Want to write the perfect email for your list?
There is no such thing of course, and the ideal message is going to vary from person to person and brand to brand. That said though, there are certainly some ‘best practices’ to keep in mind when you are coming up with your emails and that can help you to get a better response. Let’s take a look at some of them…
Write a Story
I once heard the expression that ‘storytelling is SEO for the human mind’. This is incredibly true and the fact is that the human psyche loves stories. We have evolved over thousands of years with a culture of storytelling and we find it very engaging and very persuasive.
So instead of writing about how X technique is highly effective generally, instead frame this discussion as your own personal account. How has it helped you? Or how has it helped someone you know? How did you feel during that process? Set the scene and get people engaged – this is far less dry than simply talking in facts and figures.
It’s important that the tone of your messages match the tone and the nature of your business. However, it should also match the medium – which in this case is the email of course.
Emails are inherently more personal and less formal than other forms of marketing because they’re being read in a personal inbox. At the same time, by writing a more personal message (using the recipient’s name, making sure to use a regular letter structure), you’ll be more likely to reach the primary inbox and therefore to actually get read!
Try not to put any distance between yourself and your audience; make them feel as though you are speaking with them directly.
The objective of any good email should be to provide value. That might be in the form of a tip, or it might mean that you are providing entertainment. Either way, you need to make sure that your audience feel glad that they took the time to open your message and read it. That way, they’ll be more likely to do the same again next time!
As well as providing value though, you should also seek to make sure you are providing value in the shortest space of time. In other words, your messages should be efficient and to the point – you don’t want to take up your audience’s time!
How to Avoid the Spam Filter and Get Into the Primary Inbox
One of the biggest challenges for email marketers over the years has always been beating the spam filter. The job of the spam filter on most email providers is to prevent unwanted messages from getting in – especially those that might contain viruses, phishing scams or other harmful types of content.
Today this has become even harder though. Now we not only have spam boxes but also ‘social’ and ‘promotional’ boxes that further segregate our messages and make it hard for any of our messages to gain attention.
The good news is that there are strategies you can use to combat both these issues. Read on…
One of the first and most important tips for avoiding the spam box is to make sure you avoid using the kinds of words and phrases that computers associate with spam. This is similar to the way that Google looks for keywords, except this time the keywords are a bad thing. Examples of words to avoid include things like ‘buy’, ‘free’, ‘discount’, ‘hurry’ and ‘Viagra’. Hopefully that last one isn’t something you would be writing about anyway!
If you want to get into the main inbox, then it is not enough to ‘not look like spam’ – you now need to also ‘look like a personal message’.
To do this, you should take advantage of the feature in your autoresponder that allows you to use the recipient’s name in the message. Likewise, try to structure your message more like a conventional email. That means saying ‘Dear [Name],’ and ending with ‘Best regards,’.
Likewise, you also need to avoid including elements that a client will associate with a promotional image or that will make you look less like a genuine correspondence. That means avoiding using too many hyperlinks – keep it to just one – and it means avoiding using big images.
The most important thing to do though, is to make sure that you are focussing on delivering great value over time. If you do this, then people will open your messages and they will actually read them. This will help to improve your ‘sender reputation’, which in turn will mean you don’t get blacklisted.
And while you’re at it, why not ask your readers to ‘white list’ your messages and add them to the main inbox? Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest ones!
Top 4 Ways to Improve Your Sender Reputation
Your sender reputation is a little like a credit rating. This is a score that will be shared between the different email providers and that will be tied to your IP address and domain. Things that can hurt your sender reputation include having lots of emails that bounce, lots of complaints from contacts and a low open rate.
If your sender reputation gets too bad, then you risk becoming blacklisted and the number of messages that will get through to your audience will go down significantly.
So how do you prevent this from happening? How do you keep your sender reputation in the black? Here are some powerful strategies:
‘Warm Up’ Your IP
One advanced technique that many people aren’t aware of, is to ‘warm up’ their IP address. This means that you’re going to give your emails the best start possible and the way you’ll do that, is by starting out with a very small mailing list that is filled with only your most engaged fans (and maybe even some friends and family!). When you do this, you’ll build up some positive ‘credit’ as it were and this will then help make your address more resilient against future negative influences.
Keep Friends and Family Involved
This is one reason it can be a good idea to invite your friends and family onto your mailing list. What’s more is that if you keep them there subsequently, you’ll then have at least a few opens and reads guaranteed. This is a good way to avoid a scenario where you get zero opens and every little bit helps!
List hygiene simply means that you are looking after your mailing list by removing the contacts that never read a single one of your messages or that always bounce. This is a simple matter of logging into your Autoresponder and deleting those users but it will make a big difference.
Finally, it is crucial that every single email list these days use a double opt in. This means that your new subscribers will need to confirm their email address via a confirmation message and that in turn ensures that the email address is real and also that the recipient checks it often and that they really are interested in signing up.
These small changes can make a massive difference to your deliverability, so get started right away!