Emails huh? I bet you send dozens of these in a day, and rarely think twice about what you're writing. Let alone proof read before you click send. Am I right?
Well, that's not always a terrible thing. I do it myself (actually, I always proof-read before sending). But when you're approaching people you want to do business with - in other words engaging in email marketing - you need to pull your socks up.
Because everything you think you know about email marketing is probably harming your sales.
I'm not saying you'll get no takers. I'm saying that if you do it my way, you'll get lots more.
So I'll get straight to the point(s):
Fancy layouts and graphics turn prospects off
WHAT? You mean all those table layouts you spent hours putting together so your cake shop email campaign looked like you were sending actual cakes in the email - wasted? Afraid so, bucko.
There's a balance to be had here. It's OK to use a company header and email footer. Kind of like when you're sending a letter. But don't go overboard. The more your marketing email resembles a regular (non-marketing) email, the more effective it will be (with the right copy).
Include your company logo at the top if you want to. But don't make your email look like a web page.
Email is NOT a web page
Consider this. Your company is Jake's Cakes, and you've got a bit of copy which reads:
"the cheapest and best cakes in Scunthorpe and Lincolnshire established since 2013 passionately baked by experts"
Shoulda hired a copywriter, I know. But here's the thing. Reading that copy on a web page, and receiving it in an email are two separate things. Getting it in an email is going to damage my opinion of you much more than seeing it on your website. Why? Because email is a direct medium. You're talking to me alone so you better not be chatting shit, yo.
Email is a brilliant medium for marketing because it feels like normal, natural communication. We send email to people we know.
So if you email your worst corporate jargon-filled claptrap to your mailing list, you can kiss your sales goodbye.
In other words, have a conversation. One that you could conceivably have in real life. Don't be afraid to address specific concerns or attitudes your recipient may have.
"Do you love cake a bit too much? Can't get into that favourite suit any more? Wish you could have your cake and eat it? Now you can! With 30 days trial gym membership FREE when you spend £15 or more at Jake's Cakes .com"
It's my name; don't wear it out
Under no circumstances should you EVER address an email to 'dear customer'. If you don't know the name of the person you should direct emails to, look it up. Phone the company and ask if you have to. Dear customer is another way of saying 'I don't value your business enough to know your name' - no-one is going to buy from you.
Similarly, ALWAYS sign off with your own name, or the name of your marketing manager/ whoever. But never from 'the Jake's Cakes team'. Why? Because email is personal. Marketing emails work because they imitate a trustworthy communication format. Deviate from it, and you'll alienate potential customers.
Ask for their business
Selling is hard. For most of us, anyway. So the temptation to water down the fact that you're sending a marketing email can be strong.
But actually, if you follow the first four steps in this article, being up front about your intentions shouldn't cost you any sales. And your call to action doesn't have to sit right at the bottom either. Sometimes it's appropriate to include 2 or 3, depending on the length of the email, and the product for sale.
But for the sake of Jake's Cakes, you could suffice with one. Just before you sign off:
Sincerely with a cherry on top,
Follow these steps the next time you send an email to your list, and I guarantee you'll see a spike in conversions.
But if you prefer to leave these things to an expert, drop me a line at anthony [at] vividcopy.co.uk