In-Depth Tutorial: “Statement of Benefits” Email Spotlight Framework

Financial Freedom Federation Gold Club

When it comes right down to it, people want to know, “What’s in it for me?” When you do the Features/Benefits dance, the benefits come out on top. But there’s also a way to meld the two, and to frame the features as benefits.

FFF Spotlight newsletter

Time is short. People who receive your email are going to give you two, maybe three seconds to grab their attention before they hit the “Delete” button. Get ready to wow them from word one.

With this Template Tutorial, we’ll dig into the “Statement of Benefits” Spotlight Framework that uses a special technique to grab prospects’ attention and lead them to a purchase. “Spotlight” is a term we use for types of email sends that are fully marketing-focused—shining a “spotlight” on a particular product or service for sale. And we have a broad array of frameworks that have proven successful in selling all sorts of products and services.

Here, we’re featuring Financial Freedom Federation’s version of the “Statement of Benefits” Spotlight Framework—an email marketing effort that invites prospects to join the Federation’s Gold Club.

Financial Freedom Federation (FFF) is part of the Cabot Heritage Group. FFF provides resources to help individuals, couples, and families find their way to the lifestyle they want by achieving financial freedom. FFF provides a free membership at the Bronze level, giving members access to a limited number of resources. FFF’s goal with this Spotlight email is to upsell Bronze members to a Gold Membership, which includes a much more extensive collection of premium financial resources.

Some Bronze members will remain Bronze members forever. It’s up to FFF to persuade those members who are looking for more to make the move to a Gold Membership—and one way to earn the upsell is to play on your strengths.

Let’s take a look at Financial Freedom Federation’s version of the “Statement of Benefits” Spotlight Framework, and we’ll rank it based on our checklist of core components that can help you connect with prospects and make the sale!

Email “From” Address

FFF from email address

We get so much email—all day, every day. There better be something special about an email for me to open it. If I’m not sure who it’s from, I’m not sure I’m going to open it at all. And that’s the kiss of death for a prospect email. Make sure your recipients know who’s sending them a message.

In the case of this email, these email recipients are already Bronze level subscribers, so they should already have FFF on their white list and be familiar with the brand. Publishers working with Mequoda follow our best practices for audience development and subscription marketing, and only use highly qualified, opted-in email names for their Spotlight marketing efforts. These emails aren’t cold calls—they’re emails your prospect pool has already opted in to receive; so, they’re expecting you.

✓ Financial Freedom Federation meets expectations with this component of the “Statement of Benefits” Spotlight Framework by identifying their brand in the display name and including the full email address with the Financial Freedom Federation name.

Testing Ideas

Want to make your email feel even more personal? Put a real name to the “Statement of Benefits” Spotlight Framework. Make this part of your testing efforts. Including a real person in the “from” section of your email gives the email an added personal dimension; your prospect will feel like this is a one-to-one communication—and that can help enhance engagement and get that email opened. Example: “Ed Coburn, Financial Freedom Federation.”

Email Subject Line

FFF Subject Line

The Email Subject Line has a singular focus: get that email opened. You need to grab the recipient’s attention long enough for them to get your message; in this case, the subject line is an imperative statement with a sense of urgency. Even if the recipient recognizes who the email is from, they may feel as if the message can wait—until they feel the urgency of the message in the subject line. You’re compelling them to open it.

What’s the secret to crafting a compelling subject line? It’s a little bit of art, a little bit of science—and a lot of testing. Appeal to your prospect’s sense of urgency; their sense of belonging; their sense of savings time and/or money!). Go for emotion or go for the wallet; that gets their attention. One of those approaches should get your email opened.

The Email Subject Line does have a secondary job: don’t get the email deleted unopened—or worse, pegged as SPAM and sent straight to the junk folder. Or relegated to total oblivion for this email (and perhaps subsequent emails)—getting blocked by an Internet Service Provider (ISP).

How do you assess the power of your subject line without doing blind testing? Use the industry standard assessment tool: www.subjectline.com helps you check your subject line before you hit Send. SubjectLine.com rates your subject lines on several criteria, including urgency, length, personalization, and potential SPAM terms—helping your subject lines meet basic industry standards.

