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I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy! Tash

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Links in emails

Email marketing is a valuable tool for any modern business, but it can backfire if you don’t use it carefully.

I recently saw an email that was very short, started with my name and included unsubscribe details – all of which are good points in an email. But it also included three links to a web page they were promoting – not three pages, but three links to one page!

In a short email, I am quite capable of finding the link even if I have read further on – it will stand out!

Over do something like providing links, and I begin to wonder why you are pushing it so hard and  I get suspicious. Finish with “This isn’t hype” to convince me this is hype and not substance.

Add in a comment like “Seriously, this puppy is sick” and the email has no credibility – I deleted it without clicking on any of the three links!

So the lessons from this email are:

  • treat your readers with respect – they can find links in short emails
  • avoid unnecessary repetition – it is boring and raises questions as to why you need to repeat it
  • avoid statements that are cool or trendy – not everyone will agree with you and they age your message quickly. What is cool today is sick tomorrow and wicked the day after, and so on
  • if your content isn’t something (e.g. hype, spam,viral) then you don’t need to write that fact – it is more likely to raise suspicions than allay them

Use your words (and links!) wisely!

Email subjects

Like the heading of an ad or article, the subject of an email is important.

For one thing, if someone needs to find some information you sent them, it is much easier to sort through emails if the subject clearly identifies the email contents. I have been known to send the same person three emails in a row so that each topic is in its own email for easier sorting and answering, rather than one long email covering three topics.

If you are emailing someone new or sending out an enewsletter, your choice of subject can mean the difference between someone reading it or deleting it. Some points to consider in writing your subject are:

  • avoid hype and over-used words as many people can’t be bothered with more of the same
  • be honest. For example, I recently received an email via my website with the subject ‘business cooperation’. The subject interested me so I read it only to find it was purely an ad for their services. Not only is their subject dishonest, it annoyed me so much I would never use their services and added their email address to my junk mail list.
  • relate it to the reader –  and that is easier when you know more about who you are emailing in the first place. As an example, “help with your marketing” has more appeal than “we offer great marketing services” but neither will appeal much to a retiree or a school child!
  • personalise it if you have the technical ability to do so – but be warned that trying to personalise it and getting it wrong is not good. Yes, I have received emails addressed “Special message for {add name}” – the word ‘you’ would have been a better, safer option
  • add an enticement or call to action – sometimes a time frame can help, such as “sale this weekend only”
  • keep it as short and simple as possible – for one thing, some people’s email system doesn’t give much space for the subject so if it takes too long to get to the point, people may miss the point altogether

How often do you put much effort into your email subject? And I’m curious – do you usually write the email or the subject first?

Happy writing!