How to write effective marketing emails

For any email to be effective, it must have a specific goal and capitalize on establishing trust with your audience.

Design and Decisions Dictate Success

Before we look at how to write effective emails, let’s start with a few quick points.

As human beings, we crave interaction. Emails are an opportunity to interact with your audience on a one-to-one basis. As I have mentioned before it is the only communication medium that remains private. If your emails are useful and engaging, they can be incredibly effective.

But, they have to overcome the information overload we are all exposed to every day. This is especially true of marketing messages as we have become experts at ignoring these.

Long-term success with email depends on if the recipients trust you. The content of your emails must give them a reason to do that. It must have the same tone of voice and personality you use in your other content marketing. Remember that you are a real person having a conversation with another person.

For any email to be effective, it must have a specific goal. Every decision taken about the email’s design and content must address that goal.

You must design your emails for mobile devices first. It is best to use a single column design and keep it under 600 pixels in width. Your font size should be 14 pixels high at a minimum. They should be standard web-safe fonts like Arial, Tahoma, Verdana, etc.. 22 pixels is a good minimum for your titles.

So, what should you put in your emails? The essential elements of a successful email are similar to what should go into a successful blog post. If you read my earlier post, How to make sure your blog posts are the most, some of this will sound familiar.

What to put in your emails

Your emails will, usually, consist of these elements:

  • The Subject Line
  • A Captivating Visual
  • Headline
  • Subheadings
  • Body Copy
  • Additional Visuals
  • A Call to Action
  • Sharing Options
  • Legal Requirements

The Subject Line

The subject line is the most important part of your email. It will determine if it will be seen, opened and read. Your subject line will hook the reader or be ignored. You should spend more time on it than the rest of the post combined. As with any content marketing, you must know your audience and what will appeal to them.

Even if your email list is an opt-in one, where people have subscribed to it themselves, only 20% of subscribers will open your emails on average. If you have bought or imported your list, the percentage will be even lower.

A great subject line can increase that 20%. It tells the viewer why they should open and read your email. It makes a unique promise to the reader. In general, it must offer usefulness or spark curiosity. If it is superb, it might do both. What can you do to hook your potential reader?

There are many techniques for writing effective subject lines. A good place to start is with what Copyblogger has noted as the Four “U” approach:

  • Useful: Is the promised message valuable to the reader?
  • Ultra-specific: Does the reader know what’s being promised?
  • Unique: Is the promised message compelling and remarkable?
  • Urgent: Does the reader feel the need to read now?

Other subject line techniques are positive and include:

  • targeting your readers as individuals (personalization) or very specific groups (the more you segment your list the more effective your emails will be).
  • asking a question. The frequently asked questions people ask you every day are perfect for this.
  • letting your readers see that you understand them and are on their side.
  • making a promise that you fulfill in the body of the email.
  • positioning your company against your competition.
  • being short and specific.

Or the techniques could be negative:

  • taking a pain point and twisting the knife in it.
  • playing on your audience’s fear of missing out.

A Captivating Visual

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It’s closing time. Use landing pages to ask for the sale.

Well planned and executed landing pages turn your email, social media, and blog content into sales.

It’s Closing Time

Let’s start learning how to use landing pages to ask for the sale.

As we saw in my earlier post, copywriting is essential to any business’s marketing success. It becomes a high art form on landing pages.

Landing pages are ones where you want the viewer to take a single, particular action after viewing them. They drive the second A in your AIDA sales process. Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. These actions could be to sign up for an email list, download a piece of content marketing, enter your online store or most importantly, purchase your product(s). They are where you want to focus viewers’ attention on your vital message.

Visually, a landing page should be simple, clean and easy to understand. If you are driving people to your landing page from paid advertising versus organic search, you want to tie the look and message of the landing page directly to that of the ad. Or vice-versa. Like any page on your site, but even more importantly, it must load quickly. If you have moved someone near closing, you don’t want to lose out because of poor website performance.

It is worth the time, effort and cost to do A/B testing with your landing page. Have two versions and see which one converts best. Over the course of time change your headlines, visuals and the designs of your call to action button. You want to continuously test these elements and repeatedly optimize your landing page. Your landing pages are where you get income from your viewers so invest in making the pages perfect.

