6. Go negative
Though emphasizing gains, benefits, and advantages has its place in emails, Nancy says, think negatively too.
“People are two times more motivated to avoid pain of loss than to achieve pleasure of gain,” she says. So, for example, test a negative phrase such as “Don’t pay extra. Register today” against the positive “Save $200 through the early bird rate.”
7. Rhyme at the right time
Nancy doesn’t advise writing entire emails in rhyme. But she does suggest using well-written rhymes in the right places, such as subject lines, calls to action, or titles and headlines.
She cites research from Matt McGlone that found people who read two sentences with the same meaning are more likely to judge the rhyming version to be more truthful. Rhymes are easier for the brain to process. Because those rhymes feel “right,” the readers assume they are. (He speculated this rhyme-as-reason phenomenon might have affected the jury in the O.J. Simpson trial when lawyer Johnnie Cochrane said: “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must quit.”)
Nancy illustrated the rhyming effect with these two examples for webinars on the same topic. The first reads: ABM Learnings and Best Practices: The NEW Clear & Complete Guide to Account-Based Marketing
While the other promotion read: Without Sales, ABM Fails.
Yep, that important step made Nancy’s list. She points out that while email readers will still understand the text even if there’s a typo, the lack of attention to detail can indicate a bigger problem.
She used this typo (receive is misspelled) in an email from BMW to illustrate her concept. If the car company cuts corners with emails, what corners did they cut or overlook on their expensive cars?
Nancy’s tips work for most kinds of emails a content marketer might send. Now, let’s get into the advice Dennis and Ashley shared specifically for email newsletters.
9. Ask one question first and always
Does this content serve our readers?
If the newsletter or piece of content in the newsletter doesn’t deliver what your ideal customer wants or needs, don’t send it. If you hold to that rule, your recipients are more likely to look forward to seeing your email newsletter in their inboxes and want to read it – no matter what the subject line is. It’s about building trust with your audience, Ashley says.
To make sure you’re serving the reader first, Ashley recommends devoting 90% of the content to helpful editorial material and limiting anything promotional to just 10%. She points out that a promotion in a newsletter could be a call to consume other content – it doesn’t have to be a pitch for a product.
10. Give it a voice (and a face)
Dennis endorses the advice from MarketingProf’s Ann Handley to “put the ‘letter’ in the newsletter.” Craft each newsletter as if you were writing a letter to a friend.
Yes, he says, this advice applies to both B2C and B2B brands. And, he says, it works especially well for subscribers who may be early in their process and not ready for a standard nurturing email campaign. “If you provide them engaging content, then you can build that trust that earns that sale down the road,” he says.
He shared this email from Branch, a SaaS company in the subscription economy. The email comes from Alex Bauer, the company’s head of product marketing. It starts with a unique note from him – not a repurposed blog post – along with examples and resources.
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Ashley recommends adding a human or mascot picture to the email sender’s profile instead of the company’s logo. She says she always enjoys seeing Taco, the Trello mascot, pop up in her inbox.
11. Enable a two-way conversation
You’ve probably heard the advice to use a person’s email address, not an automated “do-not-reply,” to send your emails. But don’t stop there. Make sure to read any replies to that email address and respond to subscribers who took the time to send you a note.
Ashley recommends asking questions in your newsletter and inviting people to simply hit “reply” to respond. It’s an easy way to get audience input. In a newsletter earlier this year, she posed a question about whether readers would be interested in participating in a Newsletter Fest event. The massive response from people hitting reply prompted the company to host a week-long virtual event. Event-specific emails garnered 60% open rates because the audience felt invested in the idea from the very beginning.
Stand out in the inbox
Yes, there’s more competition in the inbox. But you can stand out and get read. Craft more noticeable subject lines, don’t make your readers work hard, send only relevant content, and create a conversation. Using Constant Contact will significantly increase your chances that your email will be opened. Follow this advice to create a deeper connection to and trust in your brand among readers. And that leads to better results for your business.