Seven Steps To Guaranteeing Your E-mail Promotions Generate The Clicks, Hits, and Sales You Need!
By Corey Rudl
Thanks to e-mail, online business owners have the option of instant and repeated communication with an audience of potential clients and previous customers. Not that this is news to you. You are already well aware that e-mail gives you the power to contact people again and again, promoting your products, your service, and your web site, whatever you like… for FREE! Unfortunately, too often this power goes to the heads of newbie marketers. And this is where the trouble begins… and their business ends!
A poorly designed e-mail campaign is a dangerous thing. You can enrage 90% of your e-mail list… you can be accused of spamming… your ISP can cancel your account… and the list goes on!
If you have any pride in your business whatsoever, then I suggest that you consider the information I’m about to present you with very carefully. I’m about to share with you the key steps that you’ll need to follow to guarantee the success of any e-mail marketing promotions you send…
Step 1: E-mail a “targeted” list of people who will be interested in your offer.
Perhaps the most critical step in guaranteeing the success of your e-mail promotions is that you e-mail a targeted list of opt-in subscribers who have specifically requested to receive information on a particular topic from you. You will be wasting your time and energy if you do not.
Remember that your job is NOT to sell your product to everyone. Not everyone wants your product. Focus your energy on the people who do! Those who have opted-in to your mailing list, your customers and leads, and individuals who have requested information from your auto responder are all excellent prospects!
Step 2: Personalize each and every e-mail.
People are more likely to read (as opposed to delete) e-mail that addresses them personally.
For example, by sending your subscriber “Bob Smith” an e-mail that presents his e-mail address directly in the “To:” field, instead of the BBC (blind carbon copy) field, Bob will know that he has given you his e-mail address. He will be less likely to assume you are some spammer or scam artist trying to sell him another widget he does not need.
And by addressing the e-mail “Dear Bob” as opposed to “Dear Everyone” in the salutation, Bob automatically assumes that you know him, making him even more likely to read your e-mail.
In various tests that we have done, we have discovered that personalized e-mail increases the response we receive by a drastic 64%! So, I would advise you not to underestimate the power of this seemingly simple technique!
Step 3: Write benefit-oriented subject lines.
When doing e-mail promotions, your subject line can literally make or break your success — a critical point that the majority of marketers miss.
Think about all of those e-mails you are probably getting on a daily basis with subjects like:
“MAKE $75,000 EVERY WEEK GUARANTEED!” “EXPLOSIVE STOCK PICK AT $0.45!!!!” “newsletter” “THIS IS NOT SPAM!”
Do you open these e-mails? Because I know, I sure do not! The subject line makes it obvious that the e-mail is spam… that it is from someone you do not know… or it does not offer a clear benefit that makes you want to read it.
Now let me ask you a question: How many of your legitimate newsletters and e-mails are mistakenly deleted by your subscribers who read your subject lines and assume it must be spam! How many potential sales could you have saved simply by rewriting your subject lines?
Obviously, I cannot answer these questions for you. However, I CAN teach you how to write subject lines that will compel your subscribers to open and read any e-mail you send them. When you write your subject lines, you basically have three choices:
- You can make an announcement or give news (e.g.,”IMC shows subscribers how to write killer subject lines”).
- You can make the reader curious (e.g., “IMC gives subscribers this secret marketing strategy…”).
- You can emphasize how the reader will benefit from opening your e-mail (e.g., Discover tips for writing subject lines that will increase your sales).
Out of these 3 techniques, you will always be most successful if you write subject lines that state a clear benefit and tell the reader exactly how they are going to save money, save time, make their life easier, etc., by opening and reading your e-mail. If you can state a benefit AND create curiosity (e.g., Discover this proven marketing strategy that will increase your sales!), so much the better! But again, the key when writing subject lines is to emphasize benefits by considering your product or service from your customers’ point of view…
- How will they benefit from taking the time to read your e-mail?
- What will they learn?
- Is your product/service going to save them time?
- Is it going to save them money?
- Or is it going to improve their lives in some way?
Write subject lines that emphasize these benefits and I guarantee that you will dramatically increase the number of subscribers who open and read your e-mail.
Step 4: Your entire sales pitch should be summarized within the first paragraph.
The first paragraph should make reference to your headline, building further excitement and motivating your potential customer to continue reading. Just because you have convinced them to open your e-mail with a compelling subject line does not mean that you are home free! You need to build more excitement and make them curious about what is to come! Again, the key is to focus on benefits!
Step 5: Make it easy to read!
Did you know that how you format your e-mail can literally make or break the success of your e-mail campaign? It is true… If you make mistakes formatting your e-mail to your customers and subscribers, you risk looking unprofessional, destroying your credibility, and having your hard work tossed in the trash without ever being read!
After all, why should readers take your offer seriously if you do not know how to format an e-mail correctly?
Remember that different e-mail programs will display your e-mail differently. Plus, different people will have their personal program set to read their incoming mail in different fonts, different sizes, different widths, etc…
So to ensure that, on average, readers have a similar view of any correspondence you send them, follow these simple formatting tips for text e-mail…
- Use a good text editor.As wonderful as Microsoft Word may be, it is NOT the tool to be using when formatting e-mail copy. To skip the quirky formatting mistakes and avoid the frustrating comedy of errors Word frequently generates in a situation like this, I highly recommend using a good text editor.
