Wizemail provides email marketing software solutions and e-shot HTML templates to a wide variety of clients - SMEs, Corporate and Digital Advertising Agencies alike – all with one common requirement, a dynamic, professional, digital marketing team on hand when required.

At least weekly, one of the Wizemail team will post a tip, trick or general email marketing advice here.

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  • Using A Blog To Support Your Email Campaigns May 26, 2020 at 4:44 PM

    The best way of ensuring success of an email marketing campaign is to provide a solution to a problem that your subscribers have. It’s a basic tenet. You are telling them that you understand their difficulties, and, after some thought, have come up with a solution for them. Not only do they buy from you, but they might also look to you for further help.

    Given the current problems that just about every company is experiencing at the moment, from concerns for the health of staff, to those for the health of the company, many are struggling for answers. You, no doubt, have looked around for answers to your problems. Online searches are all very well, but even with our expertise with SEO, you’ll find an awful lot of waffle. How much better would advice be from those who know you?

    You have all sorts of details on your subscribers. You know their problems. Split them into differing email marketing lists where the variations are slight but vital for targeting.

    The place to fulfil their needs is the marketing email of course. If you can provide software and hardware for those working from home, then a Subject Line, such as Your Working from Home Solutions, is one of your easiest. However, your product might be useful to a wider customer base.

    A way to spread the word is to use a blog. You get more visitors to your website than you have on your email marketing lists. Encourage them to log onto your blog by offering the same as the Subject Line above. We all need help. Give advice on HR, security, GDPR and workflow, especially if bottlenecks are eased by way of your products.

    One thing you must not do is to appear as if you’re profiteering from the crisis. Don’t spread scare stories or suggest your product is the best thing for the straitened times ahead. If you are successful in email marketing, you’re honest. Don’t abandon that. However, it is clear that there will be difficult times for many in the coming months, maybe year or even more.

    The industry that has seen a significant growth in the last couple of weeks is media, and for obvious reasons. People want to know the news. It’s the only way they can know which way to jump. Is there a gap in specific, filtered information supply for your specific sector? If so, then go for it.

    You will know your sector. You should know what information your subscribers to your email marketing list need. Much of it will be available online, but hidden away in the chaff, just asking for someone to dig out the gold. Seek out contacts. Get them to predict, preferably just options, and tell those who find your website what you’ve found.

    Salt the blog with products that will solve some of their problems, and include a clickthrough to where they can sign up to your email marketing list. It’s not exploiting the crisis. Far from it; it’s providing a service to visitors that could generate sales.

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  • Be A Source Of Information On Coronavirus May 26, 2020 at 4:33 PM

    Everyone will be concerned about the effects of Coronavirus on their businesses. There are all sorts of untested changes that they’ll be putting in place and many will be confused as to the effectiveness and legality of them. You could help them.

    They are looking for the most up to date, and dependable information available at the time. If you can supply referenced information on subjects within your expertise, that are important to your customers, they will return time and again. Your email marketing list will allow you to target your information. Do it right, and your subscribers will probably tell others.

    For instance, it is probable that some of your data protection practices will be difficult to maintain with home working and staff being ill. Write a blog covering this point, and show that the ICO has stated, in clear language, that they are aware of the need for companies to prioritise or adapt normal working practices during the crisis. The ICO were at pains to say they cannot extend statutory timescales. However, they will accept that businesses may ‘experience understandable delays when making information requests’.

    Many might be concerned as to whether they can ask colleagues if they are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19. Or how an employee might react to just such a request. The ICO states that it is reasonable on the part of an employer to do so.

    The ICO is not the only dependable source of information on Coronavirus. There’s the NHS of course. Their website is easy to navigate, and their search facility is excellent. However, it all takes time, and companies struggling to come to terms with new demands might want a landing page where information specific to their needs is laid out in an easily accessible format.

    There will be a significant amount of work, albeit short-term one hopes. You will need to ensure that everything is referenced, with a clickthrough to your source. Don’t endorse any particular information and don’t recommend a course of action. You know the needs of subscribers to your email marketing list. Save them time.

