How to Write a Marketing Email

A marketing email differs from a newsletter or other type of business correspondence, in that you can use it as a tool for making a “hard sale.” That is, you’ll distribute a marketing email to have your recipients purchase something directly from the email body.

By contrast, a newsletter distributes company news and events, and is oriented to familiarizing someone with aspects of your business. Clearly, a specialized strategy is needed for a marketing email.

Here are a few guidelines to go by:

Define characteristics of the target market – what’s their age range, income level? What are their interests? What will appeal to them? Do they value a good deal or a sense of quality?

Think about your goal – next think about what you want the marketing email to accomplish. What is the goal of the email? Visit a landing page, make a phone call, buy a product?

Keep it brief – focus on the benefits. Readers tend to scan over longer emails and may miss some of the benefits. A business associate of mine once joked, “Yes, I have an MBA, it’s taught how to make a: bullet, bullet, bullet, button.” As self-effacing as this sounds, think about it: here’s an expert describing how to hook and sell, quickly and concisely. If your email consists of a few bullet points and a button, and that’s what sells….go for it.

Now that you know your target market and what they want, create a list of benefits that will appeal to them. Remember, you sell benefits, not features. The reader wants to know, “What’s in it for me?”  Offer a solution to a problem or tangible benefits.

Give the reader a special offer, discount, something free, or something exclusive. For example, “Special offer only for recipients of this email: 10% off.”

Create a sense of urgency by adding an expiration. Make the email good for a week at the most. This will help readers keep from procrastinating.

Make sure the recipient has an easy way to respond to your call to action: a big button, a phone number to call. If you can, create a special web page just for the email, to highlight the exclusiveness of the offer. You can also use this special web page to analyze its effectiveness as opposed to future promotions.