Even as social media becomes a more prominent medium, email continues to bring a strong return on your marketing investment.
According to the 2011 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, “MarketingSherpa research showed that more than 89 percent of email marketers find email to be an effective tactic for increasing sales revenue, improving customer retention and driving website traffic.”
A direct response email presents an interesting challenge to marketers. To stand out among hundreds of emails, it is critical keep your content compelling and concise.
Here are 6 guidelines that have helped me write great direct response emails:
1. To determine how much text you should write, follow the 50-50-300-500 rule. These numbers represent strict maximum character counts (not word counts), including spaces. Subject line: 50; Headline: 50; Body: 300; Bullet points: 500 (3-5 bullets). When you use strict character limits, you’ll find that it’s very easy to cut out extra words that don’t drive your call to action.
2. Don’t focus on your company and how fabulous it is. Instead, talk about the recipient’s challenges, what you are offering, and how it will help the recipient.
3. Use short, action-oriented bullet points to describe the benefits of your offer. Example:
Watch this 2-minute video to learn how to:
- Purchase the correct oil and filter for your car or truck
- Drain your oil without making a mess
- Install your new filter using a $3 tool
- Add the right amount of oil to keep your vehicle in top shape
4. Tell your recipients exactly what you want them to do using action verbs. Examples: Download White Paper, Watch Video, Join the Community, Read Article, Follow Us, Register Now
5. Repeat your call to action at least 4 times, including once in the email header text. (Some people will take action based solely on seeing that text in a preview pane.) Try different versions of the same CTA.
6. Test, test, test. Don’t settle for good email content. Test and find out what will make your content great.
I think email can be one of the best methods for generating a direct response. That is, if it gets read. If you combine these techniques with a powerful subject line, you’ll be on your way to email greatness.