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  • Don't Change Procedures During Covid19 May 26, 2020 at 4:15 PM

    Do you remember the pre-Christmas TV advert for the exercise bike? You probably will if you frequently use social media. It was slated as sexist, the assumption being that the man wanted his partner to get fit. My younger daughter-in-law was bemused. She’d have loved to have one, but the family finances enforced other priorities. But then, she’s active, sporting and concerned for her own health. I’m with my daughter-in-law; it was a reasonable advert.

    Now is not the time to panic. The systems that you have proven with the returns from email marketing campaigns are just the thing to help you through the current problems. Thinking that the Coronavirus epidemic means you should modify your working practices might be dangerous. Look at McDonalds.

    I’m all for an adventurous leap in the dark. Split email marketing lists allow experimentation with limited risks as we’ll know whether it’s a good idea in little time. However, McDonalds showed us the danger of a step too far.

    Someone in Brazil decided a clever way of emphasising social distancing was to split the M in their logo into two parts. I thought it was quite clever. It showed that their outlets were aware of the need for social distancing and would have paved the way for any markings on the pavement. The move was slated on social media.

    Some suggest that whether something is seen as reprehensible, or an initiative to be lauded, depends on who posts first on Twitter. It’s a cynical point of view. However, there’s no doubt that public taste can be unpredictable. What seems unarguable is that there would have been a lot more thought about such moves pre Coronavirus. It probably seemed a good idea at the time.

    Your systems, which you’ve tested many times in the past have served you well. They’ve got you to where you are after all. Now is not the time to abandon experience. If you come up with a brilliant idea that you consider unimpeachable, then follow the processes you would have followed in the past. Test, and if the result is obscure, test again.

    There are distinct opportunities available to all online businesses at the moment, and especially for email marketing. To ignore them is not an option. However, they should be viewed in the same way as you’d have done before.

    There seems some irritation with emails being sent from banks to customers using Coronavirus as an excuse. They are inexcusable. The same goes for us; don’t send superfluous marketing emails. They will occupy slots that can be used more effectively.

    Don’t ignore the difficulties that Coronavirus will cause your customers. Now is the time to offer solutions. However, evaluate any initiative with the care you would have used in the past. With many of your subscribers working from home, they could well be looking for something to vent their irritation on. You don’t want it directed your way.

    A marketing email that contains no reference to the epidemic, and no platitudes, might well make a pleasant alternative to scare stories.

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  • Emotion Is Still The Biggest Motivator May 26, 2020 at 4:00 PM

    There’s no argument against the biggest factor in people buying, from marketing emails to visits to superstores, is emotion. All the evidence supports it. If you don’t focus on it as the main motivator of your subscribers, you are missing out financially. It is just as important in the present crisis, if not more so.

    Here are some of the lessons that have become apparent in the in recent email marketing campaigns I’ve received:

    1/ Be positive. Some marketing emails come over as the precursor to the Four Horsemen, despite doom and gloom being negative factors in buying decisions. You should not go too far the other way. Don’t promise things will be better by the end of the week and you do not encourage readers to ignore health advice.

    2/ Don’t try to empathise. A supermarket opened its email message by telling customers that it knew; ‘. . . these are worrying times and . . . you’re probably trying to carry on as normal . . .’ It then went on to mention family and friends. This is a leap too far. Get to the core of the message without preamble and give the message a buzz.

    3/ It is just email marketing. Don’t big yourself up by suggesting you feel you have a major role to play and mention your responsibilities in these stressful times. You are just doing what you always do. If you can solve one of their problems, then tell them so early and strongly. Big that up.

    4/ Keep it brief. One of the prerequisites of copy in a marketing email is that it must be uncluttered, and devoid of information your subscribers probably can’t be bothered with. Put in a link to your website. Have the landing page explain any changes that have been imposed on you by the crisis and date it to show you keep it current. Have an FAQ page. You never know, some might read it.

    5/ Keep Coronavirus out of it. Mention difficulties, problems and situations, and ignore Corvid-19. They’ve had enough of it already. Make your marketing email an oasis of normality where most things are as they were.

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  • What To Say About Coronavirus In Your Emails Apr 27, 2020

    It’s the question that many email marketing companies are pondering; how to respond to the threat of Coronavirus. Ignoring it has a lot of attraction. You won’t be wrong in your conclusions, but then you might give the impression that you don’t care about your subscribers.

