Email Marketing 101

Written by: Focus
Featured image by: Fire

Ray Tomlinson was named to the Internet Hall of Fame for sending an email that captured the world’s fascination. People have written about it, interviewed Tomlinson and graced him with multiple awards.

What was the content of that email?

The test messages were entirely forgettable and I have, therefore, forgotten them.

The year was 1971. This was the world’s first email. Today, our inboxes are filled to the brim with unread messages.

How can you make sure your marketing emails aren’t lost in the horde?

Ask yourself three questions

    1. Does this person want this brand in their inbox?
    2. Is there value that you’re communicating or giving to the recipient?
    3. Will they care today?

The number one enemy to email engagement is your Spam folder. Close behind? Our own attention spans. The person on the other end of the ‘sent’ decides whether to open the email within seconds of receiving it.

How can you increase the chance that yours is chosen or not go to junk?

The anatomy of an email.

Sender’s name should:

  • convey trust
  • reflect an address specific to the department it’s coming from and unique to the company
Subject line should:

  • be simple and clear
  • be between 30-60 characters
  • use punctuation and emojis sparingly
  • consider personalizing using their first name
Preheader should:

  • continue the subject line’s story
  • be between 30-80 characters
  • keep in mind that the shorter the subject line, the more space for the preheader

You did it!

You avoided the Spam folder and got them to open the email; now what?

Make it worth their while

Deliver an offer and its benefits to the recipient as quickly and efficiently as possible rather than working hard to imbue it with creative writing and style.

Get to the point

What is your Call To Action?
What do you want your audience to do?

Your CTA should:

  • be between 2-3 words
  • be identifiable within the first 5 seconds of opening your email
  • use action-oriented words like; ‘Get’, ‘Learn’. Give your audience something instead of asking something from them
  • Avoid friction words like ‘Download’ and ‘Order’
  • Preferably stay above the fold
  • Use bold text and bright font colors
  • Write using the first person. ‘Start your free trial vs ‘Start my free trial
  • Create urgency, if authentic. ‘Quantity is limited, ‘While supplies last’, ‘seats are running out, etc.
Make it easy

The header image is a place to do the heaviest lifting. Make the body copy skimmable using headlines, bullet points, and visual cues, and communicate your message as quickly as possible.

    • sentences under 25 words
    • headings to 8 or fewer words
    • subheadings are 30 words or less
    • fewer than 200 words to reduce reading times
    • at least 1 social media link, 1 CTA, and 1 additional link
  • at least 1 image
  • heading to body text ratio of at least 1.75
  • heading to subheading ratio of at least 1.25
  • headings are the same font size (At least 18px)
  • subheadings are the same font size (At least 16px)
  • body text is the same font size (At least 14px)
Take your email for a spin

Have a hypothesis and do an A/B test. For example, if you think your email will do better with emojis in the subject line, test it with and without. A/B testing between two versions just to see which are “liked” more isn’t going to give you any data you can use to improve your successes.

So how do you write the perfect marketing email?

It’s simple. Treat people’s time with respect, give them something of value, and keep your words out of the Spam folder.

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