So you want to learn how to write a marketing email. You probably also want this marketing email to be effective, right?Of course you do, but what do you mean by effective?
Effective is such a broad word, so let’s define it a little better.
More effective emails could mean more opens and clicks. More effective emails should mean more purchases and orders.
If you’re running an eCommerce shop, the more purchases you have, the more money you’re making. At least, that’s the way it should be.
Now, let’s assume we are in agreement that the more effective an email campaign is, the more purchases your store will get. Forget about opens and clicks for now.
Let’s also assume we are in agreement that everyone likes tricks that work like magic.
Time to get to the good part.
How to write a marketing email
There are five tricks every eCommerce merchant should keep in mind when writing emails that drive purchases, just like magic.
1) Keep is stupid simple
Of course you want your email to be beautiful. Of course you want it to be “on-brand.” But if it becomes too design-heavy, the call-to-action of the email might get buried.
Your customer won’t know what to do.
That’s why you want to keep the emails as stupid simple as possible. Think of the layout in three chunks.
That’s pretty much all you need for a super effective email.
Under the call-to-action, consider adding some extras like product recommendations or the ways a customer can get in touch with you.
Don’t forget about the subject line.
This one is key considering the more opens you get, the more orders will be placed.
So, when writing a subject line, you could be coy, but being coy is just a tease.
We prefer subject lines that are straightforward. Data indicates customers prefer these, too. See this MailChimp study for the details.
And size doesn’t matter either, slick.
2) Throw in the sizzle
Product recommendations, coupons, new items/sales, free shipping, free returns – how are you doing to sweeten the deal?
Add something to the email that will make your customers think the offer is too good to pass up.
In an abandoned cart campaign, offer 10% off a customer’s order.
When you email inactive customers, someone who hasn’t ordered in months, consider including a coupon for 20% off their order.
Last year we conducted a study of the effectiveness of coupons in email campaigns. That graph is below.
As you can see, the purchase rate triples with the use of coupons.
The sizzle doesn’t have to be coupons or discounts.
If you don’t do coupons, consider reading this – how to grow sales without coupons. You have some options.
One thing to keep in mind with all of your emails is how often they are being sent out.
You don’t want customers “gaming” the system.
If you send out a coupon for abandoned carts, make sure it isn’t sent if a customer already received one in the past 14 days.
Most email marketing tools allow for this type of rule or condition, including Remarkety.
One last thing to remember about the sizzle – don’t overdue do the sizzle.
Bezar sends out a newsletter everyday because everything sold on their website lasts for a limited time.
The emails are gorgeous, but for some people, a daily email might seem like a nuisance. So keep a close eye on the unsubscribes.
3) Proofread, test, repeat
Testing different subject lines, calls-to-action or send times is something we’ve talked about before here.
Testing emails are critical to understanding which subject lines and calls-to-action resonate with your customers.
One thing we’ve not mentioned before is the importance of proofreading your emails.
We’re talking about the typos and grammatical errors. The kinds of things that can get your email sent to the spam folder.
Learn how to avoid email spam filters here.
There are a few things you can do to ensure every email you send is perfect.
- Have someone else proofread
- Proofread the email 24 hours after creation
- Read the email out loud
Asking a coworker or someone you trust to proofread the email will not only help you catch typos, but shed light on parts of the email that are confusing or might not make sense.
Let’s say you’re running a promotion and you want to offer potential customers 10% off their pricing plan or membership for an entire year.
We were about to send that email.
Then we realized, there were a lot of unanswered questions.
Does a customer have to sign up for a year to get 10% off?
How is the customer going to be billed?
This is why having someone else to talk this through will help you write a clear and easy-to-understand email.
Instead of asking someone to proofread the email, consider setting the email aside for a day.
Prevent tunnel vision.
You want to look at the email with fresh eyes in the morning or afternoon. This will be sent to hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands of customers.
If you’re on a time crunch and can’t wait 24 hours or ask a colleague, read the email aloud.
This is a surefire way to catch mistakes or sentences that just don’t sound right.
Consider spending some coin on Litmus. We highly recommend it if you want to know how your email looks on every type of device, phones, tablets, desktops, laptops and the Apple Watch.
Is it overkill?
Probably, until you find out 60% of your customers use Outlook and the only way to see how your email looks is in Litmus because nobody in their right mind uses Outlook except for your saddest and sorriest customers.
Same with Internet Explorer. Please, everyone, stop using Internet Explorer. There are alternatives.
4) Followup all the time, every time
You’re probably not following up with your customers enough. Every promo, sale, coupon, offer, abandoned cart should be sent at least twice.
One email is not enough.
Except for the emails confirming your customer has unsubscribed from your email campaigns. One email is enough.
But for all other emails, you need to remind your customers a few times. Think about how chock-full of emails your inbox is.
It probably isn’t pretty.
In our eCommerce email marketing best practices article, we reference a study that found 80% of sales are made on the 5th to 12th contact.
Sending multiple followups give your email a greater chance at appearing at the top of the inbox.
Stores that followup on abandoned carts, recover 40% more orders than a store only sending one.
Consider following up at the best days and times to send emails to customers. You’ll get more orders that way.
5) Be ready for replies
Make it easy for your customers to contact you. So tell them exactly how they can reach you in your emails.
People are lazy. Therefore, your customers are lazy. If they have an issue with their order or anything else, they’re going to contact you the easiest way possible.
Customers will reply to an email address that says firstname.lastname@example.org.
In fact, they will reply to any type of marketing email. They will ask questions about orders, ask to be unsubscribed or complain about how long the USPS takes to deliver their order.
And no matter how many times you tell them to Tweet at your support Twitter handle or tell them not to Tweet you at all because people don’t manage the profile (like Spirit Airlines), they’re still going to Tweet at your company Twitter handle and/or send you a message on Facebook.
Just accept how people use the internet and be ready for responses to your automated emails and other places where contacting you is made possible.
This includes contact forms, message systems on platforms where your company or shop might have a presence, etc.
Try syncing your role-based email addresses (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org) to a CRM so nothing falls through the cracks.
Responding quickly to customer emails improves your customer experience. Remember, the faster you reply, the better.
Had enough yet?
If you’re craving more of the written word, we’re here for you. Here are three more articles to keep you on a roll.
Header background by Gary Grayson