writer, person writing, cop

Key parts in a professional email

I got a question about what the four elements that comprise a “professional email”.  I don’t know why the questioner thought that there were four parts.  My best practice has three parts:

  1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them
  2. Tell them
  3. Remind them what you already said

Easy!writer, person writing, cop

Good email message structure

Slightly less flippantly, the structure of a good message is based around short sentences, simple sentence structure, short words and a clear indication about what you want the reader to do next.

If you can achieve all those things, that’s a great start.

More sophisticated messaging can come through with brand tone of voice, longer messaging plans over months / weeks and a mix of brand, educational and product/service messages. [Ask me how to plan your email marketing.]

Drafting and editing email messages

My personal method when creating EDMs is to work through these steps

  • What is the key message?
  • What is one thing I want the reader to do?
  • Then I start writing…. beginning with the LAST paragraph
  • Add in any context that explains the message (in case they are new to my list)
  • Remind them of benefits
  • Ask for the money / action
  • Add a PS.

Then I sleep on it overnight.  Always.

Because most of my messages can be improved and that only happens after time passes.  I think my brain matures the message and having a bit of time after having written it means I can move into editing mode.  That is a very different brain space and a different skillset.

Now I’m not a visual specialist so I get someone who is good at images to contribute here when I can.

Practice, practice

And then you just need to do it many times to improve your skill.

For examples of best practice copywriting for B2B marketing read on.

click stream, analysis, email click

Click Analysis to raise ROI

Take a look at your most recent email marketing campaign and review where people clicks and how many people clicked on each link.

I found that we were getting a lot of clicks in an unexpected place and we were able to correct that in our next campaign iteration. I also recommend a chrome extension which will help you appraise your website clicks.

Watch more Recession Marketing videos

and find the top 6 actions for marketing strategy for a recession.

Analysis of CEO message to customers

Writing tone of voice aligned with brand values is a powerful marketing tool.

This email is so powerful because the structure of this message is aligned to brand values

  1. open Reminder of their mission 
  2. Then acknowledge pain
  3. New tools that support their community
  4. Sign off with a humble acknowledgement

The full text

Dear SoundCloud Creators,

Since our founding, SoundCloud’s mission has been to give people the power to share, connect and grow through music.

As the coronavirus crisis has unfolded, we’ve seen a global outpouring of tracks on SoundCloud — with a 50% surge in creators uploading in the past month alone. But behind this creative response, we know there continues to be financial loss and uncertainty for our creator community.

Last week we rolled out our first wave of creator support — our partnership with Twitch, 50% off SoundCloud Pro Unlimited, a resource guide and weekly creator office hours with our artist relations team — to help with the impact some of you are facing. This felt like a good start, but we want to do more for the long term.

Today, we’re accelerating a series of new initiatives and over $15M in direct investment to support creators on SoundCloud during this difficult time.

  • New direct fan-support button for all creators.
    We’ve created a simple button for your SoundCloud profile to connect your preferred way to receive direct fan support including Kickstarter, Patreon, Bandcamp, Paypal and more. Learn how to get this live on your profile right now.
  • $5M in free promotional support for all creators to drive more plays on SoundCloud.
    For the rest of 2020, we’re giving away all of our Promote on SoundCloud inventory. Tag your SoundCloud uploads #GetMorePlays and our editorial team will select up to 5 artists per week to feature with promotion. More details to come soon on our blog.
  • Immediate launch of Repost by SoundCloud, a new marketing and distribution service.
    Independent artists who want to take their career to the next level can now access professional marketing and monetization services plus industry-leading distribution features. Repost by SoundCloud is available to everyone, no play count thresholds. Learn more here.
  • $10M artist accelerator program to support independent creators’ career growth.
    We are committing $10M to help fuel the careers of independent artists upstreamed from Repost by SoundCloud into our artist services offering, Repost Select. Apply here.

We understand our efforts here are no match for the care providers on the frontlines of this global crisis. But we will continue to look for ways to support our global SoundCloud community, so you can keep sharing music we can all turn to in these challenging times, and long into the future.

Kerry

Interest.co.nz, news website nz,

Copywriting to shorten marketing messages

Our team brings you the news about our economy that requires intensive investigation, providing an important resource for Kiwis who want to make well-informed financial decisions. Your contribution fuels our capacity to provide independent reporting & analysis, while also keeping our site open for comments & community engagement.

