Email Marketing: How To Write Engaging Emails Even When You’re Just Selling Something

Email Marketing: How To Write Engaging Emails Even When You’re Just Selling Something

In the last installment of our on-going email marketing series, we discussed the art of crafting quality email subject lines and other elements that convince people to open your emails. Which is all well and good for the first, second or even third email you send. But what about 6 weeks from now? 6 months? A year? How do you write engaging emails that people want to read and which keep them coming back for more?


The key to using email as a successful marketing tool for any length of time has a lot more to do with you than it does with them. Think of it this way. You are the author holding the pen. It’s up to you to create something someone out there in that sea of 3.6 billion email accounts will find engaging and prevent them from hitting “unsubscribe” after the first email. Even if your end goal is simply convincing them to buy the thing you’re selling, that’s not an excuse for emails that can and should be engaging. Here are some tips for helping you do just that.

  • Write Quickly: Let’s be clear – you’re not writing the next great novel or paradigm-shifting manifesto here. And the more you think you are, the less likely you are to succeed. If you’re agonizing over every small detail, your email recipients will probably be able to tell and reading will become a chore. So get it all down, revise and edit, but don’t belabor the point.
  • Keep It Brief: Remember, an email is not a novel. ‘Nuff said.
  • Ask Questions: Questions are great conversation starters. To establish a meaningful dialogue with your email marketing, ask meaningful questions. What’s meaningful? Ask yourself that same question.
  • Shake It Up:  Formulas are great, if you’re mixing chemicals. In the real world, doing the exact same thing over and over gets really boring really quickly. The same is true of email marketing. If you want to keep people engaged, keep them pleasantly awaiting what you might do next.
  • Be Personable: Your email list recipients are not the enemy and your emails should not be impenetrable forces. Add little personal touches that let your email recipients know it’s a real person on the other end of the email and not part of that 84% of email traffic that’s just spam. Develop a natural voice, address people directly using the all-powerful “you” and, in general, be human.
  • Follow the Rules, but Don’t Live or Die by Them: You can read all the stats and follow all the rules and still write completely unsuccessful emails. Optimal subject lines? Clear calls to action? Getting emails through the spam filters? All good and noble things. Someone clicking the dreaded “unsubscribe” after receiving the first email? Not so much. So while knowledge is power, it’s up to you use that power responsibly. 


Now, some of this may seem like a stretch if the primary goal of your email marketing campaign is to sell Joe Blogs a widget. The aptly named Convince and Convert reports that 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase in the previous year based on a promotional email. How do you make Joe Blogs part of that 44 percent?

  • Nurture Your Sales Prospects: Engage your potential customers until they’re ready to buy, which may not always be the first, second or third email.
  • Tell Them What’s In It For Them: Most people will already know what you’re selling. Tell them why buying it will benefit them.
  • Talk To, Not At: Asking questions and being personable will help people feel as if you’re genuinely interested in them as people, rather than just their wallets.
  • Tell Them What You Want Them To Do: The aforementioned tip now withstanding, having clear calls to action in your emails lets people know what the purpose of the email is and how they can go about reaping the rewards as quickly as possible.
  • Establish Clear Deadlines: Deadlines create a sense of urgency. People are more likely to respond or take action within a set time frame than if an offer is potentially open-ended.

In the next installment of our email marketing series, we’ll take a look at A/B testing and how you can use analytics tools to determine which parts of your emails are working for you and which are working against you.

  • Tags: Email Marketing

Categories: Marketing Mojo

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