As you improve your effectiveness in making business connections, one depressing stat can remain: open rates for emails. Whether or not you use a professional contact management system (or CRM), you probably have access to this information. How many people opened my email? And then, how many people responded?
One of the strengths—and finely honed skills—of a marketing professional is the ability to create attention-grabbing copy. Successful brands do this all of the time: the jingle you can’t stop humming, the tagline that seems so absurd but you remember it. The good news? You don’t have to be tacky to be memorable. There are some elegant and simple techniques that you can employ as you refine your ability to write emails that get noticed.
Anyone can improve in writing specific kinds of text. Here are some ways to grow in this skill.
How to Write Better Business Emails
Emails have a purpose other than sheer information exchange. The ultimate goal of making a connection like this is to present your brand or product in a winning way. Engagement is, admittedly, the biggest ask.
Whether you are a new or old company, this ask requires finesse.
An email has four important components:
- Ask, or call to action (CTA)
Some CRM software is sophisticated enough to tell you when someone stopped reading your email, which can inform how you structure individual emails. Whether or not you have that level of insight, there are five tried-and-true categories of copy that you can incorporate to improve your open rate and interactions.
Personalization is powerful. Email outreach is all about building relationships. Sometimes, you can set up a CRM to auto-insert a recipient’s email in the subject line. Whether you have to do this manually or not, using someone’s name is absolutely essential to reaching them.
Consider the difference:
Subject: A New Way to Soap Up: Bubble Babies Launching in May!
Hey there! My start-up is launching in May and I would love a moment of your time! This will meet the need of parents in the marketplace who….
Subject: To Tammy G.: All About Bubble Babies!
Tammy, I am so excited to make a connection with you to share about Bubble Babies. I am sure that this is going to meet the need of parents who….
Which one would you open? At the very least, personalized emails look a lot less like spam. At most, they are an invitation to a partnership, which come with immediate warmth and humanity. There will always be considerations regarding title and of course you have to be exacting about spelling and other details. But as you figure those details out, personal names are a vital way to increase the impact of your emails.
People respond to stories. Your brand, your business, should be at least somewhat about you. Stories don’t have to be long or in-depth. In fact, for an email they should be quite short (think, 200-300 words). But it is the narrative that will capture a contact. The story gives PR connections an understanding of how you would appear on their show, in their column or on the airwaves.
Here’s the contrast:
“The average day women can get a positive pregnancy test is at 13.6 DPO. At-home pregnancy tests have been around for several decades without changing much. Women deserve to know as soon as possible if they have conceived. The XXX pregnancy test is a revolutionary new product that provides clear indications on a digital screen. Easy-to-use and affordable for any family, this is the new and improved pink line.”
OR, you could tell a story:
“I had finished my last round of IVF. My husband and I weren’t sure we would ever have a child. In this dark time, I shuffled out of the bathroom expecting yet another negative sign. Imagine my amazement when, instead of a single line, I saw the bright, blinking, joyous, life-changing words: ‘You are pregnant.’ I created this pregnancy test with women like me in mind.”
Telling a story gives your recipient a clear picture of who you are, how you communicate and even what you value. These are core facets in their decision to feature you.
Whether you have built a business or are simply in business, you should understand the why. Most commonly, the “why” of a company is articulated in core values, mission or vision. In other words, why do you do what you do? Why do you provide this kind of software or service? Why does it matter? The why is very valuable in marketing. You can represent this very quickly and effectively in an email using a few methods:
- Facts and figures: this many people use X and need Y; this many people have A and are desperate for B.
- Improvement plan: a “why” may often be about how you plan to improve something. In other words, this crisis/problem/pain exists and that is why our company needs a platform.
- Origin story: the “why” of a newly developed product or process may take the form of a narrative. Like above, pitching your business against the backdrop of a personal journey may be the persuasion a media professional or outlet needs to feature you.
Have you ever signed up for a chance to win something that’s only available to the first 100? Do you remember calling a radio station for the chance to be the “13th” caller? The scarcity of newly released Apple products is part of the appeal, isn’t it? People by nature want exclusive access, VIP treatment and the inside scoop.
Reporters, journalists and media professionals are no different. If anything, they perk up with the thought of getting an “exclusive.” Utilizing this language and appeal in your emails can work. Phrases like,
- “As we launch, we are targeting our five preferred media outlets.”
- “We will do a soft release of this product for select companies and would love to advertise that on your platform.”
- “We want to partner with the best people!”
- “We’d like to offer you the opportunity to be the first to make this announcement.”
Of all of the above, this option may feel a bit contrived to you, so appropriate it on your own terms. That said, it can be very effective.
Ask for Help
In a world of storytelling marketing and social ads, some businesses make the mistake of stopping short of the ask. Your emails should make it crystal clear what a response looks like.
I’d like to schedule a call to discuss…
Please respond with…
We need help in the following 3 ways…
The two opportunities we currently have are…
We are enlisting media outlets to…
Make it immensely obvious what you want and simple for the recipient to respond. There shouldn’t be too many steps or any barriers to them following up with you.
Many best practices exist in the world of email copywriting. In addition to winsome, charming and persuasive copy, you need to access the right network and strike at the right times. This strategy can be complex. Reach out if you need assistance or guidance.