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#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Email Content That Stands Out with Shayla Price

Are you wondering how to create email content that your subscribers will enjoy and that you’ll love to create? If so, you’re in the right place! Our latest #ContentWritingChat was jam-packed with amazing advice you can use to take your email marketing strategy to the next level.

Ready to dive in? Keep reading for our recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: From Subject Lines to Preheaders: How to Create Email Content That Stands Out with Shayla Price

Our guest host this week was Shayla Price. Shayla is a B2B content and email marketer, so she knows a thing or two about creating amazing online content. She shared some great advice throughout our chat, so you’ll want to take some notes!

Q1: Why should brand put time and effort into building an email marketing strategy?

Are you wondering if email marketing is really going to be worth the extra work? We say yes! But if you need a little extra convincing, here are some responses from our chat:

Shayla knows that email marketing can help brands build relationships with their customers, while also growing their business in the process. It also produces some pretty great ROI!

As Bill mentioned, you can deliver value directly to the inbox of your audience through the power of email. It’s a great way to build an audience and establish trust over time.

If you want to send content that’s catered to your audience, email is the place to do it.

Julia also knows the value email marketing can provide because of its high ROI. Check out the link she shared from Entrepreneur!

Cheval made a great point about how your email list is your own real estate. When you build a following on social media, you’re doing so on rented land. Those platforms could disappear one day, but you’ll always have your email list.

Q2: How can your subject line increase open rates? Any tips you can share?

When you create email content, it’s pretty obvious that your subject line is very important. After all, it can make or break whether or not someone opens your email or sends it straight to the trash. Here’s some advice you can use to boost your open rate with your next campaign:

As Shayla said, your subject line is your one and only chance to catch the attention of your subscribers. Don’t blow it!

Her advice is to keep your subject lines short, unique, and non-spammy. You can also see results by using numbers, a deadline, asking a question, and keeping it personal. These are all great strategies to test out.

If you want subscribers to open your emails, you have to hook them.

Use your subject line as a way to inform people what’s inside your emails. Elizabeth said to make it both interesting and informative.

For Jason, a great subject line needs to spark curiosity. He also feels it should be short and relevant to the content inside the email.

Haley can’t resist a subject line with an emoji. Try adding them to your next email campaign!

Megan admits that she can’t resist intrigue and she knows others can’t either. Keep that in mind when writing email content.

As Kyle said, offers provide an incentive to open up your emails. Sales and discounts are definitely a good push.

Remember that your subject line is your first impression. Take advantage of that and leave people wanting to open your emails.

Q3: What kind of content is inside your emails? How do you ensure you’re providing value?

Once you have an email list in place, you need to figure out what you’re going to send your subscribers. Sometimes that’s a more stressful task than you might realize! Check out this advice to make sure you always provide value:

Shayla said email content needs to match the interests of your subscribers. You should always keep them in mind when writing your campaigns so you can be sure you’re delivering what they want to see. If you aren’t sure what they want, take time to do the research. Analytics will provide plenty of information.

Exclusive content in your email campaigns give people something to look forward to. If it’s something they can’t get anywhere else, they’ll be more likely to check it out.

Emails that are timely, thoughtful, and engaging can definitely provide value to your audience.

When you give your audience something they can take away, they’re sure to appreciate it. Adding value is always key with any kind of content you produce.

Make sure you remember to add a CTA as well. This tells people what they next step is after they’ve finished reading your email.

Q4: How can you design an email that looks great, but is still easy to read across devices?

With people accessing emails on their desktops, as well as their smartphones, it’s important to make sure they’re easy to read everywhere. How can you do this when you create email content? Keep these tips in mind:

Shayla encourages you to stick to a design that reflects your brand. Use specific colors, images, fonts, and layouts. When you can create a look and stick with it, it become recognizable as being unique to you.

Don’t go overboard with links, otherwise you risk having your emails wind up in the spam folder. Julia’s advice is to keep it short and sweet.