A case study – the client supplied the text at the top.

It was from a popup on their website.  But the display required the prospect to scroll to read it all.

I re-wrote the copy into two versions so they did not have the scroll bar appear and also to give a slightly different emphasis on the messaging.

Rewrite copy version 1

Our reputation is built on expert news reporting on the NZ economy.  We are an important resource for Kiwis making well-

copywriting, short copy,

The chosen version published.

informed financial decisions. By paying to support us, you’re ensuring we continue to be an independent, powerful media site where our analysis and your commentary builds a robust community of interest.  

Notes:

  • Shortening New Zealand to NZ is not my preferred way of writing, but suits this situation.
  • The focus on expert news is secondary to the informed financial decisions
  • Strong adjectives and a clear expectation of what the outcome will be

Rewrite copy version 2

We specialise in news about the NZ economy which takes intensive investigation and journalist resource.  Our reputation is built on helping Kiwis make well-informed financial decisions. Your support means we can continue independent reporting, expert analysis, and enables moderated commenting on the website.

Notes:

  • The focus is on the quality of journalism comes first
  • The reader’s desire for decision-making secondary (at this time of Covid19 – most are reading news pages)
  • Many like the ability to comment.  Many news sites have withdrawn this feature.
website error page 404

Write a custom 404 error page

Custom 404 pages are a great sign to your readers that you are engaged with your website and want to be helpful.

Here is a sample text I wrote for a client

Custom 404 page text

Oops!  That seems to be a broken link.

Sorry.

If you have the time or inclination – please tell us the page it was on by sending us an email. [link Sendto: support@yourwebsite.com Subject: Broken Link on Website]

Maybe you are looking for something like

  • Our Services [link to services summary page]
  • Our Shop [link to shop page]
  • Something else?  Contact us [link to contact page]

Add a lightly humorous image – something to show that you thought about it.

I have chosen a capsize image for a watersport brand, a broken stick for a gifts company and a sad looking person for a consultancy firm.

Get on it now….

Three audiences, niche brand positioning

Business positioning – do this

Can a prospect tell “at a glance” whether you are the right business for their needs? Web visits last ever-shorter durations and so your positioning [the message about what you do and for whom] is critical.

I was asked by a client to provide examples of marketing agencies who have good positioning on their websites.

Do you agree with my picks?

Good brand positioning copywriting

https://www.disruptiveunicorns.com/ We specialise in inbound marketing and lead generation on the HubSpot platform. Using design thinking, we help businesses scale in a sustainable growth manner.

One way to find out if you don’t want to work with them, is to re-write their offer in the negative. So if I don’t want inbound and lead generation – don’t go here. If I’m not using Hubspot I probably won’t get well-served either.

https://www.digitalmarketer.com/ Tools and Trainings for Digital Marketers

If I’m not a digital marketer needing tools or training – go away.

Below that they have 3 audiences identified – Teams, Marketers and Agencies so they offer further refinement of tools and training offers.

Digital marketer three audiences and offerings aligned to different brand needs,
Digital Marketer agency audiences

https://spur.co.nz/ Creating live experiences that build brand love. We are a full service live-marketing agency. Our areas of expertise include sponsorship, experiential marketing, corporate events and promotional staffing.
We connect brands to people to 
create brand love.

So if I don’t want a live experience – go elsewhere. Using the bold words allows speed reading to focus in on key services and skills. The “Brand Love” message is lovely and slightly fluffy – who doesn’t want this for their brand?

And just for the contrast here’s one which is too broad in its positioning and non-specific in its offer https://www.interactivesponsor.com/

Which niche suits your brand?

Finding your audience and positioning your business to align is not something to do once and leave. The business world changes frequently and so fine-tuning your language, offering and audience is a useful exercise.

Remember – excluding prospects who don’t fit your ideal customer persona is important too.

Dear Valued Customer – How Not To Write Customer Service Letters

From: Jim Bird  On Behalf Of reviewus@XXXXX.com

Sent: 16 October, 2012 10:04 PM

Subject: Thank you for using XXXXXX – Please Review Us

 

Dear Valued Customer,

According to our records you placed at least one order through XXXX in September. Thank you very much for your business and may it continue for a very long time.