Only essential information should be on your page. It must be relevant to the message you are communicating and the action you want the viewer to take. Most landing pages consist of the following elements:

  • an image or visual
  • an attention-grabbing headline/title
  • sub-headings
  • body copy and content
  • the close and call to action (CTA)

Here is an example:  Continue reading “It’s closing time. Use landing pages to ask for the sale.”

Why your small business should use WordPress and nothing less

Your website/blog is your most valuable online asset. It should be on WordPress.

WordPress is the best CMS for small business

More than 40 percent of the world’s websites are built and run on WordPress. And that percentage is increasing every day. WordPress itself says, “over 429 million people view more than 22 billion pages each month” on the platform. It was started by Matt Mullenweg in 2003.

The platform is an open-source software CMS (content management system). That means the software is free, and it is a database-driven platform. A worldwide network of developers, designers, and companies like Mobile Atom Media support WordPress. Many of these dedicated souls are continually building website themes for WordPress. And thousands of developers create “plugins” to add functionality to it. WordCamps are held yearly in cities across the globe so bloggers; developers and designers can learn even more about it. WordPress.tv has hundreds of videos covering almost every aspect of it. The site, codex.wordpress.org, has everything there is possible to know about it.

You should use WordPress for your website for many reasons, but these are the best reasons:

  • It is free.
  • It is supported.
  • It is easy to use.
  • It is easy to edit.
  • It works.

If you are smart enough to invest in a blog, WordPress is the only platform you should use. Your blog houses the heart of your content marketing. It is an asset that will always be there for you. Your blog is where you establish authority and trust. Consequently, it is your most valuable online asset. It should be a WordPress blog.

WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com

There are two versions of a WordPress website or blog, WordPress.org sites and WordPress.com sites. You can even add a WordPress.org blog to your existing site built on another platform. So what are the differences?

A WordPress.org site uses the free WordPress software that the site owner downloads, sets up, and pays a service to host. You have complete control over it and can choose from thousands of customizable themes and thousands of plugins to get the exact look and functionality you want. You select your hosting service and can integrate it with your email provider. You will have to maintain the site by updating the operating software, theme, and plugins. It is the content marketing home you own. It is your house and can be as big as you want it to be.

WordPress.org is what most businesses use, including ones in the Fortune 100. It is the option I recommend.

Matt Mullenweg’s company, Automattic, hosts WordPress.com sites. The hosting is free. However, there are drawbacks to this. Your web address (also known as your URL) would be your website domain.wordpress.com. There are fewer than two hundred themes to choose from, and you can’t customize them. You only have the functionality Automattic provides and cannot add any plugins developed by third-party developers. It has a limited amount of storage capacity for your content. And if they want to they can run ads of their choosing on your site. This a content marketing home you rent. And it is more like a condo or apartment than a house.

You can pay Automattic for additional functionality like showing your website domain.com rather than your website domain.wordpress.com and to prevent third party ads. You can also pay to have a customizable theme, extra storage space, email support, etc.. At this point, it is going to cost you what a basic WordPress.org site would. But you will not have the complete control of a WordPress.org self-hosted site.

The advantage is that you do not have to maintain the site by updating the operating software and themes. If you are a small service-oriented business, a WordPress.com site can work well for you.

Hosting Options

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Use copywriting to turn your website into a money-maker

Copywriting gets your audience to take the action you want them to after consuming your media.

Words Make Prospects Take Action

Now, let’s start learning how to use copywriting to turn your website into a money-maker.

Copywriting is what moves your potential customers through the sales cycle. And it convinces them to buy at the end of it. You must use copywriting on your web pages, blog posts, email marketing, and social media communications. It is the most important part of any individual item of content on your website. It involves every word you see anywhere on your site.

In addition to the parts of a blog post (that we covered here) it also applies to what is called micro-copy. That is your website’s title, tagline, menus, forms, additional site navigation, and call to action buttons. Copywriting gets your audience to take the action you want them to after consuming your media.

Professional quality copywriting is a must for successful content marketing. Thus, it is a must for your business. Unless you are a persuasive writer, you will need to hire a professional. They can write copy for your webpages, blog posts and email messages (or at least edit them). Copywriting is what you should invest in first as you start to implement your content marketing strategy. It has the most impact on your bottom line.