To make your email content easy to consume, use short paragraphs and simple dividers. A gigantic block of text will only put readers off.

The Netvantage team uses a layout template in MailChimp, which Lexie says they customize with their brand colors and logo.

Don’t forget to test your emails before you send them out. It’s worth doing a final check before it gets delivered to tons of inboxes.

Q5: What’s your best advice for keeping email list subscribers engaged?

When you’ve got people on your list, you want them to stay put. To do that, you need to keep them interested and engaged. Here’s some advice that will help you do just that:

Shayla’s advice is to ask questions and encourage your subscribers to reply. This is a great way to get the conversation going. She also said segmentation is great, as this allows you to really tailor your content to specific people on your list.

Don’t disappear on your email list. Keep your list “warm” by sending content on a regular basis so they don’t forget about you.

Don’t go too crazy with sending emails though! Jason said you should only send emails out when you have quality, relevant content to share.

When you have value to add, send it their way!

It’s all about providing value to your subscribers if you want to give them a reason to stay on your list.

Sarah said you should have an idea of what your subscribers would like to see from you. This will allow you to deliver exactly what they need.

Don’t be afraid to ask what your subscribers want and be sure to listen when they respond.

Haley suggests sending a survey to your email list. You can ask them what they’re interested in to create targeted content.

Don’t be afraid to change it up though! Brian’s advice is to surprise your audience once in a while. You have to keep things fresh.

Q6: Which metrics do you track to measure the success of your email campaigns?

After you create email content and send it out to your subscribers, you want to measure its success to see how it performed. Here are some go-to metrics you should keep an eye on:

Shayla knows that the metrics you pay the most attention to will depend on the current goals of your email marketing efforts. Typically, she tracks click-through rates, open-to-sale conversion rates, and unsubscribe rates.

Clicks are always great to measure, especially if your goal is to send people from your email to somewhere else (like your website).

Julia tracks clicks, but she also likes to see replies. When people are interested enough to send you a kind response, that’s always a great feeling.

Conversions are essential to measure, especially if you’re going through a launch phase for a product or service that your business is offering.

Repeat opens are another great metric to track. Shelly also said you should keep an eye on click-through rate.

As Alan said, it all depends on what your overall goal is. Make sure you set that in beginning before you start creating content. He knows that click-through rate can be a good indicator of how effective your content was as well.

Q7: What is your go-to platform for email marketing? Why do you like it more than others?

With so many email marketing platforms available, it can be hard to choose the right one. We asked our chat participants to share their favorites with you. Here’s what they said:

MailChimp and ActiveCampaign are two recommendations from Shayla.

Here at Express Writers, ConvertKit is currently our go-to!

ConvertKit is easy to use and their tagging systems makes it so easy to segment your subscribers based on interests.

Max is a big fan of MailChimp!

We have another MailChimp fan!

MailChimp is great for those just starting out and their integrations are definitely helpful.

Chelsea needs a more robust system to handle her email marketing, so she relies on Infusionsoft.

Q8: Which brands are doing an amazing job with their email content? Tag them!

There are plenty of brands who are creating great email content, which means there’s lots to learn from them. Which ones are standing out from the crowd? Check out these suggestions:

One of Shayla’s favorites is Contently.

Cheval loves to read email content from Rebekah Radice and Diane Gottsman.

The Skimm is certainly great source for news every week day.

Lexie enjoys checking out Canva’s email newsletters.

Shelly said Vidyard does a great job with the email content they create.

Jason’s favorites include Content Marketing Institute and Convince & Convert.

For Sabjan, he looks forward to emails from HubSpot, Content Marketing Institute, SEMrush, Search Engine Land, and Buffer.

Ready to join the next #ContentWritingChat? It happens every Tuesday at 10 AM Central! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to join in.

free course cta

email content marketing

An Up-to-Date, Nutshell Guide to Your Best Email Content Marketing

Have you ever wondered how effective your emails are?

