The quest to write emails that sell is a noble one.
Well, noble AND necessary.
Whether you’re a marketer, you own an ecommerce store, or you’re a business owner of any kind, you need to write emails that sell.
Why? Why aren’t your other marketing tactics enough?
Glad you asked.
Email marketing will help to solidify your brand, raise awareness, bring in more traffic (which can equal more customers!), and it positions you as a trusted authority.
In short, it’s darn good for business.
You can find lots of information about the elements an email marketing campaign needs to be successful. It’s practical advice, but it’s missing one important (maybe THE MOST important) factor: Psychology.
The human brain is a funny thing. Psychology plays a huge role in how people form an opinion about your brand and affects how they make purchase decisions.
Here are some tips that take a psychological approach to help you write emails that sell.
The subject line is what gets your emails opened. The rest of these tips aren’t worth a hill of beans if no one opens your emails.
Think about it: Your readers are inundated with emails all. day. long.
And most of it’s junk.
If you want your emails to see the light of day, your subject line has to stand out, make an impact, and draw the recipient in. It’s good for your email open rate, your click-through rate, and can ultimately impact sales.
Note: This is prime split-testing territory. We’ll talk more about this in #12!
Use just enough words to get your message across. Don’t use 1500 words to say what could be conveyed in 30.
“But I’m such a beautifully-poetic writer and I could fill pages with my flowery language…”
Nah. Your readers will bounce. They’re reading your email to find out what’s in it for them, not to find out you won the 7th-grade poetry jam.
Not only will they read, but they may also even start to associate your entire brand with fluff. Boring claptrap.
Use only the words that communicate clearly and simply what you want to say.
Words matter, but so does the type of language you use.
Each industry or business niche has its own vernacular, so keep that in mind when you’re writing, and match the tone.
There is a disclaimer here, though. While you may toss around a lot of shorthand with coworkers, remember that your readers may not be as familiar with very technical jargon as you are.
Keep visitors interested by being as clear and concise as possible. Be familiar with the way your customers speak and imitate it to be sure your message resonates with your audience.
Note: If you’re writing for a specific audience, feel free to use terms and phrases that the majority of your readers will recognize. For example, if your audience is soccer players, you can use words like, “cleats” or “shin guards” without using simple explanations.
If you’re as familiar as you should be with your buyer persona, you shouldn’t have any trouble understanding what’s causing their pain.
Address it in your emails and let readers know that you have a solution. Make them see themselves overcoming their issue – with the help of your product or service, of course.
One way to approach this is to straight out ask your readers the questions you know they’ve already been thinking about.
When you use a reader’s first name, you give them the (subconscious) impression that you’re speaking directly to them and that you’ve created the email specifically for them.
For this to work, though, you have to make sure that your emails are segmented in such a way that recipients only get communication that’s relevant to them.
People feel more compelled to respond when they feel like you’re opening a “conversation” with them.
There’s nothing wrong with pumping up your readers’ self-confidence.
Present the problem they’re struggling with, let them know that they can overcome it and you have the best product or service to help them.
Empower your readers to take on their challenge with confidence that they have the tools they need to conquer it.
When writing an email like this, make sure that you get straight to the point and use language that lets them know they have the ability to “fix” their problem – you’re just providing the pathway.
According to Harvard Business School, 95% of our purchase decision-making happens in our subconscious mind.
And that’s why it’s so important to use emotion to write emails that sell.
Depending on your product or service, appeal to emotions like:
When it comes down to it, people usually make purchases based on emotion and then rationalize it later. But it’s the “feels” that initially draws them in.
It makes sense that you’re focused on the features that make your product or service great. It’s your “baby.”
But your audience isn’t as enamored with your product as you are. (Kind of like how everyone thinks their own kids are the cutest.)
See, your readers are thinking about their problems. They’re interested in solving them. They have a lot to do and what they really want is a solution that helps them check items off their to-do list more quickly.
Features are awesome. But what people really want to know is how you can help them. Period.
Here are some questions to ask yourself that may guide your thinking as you’re writing emails:
This is a great opportunity to add some visual appeal, too. Create a graphic with a list of 3-5 benefits so it’s clearly laid out for your readers.
Starting off your email with a shocking statistic accomplishes a couple of things.
It grabs attention, it’s memorable, and it will set your emails apart from the crowd that flows into your readers’ inboxes on a daily basis.
That sounds like a winning combination, right?
Missing out sucks.
And you can use it to your advantage to write emails that sell.
Consider this scenario: A prospective customer gets your latest email that details the benefits they’ll receive when they purchase your product and that it’s being offered at a discount.
They’re intrigued because it hits all their pain points. They definitely want to check into it SOMETIME, so they move it to their “To Read” email folder.
Now, this one: A prospective customer gets your latest email that details the benefits they’ll receive when they purchase your product.
They’re intrigued because it hits all their pain points. They definitely want to check into it SOMETIME, but then they notice the countdown timer that’s ticking off the time down to the second that they have to take advantage of your offer. They don’t want to miss out (because mission out sucks), so they go ahead and make the purchase right then and there.
See what I mean?
You don’t even have to do something as definite as a timer. Just mentioning that the offer is only good for a “limited time,’ or that “stock is running low” can do the trick.
Appeal to your audience’s competitive nature.
Let them know that your product or service is the key to pushing them above and beyond the competition.
Plus, when you keep the focus on how you’ll help them top their competitors, they won’t be focused as much on what it's going to cost them.
Once they taste that possibility of “winning,” it’s hard to turn back. Getting an edge is worth the cost.
Now we’ve come to a behind-the-scenes-but-still-super-important element of nailing how to write emails that sell.
It’s all about listening to your readers and learning from them. Test a variety of components, including images, emojis, subject lines, content length, etc.
As you discover what resonates most with your customers, you can shape your email campaigns accordingly.
It may take a little time, but the ability to streamline your message according to your results is worth it.
These 12 tips will help you write emails that sell and that keep your customers coming back.
Now that you have the psychological prowess of a Freud or a Maslow, it’s time to put these 12 ideas to work for you.
But you don’t have to go it alone. There are experts that can help you craft savvy emails that will resonate with your readers, sell more, and grow your profits.