Sending emails to your active subscribers is not rocket science. However, sending emails that convert and turn those subscribers into buyers can be a much more complex process.
You don’t have to be a master email marketer, copywriter or designer to write great emails that sell. Here are a few handy tips to make sure your emails convert readers into buyers, no matter your industry or product that you’re selling.
In this article
1. Customize your preview
Most people focus on subject lines but neglect the preview – the text that people see before they even click open your email. Entice your recipients to open by creating catchy, short sentences as openers.
Make the preview short and throw in something that you know is a pain point for your audience. Here’s an example of a preview we sent with one of our major updates:
It directly addresses one of our customers’ major issues – spending too much time and effort on writing business proposals.
If you have the option of sending a test email before sending out a mass campaign, definitely do so to see what the preview looks like. Most times, you can’t really see anything from the email editor and by the time you send something out to thousands of people, it will be too late.
2. Mind the structure
Email copy has its own rules, but it mostly resembles standard copywriting which you can see on websites and landing pages. The structure needs to be logical and follow a certain pattern.
The best emails are written just like great blog content, with a clear structure that grabs the reader and makes them follow through until the end. Start with a direct opening line that connects with your email subject and then cut to the chase. The best emails are short and to the point – it’s a sales email, after all, so get to the selling part. Here’s some great inspiration for email structure from one of the best sources online.
By far, one of the best tips I have for the structure and tone is to completely drop all formality. Don’t talk to your prospects like you’re writing to an old friend who is familiar with your product.
Use simple, conversational language and state what you want immediately from the start. If you use complex, formal language, your email is very likely to get ignored and deleted.
And as the last tip for your sales email structure, always end with a question. After all, the goal of each sales email or sequence is to start a conversation with your prospects. Something as simple as “Does this sound like something that interests you?” can go a long way in increasing the number of responses that you get from your sales emails.
3. Segment your audiences
If you’re selling to everyone, you’re selling to no one. Carefully segment your audiences so that you deliver the sales emails to those people who are likely to purchase and not everyone on your list.
In our case, we segment our audiences immediately after they sign up for the mailing list. Depending on the page where they sign up and the kind of content they want to receive, we segment them so they are on a separate mailing list. That way, they only get the most relevant content and they are much more likely to convert later down the line if they haven’t done so already.
One of the best ways to segment your audiences is according to engagement. If you’re looking to improve your numbers (deliverability, open rates, click-through rates), simply segment your audiences to eliminate the people that rarely open your emails.
If you create mailing lists with only those people that consistently open and engage with your emails, you will have better metrics and a higher chance of getting conversions from the emails you send.
On another note, it’s actually a good idea to delete subscribers once or twice a year if they are not interacting with your emails at all. Not only will your numbers be better, but you will also save money if you pay for your email marketing software based on the number of subscribers.
4. Know your goals
Before setting up your campaign, determine what you want to achieve. Do you want immediate conversions? To convert trial users to paid users? To promote a discount and get more signups? To drive traffic to a landing page? Know what you want and go after this metric and you will be much more productive with your campaign.
For example, we had a campaign with the sole purpose of converting free trial to paid users and the only metric we were interested in was the conversion rate from trial to paid. For each of your sales email campaigns, set a distinct metric that you can follow to determine whether your emails are a success or not.
You may be struggling to find ideas for goals for your sales emails, especially in the coronavirus pandemic season. Here is a neat list of ideas from Hubspot which you can use to get inspired. You can grab these templates or create your own based on your product/service and target audience.
5. Split test as you go
If you have an audience that’s big enough to get relevant results, always split test your emails to see how they’re performing before closing up with a campaign. Chances are, you may be doing something wrong and noticing it when your campaign is done can be too late.
One of the most common elements that we split test in our campaigns are the subject lines. However, if you have a big enough audience, you can split test everything. Calls to action, design elements, preview lines, different types of copy – these are all elements that you can tweak and track their success through split tests.