Enter your planned subject line and you’ll get not only a score, but an explanation of where the subject line meets industry standards and how it could do better. This Financial Freedom Federation email subject line earned a score of 100 out of 100—thanks in part to its sense of urgency (Now!) and its direct approach to the reader (“Review Your Benefits Now!”). If your subject line comes up short of 100, try again. You can keep tweaking your subject line until you reach 100. Keep in mind that this is not a perfect tool, but it does put you in the mindset of choosing your subject line with strategic intent.

The subject line in this Financial Freedom Federation email conveys the proper sense of urgency to compel the recipient to open it. And if they do, the Subject Line has done its job.

✓ Financial Freedom Federation’s Email Subject Line—right on the money!

Testing Ideas

One of the cardinal rules of email marketing: test, test, test. And that includes your subject line. After all, it’s the first part of the email your recipient is going to see—don’t make it the last. In general, we recommend you craft 3 subject lines for each email you send. Then you’re one step ahead of the testing game, ready for the next time you send out that email. For this “Statement of Benefits” Spotlight Framework, try other subject lines that compel the recipient to action. Examples (all score 100 out of 100 with the free online rating tool):

  • Accept or reject your benefits today
  • “[FIRST-NAME PERSONALIZATION], review your benefits today!”
  • Claim your benefits today!
  • RSVP today to claim your benefits!

Email Pre-Header Text

FFF email preheader

Email Pre-Header Text: the often forgotten and neglected member of the email family. You probably see it all the time without really noticing it. Email Pre-Header Text is that short copy that shows up in your email box after the subject line. Many marketers overlook or ignore this essential component of marketing emails. Email Pre-Header Text gives your recipient a sneak peek at what’s inside the email—another enticement to open the email, on top of your compelling subject line.

Just like the Email Subject Line, the Email Pre-header Text has one job: get readers to open that email. That means the copy has to connect to the subject line, continuing to encourage the recipient to open the email. Think of it as a second chance to support or amplify your subject line.

The Email Pre-Header Text in Financial Freedom Federation’s version of this “Statement of Benefits” Spotlight Framework is clear and to the point: there are benefits waiting, and the recipient really should review them. The Email Pre-Header Text supports the mission of the Subject Line. It conveys the sense of urgency while also grabbing the recipient’s attention.

One basic rule for writing your Email Pre-Header Text: keep it short and sweet. This is not the time to ramble on with a long statement—many email programs will truncate the Pre-Header Text if it’s too long, defeating the purpose of your message. We like to keep our Email Pre-Header Text to less than 140 characters—that’s including spaces. Stick to 140 characters or less, and you’ll be laser-focused in your Email Pre-Header Text copy. Financial Freedom Federation’s Email Pre-Header Text in this effort is just 51 total characters—well under the limit!

✓ Financial Freedom Federation stays on point with their Email Pre-header Text!

Testing Ideas

You have a little more space for copy with the Email Pre-Header Text than you do with the subject line, so there are more testing opportunities. Examples (all are less than 140 characters, with spaces):

  • “Your Gold Member benefits are waiting”
  • “[FIRST-NAME PERSONALIZATION], claim your benefits today.”
  • “Claim your Gold Member benefits today.”
  • “Take the next step to financial independence and security.”

Spotlight Nameplate

FFF Spotlight nameplate

Another important component of an effective marketing email is the Spotlight Nameplate that appears at the top of your email. Like a masthead, it reinforces your brand and gives the recipient a visual cue of the importance of the message in the email.

We recommend you identify the segment or type of email in the nameplate; this makes it easier for users to manage their email preferences back at the website with a corresponding segment that is clearly named. The Spotlight banner immediately identifies the category of the email, saving you the pain of global opt-outs. Users like choices.

Tailor your Spotlight banner to your product; make it readily identifiable and keep it consistent. This is not really a time for subtle artwork: make your statement so the recipient knows what they’re getting—just like Financial Freedom Federation has done.

Make sure your Spotlight graphic speaks clearly and to the point. And don’t bother testing this element. In this case, consistency is the best policy.

✓ Financial Freedom Federation is spot-on with its Spotlight Nameplate!

