Believe it or not, email marketing is STILL one of the most effective marketing channels you can harness for your business.  Besides being extremely cheap [or even free!], it’s more direct and personal than social media, ads, etc.  And the more you know about the people on your list, the more personalized you can get.  To be effective to grow your business, however, you do need to follow some simple guidelines.

But first, stop right now and think about how many email lists you’ve gotten on.  And then off.  And of those you’re still on, how many do you ACTUALLY read?  Projecting your experience on to your prospects can help you make your own email marketing much more effective.  Your customers are scrolling through an average of 150+ messages a day. Your email is just one of them, and even one single moment of confusion will get your email sent straight to the “deleted” folder.  Or worse.

Ask yourself the following questions when you compose your email and make sure you hone your answers as tightly as you can, from the perspective of your prospective customer:

1 – What’s the ONE big idea I want my reader to understand?

It’s easy to think you’re being efficient and helpful by packing as much information as you can into each email.  But in reality, by including too many ideas, you’re diluting the value of all of them.  Instead, ask yourself why you’re sending this email.  Then be ruthless and narrow down your list until you can get focused on one big idea.  When you do this, you’ll make your emails clearer, shorter, and more meaningful to your reader.

2. What’s the single most important action my audience can take when they get this email?

To be most effective, you need to give your customers a very clear path toward solving a problem or making their lives better — whether that’s to buy, register, signup, schedule an appointment, read a post, like your Facebook page or call.  What is the ONE thing you want them to do?  Give them that option and only that option and you’ll be amazed at how much higher your click rate becomes!

3. How will my reader benefit when they take that action?

Like you, your email readers are subconsciously asking, “What’s in it for me?”.  Like it or not, it’s simply the way the human brain works.  They want to know “How can this benefit me and make my life better or easier?”

So your email needs to make this crystal clear. What good things will happen when your reader takes action? What bad things will they avoid? How will their life get better? Depending on what you’re offering, you might also want to spell out the risks of not taking action.

By digging deep and understanding your audience for this email, you can answer these questions to help you craft the perfect message:

  • What do they want?
  • What do they struggle with?
  • How can this email solve that problem?

Once you are clear on this, you can express in it your emails in a way that matches your personality or brand.

4. What kind of image shows those benefits in action?

We all know that an image is worth a thousand words.   Even if your email is succinct, clear and to the point, chances are most people won’t read every word.  But I guarantee you they WILL see the picture or image if it is well-placed, powerful and well-chosen.  Make sure your main image demonstrates the benefits your reader will experience if they take the action you’ve offered them.

5. If possible, what proof can I show that my customers’ lives will be better when they take action?

As we’ve said before, no matter how great your email copy and photos are, people won’t buy from you unless they trust you.  One great way to ensure this is by including quotes from existing customers who have reaped the rewards of taking action with you.  Third-party ‘social proof’ continues to way more and more heavily on consumers buying decisions.  Think about it  – how often do you buy anything without checking reviews?

So with a little preparation and focused thinking about your next email, you’ll be able to craft a clear, compelling message that cuts through the inbox clutter and gets more of your readers clicking. Skip these steps, and you’ll more than likely confuse [or bore] your audience and lose sales as a result.  Happy emailing!