Home  › Email › Email Marketing

Writing Compelling Copy - Part I

  |  December 13, 1999   |  Comments

Ask just about any salesperson what components are essential to closing a sale, and he or she is bound to tell you that one of the most important is the ability to establish rapport. A very basic premise, to be sure...and one that can (and should) be applied to the email channel. Kim gives the basics. Just remember: The message becomes your salesperson. Give it the appropriate "personality" and make it work for you.

Ask just about any salesperson what components are essential to closing a sale, and he or she is bound to tell you that one of the most important is the ability to establish rapport. A very basic premise, to be sure... and one that can (and should) be applied to the email channel.

Let’s take a look at an offline, person-to-person example for a moment. Pretend you’ve just walked into a computer store: Two salespeople approach you to offer up their services. Salesperson A (let’s call him "Sid") comes barreling down the aisle, shouting, "I’ve got hardware and software galore - what can I sell you today?" Salesperson B, on the other hand, greets you warmly and says, "Welcome... It’s chilly out today, isn’t it? Do you mind if I show you around a bit just to get you started?" Who are you more likely to go with?

Okay. Obvious answer to an obvious question. Yet, there are still salespeople out there like good old Sid. Not to mention the fact there are plenty of marketers who simply don’t have a clue how to "speak" to prospects online.

Here’s a clip from an email promotion I recently received which demonstrates that fact...

"[Company” is pleased to announce the availability of its E-commerce tools. Useful for developers and surfers alike, these tools are available at our website. A partial listing of our features includes..."

Yawn.

There’s nary a greeting nor a salutation in sight. In the world of sales, one of the most basic tenets for rapport building is to greet the prospect by name. At the very least, say hello. Begin the dance that will help develop that warm, fuzzy feeling.

Another problem I have with the example above is that it’s all about THEM - feature after feature after feature. Where are the benefits? And where do I fit in?

If the email had demonstrated how those features could positively affect MY world, it would not only have held my attention longer, but would also have helped me better relate to the advertiser. And the ability to relate is yet another element to establishing rapport.

Lastly, because the wording in this promotion is both impersonal and non-conversational, it would have been better sent to the masses rather than the qualified list that ended up receiving it. Plus it’s obviously been written to make a sale. Sure, the name of the game is to sell; but you don’t want that objective to be so overt that it turns people off. Turned-off people don’t make great customers. Turned-off people walk out the door. Or they simply hit "delete."

Time to take a look at the other side of the coin - a promotion that "gets it." See the difference for yourself:

"Hello Kim,

The holidays are coming! That means chestnuts, Jack Frost and mistletoe. That’s right... and now’s the time to pick up Calcium, Sam-E, Glucosamine and thousands of other great vitamins and minerals to keep you happy and healthy throughout the holidays..."

Much better. Granted - not everyone’s going to relate to mistletoe (or vitamins, for that matter), but that’s kinda the point. This has been written to appeal to a certain audience. So it’s more personal which, in turn, makes it more inviting. It also addresses me by name and the language is friendly, casual and downright conversational. And the benefits are made clear from the very first paragraph.

Of course, if you’re selling high-tech thingamajigs to Fortune 500 CEOs, the style of your message will be altogether different. Suffice it to say you must understand your audience and speak to them in the phrasing and terminology they know. That fact is nothing new to seasoned copywriters.

Just remember: The message becomes your salesperson. Give it the appropriate "personality" and make it work for you. If it sounds like something that can be shouted from the rooftops for all the world to hear, something’s probably wrong. But if it reads as though you’re right across the table, you’re no doubt on the right track. This is only part of the equation, though...

Join me next week when we’ll get into the nuts and bolts, the real "nitty-gritty" of writing for the email landscape... from tips on punctuation to formatting to subject line "teasers." Good fun. So stay tuned for Part II.

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kim MacPherson

Kim MacPherson is President and Founder of Inbox Interactive, a full-service email marketing agency specializing in promotional copywriting, HTML design, planning, and deployment/tracking solutions. Kim is also the author of "Permission-Based E-mail Marketing That Works!"

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Email newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

Resources

Jobs

    • Digital Marketing Analyst
      Digital Marketing Analyst (GovLoop) - Washington D.C.Are you passionate about audience acquisition? Love effective copy and amazingly effective...
    • Product Specialist
      Product Specialist (Agora Inc. ) - BaltimoreDescription: The Product Specialist is hyper-focused on the customer experience and ensures that our...
    • Partnerships Senior Coordinator
      Partnerships Senior Coordinator (Zappos.com, Inc.) - Las VegasZappos IP, Inc. is looking for a Partnerships Senior Coordinator! Why join us? Our...