Do they leave an impression, or just end up in the trash folder?

It may be that you measure email success by the amount of people who open it and then click through. Which means that the email first has to be opened, then read, then clicked.

Not to mention it also has to be the appropriate length and interesting enough to engage readers and move them to action.

How much does email length matter? Can your tone shine through, and does anyone really read the subject line, anyway?

We’re here to break the answers to these questions down, and give you an updated guide (with a recent Boomerang exclusive!) all about email content marketing. Boost your email results when you put these into practice. Keep reading!

guide to email content marketing

Email Marketing 101

Email is still critical to our content marketing efforts today.

Take a look at these email marketing stats for a better understanding of the impact email has in the industry:

  • Marketers have seen a 760% increase in revenue from segmented email campaigns.
  • Automated email messages average over 70% higher open rates and over 150% higher click-through rates than “business as usual” messages.
  • Email is 40x more effective at acquiring new customers than Twitter or Facebook.

Email is the connection between us and our prospects.

When content marketers invest their time and resources into powerful emails, the reach potential is limitless.

While technology has changed and social media has emerged over the past decade, email has stayed as a constant. Sure, we may not be using the same domain we did ten years ago, but the truth remains that when we need to send information, we email it.

When we want to be connected to our favorite brand, we join their email list.

Need a receipt for your store purchase, but don’t want a paper copy? Have it emailed.

For these reasons and more, content marketing efforts can be enhanced when we learn to take the best email marketing practices and use them effectively.

3 Best Email Content Marketing Practices

Back in the early 90’s, email hit the scene. Remember those AOL disks that were available through the mail and at the grocery store checkout stand?

And how we communicate has not been the same since. (Letters? What are those?)

Fast-forward to 2017, when 93% of marketers now say they use email for content distribution and consider it an important channel for their marketing success. And while it does remain an effective tool, it doesn’t mean we always use it in the best way.

Emails have a wide range of possibilities in reaching an audience, including:

  • Newsletters
  • Product updates
  • Transactional emails (after one has taken action on your website)
  • Deals and promotions

There are some qualities that make email an effective tool for your content marketing efforts. We have to learn the best way to increase the open rate, how to craft a subject line, how to create quality content, and how to choose the best time to write.

1. Learn How to Write a Great Email

You may be thinking, “Wait a minute. I’m a content writer. I know how to write.”

Isn’t it true that if we all knew how to write effective emails, there would be a higher response rate and we would be inundated with conversions?

Especially since over 200 billion email messages are sent every day.

So, yes, we can all use reminders from time to time about how to write effectively, and specifically, how to craft an email that engages the audience and encourages action.

A. Craft a compelling subject line

This seems like an obvious one, but if the subject isn’t engaging, few readers will want to click through to the actual content. Start by incorporating language that tells the reader what he or she can look forward to in the email.

Words like “take,” “don’t miss,” and “reserve” are goods one to start with.

B. Use personalization, if you can

Shaping email content to fit a reader’s needs by using customer segmentation has the potential to increase revenue.

In a study conducted by Direct Marketing Association, emails which were segmented and targeted generated 58 percent of the total revenue for marketers surveyed while 36 percent of revenue came from emails sent to specific target selections.

direct marketing association

C. Create relevant and honest content

No one wants their time wasted, so coming up with a catchy email subject line that has nothing to do with the content inside is unfair and irresponsible. While you are crafting an engaging and personalized subject line, keep in mind that it should align with the content in the actual email. This not only keeps everything relevant, but sets you apart as an honest authority who isn’t out to trick anyone into clicking.

D. Continue to offer relevancy by expressing to the reader right away why you are writing

What is your connection? How are you providing a solution to the need? Our reach will go much farther when we highlight the benefits rather than the feature.

E. Get to the point

Practice writing concisely so the end result is powerful, tight sentences.

