Sending emails to your active subscribers is not rocket science. However, sending emails that convert and turn those subscribers into buyers can be a much more complex process.
Here are a few tips to make sure your email conversion rates go through the roof.
1. Customize your preview
Most people focus on subject lines but neglect the preview - the text that people see before they even click open your email. Given the fact that the average office worker received 121 emails every single day, it’s understandable that we don’t have the time to open and read each of them.
What do we do instead? We read the preview only to get a glimpse of the email before opening it. If the preview doesn’t interest us, the chances of opening the whole email are slim to none.
Instead of opening up your email with the standard greetings and formalities, open them up with something that will make the recipient click and open. So, instead of:
Dear John, we wanted to let you know that we have a sale coming up next month.
Hi John, want to save 30% on your next receipt?
Make those first few words of every email count - they are often the only words that your recipients will read.
2. Mind the structure
Email copy has its own rules, but it mostly resembles standard copywriting which you can see on websites and landing pages. The structure needs to be logical and follow a certain pattern.
Most business owners make one major mistake - they treat emails like web pages and they write them in blocks of content. As a result, they end up looking more like landing pages than emails and who wants to read that on their morning commute?
Treat your emails like essays - give them a clear and logical structure. Introduction, body and conclusion are all it takes. However, don’t make them as long as an essay - no one has time to read lengthy emails. In fact, the ideal sales email is between 50 and 125 words long.
3. Segment your audiences
If you’re selling to everyone, you’re selling to no one. Imagine sending the same email to someone who’s found your company yesterday and someone who’s been a customer for over two years. If those two people get the same email, at least one of them will find it irrelevant.
We segment our audiences based on where and how they subscribe to our email list. For example, those that subscribe from the blog get our latest blog content and some sales emails. Those that sign up for a free trial of our product get much more sales content because we want them to convert sooner.
4. Know your goals
Before setting up your campaign, determine what you want to achieve. Do you want immediate conversions? To convert trial users to paid users? To promote a discount and get more signups? To drive traffic to a landing page?
Depending on what you want to do with your emails, you will have different tactics to achieve your goals. Once you determine your primary email marketing goal, it will guide every move you make: from how you write your emails, how often you send them and to which audience segments.
5. Split test as you go
If you have an audience that’s big enough to get relevant results, always split test your emails to see how they’re performing before closing up with a campaign. Chances are, you may be doing something wrong and noticing it when your campaign is done can be too late.
The thing is, even the best email marketers are not 100% sure about every email they write. They always test subject lines, calls to action, previews, graphics, different times to send the email… The list is endless. Even if you have the best-performing email ever, you can never really know if it can perform better, unless you split-test as you go.
6. Have powerful call to action
CTAs are one of the most crucial elements of any material whose purpose is to convert readers into buyers. However, there are specific rules for writing great calls to action. Even if it’s just two words, they need to be the right two words.
The good news is, CTAs are usually a combination of two or three words, such as TRY NOW FOR FREE. The bad news is, you also have to experiment with the CTA design and placement.
7. Avoid spammy formatting
First things first - don’t use any caps in your subject lines, previews or even the message body. You’ll look like you’re desperate and you have to shout for attention. Also, you will look like a Nigerian prince offering inheritance money to unsuspected random people from the web. Bottom line is - don’t do it.
Second, don’t overuse exclamation marks. Remember, if you have to shout, it means that your offer is not good enough to get attention on its own.
Third, use emojis sparingly. Occasionally, they make for an interesting break from “serious” formatting. However, don’t go overboard, unless you want to look like a teenager posting on Twitter.
8. Align your emails with the rest of your offer
If you’re sending a sales email, make sure that the offer you’re presenting is connected to a landing page that has the exact same data. It’s a frequent mistake to have a sales email linking to pages that are outdated or have the wrong pricing, description or conditions.
For example, we had an offer that failed last year because we promoted a Black Friday deal and inserted a link to our standard landing page. The very first batch of emails we sent ended up with a bunch of replies asking where exactly the “deal” was since the pricing was standard.
9. Use the right tools to get inspired
Buzzsumo is the first place to get inspiration for good content. If you want to write about a certain topic, just look it up in Buzzsumo to get an idea of what others are writing at the moment. A lot of times, it gives me ideas for an interesting angle about a topic that our competitors haven’t covered yet.
My second favorite is CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer, which you can use both for articles and email subject lines. Just load your headline into the app and it will show you how strong it is and how likely it is to make an impact on the reader.
Quora is one of my favorite resources when I need to “steal” some ideas for email content too. You will find thousands of people asking questions about products and services similar to yours.
10. Focus on the benefits
This is a major mistake that I see with business owners, copywriters and anyone with a website. They focus on what THEY do as a company and not how the customers benefit from their products and services. Focus your email on the benefit the customer gets - not what you offer to them.
Write your emails with your customers’ needs in mind - what does bother them, and how can you make their lives easier? There is a clear difference between these two subject lines:
We’ll cut down your proposal writing time in half
Write your proposals in half the time
Our customers find the second subject line more appealing - and it’s not difficult to see why. It focuses on their pain point and not our ability to do something for them.
The ideal sales email is only about 100 words long. However, the words you choose, where you put them, how you format the email and when you send it… It all matters. Writing the perfect sales email is an exact science, that if done right, can make a massive impact on your bottom line.
I hope you find some of these tips useful for the next time you need to write an email that sells.
Adam Hempenstall is the CEO and Founder of Better Proposals, simple proposal software for creating beautiful, high-impact proposals in minutes. Having helped his customers at Better Proposals win $120,000,000+ in one year only, he’s launched the first Proposal Writing University where he shares business proposal best practices.