for the impression they make. The baseline for formatting is clean, consistent, uncluttered, with an easy-to-follow flow of emphasis. This baseline of simplicity creates a harmony that allows your font, colors, images, and messaging to do their job. After it’s all said and done, even you might be impressed.

Great sales emails convey the desired message and build a lasting relationship. And this is what Range, a Deluxe company, does best. To ask about partnering our high-tier, start-to-finish marketing services with your own team, contact us today.