Chances are you get a lot of email over the course of a day. This deluge of electronic communication may even be the reason you avoid sending them to your customers and potential customers. There’s a lot of noise out there. If you’re not regularly communicating with your audience it’s easy to slip their mind.
It doesn’t matter how much they like and trust you. If they don’t think of your business when they are in the market for your product or service, they won’t buy from you.
Email is a great way to stay top of mind, but only if it’s done correctly. If you interrupt with self-centered communications, you’ll pay for it in lack of sales and a poor email rating, which could affect your email’s ability to make it to an inbox. Here are a few tips to help your emails sing a tune your customers want to hum:
Start with a Catchy Subject Line
The two most important things in getting someone to click on your email is sender and subject. If it’s a sender they don’t know, chances are they will be wary. If it’s a salesy subject line, they’ll trash it, or worse, spam it.
You can’t get your message across if the email is never opened, so:
- Use a real name, not a “no-reply@____” address
- keep the subject line short so more of it can be seen in the viewing pane or on a phone
- pique their curiosity with something interesting or familiar
- avoid spam words in your subject line
No Novels Here
Maybe you’re the greatest writer of all time but email is not the place to showcase it (unless you’re selling a book and targeting readers). Keep your message short and well-spaced so that the people who scan, instead of read, will get the gist of your message too. You can even bold, underline and italicize key phrases for maximum interest and attention grabbing.
You also don’t want long emails because a very large proportion of people access their emails from their phones nowadays. Scrolling down over and over can become irritating and recipients may abandon your email before they get to the point.
Give Them Something to Do
Always have a call-to-action on your business email. It needn’t be anything salesy, and probably shouldn’t be, but you have their attention. Make it clear what it is you want them to do. Say it more than once, in multiple ways, through a button and text link throughout the copy. This allows people who are ready to do what you’ve asked to do it when they’re moved to do so and not wait until they get to the end. If they’re that excited after only a few lines of skimming, you want them to be able to act.
If you have more than three things to convey, use a bulleted list. People are less likely to miss the details than when you construct a long sentence with items separated by commas.
Take Command: It’s You, not Them
I partner with a lot of solopreneurs and freelancers. When we have a client who needs services out of our purview, or when we simply can’t take on another project, we turn to one another to meet the needs of our clients. A big pet peeve of mine when working with these solopreneurs and asking if they’re available to work, is when they respond with “Sure, I’m happy to help.” It bothers me because it’s not a help, it’s a paid opportunity for more business.
Help is so passive. It’s like the word try. Maybe it will work. Maybe it won’t. We’re going to try and help you.
Don’t make this mistake in your emails. Take ownership of the sales cycle. Don’t be passive and tell them to contact you if there’s anything you “can do to help.” Instead tell them exactly how you can help (You should know. That’s what your business does.) and write it as if it’s already happened. For instance, if your business makes someone more efficient through technology write something like, “If you’re ready to get more of your day back and reach more customers, we have a solution.” You’ve identified their problem, and you conveyed that you can solve it. Yes, you’re “helping” but you’re also definitively ridding them of the problem altogether.
A final tip about email for your business: You can spend a lot of time learning how to write good copy, and you should, but one of the most important things in crafting a good email message is providing value to your audience. Personalize the message wherever possible. Make them feel like you are speaking only to them. Present them with information they find valuable and your open rates will be higher.
Photo credit via Graphic Stock
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.