    My inbox has been inundated with Subject Lines that include the word Coronavirus. Some weren’t even trying to sell me something. There’s a great risk of getting lost in the crowd, or seeming to follow the herd, but can you afford to be out of step? It is going to be difficult for all of us to find a balance. What about subscriber fatigue?

    You probably think it is a good idea to reassure your customers, the hope being that they will feel more positive and therefore more likely to buy. However, unless you have sources of information denied the rest of us, your message will be little more than guesswork. More importantly, it will show. We are all aware by now that predictions by those in the know are very broad.

    There’s a temptation to take advantage of the situation by upping prices of products in high demand. It’s one you should ignore. If the price from your suppliers has increased, say so and be honest as to how much. It’s a way of empathising with them. If it is their best interests to wait a while, or buy a different product, tell them so. It shows you are aware that they have to cope as well.

    Some of those on your email marketing lists will be especially concerned, so create a split list for an email that is positive. Don’t belittle the crisis by trying to be funny or making an insensitive joke. Be clear as to what you mean.

    What you can do is describe what you are doing, and will do, to deal with their particular problems. It’s only a slight modification of what we do all the time. The difference is that now their problems are modified by their health risks and the financial ones as well.

    I’ve had a rather clever marketing email from my regular garage. It points out that a service is overdue by a matter of weeks and that I have an MoT coming up in a bit over two months. If I book a service in the next ten days, they will pick up the car and deliver it once the service and MoT are completed. They point out, in some detail, that I will ‘lose’ a couple of months on the length of the MoT period. However, they will reduce the price by a similar percentage.

    It is slick, it is clever and it solves my problems, even the ones that were not at the forefront of my things to worry about. It’s specific to me. Not only that, it provides income for their company at a time when many people might put off such things. There’s got to be something similar in your business segment. Find it and answer your customers’ needs.

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  • Coronavirus Mistakes In Email Marketing Apr 27, 2020

    Your inbox is probably full of marketing emails which, like mine, have a Subject Line that includes the word Coronavirus. I’d count mine, but what’s the point? There are so many that it seems pointless to open one, apart from to use as a basis for a blog.

    One of the most irritating mistakes in email marketing is over-familiarity. I don’t like my forename being used when the intent is to sell me something. Mr Smith is fine by me. Imagine my irritation to be confronted by one which, after starting with my forename, continued with: ‘I hope that you and your family are safe and well.’

    This smacks of a copywriter desperate to appear concerned. Just in case I wasn’t convinced, it was followed by: ‘I know that you will be adjusting to a different way of living.’ Oh, dear! Firstly, the company knows nothing about my family and secondly, they know nothing about my adjustments. The only contact I have with the company is to register my domain names.

    A second marketing email explains that there will be no change in ‘our customer service operations’ yet it suggests that there might be a delay in response times. I wondered what the point of the emails were. Neither provided me with useful information.

    It’s a good policy to only send an email for a specific and measurable purpose, although there are no concrete rules in email marketing. What was the point of these two? If it was to prepare me for longer response times, then tell me on the landing page, or at the time of sale. We all know the difficulties.

    If you have problems with regards to telephone calls, then have an automated welcome that points this out to a caller. It won’t come as a surprise. Do something similar for contact by email. Put something reassuring, positive and mildly apologetic on your website as well.

    These companies lost a gap in their sending times for an obscure purpose, and this at a time that may cause them problems. Don’t abandon procedures that have served you well just because of the current situation.

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  • A Coronavirus Article About Email Marketing Apr 27, 2020

    Well, mainly about email marketing actually, but wandering into the effect of the virus on businesses in general. You might think you are immune to the downturn, especially if those 70 and over are going to be confined to their homes, ordering online those items they normally bought in shops. You will still need to modify your processes. The good news is that everyone agrees the current crisis is likely to increase online trade.

    There is significant bad news for us. No one knows the likely progress of the current crisis, let alone the outcome; all you can do is prepare for various scenarios.

    I’m writing this article knowing the current situation will no longer be current when you read it. However, some things are predictable. It seems probable that the travel industry will be hit hard. Airlines will struggle, no matter how well prepared, and there’s the suspicion that it will be last straw time for high streets.

