How To Write A Marketing Email

by John McIntyre

“Gross! I can’t believe you use email to try to sell your stuff!”

The average man would take this as an insult. But I am NOT the average man. (According to a litany of tests I’m FAR below average.)

This was the response I once received while speaking with other dog training business owners in a Facebook group of which I’m a part.

Believe me, I get it.

Whenever you talk with email marketing haters you’ll hear the same old reasons why it sucks:

  • People don’t open their email anymore
  • Email inboxes are flooded and people ignore them
  • People won’t trust you enough to buy something out of an email
  • Using email is SPAM!!
  • Email marketing is something that Hitler would have used if he had access

Whenever I’m confronted with these reasons to not do marketing emails I always respond with a dejected, eyes-toward-the-ground, “You’re right.”

But on the inside, I rejoice.

Because as long as my competitors WON’T do email marketing, it leaves me with a healthy advantage.

The funny thing is that the list of complaints about email marketing is totally true!

Even if you’re the best email marketer in the world you’re still going to find people thinking you’re spamming them, people who won’t open their email inboxes, people who ignore your stuff, and people who will never buy something, no matter how great it is, because of your email.

But even if you’re only a GOOD email marketer you’re going to find that there is ENOUGH of a response rate, ENOUGH of a buy rate, and ENOUGH of an engagement rate to make it one of the most effective marketing platforms you can have in your bag of tricks.

But you’ve got to do it well, obviously.

So I’m going to tell you my simple email formula on how to write a marketing email that I use for weekly emails that go out to my list as well as autoresponder emails that go out to my prospects automatically.

How To Write A Marketing Email (for dummies)

1- The email subject line

What’s totally accurate is that your prospect’s inboxes are FULL. They get plenty of email.

So what can your email do to stand out? The first thing, of course, is the subject line.

But, be careful.

A lot of email marketers will use some sort of interesting or seemingly unrelated one-liner in their subject line. They do this in order to stand out and capture attention.

And I actually AGREE with this method, and do it with most of my emails.

But if the inside of the email is boring or too pitchy or too sales-y you will very quickly lose trust.

You’ll get them to open up once or twice. But they won’t keep making that mistake if you’re delivering them stuff they don’t like.

And seeing as I’m using a seemingly non-related subject line I always like to add a parenthesis at the end of the sentence and remind them what it’s about.

For example, subject lines for my dog training company emails may be something like:

  • Lost my pants on the tower! (Dog training)
  • I thought they were going to cut off my feet (Dog training)
  • Hiding in the bushes outside Taco Bell (Dog Training)

Those lines correspond with the stories I tell in my email and they’re thought provoking enough to encourage someone to open.

2- The hook

Okay, you’ve got to get them to read the email.

If you want to get them to the offer, they need to keep reading.

My emails are story based and this is what I teach my consulting clients to do as well.

Your story could be something interesting from your life, something in the news, a story about how your product is used or has benefitted someone, or a multitude of other types of stories.

The types of stories to use is a whole other article for another day.

But whatever your story is, you want to create a hook from that story that gets your prospect interested in what comes next.

You want to create a tiny cliffhanger that gets them interested in reading the story in order for them to actually get to the offer.

For example, one of the most popular stories I’ve used in my email marketing was the time my friend and I, as teenagers, hid outside a Taco Bell with a drive-through headset on and messed with the people going through the drive through ordering their food.

In creating my hook I’d write something like…

“So there we were. Trembling and afraid we waited in the dark in the bushes outside Taco Bell while we saw the police pull up looking for us. We didn’t know if tonight was the night we were going to go to jail.”

A hook like this is HIGHLY effective at getting immediate engagement and getting your reader to ‘tune in’.

You can do this with any type of email, whether it be humorous like mine, or case study story, or success story, or whatever you’re sharing.

3- The tease

The hook gets them to want to read. Now tease them about the offer to come.

I like to use simple language like…

“I want to tell you the rest of the story about what happened that night at Taco Bell. But make sure to read to the end of the email. I’ve got a free dog training book that I want to send you in the mail.”

The tease is something that hopefully they’ll want. But it also preps them that there IS an offer so they don’t feel betrayed when they get to the end only to find that, gasp!, you’re trying to sell something.

4- The story

Tell that story!

Make it humorous. Make it poignant. Make it real and applicable to them. Make it enjoyable and entertaining. Whatever you do, make it something that leads them from one paragraph to the next.

5- The wrap up

Once you’ve told the story about your life or about someone’s success or about your product make sure to tie it in to your reader.

Help them realize that this applies to them.

Not everyone will make the connection without you helping them.

6- The offer

If you’ve done a good job here’s the neat little things you’ve done:

  • You’ve piqued their interest
  • You’ve used storytelling to entertain and get them on your side.
  • Perhaps you’ve shared something about yourself. Maybe even something vulnerable or endearing that makes them want to like you more.
  • You’ve tied things together to help them understand how you can solve their problem.

Someone who has gone through that little cycle is FAR more likely to be amenable to an offer than someone who gets a sterile, corporate sounding email, that does nothing to engage them on an emotional level.

Get out there and try it!

This is a guest post by Ty Brown. Ty tripled his business in two and a half years using stories and persuasive copywriting. Now he speaks, writes,  coaches, and consults with other businesses on how to do the same. Find him at Ty the Speaker.

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