Too wordy, and you’ll lose your readers. Too short, and they could miss the point.

Content marketers must find a way to summarize a catch for the reader and encourage a click-through.

Everywhere we go, we see content – in just one minute, there are millions of Facebook and Instagram likes, hundreds of thousands of Tweets, and hours upon hours of YouTube videos uploaded.

We are consumed by content.

The last thing we need is more unusable information, interruptions, or sales pitches coming through our inbox. A long, drawn-out copy won’t cut it here; readers must be able to sift through quickly in order to make a decision about whether or not they’ll click through.

Try keeping emails between 50 and 125 words, which can increase the response rate for your efforts.

Suggested tool: SmartBlogger’s list of 317 Power Words

2. Learn How to Close Out

After we learn how to craft email content that engages the readers, it comes time to find the most effective closing methods.

Email closings matter. How we wrap up that fantastic content determines the response rate for our readers, and a few words can make the difference between clicking through and sending an email to the trash.

Boomerang conducted a study on more than 350,000 email threads and found that certain email closings were more effective at delivering higher response rates.

boomerang findings
Graphic from Boomerang

The best way to close an email?

With gratitude.

Those closings that included a variation of “thank you” saw a higher response rate than those that included words like “best” and “regards.”

Some of the most popular closings included a simple “thanks,” “cheers,” and “kind regards.”

Thanks in advance received the highest increase based on the average response rate.

In addition to the closing greeting, a CTA will tell your audience what to do. Simply adding a button that says “click here” may not be as effective as a call-to-action that clearly spells out what will happen when they click.

Here are some examples:

  • “Take the Survey”
  • “Learn the Secret”
  • “Get the Free Report”

Each email should be backed by something you want them to do, one central focus. The call-to-action always revolves around that one goal, even if there are multiple CTAs in one email.

Tools: 380 High Emotion Words, 80+ Marketing Words to Improve Email Campaigns

3. Learn When to Send

When is the best time to send an email out? Is every day too often, and is once a month not often enough?

Opinions on the best day and time to send emails will vary across the industry, but there are some general guidelines we can follow that will contribute to maximum impact. In fact, analysts looked at billions of emails in order to gain insight into the best times to send emails, and the results are a bit different across the board.

Best days: Tuesday came in first place, according to data collected. In a close second was Thursday, followed by Wednesday.

As a side note, there were high click-through rates on Saturdays and Sundays, but since those are also the days when the fewest emails are sent, it kind of balanced out.

coschedule email tips

Graphic from CoSchedule

Best times: That same research had some interesting findings when it came to the best time to send email content. In first place was 10 a.m., followed by 8 p.m. – midnight, and then 2 p.m.

Email 4

Some of these times might be surprising, but they also make sense; for example, many of us check our emails before bed, so the 8 p.m. timeframe fits that habit.

While this collection of data is not a one-size-fits-all for every brand, it is a good place to start.

Begin by sending out email content on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday at one of the times suggested. You may be surprised at what you find.

Grammar, Typos, & other Things We’ve Forgotten Since High School

Did you know Mondays are the worst days for email subject line errors?

And the more errors in an email’s subject line, the less likely it is to receive a response.

Grammar misuse and typos don’t scream “authority.” Instead, mistakes convey the message that the sender didn’t quite care enough to check and double-check the content.

It reduces our credibility as content marketers, interferes with the user experience, and pushes down the response we could get if only we had been more careful. If emails with an error have a response rate of only 29%, it’s worth our time and effort to read over everything carefully before hitting the “send” button.

If you need some help in this area, there are some effective tools you can use to boost your grammar and spelling.

