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Chris Mentillo: "Online Email-Marketing Tips."

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If you are looking for ROI in your digital marketing strategies, and who isn’t? Then your email needs to be a part of your plan. Let us further examine this theory:

Email is arguably the most valuable method of communication in business today, and the correct email marketing strategy can pay huge rewards in terms of engagement, lead nurturing, conversions and other key metrics. Many marketers state that email is the greatest digital channel for producing real ROI.

To capitalize on email marketing’s potential, you need to craft compelling, and engaging professional emails. Check out these examples and follow their professional email writing tips and tricks:

Professional email writing tips: 

Start with an attention-grabbing subject line.

Use a conversational greeting.

Keep it short and sweet.

Balance style and tone with your target audience.

Give a warm farewell.

Don’t forget your email signature.

Let’s be honest, the vast majority of recipients are not going to open your marketing emails. The average open rate for email marketing campaigns is meager. You can boost your odds, however, by crafting a subject line that resonates with your target audience.

People have become rather discerning when it comes to detecting emails that are 'relevant to them' and those that can be swiftly 'sent to the trash folder.' If you come on too strong at the outset, you’ll find yourself in the latter camp.

Subject lines should be concise and to the point:

Get a little too verbose in your email subjects, and the whole thing will not even surface in the recipient’s inbox.

Subject lines should be concise and to the point:

There is such a thing as too much brevity, however, if a sales prospect can’t get a good sense of what the body of an email contains just by reading the subject line, then they probably will not open it.

Your subject lines should offer something valuable to the reader:

Maybe it involves advice on how to solve a common problem in their industry, or perhaps a discount on products – whatever it is, the recipient should feel they are about to get something in return for opening your email.

Another approach to crafting engaging subject lines is to pique your audience’s curiosity.

Thought-provoking headlines are more likely to intrigue recipients and can increase your open rates. The key is to not give too much away upfront. If the subject line tells the reader everything they need to know without even having to open the email, then why bother clicking on it?

It’s all about finding that happy medium between telling your audience what they need to know upfront and giving them a compelling reason to keep reading.

Whatever you do, stay away from clickbait subject lines. No one is going to take you seriously if you resort to those kinds of tactics.

Use a conversational greeting:

Arguably the biggest mistake people make with any kind of professional writing is to veer too hard into formality.

Professional does not equal stuffy:

If you want to come across as genuine, you’re going to have to ditch the “Dear {blank}” greeting.

I know, I know, everyone and their grandmother were taught to open any letter or email with “Dear,” but it comes across as incredibly stiff in the age of the emoji.

Kicking off a professional email with a simple “Hi” shows customers and prospects that it was written for them by a real person who didn’t pick up all of their business writing etiquette pointers, back when typewriters ruled the world.

If you want to get even more conversational, “Hey” works too. Some people might find that a little too familiar, so as always, know your audience.

There are some instances where you’ll want to drop the greeting altogether:

Certain newsletter templates don’t require an intro, because they speak for themselves or lean on graphics to tell their stories. 

Take this example, for instance – we began the email without a greeting, but let the visuals grab the readers attention:

If you’re not sure what your target goes by – for instance, “Mike” vs. “Michael” – it might be better to lose the greeting and avoid calling them by the wrong name. It is a simple mistake, but all of your efforts that come across as casual and friendly could indeed blow up in your face, especially if you get it wrong.

Keep it short and sweet:

Of the approximately million emails that get sent every day, Very little will get opened. With those odds, just getting your sales prospects to click on your emails should be a win, right?

Measuring the success of your email campaigns by open rate is kind of like judging your content marketing strategies based on organic site traffic alone. All it tells you is how many people saw your content. What it won’t tell you is if they listened.

That is why many industry experts view click-to-open rate CTOR as the best email marketing metric to use. That’s not to be confused with your click-through rate CTR, which measures how many recipients clicked through some element of your email. CTOR is similar to CTR, except it’s limited to the people who opened your email rather than the total number of recipients. It’s a bit more granular and focused on the effectiveness of your email messaging.

