May 14, 2009

Ten Ways to Improve Your Email Copy


Hostway Team

There are specific tips you can follow to increase the chances that your email is read and creates the results you're after. Follow these ten ways to improve your email copy to get the best possible response for you next eBlast.

1. Subject Line

Your email subject line will determine whether or not the rest of the message is ever read. Remember to keep it straightforward.

  • Start your line with a call-to-action.
  • Include the name of your company.
  • Keep the savings message at the front of the sentence.
  • Make it short for quick scanning.

2. Opening Sentence

All the qualities that apply to a good subject line apply to your opening line. In fact, many successful emails use their subject line as the opening line, with a slight variation. It’s not redundant; it sets the tone for the message and can act as a header.

3. Action Words

Don’t let the passive voice creep into your message. For effective messages, you need to grab attention. Start sentences with directives like “Save,” “Ac,” “Click,” “Get,” “Shop,” etc. Usability studies have shown time and again that including a direct call to action can significantly improve response rates.

4. Set the Right Tone

Your email tone depends on two factors: your audience and business. Keep your email tone consistent with your Web site. The last thing you want is a customer to click through your email and land on your site feeling surprised or confused.

5. Know your Reader

If you have no idea who will be reading your email, you’ll have a tough time writing a compelling, persuasive message. Only when you clearly identify your target market, can you determine the best way to reach him or her.

6. Repeat the Offer

Repeat your offer throughout the message. At a minimum, it should be in the opening and closing lines of your email.

7. Be Brief

The truth is that the average person doesn’t really read email. When confronted with a big block of text on their computer screen, most people’s eyes will automatically skip over it. To encourage readers to take notice:

  • Keep your paragraphs short and easy to scan.
  • Separate the message into subsections, so someone can get the main points without having to read every word.
  • Vary your paragraph structure with bulleted lists.
  • Eliminate any unnecessary details.

8. Create Urgency

A sense of urgency in your email will encourage readers to click through right then, rather than waiting. If your savings offer ends soon, stress it! Even if it doesn’t, include words like “hurry!” and “now” and “for a limited time only.”

9. Keep it Simple

Clear writing with a direct message will always get a better response than overly detailed copy with too much information. Don’t overwhelm your readers with a long list of products and prices. Give them a taste that encourages them to click through to your Web site.

10. In Closing

End your email on a familiar note and choose the closing that’s right for your business. Examples include: “Sincerely, The team at Mike’s Fish Supply Shop” or “Sincerely, John Wilson, President.” Also, be sure to repeat your offer and call to action so that your reader knows what to do next.

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