Email marketing is a smart and relatively easy way to personally communicate with your users.

A great email strategy can result in higher conversion and drive user engagement, improve retention and overall revenue.

A mediocre one, however, can cause opt-out spikes, reduce your trustworthiness or make you completely irrelevant in the recipient’s inbox.

However, if you’ve checked your inbox today, you’ll agree that most of the emails lying there are mediocre at the best.

It’s obvious, isn’t it?

The reason why a plethora of mediocre emails are lying around in your email inbox is because marketers often neglect the importance of email marketing and the nuances associated with it.

And that’s the reason why we worked on a list of things that you should ask yourself before planning an email strategy for your customers. These questions will help you avoid mistakes most email marketers (including me) make. Let’s stay away from mediocrity.

1. What outcome do I want from my emails?

Before you start framing your email, take a moment and think why are you writing this email. What is the purpose of writing the email? What gains are you looking to harvest from this particular email?

Even though this might seem naive, but, the fact of the matter is, most email marketers don’t actually think this through properly. When most of us start framing an email, we have a crude idea of what we want, we never structure it out properly.

Let’s use a common example: an email to customers about a new feature in your product. In this case, we’ll say it’s a feature that optimizes send times for email campaigns.

Ask yourself – Why am I sending this email?

STAGE – 1: First Draft

I am sending this email because we want to announce a new feature to optimize email send times.

The first draft is generally the ones that most naive email marketers use. These marketers won’t dig deeper into creating actionable emails for the customer. It sends out a very ‘meh’ sort of message, a message that is written for the sake of being sent out.

STAGE 2 – Revisit

Progressing to the 2nd stage is revisiting your first draft and ask yourself “Why?”

I’m sending this email to because we want our customer to use our new feature – Send Time Optimization for emails.

Now, we’re getting somewhere.

Writing an email knowing that you want users to optimize email send times is going to result in a way better email than the last time. The difference here is straightforward, the first email is about announcing a feature and getting done with, the latter is about you asking the users to use it.

The latter email will sound convincing to the reader than the first one.

Now it’s time to ask again, Why?

STAGE 3 – The Best version

Why do you want your users to use Send Time Optimization for emails? Ask yourself this question, again and again, put some thought to churn out the next answer.

This is the part where you are going to write ‘best’ email for the feature update, trust me!

For example,

The new email version should be written because Send Time Optimization would result in higher user engagement. Voila! Here is your new subject line.

Use our new feature – Send Time Optimization and increase your user engagement rate.

Aren’t we a world away from the initial draft.

Every time you are going to write an email to a customer, ask yourself ‘Why’ again and again to gain more clarity towards the motive behind the messaging. It will propagate clearer and actionable communication between you and your customers.

2. What action do I want the customers to take after opening the email?

Wait, didn’t we just repeat the first question again?

It’s pretty easy to confuse the first question with the second one.

The ultimate aim of the first question was to drive user engagement rates — like getting people to use the new product feature in our example.

Your aim is to direct them to the new feature, but you can’t directly do that. You can’t blatantly put a CTA and confuse the reader. The reader needs to learn about your offering before they decide to use your feature.

Instead, you may want them to do the following:

  1. Learn about the feature by reading a small introduction the feature
  2. Watch a video about the feature and how to use it
  3. Get on a call and learn about the feature
  4. Schedule a feature demo with your team

The ultimate outcome you want your email to achieve and the action you want your customers to take are two sides of the same coin. The action takes them a step closer to that ultimate outcome, but they’re rarely the same thing. Have an introductory content piece that educates the reader about the feature before leading them to your Call to Action.

3. Is there a disconnect between email’s subject and body?

There is a notion that is very popular and misleading in the email marketing world: “Email Subject line’s job is to get the email opened”

While this is true, it is also incomplete. True, the subject line is meant to get the reader open the email but it is also an indication of what the email will communicate about.

If your focus is towards increasing open rates for your emails, then keep doing what you are doing. Optimize for better subject lines.

But, it might cost you the actual action you want from your emails, getting the readers to use the new feature.  

So, always keep the subject line and body in check. The body should compliment the subject line, this will your messaging consistent and the customer’s focus at the right place.

4. Are you writing an introduction to the email or just clearing your throat?

In the editorial world, there is something called “clearing your throat”. It means that the writer has a habit of meandering around in the introductory passage, and as a result getting to the point takes longer. It just irritates the customers.

To avoid meandering introductions and cutting straight to the chase, here are few points you need to introspect:

  • Does the introduction immediately connect with the reader and keep them glued till the end of the email?
  • Does the introduction encourage the customer to read the next part?
  • Do you really need to have it in the article?
  • Can it be made crisper and more precise with fewer words and sentences?
  • Are you sound redundant?

Before you finalize on your introduction make sure that you check all the boxes above. Don’t be a victim of clearing your throat.

Emailing your customers should not scare you out

Email marketing is a vertical of its own under the marketing atmosphere. Many people get scared when they take on email marketing. There is no single recipe for guaranteed success in email marketing.

Surely a few tools and templates might help you communicate better with your customers. But, at the end, everything that goes into the email is the magical bit. It’s upto you to ask yourself the questions mentioned above before finalising on an email.

At the end, email marketing is a highly competitive space and the brands/individual who writes the most compelling and relevant emails are the ones to stay alive and well in the game.

Work Cited with the help of Help Scout’s article. Really inspiring.

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