The wonderful thing about email marketing is that it’s a personal and direct channel of communication and promotion. Email is an old favourite for marketers and is still a powerful platform for brands to attract and retain customers.

According to McKinsey, email is 40-times more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook and Twitter combined. While Emarsys found that 80% of business professionals believe email marketing increases customer retention.

Email also offers metrics such as open, click-through, and unsubscribe rates to help businesses measure ROI. According to Campaign Monitor, email marketing’s ROI is $44 for every dollar spent.

Furthermore, you can automate email campaigns to save time and set a communication cadence that keeps your company at the front of customers’ minds – this makes email an ideal channel for targeted (below-the-line) marketing.

Email Marketing Planning

Before writing, you first need to understand the purpose of your email. Are you seeking to inform, sell to, or simply connect with customers? Your planning should also look at the audience for your email marketing campaign because understanding their demographics and motivations will help dictate the tone and messaging of your email marketing.  

Email marketing can be used for a number of reasons, such as building relationships or brand awareness, promoting products or content, and lead generation and nurturing.

However, each email should cover one specific item, task, or request. If you’ve got more than one key point you wish to convey, consider writing a second email or using another method of communication, such as an explainer video.

Hubspot notes that there are 12 different types of marketing emails:

  1. New Content Announcement
  2. Product Update
  3. Digital Magazine or Newsletter
  4. Event Invitation
  5. Dedicated Send
  6. Co-marketing (partnership promotion)
  7. Social Media Send
  8. Internal Updates
  9. Confirmation Email
  10. Form Submission (Thank You)
  11. Welcome Email
  12. Lead Nurturing

Prior to kicking off an email marketing campaign, establish a goal. It pays to do a little research about the average email statistics for your industry or competitors, such as open or click-through rates – this will help you benchmark your goals. Set a schedule and ensure your can measure your goals.

Building an Email Marketing List

Finding a keen audience can be challenging, but there are no real shortcuts here. Don’t buy email lists! Building an email marketing list from scratch is much more rewarding and ensures your always have an engaged audience that are interested in your brand and content. The two ways to grow your subscribers is by opt-in forms and lead-creation content.

Lead-creation content is any (often free) resource you offer to audiences in exchange for their email address or subscription. Here at Synapsis Creative, we’ve got our resources section with all kinds of free downloads available. Lead-creation content can include e-books, whitepapers, infographics, reports/studies, checklists, templates, webinars/courses, tools/assets.

The key to making enticing lead-creation content is to ensure its relevant, digestible, and address an issue your audience would commonly face. As designers, we understand our audience is looking for ideas, inspiration, and shortcuts for creating things themselves – so our resources solve regular problems we see from clients and help our readers learn or design independently. The point is to offer lead-creation content that demonstrates value to audiences and compels them to sign up for your email marketing material.

Opt-in forms should be branded, well designed, and simple. You want to get people excited about joining your email list, so get them hyped about what’s on offer – both currently and in terms of future content, offers, and news.

According to Sumo, 79% of major sites use double opt-in. It may seem excessive to set your opt-in form for double confirmation, but it ensures your audience is engaged and that your email list remains healthy.

Opt-in emails should be easy to read, fill out, and return. Subscribers don’t want a cumbersome experience signing up, but the double opt-in may be worth the extra step for building a strong email marketing list.

Writing For Email Marketing

Writing any email begins with the subject line, which must be relevant, interesting, and contain actionable language. Readers need to understand what’s expected of them prior to opening the email (e.g. ‘Tired of slow internet speeds?’) and what could result from reading it (e.g. ‘Reach a larger audience today’). Using terms like ‘Act now’ and ‘Don’t miss out’ helps create a sense of urgency.

Also, keep your subject line short and simple – shorter subject lines tend to have better open rates. Try to keep it between six and eight words to ensure the subject line can be viewed on mobile devices.

Personal names in subject lines are much more likely to be opened and read compared to a generic and impersonal subject line. Personal pronouns help your email connect with readers and a conversational tone is better suited to the private and personal nature of email. It also helps to have an actual person’s name as the sender rather than a company name.

Keep in mind the preview text of your email, especially since many people will be reading it on a smartphone. Those opening lines need to ensure your email content piques customer interest within the limited preview space, enticing them to open it or keep reading.

If you’ve made a promise in the subject line (e.g. ‘Save money and time’), then follow through in the preview text (e.g. ‘Streamline your backend processes with our service’).

From here, all the usual writing principles apply – keep it short and simple; quality over quality; focus on customer benefits rather than product/service features; create a compelling narrative that personalises the content; and end with a single and simple CTA.

Email marketing remains one of the most effective means for creating and nurturing audience engagement. Plus the power of personalisation and automation means email marketing can be easily incorporated into your inbound strategy.

Discover more content writing insights with our free Ultimate Guide to Content Writing, which offers writing resources for a variety of audiences and channels.

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