The Email Marketing Secret Nobody Talks About

Once upon a time, we loved email. Heck, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan even starred in a movie about it.

However, these days most of us view email as more a necessary evil of doing business than something exciting to engage with.

Why Email Marketing Matters

With all that said, the fact remains: From a marketing perspective, few online methods remain as powerful as building — and leveraging a large email list.

The key, of course, is making sure your emails get opened and read to begin with!

And this is where I see very few marketers utilizing email as effectively as they could be.

The Right (and Wrong) Way to Use Email

Time for a reality check: Nobody wants to read a newsletter.

We do, however, want to read entertaining stories that teach a useful or valuable lesson along the way.

We also want to feel a personal connection to the person sending them our way.

The key is coming up with an email subject line and a few opening sentences that really compel someone to want to open the email on their laptop or mobile device to read more.

Email Marketing in Action

Here’s a real-life example of how this can work.

Which email subject line would you be more likely to open?

“Free LinkedIn Webinar” or “scary moment”?

If you think about how we email with our friends and family, we don’t use formal-sounding subject lines, do we?

Instead, we write conversational subject lines that look like this:

  • unreal
  • did you see this?
  • does this even work?
  • excited for you
  • this makes no sense
  • need this
  • can you help
  • we need to talk
  • not normal
  • answer to your question

All of those subject lines are conversational and arouse curiosity in the person who sees them.

Real-Time Example of a Marketing Email

Let’s go back to the “scary moment” vs. “LinkedIn Webinar” email subject line.

The purpose of a recent email I sent my list was to invite people to one of my free LinkedIn webinars.

Instead of just putting that into the subject line, however, I wanted to hook my readers in using a real-life story that both got my point across and deepened the “personal” side of our email relationship.

Here’s what I wrote:

[Subject Line] scary moment

[Email body]

“It was a nightmare.

My kids came running out the back door, screaming and waving their arms to get my attention.

Our basement was flooding, and I was out in the backyard, mowing the grass.

Long story short, our basement is a total loss.

Thankfully, everyone is fine and we have homeowner’s insurance.

Which makes me think — wouldn’t it be nice if we had insurance for the slow times with our businesses?

We do!

It’s called LinkedIn, and thankfully there’s no deductible involved. ;)

This week, I’m going to be sharing some of my best tips on how YOU can use LinkedIn to generate nonstop sales leads, add clients and increase revenue for your business …”

And from there, I went on to invite people to my webinar and explain the value/benefit they’d get if they decided to attend.

A New Approach to Email Marketing

See the structure involved? I start with a personal story/theme, but quickly pivot into an important business goal of my audience (more sales leads) and offer a solution (using LinkedIn to find them).

When I write that style of email as opposed to a straight “just the facts” or “business only” message, I see higher open rates, more reader engagement and (most important) better results.

Email marketing remains one of the single most effective ways to build a passionate audience that is excited to hear from you, engaged with the content you create and keen to hear more about the products or services you sell.

Want More Sales? Write Better Emails!

The key is understanding how to use email.

There are plenty of boring, heavy-handed, jargon-filled business emails blasting into people’s inboxes day after day.

Be different! Share your personality and real life lessons with readers, but make sure you always tie those fun/personal introductions and subject lines to a valuable tip, lesson or piece of advice as quickly as possible.

Not For Everyone

Will everyone on your email list enjoy this approach?

Of course not.

Don’t worry about “I’m only here to get business advice, not hear about your stupid basement!” replies from a few cranky people.

Let them unsubscribe and move on to the people who are engaging with your content. Because those are the people who are getting to Know, Like and Trust you. And that means they are one step closing to buying from you as a result.

So let’s make email great again!

Get personal.

Be conversational.

Invoke curiosity.

Tell great stories.

Tie them into a single business lesson or strategy or point to share.

Then do it again.

You never know: Maybe we can make email so much fun again that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan decide to make a sequel to “You’ve Got Mail!”


Originally published at www.inc.com on August 29, 2016.