  • After the Deadline: Paste in your content and get feedback that includes spelling errors as well as grammar and style suggestions.
  • Grammar Checker: This tool catches spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, and misuse of words.
  • StackEdit: Create professional-looking content and use the inbuilt spell checker to fix errors.
  • Write like a third grader: Emails written in this way saw a 36 percent life over those crafted at a college-reading level as well as a 17% higher response rate.
  • Read, then read again: Do a thorough read of your email content, take a short break, and then read it again. Check for sentence flow, clarity of thought, and grammar mistakes. Click any links you’ve included to make sure they work and go to the right place.
  • Send it to yourself: Remember writing speeches for high school and practicing them out loud? The same idea can be used here; send your email to yourself or one colleague to make sure all is good to go. This step can help to minimize typos and gives you or someone you know one more chance to proofread.

Get Awesome in Your Email Content

None of us want to spend time on emails that ultimately don’t get opened (boring headline) or get opened but lead to no action (boring content).

For truly awesome email content, your focus must be first on an engaging subject line, then on relevant and attention-grabbing content which is followed by an effective CTA. See more great email practices.

When we combine these practices with a focus on sending at the right time and on the best day, we can be on our way to crafting high-quality email content that everyone will want to share and be a part of.

Need help writing fantastic email content? Check out our email copywriting services!

Email Marketing Tips for 2016

15 Hot Email Marketing Tips For 2016

Right now, more than 144 billion emails are sent each day.

In light of that, it may seem unlikely that anyone who does email marketing is ever going to get noticed. Fortunately, this isn’t true.

Get your free PDF, 25 Proven Email Subject Lines for Your Email Marketing.

There are several fundamental tried-and-true ways to win at email marketing you can apply this New Year to start boosting your email marketing ROI. Keep reading.

Email Marketing Tips for 2016

15 Key Ways to Win At Your Email Marketing This 2016

Here are a few sure ways to help you get started sending out great emails this year.

1) Think about prime send times

Depending upon your unique subscriber list, content, and company, you’ll have a prime send time that varies from everyone else’s. According to an email report by Experian Marketing Services, most emails performed best when sent between 8:00 p.m. and midnight. This block of emails boasted a 22% open rate and a higher-than-normal clickthrough and sales rate.

These results may be on account of inbox crowding: if you send your email While this is a great baseline to start from, it’s important to remember that each company’s prime send time will vary, so it’s important to look into your analytics to find your best sending time.

2) Give something away

People love free stuff and it’s just as true in email marketing as it is anywhere else. Recently, Bluewire Media ran a test on their 6,300 email subscribers. They were wondering which types of content earned the highest click and conversion rates. What they found was, overwhelmingly, that emails giving away templates and tools were opened at a much higher rate.

For example:

Download your free copy of 25 Proven Email Subject Lines for Your Email Marketing

To get more engagement from your customers and produce higher levels of conversions for your company, offer to give something away every now and again. Whether it’s a template or an eBook, freebies keep your users interested and help you produce great email marketing results throughout the new year.

3) Optimize for mobile

We can’t say enough about this. Mobile is a huge deal right now and if your email marketing content isn’t optimized for mobile platforms, you’re missing out. Mobile traffic makes up 47% of the average email open rate. That said, it’s hugely important to make sure that everything you send out via email looks and performs great on a mobile phone.

This means converting your content to one column templates, increasing font size to make it more readable on a small screen, ensuring that buttons are at least 44 pixels x 44 pixels, and making CTA buttons obvious (above the fold) and easy to click (by placing them in the middle of the screen).

4) Make use of weekends

Earlier we talked a bit about your prime send times but what about your prime send days? According to the aforementioned Experian study, emails sent on Saturday and Sunday outperformed emails sent on weekdays. That said, consider whether sending your marketing emails on the weekends is something that will work for your clients and company.

5) Keep your whole list active

Say you have a list of 1,500 email subscribers. Great! The problem is that only a portion of that list is likely to be active. In fact, some studies have found that most lists have an inactivity rate of 63%. That said, in order to make the most of your email list, you’ll have to figure out a way to engage the entire list rather than just a portion. One of the most effective ways to do this is through what marketers call a “Re-engagement campaign.”

