Posts

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.

Delete or Unsubscribe for mail list?

I checked our bounced emails report.  Do you want me to “unsubscribe” or “delete” them?  I’ve just “unsubscribed” a couple and then realised “delete” is also an option.  What’s the difference?

Also if a contact says “this address has been cleaned” there is no delete of unsubscribe option.  Why is that and what does it mean?

Cleaning mail lists 

This is a great question because list hygiene is an important (but frequently ignored) part of being a responsible direct marketer.  List hygiene is all about keeping your list up to date, as far as this is possible.  Now people move jobs all the time and so being 100% up to date is unrealistic – but each time you send out an EDM (electronic direct mail message) there will be people whose emails bounce or they choose to unsubscribe.

  • The unsubscribe option means they stay on the list as a historic record (they were once subscribed and now are not).
  • Delete is only suitable when someone has died
  • When they change jobs and their email address has moved domains, I don’t delete them, if they re-subscribe, I update their email address so you retain a complete record of their subscription (it’s just a new address for the same person)
Basically, if there’s the possibility that they might re-join your list in the future, it’s better to leave them on the list.  Similarly, if they change jobs and get a different email address, it’s best to leave them on the list and at a future date, change their email address.
So by leaving them on the list we have a “more perfect” record of history for that subscriber on your list.

Cleaned email addresses

Now, “Cleaned” means something different (in the language of MailChimp)
Cleaned contacts have addresses that have hard bounced, or repeatedly soft bounced, and are considered invalid.
So they have been permanently deactivated and in order to protect the spam sending record of emails sent through the MailChimp servers, they have chosen to not allow you to send to the ever again.   This is a defensive action on the part of MailChimp.  They have a lot of mail servers who send out the messages you book through their service.  Each time a recipient marks one of your EMDs as ‘spam’ this sends a negative message about that server and MailChimp act to protect their reputation in this way.