Having been in the business of helping companies identify and connect with their desired prospects for many years, I am often asked for my advice on creating the best emails that generate the most leads for small businesses. Recently, I was asked by Small Business Computing to contribute a guest post on this very subject, and although my guidance was intended for smaller organizations with fewer resources and more diminutive budgets, the advice can also serve as a foundation for new marketers as well as a refresher for those with more experience behind them.
No matter where you may fall in terms of business size, marketing budget or the length of your career, you might benefit from my list of the top five email essentials every marketer must know:
· Start off on the right foot: Don’t lose your prospect at the get-go by assuming they know who you and your company are, recognize your brand or industry, or use acronyms or jargon that you are certain “everyone knows.” You lose nothing – and gain more – by providing an introduction, a bit of background and explaining the reason why you are reaching out to them in the first place. Don’t turn the reader off by including any erroneous information (test all links!) or worse, grammar errors. Have your email reviewed by a good editor who might find something you missed.
· Draw them in and be unique: Use a good, intriguing subject line that will cut through the clutter and pique the reader’s curiosity to open the message to learn something new or obtain benefit. Keep it brief and place the most important words first, since the words at the end can get cut off from view. Once you have their attention, be bold and unique, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box, use humor, or tie your message to a current event or trend that most people know about or that relates to their interest.
· Provide real, honest value: Offer content that acknowledges and addresses your audiences’ interests, challenges and pain points. Offer your (or better yet a recognized expert’s) assistance to guide them through their challenges or help them do their jobs better or more effectively. Point prospects to best practice articles, blogs, videos or how-to webinars or events. Direct current customers to tips and tricks, lesser-used features they may have missed, or other clients who are doing something very well or unique that they might copy. You don’t have to solve all their problems in the email itself – be brief and clear on how the reader can learn more.
· Be personable and set the next step: Once you have their attention, be personable and friendly. Remember that people buy from people – especially in a B2B setting where more complex solutions may require more explanation or hand holding. Include an email signature with contact information that is set apart and easy to spot. This shows them you’re a real person – which is essential for initiating a genuine relationship. Then clearly communicate the next step, and make it easy to the reader to take it. Use larger, bold font and accent colors on calls to action.
· Be mobile device friendly: Remember that people are using mobile devices more and more for email communication. If your message is not formatted for mobile devices, you stand a good chance of losing the majority of your audience. Make your design mobile-friendly by using plain background, larger fonts and easily clickable call-to-action buttons. Test all communications on various mobile devices and operating platforms.
Email is still the communications medium of choice for most people around the world. While creating an email message shouldn’t be treated as a science project, it does require time, skill and creativity to effectively generate the best, most desired results.
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