By now, you’d think marketers would know how to write for the Web. The Internet has been a piece of popular culture for 20+ years now. Heck, I remember building my first Geocities site with nothing but Adobe Photoshop 3.0, a scanner and a text editor.
But even after all this time, it helps to have a primer. You can’t write the same way for the Web that you do for print advertising – people use it inherently different. And if “Content is King” then I’m about to give you the Keys to the Kingdom.
Here are my top 10 tips for well written and effective email marketing.
#1. Be brief.
You can’t write paragraphs of text in email marketing. People don’t read, they scan. So as much as you love that amazing 3 paragraph masterpiece you just finished, what does it matter if they hit delete before they even get through the first sentence?
Use bullets strategically. Would you write a paragraph for a grocery list? No. Think about key points of your email the same way.
#2. Cover Your Bases!
Link all your images, not just your Call To Action buttons. You never know what your user will engage with. Maybe that cute puppy photo can also point back to your site.
#3 Keep Score!
You need to use tracking links on each image, button and hyperlink. Use a tool like Hubspot or Google Analytics to learn which links your audience actually uses. It’ll pay off next time, I guarantee.
ALT tag images because they rarely load automatically anymore. Most email software defaults to “images off” until a user really wants to see what they’re missing. Alt Tag essential images and CTAs differently from non essential design elements (i.e.: “Register for Webinar” vs “Cute Puppy” or “Email Icon”)
#5 Be Bold!
Bold key phrases in your Email marketing cuz people scan, they don’t read. Highlight key phrases and use your readers’ impatience to your advantage
#6 Leave Breadcrumbs…
Put calls to action throughout long emails. If you’re telling them about the advantages of a webinar or a product, place a CTA right after your feature list (for those impulse shoppers) and one at the end for those who need more time. Every user is different and you never know if they’ll make it to bottom or not want to slide all the way back up.
#7 Use Your Words.
Text based CTAs grab attention, save on graphic filesize and work when images are turned off. USE BOTH.
#8 There is NO FOLD!
Contrary to what your boss tells you, these days THERE IS NO “FOLD”.You never know what your users’ screen size is or what device they’re on. Don’t depend on huge graphics at the top to sell your audience.
#9 Don’t Get Fancy!
Background color floods are pretty safe. Background Images are NOT. Don’t do it. Most email readers (including Outlook and Gmail) won’t support a background image tag so tell your designer to keep it simple.
And thanks to @MrsKadyWhite for this bonus tip:
#10 “Bonus points if your CTA is more creative than ‘Learn More!'”
Be specific writing a CTA, not just “Learn More”. What do you really want your user to do when they hit that link? (Register for Webinar, Download Infographic, Log In…) Be contextual when you can! Be generic when you have to be.
Also, 1995 called and wants it’s Call To Action back: Never say “click here to…” Most people don’t “click” these days & know how to use the Internet.
So those are my top 10 email marketing tips. I’d love to hear more if you have them. Please share in the comments below.
Now as Master Yoda once said,
Thoughts? Hit me up on Twitter at @robchristianson and let me know what you think.