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Email Marketing Best Practices for Small Businesses: Part 1, Easy Reading Is Key

Email Marketing Best Practices for Small Businesses: Part 1, Easy Reading Is Key

By Nathan Rich

Love it or hate it, email continues to be a strong contender in the digital marketing landscape in 2017. With recent data supporting email return on investment (ROI) averages of 122% (more than four times higher than other traditional marketing formats) 1 there is great value in leveraging email for your marketing campaigns.

With some simple tweaks and insight, you can improve your email effectiveness and get a leg up on your competition. In this ongoing series, we will cover various aspects of email marketing to help you hone your skills and get better results from your email endeavors. Today we will focus on readability—keeping the email short and breaking up the text.

Keep it short and concise

This is one of the most common mistakes: “To be persuasive I need to tell them EVERYTHING about my product or service.” The recipient is not nearly as invested as you are. You need to convey the benefit quickly to the reader in as few words as possible. Think about it, how many emails do you receive in a single day? Thirty? Fifty? More than 100? We are inundated with emails daily and don’t have the time to consume every word. If you can cut through the competing sea of emails with short, concise, benefit-driven copy, you have a greater chance of connecting with the reader. Make it easy for them—if they have to work to get through an email, they will most likely delete it. Also it’s very important to limit your subject matter. Don’t tell the reader everything you have in the store. Focus on a product or special that will get them to come to your store or to click through to your online shop.

Look at some of the recent emails you’ve sent. Do they read like a short story? If so, consider pruning the content, focus on the main idea and remove the extra content and your chances of being read will go up considerably.

Use sub headlines and bullets to break down concepts

The other reality is people SKIM emails. They are trying to separate the valuable emails from the clutter. Help them skim. Instead of using paragraph blocks, try breaking down into smaller pieces with sub headlines and use bulleted lists where appropriate. Compare the next two sets of copy.

First, paragraph style:

Our software provides everything you need to streamline your business, with one-time data entry. Using our software you can take orders at POS, turn those orders into projects, create purchase orders, fulfill the order, set up delivery, and invoice the customer.

Now, bulleted copy:

Our software provides everything you need to streamline your business, with one-time data entry. Using our software you can:

  • Take orders at POS
  • Turn those orders into projects
  • Create purchase orders
  • Fulfill the order
  • Set up delivery
  • Invoice the customer

Which copy is easier to read?

Creating readable emails is an easy step for boosting the effectiveness of your email marketing. Crafting emails doesn’t have to be hard. Stay tuned for more email tips in the coming weeks!

 

1  A June 2016 survey of US marketers conducted by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Demand Metric found that email had a median ROI of 122% – more than four times higher than other marketing formats, including social media, direct mail and paid search. (Source: eMarketer, 2016) 

Nathan Rich

About the author

Nathan Rich is the Creative Manager for ECi Corporate Marketing and has more than 15 years’ experience in marketing and advertising. Outside of the office, Nathan can be found focusing on music (a major passion of his) or honing his video craft.

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