But even if you hire a professional copywriter you need to know what goes into copywriting that converts. You want to be sure you get your money’s worth. That’s what this post will cover.

The core concepts of copywriting are unchanging. The best practices that worked in the 1920s will work in the 2020s. That is because they appeal to human nature. These practices include having an optimized headline/title, using clear and explicit language, promoting benefits rather than features, overcoming buyer objections and having a call to action.

You must allow the reader’s inherent desire for a solution to be channeled by your copywriting into purchasing your product(s). You must appeal to that desire in their brains.

Of course, you must first know your prospects inside and out so you can know what their desires are. Having a buyer persona/ideal client(s) can help you write to them.

Copywriting Strategies

A variety of copywriting strategies and techniques exist. Here are some strategies that work well for small business:

  • Promise a solution and demonstrate it with your copywriting.
  • Establish your expertise, credibility, and authority. You want to generate good feelings and trust.
  • Sell time rather savings. Show your prospect what the value is with vivid language. Create a picture in their mind.
  • Use verbs rather than adjectives. Tell your audience what your products do. Don’t list a hundred features.
  • Use storytelling rather than dry monologs. Your prospect is the hero of the story.
  • Get the prospects to visualize themselves using your product. Your products are a tool they use to achieve their happy ending.
  • Appeal to their emotions to move them through your product’s buying stages. Show how you will relieve their pain points after first emphasizing them. Overcome the viewer’s objections and fear of buyer’s remorse.
  • Provide proof of what you are saying. It lets your new customer rationalize their decision to buy from you after choosing your product because of the emotions you created.
  • Use a strong call to action to get them to take the action you want for each stage of the buying process. Unless you are writing a social media post, repeat your call to action multiple times.

Copywriting Techniques

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How to make sure your blog posts are seen and read

If your site is your online salesperson, its posts are the subtle tools of its trade.

Let’s start learning how to write a blog post and how to get the most out of them for your small business.

Posts are Most of Your Content Marketing

If your blog is the heart of your content marketing world, your blog posts are its lifeblood. They are what will move visitors from being prospects to becoming customers. They are what you will share with social media to draw people to your site so you can convert them into customers. And they are what you will promote in your email marketing to current customers in order to deepen loyalty and gain a larger share of their wallets.

Blog posts are the most important form of your marketing media.

Blog posts will be where you establish thought leadership in your industry. They will demonstrate your expertise and authority. They will create trust and get people to like you and your business. They will build your brand and your business. They will draw relevant traffic to your site, the types of visitors that will buy your products. Your posts will show your value up front. They will qualify your leads. Paradoxically they will generate leads best if you don’t try to generate leads. If your site is your online salesperson, its posts are the subtle tools of its trade.

Posts are also an excellent resource for your sales and customer service teams. They can share posts in their email conversations with clients and prospects. They can even be used to educate new employees and win over vendors. They can help you gain access to capital. Blog posts are the most. So, let’s look at how to write a blog post.

What to put in your posts

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Use Storytelling and Emotional Branding in your Web Video Productions

For epic results with your web videos use storytelling and emotional branding.

It’s time to get visual

Congratulations. You made one of the best marketing decisions of your career. You’re producing a video to promote your company or product. That means you are going to sell more goods and services. Here are some interesting facts from David Hall about Why Video Drives Sales.

  • More than 3 out of 5 consumers will watch a two-minute video that educates them about a product they plan to buy.
  • 52% of consumers say watching product videos make them more confident in purchasing decisions.
  • Video has a lifespan of four years. That is a great investment.
  • Web visitors are five times more likely to click a post with a video.
  • They are twice as likely to click through on an email with one.
  • Google ranks videos higher because they give the most information in the shortest amount of time.
  • Video attracts two to three times more web traffic, doubles time on site and increases organic traffic to your site by 157%.
  • 46% of people say they are more likely to seek out information on a product or service after seeing it on an online video.
  • Video boosts conversion rates as visitors stay on your site two minutes longer on average and are 64% more likely to buy.
  • But, 43% say they would switch to a competitor if the video quality was poor.

According to Scripted producing stellar video content helps in the following ways:  Continue reading “Use Storytelling and Emotional Branding in your Web Video Productions”