Chicken on Sundays

GL chicken comfort zone“We always have chicken on Sundays.” As a child, this was my grandmother’s reply when I once asked if we could have pizza one Sunday night. And you guessed right…we did indeed have chicken that night for dinner.

I heard a similar response recently when I suggested that a friend give email marketing a try.

“Mmmm, I don’t know. We’ve always done it the old-fashioned way and done just fine.” The old fashioned way, in case you are a digital native, is print. You know…on paper. I wanted to ask him if he always had chicken on Sundays.

So, I said gently to my digital immigrant friend, “You know, technology is not going away.”

I could see the gears turning. After that settled in for a moment, I took a deep breath and stepped in boldly for the big punch. “And, our society is becoming more and more dependent on technology for all kinds of communication, even marketing.”

As the hush fell over the moment, I could see the light bulb come on. “You may have something there,” he said thoughtfully, nodding in agreement.

As a former teacher, I love that “aha” moment.

Recently, I came across a great e-book on the Copyblogger website. It’s called Email Marketing: How to Push Send and Grow Your Business. It’s all about how to use email to our best marketing advantage. I was excited to read it. After all, email marketing is the only thing we do at Greenlight.

So I sat down with my iPad to pore over the e-book and took notes like crazy. They had a lot of good things to say.

But, what I really wanted to know as I read the book was this:

“How do we get someone to read our emails and keep coming back for more?”

What I learned was really very simple:

  1. Draw in your audience with a fabulous subject line.
  2. Speak simply and warmly.
  3. Build your authority and their trust by giving readers something of value every time.
  4. Focus on your readers, not yourself.

Sounds easy, right? Let’s break these down one at a time.

Subject Lines

“Your open rates will improve based on the quality of your subject line.”

I thought about this for a minute and considering my own email opening habits, that seems right on. If I trust the sender, and have had good experiences with their emails, I will open the email because the sender has become like a good friend: trustworthy with relevant, compelling things to share. I look forward to hearing from them because they respect my time, sharing things that are valuable to me.

Make sure they know it’s from you.

I like this. It let’s the reader know right away that the email is from a friend, “a trusted source”, as my new Copyblogger friends put it.

Write an enticing, but brief subject line with a little “tease” thrown in.

Your subject line should be a hook, luring the audience to read your email. Make them want to see what fabulous things you have to share with them! When it comes to subject lines, smaller and more compact is best. If the subject line is too long, readers may not see all of it, especially on mobile devices.

Who’d have thought there was so much to writing a great subject line?

Speak warmly and casually to your audience. 

According to Copyblogger, when President Obama was running for reelection, his copywriters wrote and rewrote, tested and retested his campaign pieces.

What they learned is that readers responded best to a casual, warm tone and simple, succinct emails. Sound easy? I wish I could say it is, but as every writer knows, writing simply and succinctly can be really tough. Edit, re-edit, edit, re-edit, etc.

Establish authority and trust with your reader by giving them something valuable for their time, every time.

Become the “likable expert” from the beginning! Draw in readers with a sense of authority, offering value with each email.

A good idea: Include a valued “recipe” with each email. Some examples? A recipe for a sound friendship, a financial secret, a tip for getting a better job, an actual food recipe (Who doesn’t love to think about food?).

Focus the email on your audience.

I love what the Copyblogger folks say in their e-book:

“We give lots of advice, links (and not just to our own content), and useful information that is focused on helping readers get ahead.”

‘Nuf said.

One last tip: People love to belong to something exclusive and awesome. Give your audience a chance to be part of that something by including a testimonial section. Even if in the beginning your audience is made up of mostly your closest friends, nobody has to know but you.

Looking big and important is half the battle.

Want to read the whole ebook? Check out the Copyblogger website where you can register to read any of their sixteen content marketing ebooks for free.


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