3 Butt Kickin' Rules for High Response Email Marketing

April 3, 2014

kickbuttBack in the mists of time, the village shaman said, "Bring me one of those shiny pebbles and you'll get a free hex-lift." As time went on, merchants and traders got more creative. "Get your free barley loaf with the purchase of a fine roast goose," they'd cry. 

With only a couple of subtle differences, we're doing the same thing today. The question is, how do you sell just a bit better than the other guy? Use every means available to holler. That includes email marketing.

I’m glad we’ve made strides beyond ye old street vendor. Email marketing has extended our reach to literally the ends of the earth. For the first time in commercial history we have access to both global and local markets no matter how great or small our shop is.

Email campaigns are not as simple as the verbal broadcast. May we offer a few ideas to help yours?


Let's start with incentives. It's hard wired into us to respond to an offer, so why not bank on it?

First of all, decide what you want your audience to do:

  • Purchase something online?
  • Visit something?
  • Read something like a newsletter or product summary?
  • Write a review?
  • Try a sample?
  • Buy something at your store?

Once you have your clear call to action, brainstorm a freebie to go with it. Remember, people like choices, just not too many of them, so consider a choice of two or no more than three incentives. What’s in it for me? Well, how about:

  • Coupons
  • Gift certificates
  • Cash
  • Links back to their blog or website
  • Free shipping
  • Valuable item- like an iPod or a designer handbag (to hold all the money they'll save!)
  • Free financing
  • Post-sale services like training or warranties
  • Free trial access
  • Access to member-only information
  • VIP access to events
  • Discounts
  • Reward points
  • Early offers on new product releases
  • Entry to a Sweepstakes or Prize drawing
  • Download eBook or whitepaper
  • On-going high-value content (non-sales content)

Now create a window for the opportunity such as "today only" or "until October 25th" or "free to the first 100 responders"

2. B2B means "Brain to Brain"

Perhaps you've seen the torrents of studies on eye-tracking in response to web pages and other instances of graphic design. Your emails can benefit from the research consensus on how people look at things on the screen in front of them.

Remember the "F Pattern." Our eyes naturally start at the upper left corner and peruse the rest of the document by first moving horizontally to the right, then diagonally down to the left, then across to the right again. It's not rocket science, in fact we do it unconsciously because it's how we read English.

Also, graphics are attention-hogs. Our eyes are drawn immediately to faces. A close second are other body parts that normally stay clothed in polite society.

Go ahead, use arrows and other directional cues that point to the important content. We can't help it- we automatically follow their direction.

Sensational, splashy headlines are another top focus-getter. Anything that looks like a banner ad is decidedly not. I think we've all learned to ignore that bar at the top.

Consider the following example. Pay attention to the eye browsing patterns in the following images. Notice how the title draws more attention when thebaby's face is directed towards it. As a matter of fact, faces of babies and pretty women draw the most attention.



Notice how the picture below for the same ad draws more attention on the title.



3. Impelling Subject Lines

Wait- I thought the word was "compel." I want COMPELLING subject lines!

Nope. Compelling someone to read an email is probably against the law, whereas impelling is a lot friendlier. Also, by using a word you thought was a mistake made you read this did it not?

Having spent hours on coming up with just the right subject line, you already know that this mystical art is possibly the most important aspect of getting your emails opened. How about a few categories with examples to get things percolating?

1. The Jeopardy Subject Line

Always in the form of a question. Uses the words who, what, when, where, why or How.

  • "Have you ever…?"
  • "Do you think…?"
  • "What would YOU say if…?"

2. Two kinds of Testimonials

  • The Everyman Testimonial:
    • "Smith County has the highest per capita…"
    • "A survey of 200 Floridians found that…"
  • The Celebrity Testimonial (better if they have stirred controversy) :
    • "Lady Gaga wears these when she is actually wearing clothes"
    • "Kanye West swears by his…"
    • "Sandra Bullock may have owned one…"

3. The Do it Yourselfer

  • "How to save hundreds on heating…"
  • "How to survive parenting a two-year-old…"

4. The" News" Headline

  • "New federal law governing educational loans…"
  • "Loophole allows consumers to…"
  • "Disaster forces people to buy…"

5. Dear Curious George (pique the recipients' natural curiosity)

  • "Discovered: hidden principles to…"
  • "New frontiers in medicine…"
  • "Find out how…."
  • "No one will tell you how…."

6. Targeted

  • "You're in a dead-end job. Why not…"
  • "Managers, you need these 5 strategies now…"
  • "Georgians have figured this out…"
  • "Confidential message to Honda owners"

7. Combination Personal / Targeted

  • "[recipient's name], your car might be recalled…"
  • "Mortgages choices for [recipient]"
  • "Why you need a new bank [recipient]"
  • "Today only! [recipient], respond now!"

8. Lists or digests

  • "10 ideas for…"
  • "5 professional tips for…"
  • "7 strategies for…"

9. Gossip teasers

  • "Last Thursday I was ripped off!"
  • "I know what's in your medicine cabinet."
  • "Can you believe what these people are saying about…"
  • "Only people who really care are interested in…"

10. Seasonal- What holiday is it?

  • "Valentines Day is only two weeks away!"
  • "Christmas credit card bill due?"
  • "Post-Fourth-of-July clearance!"

11. And that’s an Order! The Directive Subject Line

  • "Click on the link and get…"
  • "Stop wasting time on…"
  • "Eat this and you'll feel better"
  • "Subscribe to our newsletter"

Before you empty your spam folder, take a quick scan to see which subject lines actually catch your attention as humorous, intriguing or impelling. You might actually want to open a couple or steal their idea!

Intrigued by the idea of how winning email strategies can bring you customers and revenue? No time to work on it? Contact your email marketing Savannah GA gurus at United WebWorks today!

Inbound Marketing Kit | Online Marketing Savannah GA


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Topics: Email Marketing