In a previous article I revealed an unorthodox, but eerily effective, email marketing technique that is particularly successful when sending unsolicited email.
But what about regular marketing and branding emails sent to an opt-in list? Do I also have a revolutionary technique for these?
But I do have a pretty consistent track record of producing emails that convert, and I have an effective formula that allows me to create this content in a fraction of the time that it would take most people.
So, if you’re tired of sitting and staring at a blank page for hours, waiting for inspiration to strike, give my checklist a try.
This is the exact same formula I use for every email campaign I write. And, no, using checklists for my work does NOT make my output predictable or repetitious. My formulas are flexible.
1 – Write an Outline
Maybe you scoff at the idea of writing an outline because you know you can sit down and vomit out half a dozen, 600-word emails in a single sitting, words and ideas freely associating and gathering on the page in neat, orderly paragraphs.
But most of us mere mortals need to apply a little more forethought.
Creating an outline for your email campaign is especially valuable if you find writing an email series takes you far longer than you would like, and you experience frequent bouts of “writer’s block”.
Your outline doesn’t need to be deep. Simply decide what you want to say in each email in your campaign, come up with a concept (more on this in a bit), and write half a dozen lines for each email.
That way, when you come to writing the email in full, you don’t have to pause frequently to come up with ideas or to consider how this email is going to fit logically into the sequence.
2 – “From” Field
Before you send the first email in your sequence, check the “from” field in your autoresponder, and be sure that it will mean something to the recipient.
If your name is well known in your industry, that might be sufficient. Otherwise it may be more appropriate to use your brand name, or the name of the freebie your list received when they subscribed.
3 – Opening Line
This is one of the most critical parts of your email, so spend a little time on this. You need to grab the attention of your reader with a bold, intriguing, or controversial statement or question.
- Do you know the #1 reason why people fail at growing an herb garden…?
- Today I’m going to reveal something that virtually everyone in this industry knows but refuses to talk about.
- I’m going to get some stick for telling you this, but here goes…
- Learning enough guitar chords to play a simple song is fairly easy. Until it comes to your first LIVE performance…
- What’s the worst thing that could happen to your marketing campaign?
4 – Email Concept
There are any number of different email approaches you can take, but the four main styles that are consistently effective and easy to write are…
Tell-a-Story: Relate an anecdote or talk about something in the news that relates to your subject matter or call-to-action.
Rinse and Repeat: If you want to get to the punchline immediately after your bold opening line, simply summarize the main point of your email in 1-2 sentences and then display your link. Then, restate the point in a bit more detail, running over a couple of paragraphs, followed by the same link. Finally, state your main point, one more time, in even more detail, running over 3-4 paragraphs, followed, again, by the same link.
Straight to the Point: If brevity is your thing, just explain why you’re writing as simply and emphatically as you can, followed by a link.
Tease: If getting the reader to click on a link is the primary goal, hint that there is something incredible/controversial/exciting/shocking on the other side of the link that will be of particular interest to your target audience.
5 – Call to Action (CTA)
Your CTA will usually be to ask the reader to click on a link, but it might also be to call you on the telephone, reply to your email, or take an action related to a product or download. Whatever the case may be, your email should always conclude by asking the reader to take the desired action.
If you want two bites at the cherry, state your CTA, and then remind the reader in a couple of sentences, why it’s so important that they take action, and highlight the CTA a second time.
6 – Post Script
I don’t care how refined and upscale your industry might be, you should always, always, add a P.S. below your signature.
Use this space to state your CTA one, final time, and spice it with some urgency or scarcity.
7 – Subject Line
The subject line is the last thing to create because it will be informed by the content you’ve just written.
If you have a reasonably-sized list (and you plan to use the email campaign long-term) it’s good practice to come up with several subject lines that you can split-test.
Coming up with something eye-catching can be tedious (especially if you’re mentally tired after writing all those emails) but it usually helps to think of the subject line as an article title.
What works for article click-bait, tends to work with emails as well. Things like…
- The truth about XYZ
- How to XYZ
- 7 ways to XYZ
- What the experts don’t know about XYZ
If you want to mix things up, take a random point or anecdote from your email and reference it in an obscure fashion:
- What Breaking Bad can teach you about options trading
- Why you should never anger the moose
- My wife won’t ever forgive me…
And it’s always good to try out a subject line that describes the message in the email in the simplest, most straightforward manner:
- Here’s my new report on sales page strategy
- I’ve found a new fertilizer formula for your carrots
- My new video on parkour techniques is ready
Within this framework, you can create a wide range of email styles that can be adapted to fit virtually any industry.
It’s good to be creative and try new things, but when something works it makes sense to stick with it.
And the above formula has been consistently effective for many years.
Feel free to swipe it, tweak it, and make it your own.
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