The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email

Back to Basics: Email Composition “No-Brainers”

Business email in the corporate setting is generally formal, where million dollar words are common and industry jargon is a must. Marketing messages however, are most effective when they are kept simple. To avoid alienating your audience with useless “fluff”, follow these tips.

1. Get Rid of the Big Words
You’re composing a marketing message, not playing a game of scrabble. Longer, more obscure words will not win you extra points. Avoid using words that are more than two syllables. This rule of thumb helps ground the writer to basic speaking rules and establishes a smooth cadence. The goal is to compose a message that is effortless for the recipient to read and understand. Certainly the recipient is capable of understanding bigger words, but simplifying the message makes it both universally accessible and faster to digest.

2. Omit Technical Terms and Jargon
Read the email after it is written. Are there industry specific terms? Drill them down to more generalized terms. Consider the recipient and their knowledge base. A great amount of time will be saved if industry terms and jargon are avoided. The recipient will understand the message and valuable marketing dollars will not have been wasted on a missed meaning.

3. Get a Second Set of Eyes
Is there someone in the office who does not know as much about the industry jargon as the author? Perhaps there is an intern or someone from a different department who can read the email. The idea is for the author to step away from the document before it is sent and to have an unbiased reader give it a once over. The author is invested in the words and will likely skip over terms that are possibly confusing. A separate set of eyes can point out terms that need clarification and can give input and suggestions to make the message as inviting and easy to understand as possible. An unfarmiliar reader will bring a fresh interpretation that can predict how the message will be received by subscribers.

The idea isn't to "dumb down" the email, but rather to compose a message that is readable by a person who does not understand all the jargon of the industry. The email needs to be written for an intelligent audience who is interested in being educated about the industry. Keep it simple but don't talk down to your recipient.


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Is Your eMail Marketing Campaign Sending the Right Message?

It seems like using email to market your products and services would be easy and straightforward. You prepare a standard marketing letter, drop it into an email, hit the send button, and off it goesright into your customers’ trash.

Putting together a creative and winning email marketing campaign takes more than just throwing together the same old marketing letter. Your email should include a clear message with a call to action.

Create a Clear Message with a Call to Action
Your email marketing campaign may look good. It may even read well. However, if your message isn’t clear, customers may be overwhelmed and become frustrated.

An unclear message may occur when your email:

Contains too much information. That old saying, “less is more,” applies here. You may want to extend multiple offers to your customers. However, according to an August 2012 article at Huffington Post “office workers spend an average of 2.6 hours per day reading and answering emails.” That means many people have very little patience by the end of the day. Smaller email marketing campaigns are a better option.

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Visual Descriptions Are A Must For Complex Selling

Trend: Infographics - Helping Marketers Cut Through The Clutter

infographic exampleMarketing in the 21st century has become immensely complex due to channel fragmentation and an avalanche of data creation. On any given day, Internet users will create 1.5 billion pieces of content on Facebook, tweet 140 million times on Twitter and upload 2 million videos to YouTube. According to a joint study conducted by IDC and EMC, it is estimated that the general public will create 1.8 zettabytes of data in 2011, with that number expected to double within the next two years. To put 1.8 zettabytes into perspective, the number is equivalent to 200 billion high definition movies each 120 minutes long. These new data complexities are the result of convoluted digital relationships, advances in scientific discoveries and the speed of new media.

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Message Mashups and Automated Assembly

When most people think of mashups and automation with regards to email marketing, the thought of data sharing and intertwined applications usually come to mind.  However, these terms can easily apply to messages even though most email marketers rarely take advantage of such mashup technologies.  In fact, a large portion of email marketing budgets and time are spent performing message assembly and managing content.  Dynamic content features have helped to alleviate some of the complexities of message assembly but it falls short in bridging the gap between desperate content sources and precision timing for delivery.  This is one of the reasons why SMS and Twitter have usurped email for mobile delivery of commercial messages.  

The answer to help unwind some of the vagaries of message assembly is incorporating RSS feeds into email messages.  This process is somewhat ironic since a few years ago RSS pundits were pronouncing the death of commercial email with the medium’s popularity.   Sad for them however, RSS never took off as they had hoped and marketers never took too much stock in the medium’s ability to capture eyeballs.   Yet RSS as a delivery medium on the wholesale side of email marketing provides much promise that has been overlooked over the years.

Web Publishing to Email

Many email newsletters today are comprised of articles from a website with four or five line teasers and a link back to the actual article.  With the simple incorporation of an RSS feed to a pre-defined template, an email marketer can save countless hours cutting, pasting and configuring text automating the majority of the message assembly process.  The RSS feed not only includes text but can also include images as well as the “Read more…” link.

Web Publishing from Multiple Sources

For the email marketer that needs to work with multiple web sources the same thing can be done as with a single source.  An example of this is the Smart Brief news updates provided by many trade associations that compile news and information from a number of sources.  As valuable as this service is, it is simply a daily compilation of RSS feeds from different news sources delivered via email.

Automated Item Stock and Price Alerts

Some very large retailers who provide automated item stock and price alerts from their website have laboriously spent hundreds of programming hours to provide this service.  Using a simple RSS to email feed, a small or mid-sized retailer can easily and affordably provide an automated email update to subscribers every time a hot item is in stock or there has been a price drop.  

Redistributing Social Media and Web 2.0

In addition to RSS feeds from websites, you can include Twitter and other types of social media feeds with automated timed delivery as soon as the feeds are updated.  This process helps to reach parts of your subscriber base that’s not always in the social media loop.  Aside from Twitter updates, you can also automate the inclusion of blog and feedback content using an RSS to email process widening their reach and saving you time during the message assembly process.

Gold Lasso now provides an RSS to email feature at no additional charge.   Gold Lasso offers eLoop as an all inclusive system – meaning we never charge extra for advanced features that are developed by Gold Lasso programmers.  If you would like to learn how to use this feature please contact your Account Manager for guidance and instructions.

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Five Tips for Writing Better Messages

The technology to deliver e-mail marketing campaigns is better than ever. The success of the campaign, though, is still only as good as the content that the message includes. Follow these tips for improving your copy.

  1. Know your audience – good marketing is all about knowing what the audience you’re trying to reach will react to. The goal of the message, and the text within the message, is to achieve a reaction from the reader. To achieve that reaction, you need to know what the reader’s wants and needs are. In most cases, the marketer can make some assumptions about the reader by looking at demographic information. Find out what the audience’s likes and dislikes are and tailor your message accordingly.

  2. Include a call to action – messages should include an action step for the audience to complete. It might be to make a purchase or complete a survey or simply to visit a particular Web site. Whatever the action is, it should be clear and easy for the reader to complete.

  3. Keep it short and sweet – don’t ask that your readers go through mountains of text to reach the information they want or need. Anticipate what it is that they want or need and give it to them. No one has time to read through long messages, nor do they want to.

  4. Write, review and revise – a common mistake for marketers is that they write the message and send it out, ignoring the two last (and arguably the most important) steps of the process. Write your copy and take a step back from it before you review it with a fresh eye and make the necessary revisions.

  5. Consistency in marketing is essential – if you don’t have a set of key messages that you draw from, create one today. Key messages are short statements that convey the most important elements of your company/organization or campaign. All marketing copy should include the key messages. The goal is for the reader to see the messages so they reinforce what it is you want them to do.

Writing e-mail copy that conveys a consistent message and encourages the reader to act is an art. With these easy-to-implement tips, you can take your message text to the next level.

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