Spotlight Headline and Sub-Headline

FFF Spotlight headline and sub-headline

For Financial Freedom Federation’s version of this “Statement of Benefits” Spotlight Framework, the Spotlight Headline and Sub-Headline follow best practices:

  • The headline tells readers “Claim Your Benefits…”—reinforcing the “Statement of Benefits” message in the Email Subject Line!
  • The headline tells readers just what they can expect—a pathway to financial independence and security.
  • The headline is a hyperlink to the corresponding order page back at the website. While it’s not a Call to Action (CTA), it’s definitely enticing, and some recipients may be impatient to learn more by following the link.
  • While the headline is a hyperlink, it’s presented in a more understated way than you might see in other email. It’s in a different color, and a quick mouseover will show the recipient that it’s a link.
  • The sub-headline brings in the CTA, underscores the quality of the library, and promises instant access—it doesn’t get much better than that!

All in all, these components work well for this “Statement of Benefits” Spotlight Framework.

✓ Financial Freedom Federation’s Spotlight Headline and Sub-Headline—clear and compelling.

Testing Ideas

Testing headlines and sub-headlines can be important parts of a continuous-improvement email marketing program. Best ideas here involve dramatically different copy that follows the same formatting rules—bold and blue (or red for a more dramatic effect) with the headline as a hyperlink to the order page. Examples:

  • Headline: Statement of Benefits: Your Path to Financial Security!
  • Headline: R.S.V.P Today: Claim your Gold Member Benefits!
  • Headline: Your Upgraded Benefits are Waiting.
  • Sub-Headline: R.S.V.P. today to upgrade your benefits with a Charter Gold Membership in the Federation’s Club today, for a stronger financial future!

Spotlight Salutation

FFF salutation

If you have your prospect’s name, use it. You can hear the plummeting sound of disappointment when you open an email and it says, “Dear Friend.” You’ve probably opened direct mail with a letter that opened like that. Did you feel a connection? Probably not, because that basic salutation is just generic. When you have the opportunity to make a more direct connection with your prospect, don’t let that opportunity pass you by. Of course, no one will be under the illusion that this is anything but a marketing email; but if you can take the communication to a new level with some personalization, you’ll make a stronger connection. Keep them from hitting “delete” by taking the time to try to connect—you’re talking to them about benefits, and that has a personal feel to it.

✓ Financial Freedom Federation’s personal salutation in this “Statement of Benefits” Spotlight Framework is on target for engaging the prospect.

Testing Ideas

Testing ideas for Spotlight salutations if you don’t have the prospect’s name could include acknowledging their aspirations and their connection to your organization. Examples:

  • Dear Bronze Member,
  • Dear Financial Security Seeker,
  • Dear Forward Financial Thinker,

Announcement Copy and Call to Action

FFF OFIE

This segue to the main course is short, sweet, and to the point. The email reinforces the prospect’s current status, and FFF thanks them for their membership. Then they get right to the point: an offer to upgrade to a new level of membership, with the clear implication of better benefits. The term “Charter” implies newness and exclusivity.

The Call to Action button is front and center for those prospects who are already sold on the concept of becoming Gold Members.

In Financial Freedom Federation’s version of this “Statement of Benefits” Spotlight Framework, this opening is just the right length to draw the reader into the benefits list—the “What’s in it for me?” part of the email.

✓ Financial Freedom Federation hits the mark by staying on point.

Testing Ideas

Testing ideas for this Call to Action area can play off the prospect’s sense of urgency and/or belonging. Examples:

  • If you have enough information to personalize the greeting, you can thank the prospect for being a member since [MONTH + YEAR]
  • Change the wording in your Call to Action button. Try to keep it imperative, such as “Act Now to Claim Your Benefits!”
  • Change the color of your Call to Action button. Contrasting colors that stand out from the rest of the message can help draw attention to the action you want responders to take—be bold!

Statement of Benefits

This is what we’ve all been waiting for: the benefits of upgrading. The introductory sentence to the Statement of Benefits chart emphasizes the exclusivity of the offer, enticing the prospect to read on:

FFF statement of benefits

This is your opportunity to let your product or service shine. Wow the prospect with all the benefits they’ll gain when they make the upgrade. Notice that the price is clearly stated from the get-go. Then the chart goes on to detail six specific benefit categories to show the value of upgrading.

