There’s a lot of logic that goes into developing an automated email campaign. However, when it comes to the content, logic sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. I suspect that’s due in part to crafting these email messages as one offs, and focusing more on the campaign as a whole and not on the pieces and how they should work together.
Yet, this content has to be really, really good in order to realize the benefits automated emails can provide. The content must be really good as standalone messages and as messages working together as a coherent whole.
How’s your automated email content? Does it intrigue readers and compel action? Or could it be better? To help you improve and maximize the effectiveness of that content, we’ve pulled together a list of 16 ways you can improve the content in your automated emails…
- Be clear on your goal, both for the campaign and for each separate email in the automated email campaign. Perhaps the goal of the campaign is a meeting scheduled with a sales rep, and downloading assets are the “mini goals” for the standalone messages. What does the end look like, ideally? Work backward from there.
- Label with logic! Choose a naming system for labeling the emails and stick to it. It must make sense to other people too. If someone can’t look at the label and know exactly where that email fits into the grand scheme, there’s a problem, and you’re setting yourself up for headaches when content needs updating. Be consistent (and picky!) with any assets you might be promoting too. If the name of a whitepaper is Corporate Travel Guide, then use that as part of the label and not some variation on a theme like Latest Business Asset. Also try to avoid anything that makes a label obsolete such as dates.
- Lead the recipients down a path. Think of each email in the series as another signpost or stepping stone that is slowly but surely leading the recipient toward your end goal (see #1).
- Stick to a series of little yeses. Rather than go for a big ask early on, determine little yeses you can go for instead. By a little yes, I mean a low-risk or risk-free call to action, such as reading a blog post, downloading a guide or watching a short video. The more often the recipient says “yes” to a little ask and likes what they get, the more likely they are to say “yes” to a big ask when it comes.
- Be targeted. Know who these people are, how they got into this campaign, and what they likely need. Don’t let your emails be about your brand or your company or anything big and generic like that. Stay uber focused on content you deem to be targeted to this audience based on the action that triggered the campaign—and all of the research you have done prior to this point, of course.
- Be relevant. Along those same lines, stick to the point—the point as your recipient sees it and thinks about it, not how you do. You as the marketer see things from a different perspective when compared to a prospect or customer. Stay relevant to their mindset, not yours. Talk about their problems, their challenges, their everyday issues…then you can talk about your solution in a relevant way.
- Take relevancy to the next level and be customer centric. Your automated email campaign is meant to help you sell stuff when all is said and done. But your content has to be customer-centric, talking about their wants, needs or problems as they see them…and offering solutions in a manner that fits the customer’s mindset. In short, you have to put the customer first.
- Keep these messages short. The emails in your automated campaign should be short and to the point, with easy-to-grasp messages. If you’re covering more than one topic in an email, you probably need another email.
- Keep your subject lines consistent. When you’re sending a series of emails, you’ll begin to develop a familiarity in the inbox when your subject lines are consistent in style. You could even number the emails in the subject lines!
- Make it sequential. Rather than crafting several stand-alone email messages, make sure the emails read well in sequence. If you want to save time by re-using content from one automated email campaign in another, that’s okay as long as you tweak the messaging to fit exactly into the sequence you’re dropping them into.
- Make this sequence logical. What is a logical thought pattern for a prospect as they get these emails from you? In what order should your information be presented to make the most sense?
- Pick up where you left off. See above where we said make it sequential? One way to ensure this is to reference the previous email. Go ahead and use wording such as, “In our last email to you, we….” If they didn’t open the last email, you’ll be reminding them that you sent one, and you might even make them curious what they missed!
- Use obvious calls to action. You should be asking for something in every email (but see our advice on little “yeses” above). Make these asks obvious and direct, not wishy washy.
- Tell a story. If you think of your email messages as a series of snippets that must add up to one comprehensive story, you’ll write them in a sequential way that leads the prospect along. And you just might make them more interesting too!
- Be human. No matter what you’re marketing with this automated email series, your messages will have more impact if they read like a human wrote them…especially a human who cares!
- Be on brand. And you can be human and still be on brand, right?
Whether you already have automated email campaigns up and running or it’s on your agenda for 2016 to do so, use these tips to improve the content of your emails. Automated emails might be “set it and forget it,” but don’t let that lead to crappy content. Because you don’t want to automate something sub par, right? Put some or all of this advice into practice instead.