    I expected rationing from supermarkets well before my local ones put processes into action. That they have implemented what is, more or less, rationing for online booking of groceries came as something of a surprise. It seems they haven’t got the necessary staff, vehicles or timeslots to take on more.

    If your products are those likely to feel an increase in online orders, now is the time to brief staff. Ask them their ideas. If they can’t work from home, then some form segregation by distance in the office is a sensible precaution. Mind you, it seems an individual coughing could infect a whole room.

    There’s an apparent consensus that working from home is the most sensible option. There are obvious benefits. Cross infection from staff is unlikely in the extreme, they are not travelling in cramped trains and buses, if indeed they remain crowded, and not grabbing a latte after standing in a queue for ten minutes is a positive.

    On the other hand, you probably haven’t got a plan of action. You need to ensure your staff are fully trained for remote working, and they should be briefed as to what is required of them. Guidelines alone are not enough. Have some form of on-demand FAQ, updated as problems become apparent.

    You probably can predict which staff members might not be able to cope with remote tech support. Expecting them to sort their own problems is unreasonable.

    Most importantly, there’s the welfare aspect. Those with an infected family member should self-isolate for 14 days, according to the present advice. Ensuring they can cope is the way to ensure they are effective workers.

    The main concern will revolve around data security. You need to have sensible, easily understood and resilient systems in place before you opt for home working. Keeping your email marketing lists and the data safe is critical at any time, but with remote supervision of staff, you need to establish rules now, and find ways of ensuring they are complied with.

    Online trade will change significantly. The nature of the change is unknown currently, so flexible planning is essential.

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  • Is Working From Home Feasible? Apr 27, 2020

    You would think that email marketing is custom-made for working from home (WFH), and you’d be right. In fact, it makes perfect sense. The government advice gives you the opportunity to implement it. Not to do so requires well-documented reasons.

    The positives include your staff avoiding the close contact of public transport and lifts. If you don’t run to a canteen, then there’s probably a coffee-making rota, or maybe someone goes out to queue in a crowded Starbucks to buy takeaways. That’s not to mention, well, many things. It’s a way to keep your staff healthy.

    That’s not to suggest you should send them home without instructions. It needs to be carefully planned or, at the very least, discussed with your staff as early as possible. It is so easy to get it wrong.

    One example I’ve heard of is where a company had cloud-based word processing. This meant that almost every keystroke could be monitored in real time. When a member of staff was asked why they hadn’t booked on the system until over 90 minutes after their start time, accusations of Big Brother abounded. The fact that a remote supervisor did the same thing in the real office did not placate the offended staff member.

    It is essential that each member of staff knows what is expected of them and when. If you require notice of flexible hours, then say so. If Kevin was woken at 5.30 am by his baby crying, and decided at 6.30 he might as well start work, if that gives you a problem, best he knows about it before-hand.

    Accept that domestic necessities are just that; necessary. If you want an online conference, then give notice. Have a response to someone in their household going down with Covid-19. Have a plan for yourself as well.

    Government advice changes frequently so your plans should be able to be modified equally frequently. Advice is not binding. If you want to go against it, ensure your staff agree with your logic.

    Have post-virus plans. It is possible that your staff might want the process to continue. If you expect to return to normal immediately, think again.

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  • Building Positive Emotion In Email Marketing Apr 1, 2020

    I write about a form of advertising and research it; I subscribe to a number of email marketing lists, most of which I would not have bothered with even if I had more money. I know which are effective. I can see when they’ve targeted their email well. I read them through, concentrating on method, design, copy, all that sort of thing, yet time and again I end up considering buying whatever they are advertising.

    My 'rule' is that I won't buy anything from these marketing emails. I know that despite being a (very small) part of the 'problem', I am as vulnerable to it as anyone. Yet I’ve worked in advertising at various times in my life, so should know the methods and be immune to them. It’s so demeaning that I’m not.

    On the plus side, when I’m influenced, I know it’s a particularly good email and will probably gain an article from it, just as in the case I’m going to mention. It’s not from one of the big internationals, but a smallish company, setting itself up in a cut-throat industry, using email marketing, a rewarding but highly competitive method of selling.

    They use a clever tactic, and one that has been used by companies in a similar situation, so nothing new. It makes a big thing about being small and friendly. It calls itself a family to reinforce it.