Notice the use of terms such as “full and immediate access,” “instant access,” “complete access,” and—last, but certainly not least—“exclusive access.” The benefits of the Gold Membership are a clear improvement over the Bronze Membership the prospect currently enjoys. The whole Statement of Benefits chart is designed to showcase the breadth and depth of features available when the prospect upgrades their membership.

Notice also that as each benefit is listed, the term INCLUDED is listed under the price column. That simply reinforces the value of upgrading the membership. Look at all those benefits!

✓ Financial Freedom Federation provides a powerful Statement of Benefits.

Testing Ideas

Testing ideas for the Statement of Benefits chart include mixing things up and emphasizing a perception of savings. Examples:

  • Change the order of the benefits.
  • Replace “INCLUDED” with a check mark or “FREE WITH YOUR MEMBERSHIP.”
  • Calculate the value of all items sold separately (if applicable), then cross out the higher price so the prospect can see the savings: $275/year $49/year
  • Include images of each product in the chart.

Spotlight Closing, P.S., Calls to Action

FFF Spotlight closing

This closing and P.S. are really on target:

  • There’s a strong Call to Action with an implication of limited time, which adds urgency.
  • There’s a handwritten signature. That gives the email a touch of personal attention (and makes the reader feel as if this is a real personal communication).
  • The P.S. touts the exclusivity factor and includes another Call to Action, plus a link to the order page.
  • There’s a Call to Action button before and after the closing and P.S. Give your prospect every opportunity to respond.

✓ Financial Freedom Federation makes a strong exit with a sense of urgency, a personal signature, and a Call to Action in its P.S.

Testing Ideas

Testing ideas for the Spotlight Closing and P.S. can include further personalization and easy ways to order. Examples:

  • In the closing, add the recipient’s name: “[Firstname], please act now…”
  • Reword the closing: “This offer is in effect for you now. Please claim your special Charter Gold Membership today!”
  • Add P.P.S. copy: “Don’t wait to claim exclusive access to your Federation Charter Gold Membership!”

OFIEs and Final Calls to Action

FFF Final Call to Action

An OFIE is an Order Form In Editorial. Think of it as a type of billboard. In longer marketing emails, you’ll see OFIEs interspersed throughout the copy, so there’s one on every screen as the recipient is scrolling and reading.

The Statement of Benefits email is a shorter format, so there’s only one OFIE here, and it’s at the end. Just in case the prospect is still on the fence about whether to upgrade, they get one last summary of the benefits of becoming a Gold Member. Notice the collage that represents all the offer’s items in the Statement of Benefits chart. The copy urges the prospect to action. And there are 3 links to the order form embedded in the OFIE: in the headline, the collage image, and—of course—the Call to Action button.

✓ Financial Freedom Federation’s OFIE marks a powerful ending to this Statement of Benefits email.

Summary

This Financial Freedom Federation “Statement of Benefits” Spotlight Framework makes a strong case for users to come over to the paid side of the system, promoting its benefits and creating a feeling of exclusivity.

You can see the complete Financial Freedom Federation Gold Club “Statement of Benefits” Spotlight Framework here:

Mequoda’s “Statement of Benefits” Email Spotlight Checklist

Element Criteria Done?
Email From: Address Connect with your readers!
Email Subject Line Make the case to open the email.
Email Pre-Header Text Convey the sense of the offer.
Spotlight Nameplate Good brand reinforcement.
Spotlight Headline and Sub-Headline Make offer and benefits compelling.
Spotlight Salutation Make a connection!
Whenever possible, use personalization!
Announcement Copy and Call to Action State your offer clearly and compellingly.
Statement of Benefits Detail the features and benefits of your product—all included for one price.
Spotlight Body Copy Craft a compelling message.
Spotlight Closing and P.S. Finish off with a personal approach.
Put a Call to Action in your P.S.
OFIEs and Calls to Action Include pictures of the product(s) included in the Statement of Benefits chart.
Include Calls to Action and links to order page throughout: header, pictures, order button.
Test, test, test! One element at a time!

Bottom Line: If you want to boost revenue, profits, and retention—just like Financial Freedom Federation—test your own version of this “Statement of Benefits” Spotlight Framework today! Bring in more paying customers, close more sales, and boost your brand!

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