By Ryan Myers on Aug 1, 2017 1:07:31 AM
While email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to reach new and existing customers, it only works if they actually read what you send.
Keeping your reader engaged, from the subject line to the call to action, seems like a complicated process.
Actually, you can gain a lot of ground by just following a few simple rules. And since three is a magic number (just ask Schoolhouse Rock!, The Three Little Pigs, or any number of psychological studies), it’s a good idea to approach your content with the correct number of musketeers in mind.1. Clear, Concise, and Compelling
Your b2b emails have a purpose. They should get your prospect to take action, and whether or not they do that will depend on your content.
If you want your reader to set up a meeting, purchase a product, or sign up for your service, your email needs to be three things: clear, concise, and compelling. In that order.Clear:
Words matter. But your clients shouldn’t need a PhD in linguistics to muddle through your email. It’s the trusty KISS (Keep It Super Simple) strategy. We aren’t suggesting that you talk to your clients like they’re stupid. Just drop the jargon and five-dollar words.
If your writing is clear, your prospect will have no trouble following it from beginning to end. Your goal isn’t to impress anyone with your prose. Your goal is to have the reader understand and take action.Concise:
Get to the point. Sure, you want to dive into every nook and cranny of your offering because it's awesome and will transform their business. But an email isn’t the place to do it. You want to give them just enough information to encourage them to take the next step.
Your writing should be comprehensive but brief. Stay away from filler words, shun excessive adverbs, and avoid the passive voice.
Think haiku, not memoir. Snapchat over full-length feature films. Hemingway over Dickens.Compelling:
No matter what business you're in, you have to set yourself apart from your competitors. You won't get far if your pitch is, “All insurance companies are the same, so why not buy from us?” Ditch your pitch and focus on your "why."
What do you do that keeps customers coming back over and over? Your service? Your commitment? Your trustworthiness? Whatever it is, it should be apparent in your emails.
Your business may not feel exciting, but there is nothing dull about solving your client's problems. Certainly not to them. If you’re speaking to the client’s needs, they will want to read all the way to the end.
Compelling doesn’t mean your email should read like it was produced by Michael Bay. But you want to push beyond “Excellent customer service.”
Focus on what actually makes your product or service unique and incorporate it into your content. Be specific and use the words your customers use to describe your company.2. Hook, Proposition, and Call to Action
If you want your B2B emails to be easy to follow and produce results, it should have three overarching parts: hook, value proposition, and call to action.Hook:
The hook draws the readers in. It grabs their attention and holds it. The hook really starts in the subject line, which you should think of as the headline of an article.
A compelling subject line will be specific, urgent, and interesting. It will pique your reader's curiosity and make it all but inevitable that they click to read more. Then, you have to back up that subject line with stellar content.Value Proposition:
A great hook doesn't do you much good if your reader has no idea what your services are. The value proposition is where you explain who you are and what you do. You show the reader why they should choose you over your competitors.
Instead of focusing on features of your product or service, however, you will want to focus on the benefits. For example, promoting a feature, might sound like “We have 24-hour concierge service.”
But the real benefit is that “You save time and stress knowing that an expert is always on hand to guide you. Enjoy your vacation instead of checking your email from the beach every 2 minutes”
Your value proposition should show your prospects that you understand their problems and can deliver the right solutions.Call to Action:
Don't leave it up to your reader to guess what to do next. You are the expert here, and you know the best way that you can serve them.
If that means a face-to-face meeting, show them how to set it up. If it means signing up for your service, provide an obvious link.
Your call to action should tell them what the next steps are and eliminate any obstacles that might keep them from taking that action. Remove as much friction as possible so they have a smooth transition to wherever it is you want them to go.3. Know, Like, and Trust
You've likely heard of the know, like, and trust factor, and how it supports business transactions. Your emails are a great way to build up these elements with your potential customers.
While not every email will include all three elements (especially if you stick to the concise suggestion above), you can choose a focus for each email.
A “like" email might be a bit more personal, showing the prospect that you are, in fact, a human and not a robot.
Another email might focus on the “know” element, providing important information about your company's personality and mission.
And a third email could build your authority and “trust” by showing the prospect how much you understand their current situation.
These elements can be combined, of course, and they are rarely so black and white. But each email should cover at least one of these ideas, even if its purpose is to sell.
Email is a powerful tool to connect you to your clients, and good ones prevent your prospects from immediately dragging your messages to the trash folder or, even worse, marking them as spam.
By following the above guidelines, you can ensure that your prospects actually look forward to seeing your name pop up in the inbox.
If you enjoyed this article, you might like "B2B Leads and the Email Wild West"
Or, if you want to know everything there is to know about effective email lead generation, download our "Ultimate Guide to Triple Your Sales Meetings" below.