What are the best practices for writing a sales email to your customers?
Last month Site Impact, which sends millions of third party emails a year for newspaper companies, weighed in on creating a subject line that has a higher open rate.
But while the subject line is critical, writing an email that inspires the next click is considered the conversion.
This month Site Impact shared their ¨best practices¨ for improving the click-through rate of sales emails.
1. Keep the text short
Site Impact’s data shows that in general, short emails perform better than long ones, and the maximum word count is 200.
In one study created from Hubspot, which sourced 40 million emails, the best response came from emails even shorter, between 50 and 125 words.
Constant Contact found emails with approximately 20 lines of text, or about 200 words, had the highest clickthrough rates.
So it is safe to say that the email should max out at 200 words. Personal emails can go as low as two sentences and outperform, but keep those sales emails to more than 10 words.
In short, keep it short!
2. Stay highly informal and conversational
Similar to the tone of the subject line the right tone for email content that performs well is conversational, Site Impact says. The data on this is consistent across sources.
Hubspot, too, contends that email marketers often just need to “dumb it down.” Their 40 million email study showed that emails written at a third-grade reading level had the highest response rate including a 36% higher open rate than those written at a college reading level and 17% higher than emails composed at a high school reading level.
The art of a casual style is best for eliciting a response.
3. Lead with the benefit
Even though an email may be text-oriented, focusing on benefit raises response every time. Most newspaper reps who design ads understand this and just need to apply it to emails.
If the client is selling a Mercedes SUV with auto-braking features, for example, the copy should point out that it is “the safest way to drive in the snow.”
The benefit should also be placed at the beginning - readers don’t have a lot of time to spend, so don’t waste email “real estate” on introductions like “Hi my name is, and I wanted to let you know…” Get to the point quickly.
4. Increase text to 14 point
Email text has increased over the years, and the latest jump from 12 to 14 point is showing a higher response rate. Site Impact recommends using 14 point for most sales emails.
5. Include art, but only if it is good
Using art in the email can improve response as long as it matches the message and the landing page. It is better to have no art at all in an email than bad art - a meaningless image and obviously clip art. Keep in mind that most email is read on a phone where images will appear smaller.
6. End with a call to action
A marketing email designed to generate a response, not just opens, needs a strong call to action: Come to the sale, test drive the car, buy tickets for an event. The best practice is to include an “ask” at the end of every sales email, and typically placing the call to action in a large colored button will increase the clicks.
7. Leave something for the customer to get
This is the tricky part of sales emails: If the goal is a conversion - that is, a click to the website - the email cannot “tell everything” or there is no reason to click. For example, if the client is selling tickets, the call to action could be “See available seats” so that more customers go onto the website. Using the Mercedes SUV example, an email promotion that shows an image of the new model may not perform as well as one that requires a click to see the model.
8. Use a few well-designed email templates
There are formats that work better than others, and best practice is to have these on hand so that the proportions of the headlines and the call to action buttons are optimal every time.
Site Impact provides a few simple templates to recast print or online ad formats for clients easily.
In general, the headline should be more prominent than the logo, with a large call to action button at the bottom of the email. Altering this formula - putting a large logo on top, etc. - disrupts the hierarchy of getting the reader to the point, so having a template with the correct proportions is the way to go.
9. Increase the number of links
As long as all the links go to the conversion page, adding links tends to increase the number of clicks. This is an overlooked factor that can be critical in satisfying clients’ need to see the highest possible results. Make sure that links in a sales email all go to the conversion page.
10. A/B test when possible
For large campaigns, it is always best to test A/B versions on a smaller sample, and then run the campaign on the email with the highest response. Site Impact’s platform has this capability built-in.
Click-through numbers are the gold standard for the success of an email campaign. Learning a few simple rules to ensure that sales emails perform well is an important skill for any team selling email marketing.