Email is one of the most popular forms of direct marketing. According to iContact, 15% of marketing dollars are dedicated to email, yet many businesses waste dedicated resources due to ineffective email copy (Tweet This!). To create a successful B2B email, you first need to make sure you have direction. A clear brief outlining the key message and calls to action (CTA) of your email acts as a guiding beacon for your journey to effective email writing.
With a clear brief in mind, you can then supercharge your copy with the six following tips:
1. Less is more.
According to ReturnPath, the average user receives 416 commercial email a month. Short online attention spans, coupled with the average overcrowded inbox, mean copy needs to engage and inform in the most succinct way possible. But don't be deceived; condensing your content, choosing the right words, and simplifying email structure requires more thought. When reading a sentence, ask yourself "Can I communicate the same meaning with fewer words?" If so, cut them. When it comes to subject lines, there seems to be a sweet spot. A study conducted by Mailer Mailer suggests the ideal subject line should range between 28 and 39 characters (Tweet This!).
2. Invert the pyramid
Take a page from journalism and don't "bury the lead." Communicate your key message, benefits, and value propositions "above the fold" to grab reader attention. As you write, ask yourself, "How will reading this help the reader overcome a real business challenge?" While your subject line needs to stay on topic, your body copy needs to nail the benefits to effectively build momentum. Why else would the reader feel compelled to act on the CTA?
Here are two body copy examples for our fictitious client, Video Game Piracy Protection (VGPP):
Video game retail dollar value in 2014 was an estimated $8.4 billion. Video game piracy costs game developers tens of millions in lost earnings.
Protecting intellectual property is critical to the ongoing success of any game developer.
This short video shows how game developers could have avoided intellectual property theft, saving tens of millions in lost revenue. And, in some cases, saved their business. Watch now.
Protecting against intellectual property theft is critical to the ongoing success of any game developer.
Game developers could have protected their intellectual property against theft, saving them tens of millions in lost revenue, if they had only had the foresight to consult VGPP. VGPP offers solutions to protect intellectual property...[more of the same].
...[more of the same]
We created this short video to show how VGPP solutions can help game developers protect their intellectual property against piracy and the damaging impact it has on sales.
3. Make it personal
Your emails should include personalization for each recipient. It helps focus reader attention, encourages further reading, and according to Experian, it can increase open rates by 29 percent and click through rates by 41 percent (Tweet This!). Include the name of the recipient's organization so they can relate the benefit of your solution to their workplace context. Mention their name once in the email copy, maybe twice, but no more. At the very least, use an EDM solution that populates the recipient's first name into each email. (Note: Be mindful of cultural differences. In some Southeast Asian countries, for example, personalization isn't considered respectful.)
4. Repeat after me: Do not repeat.
Repetition makes you seem lazy. Each step of the reader's journey, from subject line to body copy to CTA to landing page, needs to add value. For the recipient, reading the same copy on a landing page that they just read in an email makes them think, "The sender didn't value my time enough to add additional information, so I'm not going any further." A landing page, in particular, needs to expand on the benefits outlined in the email.
5. Remind and Revise
To effectively capture leads, your emails should always comprise at least a launch and reminder sequence. Brevity is key. So is communicating your solution's benefits. Consider how to strike a balance between the two. Draft, review, revise, (repeat) and proofread copy. One spelling error can undo all your good work.
The experts at MarketingThink advise the following when it comes to creating engaging email copy (that converts, too):
- Include four to five CTA links within the copy without sounding repetitive (Tweet This!).
- Use bullets or bolded sub-headers to separate copy and also to communicate the most important value propositions.
- Make sure the design and copy align with the look and feel of the landing page. Stay consistent.
6. Value Localization
Keeping the aforementioned best practices in mind to ensure clear, concise, personalized, value-adding copy, you may also need to consider the need for localization. If an email is translated for use in several countries, be wary of cultural differences, particularly with regard to humor and slang. If the campaign budget limits localization to a simple translation, repeat our mantra: "Less is more." The less to translate, the more likely you can avoid writing a term that requires an unwieldy number of characters in Japanese, for example, compromising on aesthetic appeal, and potentially disrupting your email design.
Author Bio: Cameron Avery is CEO of Elastic Grid, a cloud-based channel marketing platform that simplifies B2B sales and marketing. Cameron founded Elastic Grid over a decade ago to address the clear need in the market to generate better, and more measurable, marketing ROI.