    It starts from its website, the only thing missing is a lemming, cuddling up to its young. Its chatty, with lots of use of ‘we’ in the text, telling us what their plans are, and how they’ve just produced this wonderful product.

    Those on their email marketing lists are asked to ‘get on board’ with ‘us’. They are included as part of their, or rather our, success story. It’s transparent. It works, even with someone who knows a bit about advertising methods.

    It draws the subscribers in to an emotional bond with the company, and we all know that people buy on emotions rather than logic. It’s a method that takes commitment, but then it seems to work, on me at least.

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  • Email Marketing Is Selling Happiness Apr 1, 2020

    I hate to break it to you, but what we do is simply advertising. That we do it online with our customers subscribing to email marketing lists and, critically, willingly sharing their personal details, in no way changes that fact. Bring back sales staff from the 1980s and they will recognise what we do instantly, and will probably feel jealous of our advantages.

    I’ve just come from a couple of car dealers. I’ve been sitting in plush showrooms, with carpets, coffee and comfortable chairs, where the focus is not so much on the product as on building emotion. In one showroom, there was no car sales literature on show, and the only advertising was for high value watches. The cars seemed something of an afterthought.

    One name for this method of sales is effective conditioning. If we feel comfortable in the surroundings, and have a positive emotion, then this will transfer to the product.

    We see this in classic soap powder adverts. There’s an immaculate kitchen, bright sunlight streaming through clean windows reflecting from the fashionable work surfaces. A smiling couple and a giggling baby. It is captivating, especially so for the target audience. There, to one side so not blocking the sun, is the packet of soap powder.

    What the advert is suggesting, albeit crudely, is to be as happy as this group, you need our soap powder. It’s basic. It works.

    Most people will wonder; why do these people pick products emotionally rather than objectively? A valid question you might think. However, it should be worded differently; why do we pick items on emotion?

    It’s fair to say that no one really knows. Or rather, a lot of psychologists have put forward a lot of differing ideas as to why, which all go to show that no one knows. The important point is that making people feel good is good sales technique.

    It’s a big ask in a marketing email though. You have a header, a headline, a bit of copy and an image; there does not seem to be a lot of opportunity for giggling kids and sparkling sunlight reflected off worktops. However, it’s not impossible over a period of time.

    We form a relationship with our subscribers, and we need to ensure our emails are a nice place to be. Don’t think of them only as a way of selling. The founder of Revlon said that in the factory we make cosmetics, in the store we sell hope.

    Ask yourself what your customers want, what they dream of, and then work out how you can associate your product with that fantasy. Each email to that particular split email marketing list should reinforce it. It will soon build.

    The sales staff in the car dealers did exactly what we do. They formed a relationship, albeit one that was not too close. They asked me about myself, my needs, and, importantly, worked out my budget. They showed me vehicles that more than fulfilled my needs and budget. They made me welcome. It was a pleasant experience. Do that, and you’ve cracked it.

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  • Let Your Customers Tell You What They Think Mar 25, 2020

    Are online feedback forms worth all the effort? After all, only a small percentage of your customers will be bothered to complete it. That’s a lot of anticipation to get a few desultory dribs and drabs returned.

    The answer is ‘Yes’, but only if you accept that you are unlikely to be overwhelmed by responses, and you plan effectively.

    The biggest mistake many companies make is frequency. At one end of the scale we have requests for feedback at every interface. On the other, we get the dreaded annual form that comes six months after you had that brilliant idea for improvement but have now forgotten.

    Come to a decision as to the optimum frequency for your specific business model, although be prepared to change it in accordance with the returns. For instance, if you sell high value products, so actually interface with a specific customer every six months or so, then you might opt for one every purchase with every chance of it being optimum. Your decision is made.

    However, what if you sell on a weekly basis to some customers? One sure way of ensuring they go elsewhere is to hit them with a request for feedback at every purchase. One option that many use is to send a form at every interface unless one had been sent in the preceding three months or so. It’s not a compromise, but an informed decision.

    The next question is when to ask for feedback. The general rule seems to be at the end of the transaction. There are a number of routes to this. The one finding favour with the email marketing companies is a request, such as ‘Are you willing to complete our feedback form?’.

    If I’ve had a poor experience, I certainly will, and with vigour, and exactly the same where a staff member has gone that extra bit further.

