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The elements of a great email

17 Sep 2018 by Kitomba

A great email should get your readers interested enough to open it, and engaged enough to take action – whether that’s to click-through to buy your product, book an appointment or find out more. Here are the things you need to do to ensure every email you send your clients is a great one.

1. The audience

Before you start writing an email, consider who should receive it. Remember not everyone in your database should receive every email you send. Think about the client information you have and how you can use it to create a targeted list to send your email to.

For example, if you’re launching a new product line for your male clients, create a list of your male clients. Or if you want to re-engage lost clients, generate a list of clients who haven’t visited in more than 8 weeks.

2. The subject line

Great emails start with a great subject line – it’s the first thing your clients will see. In fact, 47% of email recipients decide whether or not to open an email based on subject line alone.

To ensure your subject line can be read in full on both desktop and mobile, try to keep it under 30 characters. That’s not long so you’ll need to choose your words carefully.

Your subject line should also describe what your email is about. Tricking your readers now could mean they don’t open emails from you in the future.

Get your subject line to grab attention by focusing on the most exciting part of your email such as introducing a new product, offer or giveaway. Using personal pronouns like you and your, or personalising it further by using their name also works well. The use of emojis can also help emails stand out in your clients full inboxes.

Where relevant, create a sense of urgency by letting clients know they could miss out if they don’t act soon, for example “Only 10 masterclass tickets left”.

3. The preview text

Preview text is the summary text that appears after the subject line in an inbox. This text can work with your subject line to make your email even more appealing. For example, with the subject line “Only 10 masterclass tickets left” appropriate preview text could be “Don’t miss your chance to take your styling to the next level”.

4. The greeting

Great! Your email has been opened. Now’s the time to ensure your clients keep reading starting with how you greet them.

Think about your relationship with your clients as well as your businesses personality. Ask yourself how formal do you need to be with your clients? Is “Dear” appropriate? Maybe your business takes a more relaxed approach like ‘Hi’ or even ‘Hey’.

Whatever way you greet your clients, always use their name. Most email marketing tools have the functionality to insert recipients names from your contact list.

5. The content

Good content is all about getting your audience to understand what you’re saying in the simplest way possible.

The most important thing to remember when writing your content is who you’re writing to. Think who you’re sending your email to and choose the right tone of voice and benefit for them. The tone of voice you use in an email promoting your edgy new product line targeted at women in their 20’s is going to be different than the tone you use when promoting a new Tuesday morning special for seniors.

Keep your content short and sharp by only including the information that’s absolutely required, and try to keep your sentences short and to the point. Ask yourself “is this really necessary?” to test whether you’ve achieved this.

By keeping your content clear, relevant and to the point your clients are more likely to engage with and read everything you send.

6. The call-to-action

For your email to be a success, it should have one very clear call-to-action – the one thing you want your readers to do once they’ve read your email. Your content should be written with this goal in mind by outlining the benefits and then reinforced with a clear instruction directing your clients to take action. The clearest way to do this is with a button.

Use your brand colours to help your button stand out from the rest of your email, and choose your words carefully. For example “Tell us what you think” might encourage more people to take your survey than “Take our survey”.

7. The design

Ensuring your email is visually exciting is a key component of a great email. Images can make your email more visually engaging, but too many can create a visual nightmare. A good way to overcome this issue is to use images that contribute to the message, not the design.

Effectively using white space can help too. The idea here is to carefully use text, headings, colour and imagery so there is still plenty of clean white space surrounding those elements. This makes it easier for readers eyes to take in the email and focus on what’s important – the message you’ve written in the email.

8. The review

Before you hit send take a few minutes to review your email. Remember this email represents your business and you always want to put your best foot forward. Check the subject line, preview text and body content for spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Ensure your email flows nicely and that your audience is correct. Use this time to double check you’re really happy with what you’re sending.

9. The timing

Sending your email at the right time is the final thing contributing  to its success. There’s no magic time to send emails as it varies depending on your audience.

So think about who you’re sending your email to and when you think would best suit them. For example, if the majority of your client base are professionals, it may be best to email them just after 5.00pm when they’re on their way home from work and checking their personal emails.

Some email marketing tools such as MailChimp can help you choose the right time by looking at your client list and determining the best time for them to receive your message

10. The testing

Congratulations! You’ve written and sent a great email. That’s not the end though. Check out the performance of your email by looking at key measures, like open rates and click rates, and consider how you could improve them for next time.

If your click rate is lower than you would like, think about how you could improve your call-to-action, or if your open rate was low, try sending your next email at a different time of day or changing up your subject line and preview text.

Many email marketing platforms have A/B testing functionality, which allows you to test the same email with one change (such as a different subject line) without having to send a new campaign.

Consider these ten things to make sure you’re sending your clients great emails that they look forward to receiving and help you achieve your goals.

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