Email Marketing Strategies For Beginners

I’ve been writing emails since the early 90’s. My very first online company was built with nothing more than PPC ads and email marketing. So I learned very early on in my career, how to write emails that get opened and more than that, convert sales.

Ironically, I didn’t realize until many years later how unconventional my methods were. Major copywriters would ask me, “Who mentored you to write like that?” I would look like a deer in headlights as I thought back to the hundreds of email campaigns I wrote for my online kitchen store. No one mentored me. But I did a LOT of what I do today. I watched, listened and was very careful to not imitate what WASN’T working. You see, many small business owners believe that to be successful in email marketing, they have to learn how to be like someone else, preferably that marketer who has historic open rates. But the truth is, more than studying other marketers, methods and tactics, a great (and highly converting email campaign) will come from knowing your clients, more than anything else.

When I first started writing weekly email campaigns for my kitchenware store some 20 years ago, it was written in such a way that the customer felt like we were friends. My personal touch and conversational copy was very unconventional. In the day of SurLaTable and Cooking dot com dominating the airways in the online kitchen world, I was just a mom who was ‘selling stuff online’ from my kitchen table, who could write emails that moved hearts…. and money!

Here are a few of my BEST email marketing secrets that will increase your open rates, get people to read what you’ve written and raise your conversions. FAST.

  1. Use a subject line that looks like it is written to a friend. Occasionally, add an emoji and you’ll get more opened emails. DO NOT use a first name or last name in the subject line. No one gets emails from friends with their name in them, so don’t stick out like a sore thumb! You want to be perceived as a friend’s email. THIS IS what will get your email opened. If the subject line is, “Our best lawnmower now on sale through April 13th.”  VS  “What cha listening to on that riding mower?” you can see why the second one would get opened more. Another one in this niche might be, “OMG! My grass is so green you’d think it was fake! (but it’s not!) Can’t wait to tell you!” Write subject lines that look like they are from a friend. Even my team can’t tell if I’m sending a sales campaign or a personal email with many of my subject lines. The ones that get them every time are, “Got a minute?”  and “I had to tell yoU! :-)” (yes capitalize the U) and “When you’re free I gotta tell you something”.  Try these out on your next campaign. 
  2. When you write your next email campaign, think of one person and write it to them. Some of my students who are learning copy will take a friends photo and put it near their monitor. They’ll look at their friend as they write. Just because 12,390 people are going to get your email sales letter it doesn’t mean you have to sound like you’re writing to 12,000+ people! Conversational copy converts at a higher rate because the reader feels as if they are ‘the only one’. The “whats in it for me” is also very effective when your client feels like you wrote the email just for them. Think about one person as you’re writing and speak conversationally; just like you would across a table having coffee. Or sipping wine. Your open rates will go up and so will your click thrus! When you have a link that you want the person to click through on, don’t say, “CLICK HERE NOW!” Instead be more personal, say something like “Here’s the info I promised” or “Let’s GO!” Small changes like this will make a big difference! (and use CAPS very very sparingly!) 
  3. Use red like lipstick and yellow needs to be used even less! Internet marketing years ago created a ‘template’ of sorts where people would use red and yellow at the top of every sales page and in all emails, for emphasis. But as social media became a huge part of how we do life everyday, more and more people started getting even more selective as to what emails they would now open and read. As a matter of fact, some Sp*M filters would look for red and yellow and instantly throw it into the junk pile. So we can’t use colors like we used to in email for emphasis. As a matter of fact, unless you are scrubbing and cleaning out your email list every single week, you are going to want use very little graphics and colored text. Make emphasis with BOLD or underlined or italics. Read your email out loud and see where emphasis needs to be made. Then use one of these formatting tools to make that emphasis. But use red and yellow very sparingly, if at all. 

When I was writing copy for clients, my email campaigns were the projects I was hired for the most. I could get a dead unresponsive list to RISE from the dead very quickly with some of these methods. I also made people feel valued, didn’t pitch them every single day and gave away a LOT of value for free.

Use some of these strategies today and you’ll see more opened emails, higher click through rates and more conversions!