    It is essential to present the form is a way that makes it easy for the person to access it. Just one click is the best way. They are giving their time, so giving them work to do is counter-productive. Make the form easy to complete. Work out the minimum number of question that will make the investment of your time worthwhile. You can always experiment with split testing to find what your customers will accept.

    Once you have the returns, and don’t expect to be inundated, sift through to see if there is a common criticism of processes or a suggestion that you can see will improve an aspect of your business. Work the change into your systems promptly. That’s what they will probably expect.

    Surveys are a great way of discovering what your customers want. They cost a bit, but they can also deliver a bit more.

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    Rick Phillips likes this.
  • Why Should You Use Customer Feedback Forms Mar 25, 2020

    It’s a valid question. You have lots of objective data on the subscribers to your email marketing list, and it increases every campaign. What on Earth could the value be in a subjective response?

    One of the many reasons given in support of feedback forms is that they give a way of improving customer satisfaction. This, I would suggest, is a bit esoteric. Everything we do should be chasing that target. Feedback is probably one of the weaker tools.

    Perhaps it should be that you want to know what your customers regard as important. You will already have pointers. The click-throughs on your website and emails show what they are looking for. All you have to do is provide.

    The reviews and ratings you receive are a bigger pointer. If you receive a 1-star you will follow it up, asking them what you can do to rectify the matter, and preferably in a public manner.

    You might think I’m not too keen on feedback forms, but they can provide information that is not available via other forms of feedback.

    You should have a specific purpose for asking customers to fill in a form. Let’s say you want to discover why you are not getting any referrals. All your returns can tell you is that these are low. You will want to discover why.

    The simplest answer is to use a feedback form which asks your subscribers the quite common question, ‘Would you recommend us to a friend?’. The question is pointless of course. The follow-up ones are the critical questions. If they reply ‘No’ then you will ask ‘Why not?’ You could list reasons with a tick box, but not too many. Pick options that will encourage them to share.

    Remember that you will want to modify your processes based on the replies, so the questions must provide useful information. Eliminate ambiguity and superfluous questions. The results should point to where your weaknesses lie.

    Finally, the most important bit of all; test your conclusions with split email marketing lists. Once the results are back, prove your conclusion to all in your marketing teams.

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  • Why should we avoid using clichés in email marketing? Mar 18, 2020

    You will note that the heading is a question. This is not a list of clichés to avoid like the plague, but more when you can use them to your advantage. You should exercise care, but you can say that about all words in an email marketing campaign.

    Some clichés are pleonasms, such as bent out of shape. Bent would do just as well. There are others that are as familiar in the mouth as household words so can be used as a shorthand. OK, enough with the clichés. I can assure you there’s an end to it.

    There are action films that use caricatures, a visual cliché if ever there was one, as a way of shortening the introduction to a film. If half a dozen combatants are going to be killed in the first half hour, then there’s little time to build their backstories. A classic example of this is the film Aliens. The director eschewed the slow build-up of the original film of the series and instead we had one-dimensional soldiers whose basic characteristics we could relate to.

    Use the same ploy; for instance, cross that bridge. It’s a contracted version of the full cliché, but everyone knows what you mean and it gives a little boost to the reader as you are showing that you trust them to fill in the rest of it. Other examples of contracted clichés include don’t count your chickens. It’s the perfect way to shorten marketing emails.

    For instance, you can’t rewrite ‘red herring’ any shorter. In fact, a dictionary definition runs to 16 words. There are times when should use a well-known phrase, as it transmits the message in as few words as possible.

    Most apt for a marketing email where the cost saving is slight could be a penny saved. Your meaning is clear and it requires no great mental effort from the reader to work out what you mean.

    The use of some might be custom-made (sorry) for a type of product. Selling glasses? Then eye to eye should a shoe-in. An image of two bespectacled people springs to mind.

    Used sparingly, clichés are an effective tool.

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  • There Are No Rules When Writing Email Copy Mar 17, 2020

    In my early days of copy writing I did a bit of proofreading for email marketing and newsletters. It’s a painful way to get your name known. It is also quite boring due to how repetitive it was; the same mistakes were made time and again.

    For the English language to retain its edge, it needs to be honed. It didn’t take long for me to realise my error. Email marketing in particular has a new set of rules, preferences in reality, that should be complied with unless they get in the way.