You don’t have a lot of time to make an impression – good or bad – on your audience. Assume that if nothing catches their eye within a second or two, they’ll delete your email without giving it a second thought.

That means you have to keep your emails short and punchy:

Don’t bury the reader with an info dump or bore them with a bunch of deep analysis – save that for your white papers. You have to get in, make your mark, provide some actionable next steps, and get out of there.

Take a look at how Airbnb approaches asking a customer to take a survey, and give some feedback on their recent experience. There isn’t a single ounce of fat on that message. It is personalized, and it has a clear message with a direct ask. There’s even a clickable CTA to make the next steps as easy as possible.

Consider what matters most to your audience, and deliver a message that speaks directly to it.

Make every word and phrase count:

You are going for maximum impact, so don’t waste a single precious moment of your audience’s time or attention.

Balancing style and tone with your target audience:

Digital communications beg for a looser, more conversational tone, but you don’t want to overdo it. Finding the right balance with a breezy, informal style, while maintaining a professional demeanor, is key.

If your email is littered with grammar and punctuation errors, your audience will not take you seriously. That just makes you – and your brand – look sloppy and inattentive. Additionally, it is imperative to hire editors and proofreaders, who also take their writing and work seriously. It will be worth the effort and money. This spells-out 'professional' regarding your brand. As a result, others will look upon you as a key leader in the industry. 

Getting too cutesy with emoticons, GIFS, emojis, and slang is another cardinal sin of professional email writing:

Remember that scene in “Lethal Weapon” where Murtaugh raps with his kids at the dinner table? That’s how cringey it is when marketers try to imitate Gen-Z text messaging and work fire emojis and YOLOs into their emails.

Of course, the other side of the spectrum is just as bad.

Stilted language and flowery prose, have no place in a marketing email – that is unless you want your prospects and customers to think you are some tweed jacket-wearing, the college professor.

Does it sound natural? Could you see yourself saying the same thing to a co-worker or friend? If it’s awkward to say out loud, it’ll read that way in an email too. The more natural the style and tone of your email message, the more personalized it will seem. You want the reader to feel like every email has been carefully crafted, specifically for them. This is a whole lot easier to do with a more playful, conversational tone.

Give a warm farewell:

Ending a professional email can be tricky, but a lot of people probably do not give that much thought to it. They might use the same canned sign-off with every email, regardless of context or circumstance. That is too bad, considering it may be your last chance to leave a memorable impression. To come so far only to bungle things in the final moments, would be a real shame.

The old standby, “Sincerely,” can work in some situations, but it’s a little formal for many tastes. The same goes for “Best Wishes or “Best Regards.” “Cheers” seems to be pretty popular these days, but it’s almost a cliche at this point. You can give "Warmest regards" a try. Play around a little to see what gives you the best results. 

If you’re asking something of the recipient, even if it’s just to reach out with any questions they might have – ending the email with a simple “thanks” can do wonders.

Emails that close with some variation of thanks – i.e., “thanks in advance” or “thank you” – are more likely to receive a response than any other sign-off.

One thing to keep in mind is to switch things up, particularly if you are going back and forth with a prospect or client. Spamming “best wishes” over and over again in your responses is not going to come across well.

Don’t forget your email signature:

You don’t have time or space in the body of your email to explain your role in your organization with how people can get in contact with you. That would just be wasted email real estate.

Email signatures are a simple way to give recipients the most pertinent information about yourself:

Your name.

Your company.

Your job title position.

How to reach you – email address phone number.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. The whole point is to deliver the most essential details in the most compact package.

Email signatures are a simple way to give recipients the most pertinent information about yourself.

Knowing how to write a professional email is an important skill for any marketer to have. Whether you are sending out brand newsletters, following up on qualified leads or working with a vendor, finding the right way to present yourself and your brand is essential.

Do you have some can’t-miss email writing tips of your own? Drop some of that marketing wisdom in the comments below. Thank you.