In the world of email marketing there are plenty of experts out there who know the ideal length for a subject line, the optimal placement of a CTA or the best time of day for distribution. But following the science and adopting best practices like these may still not guarantee your email will break through the clutter and do its job.
To create email content that compels the reader to open, read, act and engage, it’s just as much about the art as it is the science. After all, emails are written by people for people – and us humans can be pretty discerning about the emails we open and the links we click. In this blog, we’ll share some tips that can help you create stronger, more engaging email content.
1. Make a good first impression
When it comes to emails, the subject line and preview text are likely the first things recipients will see, and they often make the difference between an open and a one-way ticket to the recycle bin. Use this copy to tell your readers what’s in the email, how it relates to them and why they should open it right now. A little empathy is your friend here. By putting yourself in the reader’s shoes and writing the copy from the perspective of what they need to hear rather than what you want to tell them, your subject lines and preview text will be more likely to resonate and get those open rates up.
2. Get to know your audience from A to B
The more you know about your audience, the better you can customize your copy for them. But there are a lot of variations within the B2B crowd that depend on job title, industry and solution type – and they can really impact how your emails are received. To truly get to know your audience, you’ll have to dig deep. That’s where A/B testing your subject and preview lines can help. Doing so may reveal that 25% of executives automatically trash anything with “FREE” in the subject line, or that service professionals click through at a higher rate when your emails use an educational tone or offer practical value. The most important thing here is to document what you’ve learned about your audience so you can continuously improve your knowledge.
3. Say something important
We’ve all got that friend who claims to have a great story to tell, only to ramble on for too long without a point or a punchline. Don’t be that marketer. Check your content to be sure you’re providing something that’s a worthwhile investment of your readers’ time and offers some serious value. The filter here is more art than science – it’ll be based on the writer’s knowledge of the subject matter and some good old intuition.
4. Make it personal
Personalization is key to digital marketing that stands out – and that’s never been more true than it is with an email. Creating a sense of familiarity that goes beyond plugging in a name, along with body copy that demonstrates knowledge of your readers’ interests and pain points requires quality writing that can only come from experience. Specifically, experience crafting B2B emails. The more customized your content, the better your results.
5. Keep it short and sweet
There’s a time and place for long form content and the email inbox is not it. The experts agree − in B2B email marketing, it’s critical for smart phone users to quickly get the gist of the message without scrolling more than once. This means you need to keep the main points and CTAs above the fold and write as succinctly as possible. You’ll also want to sweeten the deal with thoughtful copy that’s clever enough to capture readers’ attention but clear enough to avoid losing them.
6. Put your call to action on repeat
The digital experts suggest you repeat the CTA more than once in your emails. But simply pasting the same copy into your emails in multiple places can be monotonous and create reader fatigue, so be sure to work in your CTA in a variety of artful ways. We like to use a button as well as a hyperlink inline to give readers a few different options. But make sure all CTAs are value-driven or your conversion rate could suffer.
7. Make your email part of the bigger picture
Your emails should work well with the rest of the content that supports your campaign. Aligning the theme and the tone of voice of your email to that of your landing pages and assets can go a long way toward making your program feel cohesive. At Cabral Communications, we’ve found that assigning one content manager to oversee all of the digital assets for a given initiative is a great way to bring your theme, style and messaging into alignment.
When you sit down to write an email, it’s really important to follow the latest best practices in digital marketing. But remember that the science is only going to get you halfway there. If your emails don’t resonate with readers or link well to the rest of your content, you may not be driving as much engagement as you can. To be truly effective, emails must walk the delicate line between the art and the science.
To learn more about how we approach different forms of content, check out this post on creating compelling case studies or this one about the art of the infographic. And, of course, if there’s anything we can do to help strengthen your content, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.