If you've been online for very long, and have clicked on any of major marketing sites, you've probably seen headlines that promise, "Write Hypnotic Copy That Guarantees Sales!" or "The REAL Secrets of Writing That Will Make Customers Get Their Wallets Out!"
These ads can be tempting, because as an online marketing, you really do want to see results-and fast.
But is there really "one method that works for all?" when writing to sell?
And is it as quick and easy as online ads (written by professional copywriters) claim?
The answer, simply put, is "no".
Creating an irresistible email takes work, research, and effort, unlike promises you see (if it really worked and was as easy as ads proclaim, all of major advertising agencies and copywriters would quickly go out of business, since we could all churn out our hypnotic copy and get rich in 30 days or less).
But if you don't mind approaching writing your emails way that professionals do, you will reach your clients, and see improved sales.
The first four steps are part of creating what is known as an advertising strategy.
Your emails are ads that you are writing, and to create really effective ones, you must first do (ugh!) research.
It's work, but emails you create will be so much better than your competition's, that you will literally 'blow them out of water", competitively speaking.
Combined with sending them to your targeted opt-in list and you will have an unbeatable online marketing campaign.
And that's what we all want, right?
*Step One: Know Your Target Audience*
The first rule of marketing, either online or offline, is to understand your customer.
This is person who will be buying your products, visiting your web site, and giving you their hard-earned money.
"Oh, that's easy, my customers are anyone who needs car accessories, and wants to buy them online," you might say.
But it isn't usually that simple, and if you dig a little deeper, you will find out that your customers come in different sizes and shapes.
Some are older people, going online for first time, who want a nice-looking car seat cover to protect their leather upholstery.
Others may be middle-aged auto enthusiasts who love to restore classic vehicles, and are looking for those hard-to-find parts that you just can't find in Country Springs, Arkansas, so they went online to order them.
And yet others may be SUV enthusiasts, who want really cool accessories for their weekend trips.
And others may be very net-savvy young adults who are looking for affordable car stereo speakers.
Your audience comes in segments, many times, and you will want to create different emails to reach each of them.
Ask yourself, "Who comes to my store or web site, and actually buys from me? What are they like? How old are they? What do they do for a living? What motivates them? Are they conservative, or easy-going? What controls their decision to buy? Price? Necessity?
This is called market research, and it should be first thing you do.
In fact, answering these questions will help you with your offline marketing as well.
*Step Two: Know Your Product, And Why People Use It*
"Of course I know my product!" we exclaim, and you probably do.
But do you know how your customers view it? Can you get into their heads, and see what they see?
People don't buy your product because it's pretty, or a certain color (in most cases), or has highest-tech software installed.
They buy it because it solves a problem for them.
Your emails should address problem, and your solution: this is known as your product benefits, and is most compelling method of selling known.
An example: on a hot day, when you go into a store to buy soda, you have a problem: you're thirsty. Which soda solves your problem, in best manner? And gives you a good value doing it?
This will probably be one you choose.
You may be marketing consulting to others, but principle still applies: are you solving their problems? And giving them a good value while doing so, whether by your customer service, "extras" you offer?
Sit down, and ask yourself, "Why do customers buy my product or service? What problems am I solving for them?"
Brainstorm for a bit, and write down all of ideas that you come up with.
It can help to create two columns, one labeled "problem", and other, "solution".
When you're done, you will have a list of customer benefits, and foundation of what you will be highlighting in email you write.
*Step Three: Position Yourself*
If you are like most other businesses, you are competing with a ravenous pack of other, similar firms, who all want your customers (this is called "competition" and is part of our free-market economy).
How can you compete with them, and convince your customers that your firm is one they want to buy from?
This is where positioning becomes crucial.
What makes your business unique? What do you offer that others don't? Is it better prices? More inventory (such as auto accessories firm discussed earlier)? Outstanding, individualized customer service? Special expertise and training?
Dig deep, and ask yourself why someone should come to you instead of your competitor. The answer is your unique positioning statement (UPS).
This UPS is pivotal point for all of your marketing (hopefully, you did this long before you ever went online), and is basis for creating a killer marketing strategy.
Convince your customers of why you are better, unique, and fill their needs, and your emails will make sales soar.
Okay, now at last, you're ready to write your email. Make sure you've done first three steps before starting ...
*Step Four: Create a Great Headline*
Your headline is first thing customers will see when they click open your email (don't worry, I didn't forget subject lines; those are so important that I've devoted a whole lesson, number seven, to them).
Headlines determine if a person reads further, interested, or closes up email. A strong one is vital to your marketing.
How to create one?
Look over information that you wrote in first three steps. Now, step into shoes of your customer for a moment.
What is most compelling reason that they buy from you? Use it in your headline.
And appeal to their emotions: most people buy from greed, fear, status, hunger hirst, or other basic needs.
Ask them a question that highlights this reason they want to come to you, or create discontent with other alternatives to buying from you.