My personal favorite is UltraEdit-32, which you can download for a free 45-day trial at http://www.ultraedit.com/index.php?name=Downloads (Registration is $30.)
However, Notepad and WordPad, which come with Windows and can be found under Programs>Accessories in your Start menu, will do the trick as well.
- Set your line length to 65 characters. Have you ever received an e-mail that looked like this?>You might be wondering how anyone could
> happen. After all, wouldn’t they notice
>that their e-mail has been broken up into numerous different
>each a different length?
… I’m sure you’ve probably received e-mail that looks like this before. It’s not only hard to read, it’s annoying
Fortunately, it’s a mistake that’s easily avoided by setting your line length to 65 characters (or by setting your right indentation to 2.5″). The typical default width your readers’ e-mail clients will open to is 65 characters, so by setting your line length to this width, you’ll avoid having long lines of text cut off and displayed like in the example above.
- Use hard carriage returns (i.e. press “Enter”) at the end of each line.Some older e-mail clients don’t actually have “word wrap,” so to avoid having your e-mail appear as one long line of text that readers will need to use the horizontal scroll bar to view, manually press “enter” at the end of each line (i.e. every 65 characters).
- Use a fixed-width font.When formatting your e-mail, do so in a fixed-width font like Courier that uses an equal amount of space to display each character.
This is Courier.
This is Arial.
As you can see, Courier consistently uses the same amount of space to display each character, while Arial varies in width. This is important because the majority of e-mail clients use fixed-width fonts as their default (the exception being Eudora, which defaults to Arial).
While an e-mail formatted in a fixed-width font typically looks good when displayed in a font like Arial, an e-mail formatted in a font like Arial looks terrible displayed in a fixed-width font. By formatting your e-mail in a fixed-width font, you’ll ensure that it looks good no matter what font your reader’s e-mail client defaults to.
- Spell check and proofread everything!While I’m the first to admit that everyone makes mistakes now and then, there is absolutely no excuse for the blatant errors I see made in many e-mail promotions I receive. Remember that spelling mistakes and poor grammar make you look unprofessional and damage your credibility.
So before clicking “Send,” take that extra minute to spell check your work and have a couple of other people read it. You may save yourself some embarrassment… and prevent lost sales!
- Keep paragraphs 4-5 lines in length — no longer!By keeping your paragraphs 4 to 5 lines in length, you ensure that your e-mail is easy to read. The more white space you use, the better. Long, never-ending sentences that run on for 8 lines get very difficult to follow, causing readers to become frustrated and delete your e-mail.
- Test, test, test!Before sending your e-mail to your entire list, take an extra 15 minutes to test how it looks in a variety of e-mail clients such as:
- Eudora — free versions at www.eudora.com
- Outlook — found at www.microsoft.com
- Outlook Express — found free at www.microsoft.com
As well as in a couple of web-based e-mail clients such as:
By setting up these different “test accounts,” you’ll give yourself the opportunity you need to fix any problems and guarantee that all of your subscribers receive the same professional looking e-mail.
Step 6: Give your subscribers the opportunity to “opt-out” of your mailing list.
At the end of all e-mail you send, it’s extremely important that you give people the opportunity to opt-out of (i.e., be removed from) your e-mail database. This is really, really important! I simply can’t overemphasize the importance of giving your customers and subscribers the opportunity to be removed from your mailing list.
I know a lot of e-business owners are afraid to include an unsubscribe link at the bottom of their e-mails, but I would argue that those people who want to be removed from your list (a) have no interest in what you’re selling anyway, and (b) obviously don’t want to buy from you. Why would you anger them by not giving them a legitimate opportunity to be removed from your mailing list?
Step 7: Test your e-mail on a small percentage of your opt-in list.
This is one of the most important techniques that I teach, yet so few people actually do it. When trying to increase the response to your offer, you want to test the headline or opening paragraph, your offer, and your pricing (too cheap can be just as bad as too expensive). And be sure that you test these three things one at a time so you can accurately measure the results.
Testing your offer and your sales copy is the cheapest, most efficient way to maximize your sales! In fact, this should be an ongoing part of your business. Instead of sending your latest promotional letter to your entire customer base, try sending it to a small test group. Doing a trial run will allow you the opportunity to iron out any kinks, saving you time, money, and hassle!
Given the sheer volume of spam and unsolicited junk e-mail that consumers now receive on a daily basis, it comes as no surprise that those who are successful with their e-mail campaigns carefully consider and test each one of the steps we’ve discussed above.
The three biggest mistakes you could make with your e-mail campaigns are:
- Not taking precautions to be sure that your legitimate e-mail doesn’t look like spam.
- Not e-mailing a targeted list of opt-in subscribers; people who have asked to receive information from you and who have give you permission to contact them.
- Not testing!
E-mail has made contacting thousands of your customers and subscribers at the click of a button easy — almost too easy, in fact. And personally, I think this is what gets many new marketers into trouble. The bottom line is that, today, a successful e-mail campaign requires strategic planning. It won’t matter if you’ve spent a year writing your copy. If you don’t carefully follow the seven steps I’ve outlined above, you’ll be no further ahead.
A professionally formatted and thoroughly tested e-mail makes you look like a credible business owner who takes what you do very seriously. It invites readers to examine your e-mail… check out your offer… and seriously consider making a purchase. This means that while they require a bit of extra effort, these seven steps can easily translate into increased sales! And I think you’ll agree, there’s nothing wrong with that.