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How To Write A Marketing Email

A Few Simple Rules To Follow To Optimise Your Email Campaign For Success

1. The subject heading - acknowledge that this is the hardest part of the marketing email to write and to get right. Put in a working title and come back to it later. Something decent will either come to you during the writing process or you can pick your best line out of the body copy at the end.

2. Personalise your sales email. You will get better results if you start the email with Dear Mr Smith or Hi John, rather than Dear Stationery Buyer or Dear Sir/Madam. Personalisation takes a little more time to set up but it is worth the effort.

3. Before you start writing, make a decision on what you want this marketing email to achieve: are you looking to drive traffic to your website, generate leads for the sales team or make appointments to pitch? Decide on a purpose and stick with it.

4. Keep your sales email short. Shorter than this article but longer than three sentences.

5. You may find that you get better results if you stick to one idea and one sales pitch only. Sure, your company has a variety of products and services, but you can talk about those on your next email. Keep your offer simple.

6. If your product or service is complex, focus on getting your prospect to enquire or to click through to your website. Do not attempt to go into a lot of detail on an initial cold email. Your aim is to spark interest and move the prospect on to the next stage of the buying process.

7. Remember to avoid using the triggers for spam filters such as multiple exclamation marks and pound signs, multi-coloured writing. We have a list of known trigger words that jangle the spam filters.

8. It is not just words that set off alarms on spam filters: using images is also a trigger. The reason behind this is that spammers can hide text in image files and so filters are now set up to add a point to the spam score of any email. Anyone with their filters set on a high security setting will not see an email with an image embedded in it. You can read more about avoiding the filters and optimising your email's deliverability here.

9. As with all marketing communications, you should try to tell a story in the body copy of your email. Try to avoid a series of disconnected statements about your services. You can link the paragraphs by using joining words such as 'And that's not all' or 'As well as' or 'Plus, we can offer you'. Your aim is to keep the person reading to the end until they reach your Call To Action.

10. Remember that you are writing for a person; overuse the word YOU eg you will find, you will receive, you will discover.

11. If the email is getting a bit long, you can always cut it. Overwrite and cut is the rule. Failing that break up the body copy with bullet points.

12. Use short sentences.

13. Use short paragraphs.

14. As with a sales letter or brochure, always include a Call To Action and a reply mechanism. What do you want the prospect to do after they have read your email? Should they go to your website? Reply to your email? Phone you? Keep the objective of your marketing email in mind and make sure you tell the person reading it what to do next. And if you want them to visit the website, be sure to include a link to a good landing page and not just the homepage.

15. Sign off your email with all your contact details. Use your full name, include your direct email address and phone number. It is a legal requirement to put your company’s name, address and company registration number on the email. You need to identify yourself to your sales prospect. It is a sad fact that business people receive so many approaches from scammers that it is natural to go online and check out a person or business before responding to a cold sales email. Accept that your prospects will do this and make it easy for them by providing your contact details. Identifying yourself reassures your prospects and marks your email out as a serious business proposition. You want to stand out from all the “Hi, how are you doing” emails from gmail addresses offering spurious online services and signed Dave Smith.

16. Remember your GDPR obligations. Below your signature and contact details, you must inform your prospect that you hold their data, explain that you are using legitimate interests as a reason to use their personal data to contact them and explain why you believe there is a legitimate interest. In practice this looks something like this:

"We believe that your company uses business-to-business marketing data. From our research, or from information that you have provided, we have identified your email address as being an appropriate point of contact within your organisation. This represents legitimate interest in line with the ICO's guidance. Our Privacy Notice is available online."

It is good practice to include a link to your privacy page.

17. Opt out mechanism. It has been a legal requirement since 2003 to give your prospects a way of opting out and offer an opportunity to tell you not to email them again. It can be a simple sentence “If you do not want to hear from us again, simply reply to this email” or you can set up a link to an opt out page.

18. Now it is time to revisit writing the subject heading. Put A Capital Letter In Front Of Each Word. It does boost response a little.

19. You can write a few subject headings, test them and see which one gets the best open rates.

20. If you are really stumped, the word Free in the subject heading generally guarantees a good open rate.