04. Write Engaging Email Content
If having quality subscribers is one part of the equation to achieve email marketing success, then the other piece is creating valuable content. This should be the cornerstone of your email marketing strategy.
After all, the only way to attract the right people to your list is by giving them content they're interested in.
The first step? Identifying what your audience considers to be “valuable” content.
Create engaging content
The first step to writing email content is first identifying the value you hope to bring your subscribers. As with any branded content your audience will interact with, they will wonder what they're going to get out of it.
The answer should be clear within your email content. This is crucial to creating effective emails that people not only want to sign up for, but open and engage with again and again.
Staying authentic is all about transparency & honesty. Build a relationship before you market or sell to your community.
- Sarah Nagel, Sprout Social
So how can you create emails that your subscribers actually want to open? Let's take a look at the different types of emails you can send, and how you can leverage each to grow your audience and business.
Types of emails
In the world of email marketing, there are a few different types of emails that you can send to subscribers. Each one serves a different purpose, but all are essential to every email marketing strategy.
Follow up emails
Follow ups (also known as autoresponders) are automated emails. These are messages you can create and schedule in advance so they automatically send in a sequence to those who subscribe to your email list.
This means that all of your subscribers will receive your message at the times you selected, so you don't have to manually send the same information over and over again.
Follow ups can be used to welcome new subscribers (which we'll get to more on that topic later), educate them about a specific topic, introduce your business, nurture them to become customers and more.
A broadcast is a one-time email that is delivered to subscribers either immediately, or at a scheduled date and time. You can use a broadcast to share time-sensitive information with subscribers, such as:
- Recent blog posts
- Product updates and releases
- Limited-time sales and promotions
- Upcoming events
- Industry news
- Alternate ways to use your product or service
- Customer spotlight or testimonial
The essential emails
You have the freedom to email your subscribers anything you want, whether it's a newsletter or product update. But there are two emails that you should have set up and ready to go for your subscribers: the confirmation and welcome email.
The purpose of your confirmation message is to give your new subscribers a chance to confirm that they actually want to receive your emails. Maybe someone signed up accidentally, or they changed their mind.
Using confirmed opt-in helps you screen for quality subscribers who are more likely to engage with you in the future, and filter out those who aren't really interested in hearing from you.
Sticking with email marketing best practices, such as using confirmed opt-in for new subscribers, can have a big impact on your overall success.
As the first email your subscribers receive from you, your welcome email should thank them for joining your list. You should also include information about what they'll receive from you in future emails. If you offered an incentive in your sign up form, the welcome email is the place to deliver it.
Here's a quick checklist of talking points you'll want to include in your welcome email:
Thank your subscribers
Tell them more about your business
Provide more information about the future email content they'll receive
An incentive (if you offered one)
Writing subject lines
Want more eyes on your emails? The subject line is where to start.
Think of it as the first impression you give to subscribers when your emails hit their inbox.
I don't subscribe much to the 'secrets' of subject lines. Optimization is always contextual. Use data to drive decisions.
- Celeste Mora, Grammarly
While there is no secret to crafting the perfect subject line, there are a few tried-and-true tactics that provide consistently impressive results:
Keep your subject line short. Subject lines with 30 characters or less have been known to get an above-average open rate. It makes sense considering 40 percent of emails are first opened on mobile devices, where you're limited to just four to seven words.
Utilize the preview text. Have a lot to say but not enough space? The oft-forgot preview text is an email marketer's friend. It's not as in-your-face as your subject line, so you can add additional information while still remaining mobile-friendly.
Be clear and concise. Your subject line should always be relevant to the information inside. (Remember how we stressed the importance of gaining your subscribers' trust?) Tell your readers what's inside and don't mislead them.
Create a sense of urgency. People hate missing out on things. There's even a term for this: FOMO (or “fear of missing out”). And it's exactly why creating a sense of urgency within your subject line copy is such a powerful tactic. Because who wants to miss out on an amazing sale, webinar or promotion? Nobody, that's who.
Be specific. Speaking of sales, email is one of the best ways to promote them! Be really specific about what you're promoting and how much of a discount you're offering. Don't bombard your subscribers with sale emails, however, or they might feel overwhelmed and unsubscribe altogether.
Ask a question. You can be clear and concise while still creating a bit of intrigue. Posing a question in the subject line is a great way to achieve that vibe. It's friendly, approachable and conversational. Bonus points for giving your subscribers a way to reply!
Get personal. Adding your subscribers name to the subject line can up your open rates by 29 percent. Using it sparingly can really grab their attention. Save this trick for a really important use case.
And speaking of personalization... that brings us to our next section.
Personalize your emails
They want to know that you have their best interests at heart, and that should show in the content you send them.
There are a few different ways to personalize your emails so they make your subscribers feel like you're talking directly to them, and not just one of hundreds of other people.
One way is to address your subscribers by their name in the subject line or the beginning of your email content.
You can also personalize your emails by sending content that's based on their specific needs and interests. Whether you have their feedback from a survey you sent out, or they added specific information in a custom field in your sign up form, you can send them emails based on their top interests.
In addition to personalizing your emails based on subscriber information, you can add a personal touch to the tone within your email content as well. Including a specific person in the signature of your emails (instead of a message from the whole company), for example, brings a human face to your brand.
Additionally, make sure your “From” address reflects an individual from your company, not a specific department. For example, an email from firstname.lastname@example.org is much more inviting than email@example.com.
Monetize your emails
Email is a fantastic way to build relationships and trust with your audience. But if the goal of your emails is to make money, it can also help with that, too.
Email is hands down the most effective channel for converting customers than any other (that includes social media and search engine marketing).
Monetizing your emails might seem intimidating at first. But if you're providing valuable content and you have a passion for what you're doing, you're already halfway there. Here are some more ways to generate revenue from your list:
Create a paid email course
Share links to featured product pages on your website
Regularly offer exclusive sales and discounts
Create a lead nurturing email series
Take Action! If you're just getting started with email marketing, now's the perfect time to customize your confirmation message and craft a welcome email. Create the emails within your email marketing platform, or simply start a draft in your favorite word document tool, like Google Documents or Microsoft Word.
Start writing your emails today. Try AWeber for free!