    I thought the first, and unarguable, essential was consistency: use of caps, standardisation of headings, that sort of thing. I was sent bulleted lists where the style varied. There were leading capital letters and bold font followed by lowercase and roman. Whether you start with a capital or not is down to you, but they should all be identical.

    However, what about the most important point, the one you are hanging the email on? My pristine view was challenged. I came to realise that there are no requirements, only reasons.

    Heartbreakingly, because I love English, correct grammar was the first to die. Subject, verb, object was notable by its absence and there was a distinct lack of semicolons. But there were more fatalities, such as sentences starting with a conjunction. I even allowed a one-sentence paragraph as it was required for emphasis.

    Flexible style makes for easier reading. Breaking up a series of long sentences with a short one, and vice versa, is for the birds. Emails are scanned so short sentences allow the sense to be perceived at a glance.

    One of the laws of writing is to avoid clichés, yet they have a function. Everyone on a specific email marketing list knows what they mean, will recognise them quickly and, once read, move on to the next phrase. You can’t get better than that.

    Always replace longs words with short ones but aim the copy at the reader and their needs. Multiple syllables stymie scanning. I had to watch out for self-indulgence as well. Copy should be transparent. A memorable phrase in a book took my attention away from the subject. The author wrote ‘philosophers should philosophise’. In context it was apposite, or spot on rather. It was clever. It was a hazard to reading.

    A significant error was ambiguity. A reader of a marketing email wants to skim through the email and get all the required information. Words that have two or more meanings – the joy of the English language – can confuse and misinform. Clarity is essential.

    There is much to admire in the English language and it has become the lingua franca in much of the world for many reasons. One aspect that is unique is that it can change to suit the speaker and essentially the listener. It’s at its best in the written word, and is an excellent tool for email marketing.

    Ensure you tune it for your readers.

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  • Using Humour In An Email Marketing Campaign Feb 26, 2020

    The film Gattaca had four letters, ATGC, highlighted on posters and the title sequence. I found it graphically jarring. I was told later, by a rather smug IT-type, the letters were, pause for a little titter, the initials of the building four blocks of DNA, and the design was rather ‘clever’. It seemed I was not.

    That’s the problem with humour; it can be hurtful. Comedians tend to change their delivery according to the reactions of their audience. It is difficult to judge the response when at a distance, such as when using email so, for once, our data is returned a bit too late to make a difference.

    It’s unlikely you’ll have a column in your email marketing lists which show each subscriber’s sense of humour, so you have undreamed of opportunities to upset them. Be too mild, and you run the risk of being unfunny. Too much the other way and disaster looms.

    Subscribers enjoy a bit of humour in emails, particularly enewsletters. The critical word here is bit. Go in too hard and you run the risk of losing your message. It might be better not to target the outright guffaw and go for the amused grin in the early stages. One distinct problem is that humour is not universal but the answer is to split your email marketing lists.

    Do you enjoy the gentle humorous comments on situations? When describing the user interface of an electronic device, you might smile if it said that you don’t have to wait for a ‘bring your child to work day’ to get it to work. It’s not laugh out loud of course, but, as we all know, empathy plays a massive part in email marketing.

    However, will your subscribers respond in the same way? Those with your background, who struggle with IT and have children who don’t, will react more positively than those who don’t.

    Which brings us onto word play. It is best described as a joke that just 25% of those who read it find funny, but 75% say they do. Harsh, but it’s true. You, however, need to ensure that you are not talking down to your subscribers. You want them onside.

    It is best to avoid jokes and stick to humorous comments. That way you are much less likely to cause offence, as there should be little to object to. Avoid the normal pitfalls. Anything aimed at a particular group is extremely dangerous, no matter how funny. It is best to aim at generating a smile rather than a smirk.

    If you are sure of your audience, be subtle as there’s nothing wrong in making someone feel a little smug. However, remember my reaction to Gattaca. Don’t go too obscure.
    You want your humour to bring your subscribers to relate to you. You need to generate positive emotions. It’s the particular email marketing list that you want to target. Don’t concentrate on the product.

    There are lots of reasons for being humorous. It is, unfortunately, all too easy to offend, so take care out there.

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