Build A Lucrative Relationship With Your Customers!
Building a profitable relationship with your prospects and customers, like any aspect of successful marketing, is like learning to ride a bike or play a musical instrument.
You’ll fall off a few times, or play ‘bum’ notes, before you begin to get the hang of it — but once you do, you’ll go on to do a few cycle stunts and play music that people want to listen to! Practice is important.
And as leading copywriter Allan Forrest-Smith advises, the easiest way to practice is to copy the experts. After all, if they can bring in millions with their copy, why reinvent the wheel? And they probably copied it from an earlier success anyway — why do you think the text in the body of an advertisement or web page is called ‘copy’ anyway?
We’re not talking plagiarism here—but many of the most successful sales letters of all time have either taken their inspiration from earlier successes or have themselves inspired others.
And email marketing is just like that. Practice and draw ideas from others’ emails. Use current topics or popular themes, use timeless truths or your latest product as themes.
But this is all about building a relationship with your prospects and customers — and they’ve given you permission to be in touch with them by email (see other posts on this blog).
Five Magic Questions
Michael Rassmussen has carved out an Internet Marketing niche for himself in the
field of Email Marketing. His advice is that you need to address FIVE MAGIC QUESTIONS that the recipient will have when you are crafting emails to your lists:
- Who are you?
- What do you want?
- Why should I care?
- What’s in it for me?
- What do I do now?
Unless you answer these five questions in your email, your target will move on to the next email and you’ll have lost her/him.
Killer Subject Lines
But the body of the message will be wasted if your email Subject line — your ‘headline’ — doesn’t get your target excited or intrigued enough to open your email in the first place!
So your Subject line is the key to getting your email read.
As Allan Forrest-Smith points out, the whole purpose of your Subject line or Headline is to get the reader to carry on reading. And the purpose of each paragraph and sub-header is to get your reader to keep on reading!
Try to make people curious with your headline—and to want to open your email to
find out what it’s all about — ie ‘What’s In It For Me?’ (abbreviated to WIIFM in the
To do this your subject line should be benefit oriented — asking a question is often
effective. But your subject lines should be ‘blind’ — they should entice irresistibly
without revealing the content up front.
So, you’ve got your target to open the email — what now? The Opening section is now vital to keeping your prospect on the page — and to keep him/her reading — so it has to be conversational and interesting. And it MUST grab the reader and involve him/her immediately — so it has to be about them, not you!
Think about the emails you receive… Which do you open? Which do you go on reading? Most of us prefer emails that sound as though they’re coming from a friend with something interesting or useful to tell us, don’t we?
As Michael Rassmussen notes, your opening should be conversational and get to the point really fast. Talk to the reader—not about yourself!
Assuming that your reader is still with you, you now need to keep the content in the body copy super-relevant and focused on the purpose of the email! Don’t go off on any tangents or turn into a blabbermouth! Your target doesn’t have time to waste, so respect her/him accordingly!
Action! And Keep It Tight!
The purpose of your email is to get them to take a specific action — so the whole copy should focus them to this end. The last things you want to talk about are how your personal life is going, your recent vacation or the car you drive, or how much work you put into your product (although there may be a place for these in the ‘story’ you tell on your sales page).
The reader doesn’t care about you — only him/herself!
So keep the body copy of your email relevant and tightly focused. You can use powerful bullet points to hint at the particular benefits the reader will gain — but they should never reveal the content or the secret. Otherwise you’ve given the reader the information to make an immediate decision not to continue reading!
Michael gives an example of the benefit of a blind bullet over a plain one:
· Plain Bullet: “How to make your bullets powerful by making them blind”
· Blind Bullet: “A simple change you can make to your bullets that will triple their power”
I think you can immediately see the difference—and how the second bullet forces
the reader to keep on reading, to find out more!
Use Your Head-ers!
Michael also points out the importance of making your body copy easy to read — split it up into paragraphs of a few lines each and use sub-headings to break your text into ‘bite-sized’ chunks.
Alan Forrest-Smith also points out that the sub-headers in any piece of copy should tell the whole story by themselves — since many people skim through the body.
In an email — particularly a plain text mail — it’s important to make your sub-headers stand out. Use capitals and a line of asterisks or dashes above and below
You’ve probably heard of the ‘Bucket Brigade’ in copy writing. This is the use of little pieces of copy in your email that forces people to keep reading. Phrases like ‘As a result…’, ‘As I said…’, ‘Why?’ and ‘Oh, and let’s not forget…’
Call To Action
But the whole purpose of your email is to get the reader to take action! NOW! So your call to action must be clarion clear! And URGENT!
Tell them exactly what you want them to do and how to do it! And what they should do it now, and not leave it ‘till later!
You can use a whole bunch of incentives to act now, including scarcity (time deadlines or quantity limitations) or bonuses.
PS: Oh, and don’t forget the PS! This is often the first part of a sales letter or email that people read — after all, I often go straight to the bottom of a sales letter to find out how much it’s going to cost me. Don’t you?
© John Thornely www.johnthornely.com 2008
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