How many personal letters have you received lately in your mailbox? Compare that with how many emails you receive in your private and work inbox every day. And I’m not even talking about text and social media messages. We’re living in an era where everybody is flooded daily with wave upon wave of emails and messages. How do you stand out in this digital tsunami? The answer is: keep it simple.
No one prays for headaches. Keeping your emails clear, concise and to the point is a sign of consideration for your readers. In return, they’ll reward you with higher open and click-through rates instead of just putting your email in the bin.
Here’s a handful of practical tips to help you keep your emails tight and sexy.
Tip 1: Be brief
You’ve got a lot on your mind? Fine. Write it all down. Then, trim. Trim seriously. Without any compromise. Internal or unnecessary stuff for the reader to know? Slash it. Stuff that’s getting too techy? Slash it. Stuff that’s repetitive or implicit? Slash, slash, slash. Be a concision samuraï.
Find ways to reword what’s left in sentences that are direct and impactful. Steer clear of sentences that are having convulsions, avoid misleading interpretations and ban fancy words. There’s ALWAYS a simpler, clearer way of saying it. The email is still a door through which the customer journey begins. A concise and clear email gives a good impression and starts a more pleasant customer experience with your brand.
Tip 2: Find your voice
Artificial intelligence may be around the corner, but for the while it is still humans writing and humans reading. So, don’t be scared to be up close and personal with your reader, at least in your tone J
This does take a little branding exercise beforehand with your marketing team to define that tone. Whether it is fresh and young, bold and fierce, or mature and reassuring, this depends on your strategic objectives, audience, product, etc. However, one thing for sure, you can’t go wrong with sounding human, being caring and considerate in your wording and letting some personality shine through.
Tip 3: Subject line and preheader
You can’t get much click-through if people don’t open your emails. A punchy subject line is vital. Now, a subject line is everything except an all-containing, lengthy title that describes everything that’s gonna be in the email. That’s a rookie mistake. Keep your subject line really very short and make it appealing for your reader. What’s in it for them? Think about their benefits, not about your product or service.
Not sure whether or not to remove that one extra word you’re emotionally attached to from the subject line? There are tools that can help. Websites like CoSchedule provide quick analysis of your email subject line (headline) and let you make better, well-grounded decisions. Tools like this help you over time to cultivate the reflex in decluttering and streamlining your message.
What’s a preheader, I hear you ask? Still struggling for fame, the preheader is a very, very valuable little friend in your emailing tools. A preheader (aka a ‘Johnson Box’) is the line that follows the subject when emails are viewed in the inbox. Many marketers still fail to leverage the preheader, giving you an opportunity to strike.
Preheaders are very useful: they give you a second chance to entice your reader to open the email. Go for something creative, punchy or even mysterious. Go wild. This is your chance to make your email really stand out. How much of a chance? Preheaders can generate 30% higher open rates according to MarketingExperiments.com
Tip 4: Call-to-action (CTA)
Now, once the email has been opened and that readers have gone through your marvelously streamlined content, you shouldn’t leave them hanging. The CTA is where you score your email’s goal – you’ve got your reader interested in making an action that will start a process or relationship with your brand. This is where you need focus and a clear head.
More often than not, marketers tend to multiply hyperlinks in an email, making things confusing for the reader and greatly dampening the effectiveness in reaching the email’s primary goal.
Be considerate. Be smart. Guide your reader towards ONE clear call-to-action. Make it a big bright button with a label that has an action verb to help readers see what to do and what to expect next.
The CTA is only the beginning. It takes your reader on a journey. Every step of the way after that also has to be carefully planned out to make it a frictionless user experience.
Tip 5: A/B testing
The art of writing emails is a totally perfectible process. One way to fine-tune emails with the help of factual stats is through A/B testing. In a nutshell, A/B testing allows you to change a variable and see how this impacts the email’s effectiveness. It is a great way to tailor your emails to your target audience’s preferences, to get insights into these preferences and to back your decisions with stats!
For an in-depth read on the dos and don’ts of A/B testing, check out this previous blog post.
Hopefully the tips in this blog post will give you the confidence to keep it simple and help you craft fantastic emails that will make your readers go on a clicking frenzy.