Going from editor to email copywriter in 12 quick steps
Now that there’s a bridge between the island of editorial and the island of advertising, the two specialties need to coexist. Even more radical, they need to coexist in the same job title. It’s a whole new breed, making their home on the new island of “advertorial”. The new editors of today are now being trained to market the products that their companies sell within their own editorial content.
That’s why it’s so important for new editors to understand the basic rules of email copywriting. These 12 tips should give every new email copywriter a swift kick in the advertorial pants.
1. Define your editorial and promotional strategies.
Whether you’re writing an editorial or promotional email, the only thing that will change is how much editorial content you’re sending. We recommend a 60/40 and sometimes 80/20 split for editorial vs. promotional content in a regular email newsletter.
2. Give something away, no matter what.
In a straight up promotional email, you’re still going to give something away, but it will be more of a tiny take-away that doesn’t distract from the main call to action. In our promotional emails for our events, we usually try to give away a little lesson, or a few bullet points of things you’ll learn. Consider it a taste of what you’re hoping they’ll buy from you.
3. Avoid words that trigger spam filters.
Saying something is “100% Free” in a subject line is not a good idea. This statement will surely get your email put into a spam filter. It goes without saying that any email that ends up in a spam filter will not help you make a good impression with your audience or sell any products. Be careful with the words you use in subject lines.
4. If you’re selling something, make it urgent.
The prospect has opened your email. They’ve been enticed with a great story and you’ve made it easy to order. Now you must provide a strong incentive for them to buy right now. Providing urgency is key to a successful email promotion. TODAY they need to buy. The FREE white paper is only available until MIDNIGHT. Your 50% off sale only has 3 HOURS LEFT. You get the idea.
5. Know the difference between B2B and B2C.
B2B (business-to-business) companies have readers who want to learn something quickly and on a regular basis. They subscribe to your email newsletter not be entertained, but to learn something they need to know for their job. Your email copywriting needs to be quick and succinct. It should be beneficial and offer at least one take-away. In the consumer market (B2C) there’s a shift for a user to want your information rather than need it to do their job. Being as transparent and casual in your email copywriting as you can builds trust with your readers and builds a personal relationship between your brand and your reader.
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6. Convert with cleanliness.
Once they received, opened and read your email successfully, all that’s left is conversion. You need a clear call to action. Don’t blast your reader with a hard sell, but do allude to the product you will promote later in the newsletter. Take the time to edit your email down so that there is less clutter and more key points.
7. Read more email newsletters.
You’re a great writer, otherwise, you wouldn’t be assigned with the task of writing email newsletters, or daily blogs. Consider what makes you read an email newsletter. Take an inventory of the email newsletters you receive and save the ones that really catch your attention. Every email copywriter has an archive of email newsletters and promotions that they model after in their own attempts.
8. Be careful about writing your subject lines.
Mystery is a good thing, just make sure not to cross the line of “tricking” your readers into opening an email that has content not aligned with what you’re promising them. The email subject line is not creative if it prompts the recipient to open your email message, but subsequently disappoints, confuses, or worse, alienates the recipient.
9. Create a sense of continuity.
When writing a series of emails, it’s personable to say to your readers that the email is part of a larger structure. To say “in the email we sent on Monday, we talked about XXXXX… now I want to talk about how XXXXX works with XXXXX”. By building this ongoing series of events, you’re likely to increase open rates on past emails and build a more evolved relationship with your readers.
10. Don’t tell anyone to “click here”.
It’s pretty much a universal best practice not to use these two words. However, there are some consumer-friendly alternatives in consumer email marketing: “read the full story”, “download this ebook”, “save 10% right now” are ways to express your benefit within the link and increase clicks.
11. Write your subject line first.
Brian Clark of Copyblogger.com advocates writing your headline first by saying, “Promises tend to be made before being fulfilled. Writing your content first puts you in the position of having to reverse-engineer your promise. Turn it around the other way and you have the benefit of expressly fulfilling the compelling promise you made with the headline, which ultimately helps to keep your content crisp and well-structured.”
12. Keep your subject lines short.
You don’t know what email client a subscriber is using, so try to pack the punch in the beginning of your emails. Like a good headline, a good email subject line is succinct. Some email clients such as AOL and Hotmail truncate the email subject line if it is longer than 45-51 characters. Other email clients permit up to 80+ characters. Generally, shorter email subject lines produce higher open and click-through rates.