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March 26, 2010

Improve Your Email Newsletter Copywriting In Six Steps

The Internet has transformed the way we do business, opening new channels of communication and introducing far more direct ways of marketing to customers. One aspect of online marketing that is frequently underused is email marketing and one critical element that is often overlooked is the actual content of the email. So how can you get more from your newsletter copywriting?

  1. Avoid the delete button. 90% of the millions of emails sent every day are spam. Your email newsletters can only be judged as successful if your customers actually read them. An effective subject line is the first point of contact – if that doesn’t have the power to engage and interest, your carefully crafted newsletter will end up in the recycling folder.

    You are already talking to an audience you know are interested in your products. So the door is already open. If your customer has signed up to your newsletter, then they’ve already expressed an interest. It’s now your job (or that of your copywriter) to keep that interest by constructing a newsletter that interests, entertains and, most importantly, informs.

  2. Draw them in. A newsletter is only worthwhile if it offers the recipient something such as useful information that’s relevant to their business. Engage with your customer. Ask for feedback. If they feel involved in the process, then a two-way communication is opened, keeping them interested and much more willing to read your subsequent follow-up emails.Ask yourself what you would want to read as a customer and then craft your content around that principle. Content, as any good copywriter knows, is all-important, but it has to be content that is relevant. Without that interconnection, your reader will become bored and your newsletter will be heading for the trash bin.
  3. Treat your customer well. If your customer has taken the trouble to part with their personal details, make sure you show your gratitude by acknowledging their sign up. That simple act reassures them that they are part of the process, not just an end result. Think of the email newsletter not as a short-term stopgap in your advertising and marketing campaign, but as a long-term process. The best email newsletters offer valuable, interesting and relevant content that extends the relationship you have with them beyond a website visit or sale. Your email newsletter is a vital part of your relationship with your customer – it shows that your business, brand, products, services etc are aligned to their lives. More importantly – a good email newsletter shows you care about your customers by providing them with content that’s relevant and interesting.
  4. Content, content, content. A newsletter full of waffle, badly written content or irrelevant information is the quickest way to damage your reputation. The worst that can happen is that your customer looks for the ‘unsubscribe’ link and in one move you’ve lost them. Content for content’s sake is ineffective – it is merely padding that a customer will instantly see right through, so keep it relevant.
  5. Keywords aren’t just for search engines. Search engines are not the only things that work on keywords – humans do too. Construct your content with ‘trigger’ words that are, once again, relevant to the customer and their business. Relevant keywords inspire little explosions of connection in the minds of your customers – use the right trigger phrases and your customers are more likely to follow your calls to action.
  6. If in doubt, call a professional copywriter! Finally, if you really want your email newsletter to work, don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional. Commercial copywriters are not just experienced wordsmiths; they’re also highly proficient in the techniques of marketing and business communication. If you need to get more from your email newsletters, why not think about engaging an experienced copywriter to create a template for you, write style guidelines, offer training – or simply outsource your email newsletters entirely. In that way, your email newsletters will continue to play an important role in your overall marketing strategy.

Derryck Strachan is a freelance copywriter and the director of the award winning web content company Copywriting Devon Ltd. He works as a web copywriter for several leading UK search agencies, SMEs and large organisations across a range of sectors. Our services also include articles, blogs, press releases and content consultancy.

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