Re-engagement campaigns look a little different for every marketer, but essentially they involve testing different subject lines to find out which ones earn the highest open and click rates from the highest portion of your list. Keep in mind, though, that any re-engagement campaign you run should offer value, as well. Once that inactive 63% of your list clicks an email, they’re going to want to see something good.

6) Write to one person

Nobody wants to be just one person in a crowd of subscribers, so help your readers feel unique by writing every email as if you were writing to them and them alone. This approach makes your emails more personal and provides a higher level of value for every reader.

7) Be respectful

Remember how we said earlier that 144 billion emails are sent every day? Most consumers feel like all of them wind up in their personal inboxes. For this reason, it’s hugely important to be respectful of your readers’ time. To put this another way: don’t spam anyone. Spam is one of the quickest ways to get yourself booted from the inbox and companies that don’t send spam are generally more well-regarded by their customers.

That said, only write an email when you have something valuable to say and be careful to get to the point as quickly as possible. This will keep you in your customers’ good graces and allow you to maintain your inbox privileges.

8) Remind your readers that they’re not alone

Why do people sign up for email lists? To get great content, information, and offers. But what’s one of the easiest things marketers can do to ensure that their readers are anxiously awaiting the next email?

The answer is simple: remind readers that you’re on their side. This takes a variety of different forms, including polling readers for content ideas, offering surveys, letting readers know you sympathize with their struggles, and then offering them actionable solutions to deal with them. This tip should pervade your content and, when done correctly, can take your emails from “blah” to “wow!”

9) Reward readers

So you’ve got a faithful list of readers. How do you keep them that way? You give them a reward! By rewarding your readers for faithfully opening your emails, you inspire them to continue doing so in the future. Rewards can be anything from access to a super-secret sale to insider info, industry tips, or inspirational content that’s not shared anywhere else.

10) Make use of power words

When you get 20 emails an hour, nothing much stands out. Until, that is, you see a subject line that includes emotive, exciting power words. Incorporating sensory phrases into your email marketing can go a long way toward improving your open rate and ensuring that your emails are well-received by readers.

11) Keep headlines simple

If your readers have to puzzle over the meaning of your email headline, they’re going to hit “Delete” in no time. Trust us on this one – when it comes to email marketing, the simple path is almost always the right one. Emails shouldn’t be brain twisters – they should simply provide valuable information in a quickly digestible package. Enough said.

12) Automate it

One of the easiest ways to make email marketing easier for you is to automate it. Services like MailChimp and Constant Contact both offer automated email marketing with simple drag-and-drop template layouts. Utilizing an automated service like this can help ensure that your emails get out when they need to as well as giving you a place to monitor your analytics.

13) Make the most of your CTAs

If you’re going to include CTAs in your email, they need to be clear, concise, and compelling. You should be telling your readers exactly what you want them to do and reminding them what they’ll get if they do. CTAs aren’t platforms for guesswork and when you lay it out clearly for your subscribers, you’re likely to produce better results.

14) Keep body copy short

You’re writing an email, not a novel. Long, bulky, text-dense emails are going to lose your readers’ interest in a hurry, so you’re best off keeping your body copy short and concise. The next time you edit your email, challenge yourself to cut your body copy in half before you send the email out. This will distil your points to the most important ones and ensure that your readers are getting only the information they need.

15) Be natural

Now more than ever, consumers want to interact with authentic marketers and companies. To help this come through in your email marketing, avoid using strict formulas, be conversational in your tone, and ensure that you’re interacting with your readers like you would interact with real people. This will help make your emails something readers look forward to.

Download your free PDF, 25 Proven Email Subject Lines for Your Email Marketing.

Conclusion

When done right, email marketing can be more effective than other types of marketing, including social media marketing. To get it right, though, you’ll need to keep these 15 tips in mind. Doing these things ensures that you’re sending valuable, exciting, actionable emails that your readers will love to engage with.