I really can’t give you a precise suggestion on what to split test because there are countless great ideas. Here are some of my suggestions:
- Long subject line vs. short subject line
- First name in the subject vs. no name at all
- Emojis in the subject line
- No personalization at all
- Sending at different times during the day
- Images vs. no images
And many, many other ideas for split tests. Remember one thing though, the more people you have on your mailing list, the easier it will be to split test because you have more data. If your mailing list is still fairly small, split tests might be harmful for your sales, for one reason. You won’t be able to see major changes on a small test sample.
6. Have powerful calls to action
CTAs are one of the most crucial elements of any material whose purpose is to convert readers into buyers. However, there are specific rules for writing great calls to action. Even if it’s just two words, they need to be the right two words.
Just like the CTAs on your landing pages, those in your emails should meet these criteria:
This is a good place to get started and get some inspiration. Besides immaculate copy, make sure to pay attention to CTA design and placement as well. In our case, we use at least two CTAs in each sales email, with different design and copy. That way, we can see which one has better click-through rates.
The first place to get started with CTAs is the “action” part of the acronym. The focal point of every call to action is the verb and you need to keep it actionable. Good examples include:
Speaking of action, it’s always good to add some more urgency with a simple word such as “now”. Moreover, if something is free, point this out as well. With all of this in mind, our top-performing CTA of all times is “Try now free”. Sure, it would be more of a complete thought if we wrote “Try the app now for free”, but it wouldn’t be a good call to action.
Also, another trick for CTAs is to keep the copy in the first person. For example, “grab my free spot” instead of “grab your free spot”. Sure, the second option may sound more logical, but copy in the first person consistently gets more clicks in all of our campaigns.
7. Avoid spammy formatting
Not even the best offer in the world can save you if your sales email sounds like a Nigerian prince scam. Your email formatting is one of the basics for instilling customer trust and driving more sales.
First things first – don’t use any caps in your subject lines, previews or even the message body. You’ll look like you’re shouting and screaming for attention in your customers’ inboxes. Speaking of which, don’t overuse exclamation marks – unless it’s something to be shouted about.
Moreover, use emojis sparingly. They’re a great way to shorten or spice up your subject lines, but you should be careful about how much you use them, especially if your business is known as more serious.
Moreover, you really want to avoid your emails going to spam altogether and using the wrong words, punctuation and even fonts can get you flagged for spam. Not only will you not sell anything this way, but you will have a hard time sending any emails at all, if this happens.
8. Align your emails with the rest of your offer
If you’re sending a sales email, make sure that the offer you’re presenting is connected to a landing page that has the exact same data. It’s a frequent mistake to have a sales email linking to pages that are outdated or have the wrong pricing, description or conditions.
For example, we once sent out an email to over 10,000 of our subscribers and we forgot to change the link in the email. As a result, the subscribers went to an old version of the page without the discount we were promoting. Luckily, the mistake was spotted very quickly and we cut our losses.
My personal suggestion is that if you’re launching a new offer and a new email campaign, create a completely new landing page and point all links to that page. Moreover, if you’re using more than email to promote your campaign (e.g. you’re also running Facebook quizzes), make sure to have UTM tags in your emails so that you know where your best traffic is coming from and which of your emails generate the most sales.
9. Use the right tools to get inspired
Buzzsumo is the first place to get inspiration for good content. If something is hot at the moment and people are talking about it, this is where you will see it. You can adjust your campaign to reflect an event that’s currently popular or a trending topic.
My second favorite is CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer, which you can use both for articles and email subject lines. This tool will tell you how powerful your subject lines are and how likely they are to cause a reaction in your subscribers.
Quora is one of my favorite resources when I need to “steal” some ideas for email content. I just search for my favorite topic (proposal software) and I see what questions others are asking. It’s a superb source of inspiration for sales copy, emails and even new product features.
10. Focus on the benefits
This is a major mistake that I see with business owners, copywriters and anyone with a website. They focus on what THEY do as a company and not how the customers benefit from their products and services.
Instead, focus on what kind of benefits the customer gets from whatever you’re offering. In the example above, you can see that we are focusing on what our customers are getting instead of just talking about a cool new feature that we launched. That makes it much easier to ask for a sale at the very end of the email.
Writing a sales email that gets results is no walk in the park, but it’s nothing complicated either. If you keep each of these bits of advice in mind, perhaps your next email won’t skyrocket your sales immediately, but it will definitely get you some better results.