We all know how I like to reference things I read. I swear I’m not lazy and I promise I have original thought. It’s just that sometimes reinventing the wheel doesn’t always make sense. Especially when you find a concise little gem like this smart read about a good business/marketing practice. It’s a great piece from Inc.com (August 9, 2011) about a smart business/marketing practice – writing emails that get will get read. Now, while this is written more on just a day-to-day communication level, I do think it’s very relevant to email marketing.

Italics is what they wrote. Straight type is what I wrote. Talk amongst yourselves.

1. Eliminate Delete-Inducing Words

Get rid of all verbiage that activates the delete response. Here are some serious offenders: exciting, state-of-the-art, solution, partner, leading edge, passion, unique and one-stop shopping.

Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer. When you encounter an inbox full of emails, which ones do you quickly delete? The ones that truly pique your interest with short, effective copy? Or the ones that are detailing your one-stop-shop for exciting solutions unique to your leading edge company? Yeah. Exactly.

2. Keep Your Message Simple

Your email needs to be less than 90 words. Use 2-sentence paragraphs so it can be scanned. Stick with common black fonts (no colors) and never include more than one link or attachment.

Nothing worse than an enewsletter that comes in at 1000 words of text. I’m not going to read it; no one is. You’re a brand – you’re not my best friend. Respect my time. Give me hints of a story you want to tell me, and let me click through to your site to get details. Makes me happier and makes your website get more traffic. Win-win for everyone involved. And while we’re at it, simple is better when it comes to your e-news template too. Keep the fancy formats for your AOL account.

3. Align With Their Objectives

Research your prospect’s specific company, industry or position. Make sure your e-mail mentions an important business objective, strategic imperative, issue or challenge. Relevance is essential.

This comes down to marketing 101. Know your audience. And know your goals/objectives (they should line up with your audience).

4. Focus on Immediate Priorities

Identify key business events that may be impacting your prospect’s priorities and tie your message into that. Examples might be: relocations, mergers, management changes or new legislation.

Again, marketing 101. Know your audience. And know your goals/objectives.

5. Be an Invaluable Resource

Your product or service may be a commodity, but you’re not. In your e-mails, focus on the ideas, insights and information you can share that will be of value to your prospect in reaching their goals.

Agree. If you provide good info, they’re want to read it. In fact, they’ll start looking for it. Content is king when it comes to all things digital.

6. Craft Enticing Subject Lines

Your subject line determines if your message gets read. Avoid sales hype and focus on business issues such as: “Quick question re: outsourcing initiative” or “Reducing product launch time.”

Personally, I think this is the single most important thing you can focus on. Well, I guess good content is the most important, as that’s what will earn you name recognition. But once you’ve got their interest, nothing can call the action like a really strong subject line. Think about what would get you to click through. Chances are, this simple test will work.

7. Launch a Campaign

Do eight to 12 touches (via e-mail and phone) over a four-to-six week time period, with each contact building off the previous one. Provide links to resources. Spotlight the value of changing from the status quo.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Just make sure it’s not to0 squeaky. Depending on your brand, twice a month to once every other month might make sense for your mailings.

Thanks for reading. And thanks to Jill Konrath for the thought-provoking article. We’re going to start following her on Twitter. You should to.

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