The art of writing persuasive email copy is arguably the most important skill an online marketer can have in a world of growing connections and digital proportions. That’s not only because websites and marketing agencies have relied on email since before the Internet to get the word out, but also because clear, concise communication is vital to the success of every professional’s career, especially a marketing career.
Learning how to nail email with any precision during your marketing career involves overcoming a whole host of obstacles. These include but are not limited to avoiding the obvious mistakes like hitting caps lock for subject lines, sending one-word replies as if email were personal text, or the end-all-be-all of putting our digital foot in our mouth—accidentally Replying All.
As brand ambassadors and first responders to customer questions, marketing professionals also have to think about how their emails look and sound from a PR standpoint. The last place a marketer wants their email to wind up is on the virtual trash heap, or worse: as a screenshot on someone else’s Twitter or Facebook feed, complete with lol emojis and angry comments to boot.
The best way to ensure that PR nightmares like this don’t happen, that you are learning how to correspond via email professionally, and are communicating with people in a way that is not only generating interest but also growing your business, is to continue your education. Taking a marketing course , completing a marketing certificate, or earning a marketing degree from an accredited college or university will teach you how to email like a professional, not just in theory but in practice.
That’s why we think that good marketing courses, certificates, and degree programs tend to model the following principles, which we have extrapolated and distilled from Chris Fralic (who is arguably the Internet’s most prolific email marketing guru) and his professional advice about the 10 Rules of Emailing Busy People.
Clarify Your Context
Your audience, scope, and purpose should be transparently clear, especially your audience.
You don’t want to send an email offering social media marketing services to someone who has no Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram—unless of course you’re offering to create those accounts for them. The key piece of advice here is that the more background you know about your audience, the easier it will be to write an email that appeals to them. Draw up a description of your target audience. What do they do in their day-to-day job? How could they use help? When would they want to hear from someone like you? Why should they choose you?
The Marketing Communication master’s concentration prompts you to analyze consumer behavior, conduct market research, and engage the power of brands and messages in order to develop powerful digital marketing strategies. Evaluate various tactics, measure their effectiveness, and explore the intricacies of working with or in complex, multi-functional teams to execute compelling marketing campaigns.
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Once you know a few things about your audience, write a message that ensures they will fully understand why you’re contacting them (i.e., your purpose) and the extent of what you’re asking them to do (i.e., your scope). You’d be surprised how far a short email with a clear purpose and scope can take you, when sent to the right audience. Make sure that any marketing course, marketing certificate, and marketing degree program that you enroll in covers how to make the context of your emails perfectly clear.
The only question you want your audience asking after they read your email is “Where has this person or service been all my life?”
And by “be human,” we mean be genuine, friendly, and personable.
Unless you’re a standup comedian with an email list and following like Louis CK—or you personally know that the person you’re messaging can hear your tone of voice—try to avoid jokes. Unlike in TV advertising, humor doesn’t translate well to the medium of email. This is because tone often gets lost in translation for a medium of communication that’s almost always associated with work. The catch is, you don’t want your message to be completely void of voice. The last thing you want to do is come across as an automated response that doesn’t require a response from your audience.
You’d actually be surprised how writing like you speak and allowing yourself a typo in the responses you send people (as long as it’s not a misspelling of the recipient’s name) can actually work to establish your authenticity as a humble, human communicator. Make sure that every marketing course, marketing certificate, and marketing degree program that you enroll in covers how to be a human communicator.
To increase open rates and avoid receiving automated responses, prospect for and send to email addresses that are created for named persons rather than role titles.
Communicate to Connect
There is a piece of advice for people who are trying to fit in with a new group of friends: look for the similarities, not the differences.
The same can be said to apply to email in your digital marketing career. When you’re starting an email thread for continued correspondence, and especially if cold-messaging a new lead, you should always strive to establish points of contact and similarity between yourself and your audience. This sort of goes along with our second piece of advice to “be human.” Much like starting a conversation with an influential person by showing them something that demonstrates appreciation of their work, introducing yourself informally as a fan who has produced something that was inspired by the recipient goes a long way toward getting someone’s attention.
This is not to say you should flatter your recipient, especially because doing so can turn off big influencers: many have heard it all before. This is to say that you should strive to offer bits of information that show how they’ve influenced you and your career. Doing so has the potential to establish connections that can lead to continued correspondence with big names in the industry.
Make sure that every marketing course, marketing certificate, and marketing degree program that you enroll in covers how to communicate with big-name influencers.
Even if influencers decide you can’t be of much service to them at the time and say “no thanks,” you’re engaging in good email etiquette that can pay dividends in the future.