We at XXXX hope that you are very happy with our services and ask that you spend just a few minutes leaving us a review at either (or both if you would be so kind) of the below sites:

http://www.trustpilot.co.uk/evaluate/www.XXXX.com

http://www.reviewcentre.com/add-XXXX.html

Of course we would prefer a glowing 5 Star review, however we are also interested in any feedback, suggestions or ideas you may have.

Thank you once again for using XXXX, and please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any queries.

Kind regards,

Jim Bird

Customer Services Manager


What could be improved in this letter?

I find it incredible that this type of templated mass messaging is being used FOR THE FIRST COMMUNICATION to a customer.

Hey did someone just think – it’d be a great idea to get some customer feedback?  What ho, Jeeves, let’s off and ask them to say we’re wonderful.

Crikey.

The Top 5 most popular articles of all time

Kiwibank, this is how I’d re-write your email

Kiwibank email text confuses

Kiwibank email text confuses

And I made a fool of myself on LinkedIn by explaining how I totally mis-understood Mark Wilkshire’s message.

Re-write to clarify the message

Here is how I would re-write the email in order to prevent others doing what I did.  [Aside: surely I’m not the most stupid customer Kiwibank has…please, humour me!]

Dear Rebecca

You have a Notice Saver bank account with Kiwibank.  The interest payments for this account come from our PIE Unit Trust.  The money you save in your account is invested in the fund and profits are paid back to you in the form of interest.

As an investor in this fund, we are obliged to share its recent financial performance with you. You can view an electronic copy of the financial statements for the year ended 30th June 2017 on our website via this link.  

[insert rest of the statutory text here].

Lots of love, Mark Wilkshire, Kiwibank

Why is this clearer?

I think this text improves the context for receiving the message.  It explains an investment I didn’t know I had and how the investment performance is relevant to my personal situation (bank interest).

Personally, I wouldn’t try to push out messages about other investments in this message.  Make it simply about this one thing, and how to contact us.

The full truth about what I did on Kiwibank

And, I would anticipate possible confusion among customers by enabling self-help tools on the website to be advance programmed to have answers to questions relating to this investment.

My “Kiwibot” experience below reveals more about the lack of customer orientation and more about the regulatory communication box-ticking which probably sits behind this email misunderstanding.

Kiwibank Bot does not answer questions

Kiwibank Bot does not answer questions

 

 

Why the HELL NOT?

bad copy, unclear business name,

What do you do? Explain, clearly or lose leads

I want to showcase this list of three businesses who want to grow their international connections.  Shared by a reputable international facilitator organisation, these exemplify the utter incompetence of smart people when answering the question “What do you do?”.

I despair.

bad copy, unclear business name,

Poor descriptions of business loses leads

How to differentiate your business

We did some work this week with a consultancy who describe themselves as “Family Business Specialists“.  How straightforward.  I know who they advise…. I don’t yet know what they do – but that three word description allows me to filter myself in or filter myself out of using their services.  Either I am or I am not a family business.  Either I need or I do not need a family business advisor.

Who wants to work with an

“Extremely passionate and dedicated consultancy who loves its customers.  We live to server our customers.”

Now maybe this is a clever IT joke “I server my customers, you server your customers etc”. Or more probably it’s a spelling mistake nobody spotted.  Never mind that – every consultancy can claim passion, dedication and customer services.  It doesn’t say what TYPE of consulting they do or for whom.

C’mon.

10 questions to answer before writing your elevator pitch

  1. Who are you and what do you offer?
  2. What is the company history?
  3. Who are the key personnel?
  4. Who are your clients?
  5. Which are your case histories?
  6. Who are your competitors?
  7. What’s different about you?
  8. Who is your target market?
  9. What are your company objectives?
  10. Where does your company want to be in 5 years time?

This is Step 1 in our New Business Development workshop – during which you write a one year marketing plan, and from which you will understand how all the parts of the “marketing mix” join up to deliver successful communications to your prospects.

 

Read more blog posts about Step 1 State your Business by clicking the image below – it will take you to that category on our blog.  Teach yourself, how to describe your business successfully.Symbol for who is your brand in new business development