The world of direct marketing has changed somewhat with the advent of the email sales letter.
You can now get your marketing messages directly into the workplaces and homes of your prospects via a sales email – but at the same time, you need to be careful about following the legal rules and you still need to apply direct marketing principles that are proven to work.
All the usual best practices of direct marketing work in email sales letters. That means including as many of these as you can (preferably all of them):
Getting the subject line right will have a massive influence on the conversion rates of your sales emails. Let's face it – your email can't sell if no one is reading it.
To get them reading, you have to create enough intrigue in the subject line to make them want to find out more. Here are some guidelines for good subject lines:
The most important thing about the subject line is that it needs to grab attention straight away. You do that by making sure it deals with the reader's most pressing concerns – not your own agenda.
When it comes to email selling, you're better off going with relatively short copy. This goes against the grain against the time-tested idea that long copy outsells short copy.
While this is generally true, you'll often find that people are conditioned to click away the moment they realize an email will take more than a few minutes to read.
Most people already get a lot more email than they have time to read – don't make life difficult by hitting them with a sales letter that's going to take half an hour to read.
When it comes to reading online, people have short attention spans. You can multiply this by ten when it comes to email. So grabbing attention quickly is more important than ever.
You can't afford to pull any punches in your copy – make a compelling offer in the first few sentences, or people will stop reading.
Keep your email relatively short – the majority of the selling can be done on your landing page.
Email sales letters don't exist in a vacuum – they have to be linked up to a targeted landing page. The landing page and email need to complement each other.
Ideally, the role of the email is to simply create enough interest in the reader to get her to click through and read the landing page. So the landing page and the email both have roles to play in making the sale.
In some cases, the landing page will simply be your website's order page. In this case, the email needs to do most of the selling itself – but it should still be relatively short, compared to a long form website sales page.
That's why email copywriting requires extreme brevity. Cut the copy down to the bare essentials.
One of the first rules of email marketing is that your messages must comply with anti-spam regulations. Refer to the CAN-SPAM Act regulations to make sure your emails meet the necessary standards.
The idea with email marketing is not to simply blast a bunch of spam letters to untargeted email addresses. You'll get the best results from an email sales letter if you have a targeted opt-in list – otherwise known as permission email marketing.
You can buy or hire a targeted list, but you're better off building one yourself (more on this in a second).
One tip – avoid using the word "FREE" too much, especially in the subject line. Overuse of this word will trigger the spam filters on many email systems. Use an alternative, such as "at no cost to you."
If you really want to make good money from email marketing, you'll want to build a targeted email list. The best way to do this is to offer a valuable resource for free in exchange for a visitor's email address.
You'll also need to sign up with an email marketing tools provider who will manage your sign-ups, lists and give you the interface to send your mail outs.
Aweber is a relatively cost-effective company that provides this service. Alternatively you could use a service like Site Built It, which includes your content management, keyword research tools and email marketing tools all in the same package.
Not getting the results you want from your email sales letters? Let us rewrite them for you, and start enjoying the rewards immediately. Contact us now for a free quote.
Author: Tom McSherry
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