Email Marketing and Web Communication: Ten Key Tips to Get Your Messages Read
By Ross Storey
There’s an old saying ‘Manners maketh the man (or woman)’ and this still applies in the 21st Century, even though everything now seems to happen twice as fast.
Most people respond much better if you treat them respectfully. People appreciate being spoken to politely and you can definitely include consumers here. Yes, if you are into Internet marketing, it may be a hi-tech world, where bits and bytes circle the globe in the blinking of an eye, but people still respond better to being spoken to as a friendly equal. This particularly goes for language in advertisements.
Here are some important things to remember when you are emailing someone with a sales pitch.
1. DON’T YELL WITH CAPITALS: By all means use ‘caps’ in your message to highlight key points, but don’t write whole sentences in capitals. This is the online equivalent of screaming in someone’s ear. Bolding key points is a much better alternative to capitalizing.
2. Be TIDY With FORMATTING: I read a lot of sales emails every day, and it never ceases to amaze me how so many email ‘salespeople’ – perhaps we can call them ‘e-sellers’ - don’t bother to properly ‘dress up’ their email messages. There are many available email message formatting systems available, like Formatit.com, which you can use to make your emails presentable, and very likely, more profitable. Line breaks, you see, behave badly in cyberspace, and, although your email may look fine as you type it, the message could have line breaks all over the place, when it’s received. Sloppy presentation like this, sends out a clear message that does not favour people buying from you. Any sloppy line breaks are hard to read. An ideal line length is about 50 – 60 spaces.
3. Write Your Ads Like You’re SPEAKING to an INDIVIDUAL: When you email someone you are, in effect, striking up a conversation with them. You are hoping they’ll take the time to ‘listen’. A little bit of humour, a little bit of your own personal style, will not go astray in your message. Be friendly and be polite. Emails that are abrupt or too direct, can be read as insulting or critical.
4. Say PLEASE and THANK You a Lot: As a web marketer, I always start my messages by thanking people for ‘clicking in’ to my message. After all, they have taken the trouble to open my email, ahead of possibly tens or even hundreds of others, who they have not bothered to open. I always thank them for their trouble. I know that when people are polite and thank me, I always feel better towards them and welcome the respect.
5. Keep Your email Ads PUNCHY and SHORT:Email, by nature, is a time-saving tool. It’s quick and it’s to the point. Keep you message to the point and don’t try to cram too many ‘sales pitches’ in the one email. It’s very unlikely that people will read the whole thing from top to bottom, so keep your selling to six paragraphs or so. This is for emails you may be sending to a safelist. If you are emailing your regular mailing list, perhaps with you newsletter, then you can afford to follow the regular format, which may be quite long. This is because you newsletter subscribers generally know what to expect because they hopefully have read more than one edition.
6. ENTICE Your Readers to READ to the BOTTOM: If you want to send a longer than usual e-mail sales pitch, it’s good strategy to put a paragraph in, near the top, saying something like ‘If you read to the bottom of this email, you’ll find a great no cost download’. Teasers like this are very effective and may even prompt readers to immediately scroll down to the bottom to check out what they can get.
7. AVOID the Word FREE in Your Message: Why, because the spam filters will get you. While FREE might be the most attractive word in email marketing, it’s also one of those that spam filters will likely detect to block your message. You need to be a bit creative. Instead of FREE, why not use words like ‘no cost, ‘gratis’ ‘give-away’, ‘gift’ or ‘bonus’.
8. AVOID Too Many SYMBOLS: Those of us old enough to remember cartoon comic strips, will remember how cartoonists often used symbols to show a character ‘swearing’. Such as, ‘Why You #@!*’ Too many symbols in your message could have the same effect – making your message confusing and unfriendly to readers. Use symbols sparingly and to draw attention to important points.
9. DON’T Have Too Many BLOCK Paragraphs: Although grammar purists will tell you that paragraphs can have many sentences, so long as they are on the same topic, use short paragraphs of only one or two sentences. Short is better, because these days, people do not want to read great slabs of text – they will simply tune out. You can also highlight key points in your sales message, simply by isolating them in one lonely sentence.
10. EMAIL People As You Would Like THEM to Email YOU: This sounds a bit biblical, but really the same applies in general life. Try to put yourself in the reader’s shoes after you’ve finished your message. Would you like to have such an email sent to your in-box. Would you find such an email polite and friendly? If anything ‘jolts’ as you read your own email, make sure you soften it with further friendly communication.
You will likely find that showing some ‘manners’ in your email communications, will translate into greater profits and more buyers. Thank you very much for reading this article and best wishes to you in your endeavors.
Ross Storey is a completely bald (it’s fashionable), 52-year-old public relations and marketing consultant, writer and editor who has been involved in web marketing and design for more than a decade.
Copyright © 2005 Ross Storey - Please feel free to publish this article, so long as you keep this resource section complete
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