5 Methods for Creating Better Marketing Emails


Time and again, email has proved that it is a powerful yet economical way to reach thousands of leads and customers. To be effective, however, potential clients must open your emails and receive the marketing messages they contain.

Email messages that are badly written, poorly formatted, or insufficiently persuasive to cause the recipients to take the next step in the buying process are not going to be effective. Making the best use of email as a marketing tool requires adhering to some basic, proven principles that will ignite interest and convince your targets to do what you ask of them.

1. Frame the Issue Properly

How you frame your marketing message will have a significant influence on whether the email's recipient will become inspired to read on or bored enough to give up.

Framing means the context you create for your products and services and for your potential customer's needs, wants, and pain points.

Framing your email message in a positive way means focusing on the benefits of your offerings and describing what your potential customer will gain by using your products or services. A shampoo manufacturer may stress how its product will give users soft, shiny hair. A financial services company may point out how a client's investments could grow using the company's money-building strategies.

If you frame your message negatively, you'll focus on what could be lost, or what gains may not occur, if the recipient does take advantage of your offerings. That same financial services company could point out the risks of investing and how potential clients could lose their money without professional help.

Carefully consider the goals, attitudes, and needs of your potential customers when you decide whether to frame marketing messages positively or negatively. Some audiences will respond better to one approach or the other.

2. Write in the Active Voice

Marketing messages written in the active voice will be easier to read and understand. Your email's recipients will be able to immediately understand what's going on and will not have to decipher who is doing what to whom.

In the active voice, the subject of the sentence is doing something. In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence is having something done to them.

Check out this example:

Chris Passive: The new website will be designed by Thomas tomorrow.

Sue Active: Thomas will design the new website tomorrow.

"The marketing message that was written by Chris" is a passive-voice construction. The reader has to take more time to decode the sentence and figure out what's going on. It's more difficult to read and does not attract interest or attention. On the other hand, "Sue wrote a persuasive marketing message," in an active-voice construction, it says more clearly what's happening in this situation. There is no room to misinterpret what Thomas will do, and the information is presented with clarity and energy.

The active voice should be focused on when writing email marketing messages. Or, more effectively, focus on using the active voice when writing email marketing messages.

3. Tell a Story and Make Comparisons

Storytelling is a fundamental social behaviour of humans, and customers will usually respond positively, perhaps eagerly, to a story that appeals to them. Giving some specific examples of how your customers have used your products and services to solve their problems will be much more effective than providing lists of features or benefits.

Storytelling involving comparisons can spark an emotional response in readers of your marketing emails, especially if they see some of their own issues or characteristics reflected in the comparison.

4. Craft Lists to Support Memory and Recall

Using lists in your email marketing messages is an easy way to convey important information concisely. Research has shown that readers are more likely to remember the first item in a list and the last item in a list. The information in the middle often gets confused, overlooked, or forgotten.

This is based on a psychological principle known as the primacy effect, which means information coming early in a sequence is most likely to be remembered. Individuals remember information toward the end of a list more easily because it is still stored in short-term memory.

To take best advantage of this effect, put the most important items or information at the beginning and end of your lists. Apply the same technique to your marketing copy as well, starting out powerfully and vividly and ending with a memorable point that sums up your message.

5. Leave Your Opinions Out of It

It's only normal to have an opinion, especially about the value and benefits of your products or services. But it's difficult to prove an opinion; you can argue about it or give examples, but your target may not be convinced. Facts give no room for argument; they are either true or they are not. When you make a claim about your products or services, back them up with facts that prove what you say is true.

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