AWeber just launched our new mobile app, Curate. Why do I mention this in an article about metadata? Because Curate relies entirely on metadata to create beautiful, readable newsletters for our customers. Metadata is the life force behind Curate.
Writing for an automated campaign and writing for a one-off email is very different. In this post, we’re going to talk about one of my favorite email marketing terms; evergreen content (can’t you just smell the fresh trees? Oh, wait, wrong evergreens )
Evergreen vs. time-sensitive content
Evergreen content is content that is good for any subscriber, regardless of when they sign up to your list. You don’t want to include any time-sensitive content in an email that goes out automatically, because if someone signs up and the date of that time-sensitive content has passed, then the information is useless to them. For example, take a look at this Campaign:
Email #1 – Welcome to our email club!
Email #2 – Any questions, let us know
Email #3 – All products on our site 50% in April!
Email #4 – Let’s get shopping – our full product list
See the dilemma? In Email #3, we sent out a message that talked about a sale happening this month; but what happens when this month ends? Well, if this is set up as our automated campaign, that email will either keep going out whenever anyone signs up (even after April has passed and the sale is over), or we’ll have to go into our Campaign and manually change that. Sure, we could do the latter, but that kind of defeats the purpose of automated emails, doesn’t it?
Start with a welcome email
Here’s a great example of a welcome email from Wistia:
What does the above email do right?
- It’s warm and welcoming
- There’s a link to contact them
- There are also links to their site, blog and even Twitter
In summary – this email welcomes you, offers reassurance by giving you a way to contact them if you need help, and makes it easy to navigate the content that they offer.
So what is evergreen content?
Let’s say we run a business, I don’t know, we’ll call it AWeber. AWeber is a service that provides solutions to email marketing needs. What would a campaign look like, say one that goes out to new AWeber customers, and made up entirely of evergreen content?
Email #1 – Welcome to AWeber!
Email #2 – Here’s the 5 things you need to know about email marketing
Email #3 – Need help? We’re a phone call or click away!
Email #4 – Set up your first Campaign
Here we’re delivering useful content, and it doesn’t matter when someone sign up to our list; the content will still be useful to them.
Have an end goal
Your automated series probably won’t go on forever. With that in mind, you’ll want to include some type of call-to-action during and at the end of your campaign. Consider what your campaign has been about, and what it’s been building up to. Are you trying to build a community? Sell something? That will impact what your call to action will be.
Here’s a great example of a call-to-action email from LeadPages:
What does the above email do right?
- It gets right to the point – not too wordy
- Multiple calls-to-action
- Links to their blog
In summary – This email gets straight to the point, reinforcing the reason to click the call-to-action (love the multiple calls-to-action as well) and invites you to continue the conversation on their blog.
Resources for creating your automated email campaign
- How to get started with email automation
- How to create an awesome welcome campaign
- How to use autoresponders to write an email course
Want to learn more about writing for an automated Campaign?
Be sure to join us this Tuesday, April 26th at 3pm ET for our webinar where we’ll talk more about writing for your automated Campaign!
Have you ever received an email that you had to read several times to understand its meaning? And, even then, you still weren’t sure what the heck it was about?
There’s a good chance that the meaning in that message was lost because it was rife with spelling, grammar and general language errors. The person behind the email meant well, they just didn’t take the time to review their content to make sure it would make sense for you – their audience.
Sadly, this happens a lot – especially with marketing emails.
That’s why we teamed up with Grammarly to find out what people really think about emails with errors like these. We asked Grammarly’s 6.2 million Facebook followers if spelling and grammar mistakes in marketing emails leave them with a negative impression of a brand.
Not surprisingly, 97 percent of the people we polled said yes. They said a lot of other things, too.
“YES. When I see the first error, I hit DELETE.” – Rick Wright
“I can’t help but switch off when I see this. It applies to any writing. I instantly lose interest, not consciously, but irreversibly frown emoticon.” – Audrey Stevenson
“If the grammar and spelling of an email is off, then I instantly dismiss it as a scam. I won’t even finish reading it before I delete it.” – Freyja Weust
You get the picture. Your emails are a reflection of you. Here’s why you should pay extra attention to what you write in your emails and a few best practices for writing better emails.
Your email subscribers care about details
“If a company can’t spell or use grammar correctly, how could I trust how useful their product/service is?” – Barry Lindstrom
“More companies should invest time and money in the hiring of copy editors and proofreaders.” – Penny Cornett
As a Content Marketing Specialist and strict grammarian, I have to give Penny a virtual high-five.
Even if the difference between “your” and “you’re” isn’t a big deal to you (although I think it should be), your subscribers will notice. And they will judge you.
Why does this matter?
Well, in the early stages of your relationship with your subscribers – your welcome email campaign, for example – your subscribers are still getting to know you. You have to earn their trust. Those first few emails are critical for making a good first impression.
An error in your first email (or welcome email) could mean the difference between an unsubscribe and a continued, profitable relationship with your subscriber.
Like Barry said above, if you don’t pay attention to detail in your emails, people won’t trust you to pay attention to detail in your products, either.
Not everybody is down with “text speak…”
“My sister and I once tried to set up a cellular phone for our aged mother. We were both confounded when asked to ‘Punch in your deets.’ I was left wondering what insecticide had to do with a cell phone and how on earth I was expected to punch it into a computer without destroying it.” – Dan Marchant
Like it or not, the way we communicate is changing. Elements of “text speak” – that is, abbreviations and slang like peeps, LOL and emojis – are creeping their way into marketing emails. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and sometimes adding an emoji to your subject line can boost your open rates.
But before you get wild with taco emojis and LOLs in your email content, ask yourself: Will this resonate with my audience? And: Are these elements enhancing my message?
Here are a few examples of brands using casual language and emojis:
In these examples, the subject line is personal. It’s almost as if the email is coming from a friend. This has become a fairly common email marketing tactic, and it can increase your open rates.
These brands know their audiences well, so they know that personal, relaxed language resonates with them.
But tread carefully: if you use language that doesn’t resonate with your subscribers, your message may be lost on them. Get to know your audience first so you can figure out what voice and tone works best for them.
If you’re wondering what kind of language will work best for your subscribers, just ask! Send them a survey with a few language examples and ask which is their favorite.
…or language that borders on profanity, for that matter.
A casual vibe in your emails is one thing, but using profanity is another. Even if you have the most laid-back subscribers on the planet, think twice before dropping an f-bomb. (And yes, it does happen.)
“These may be provocative, [but] it is mass marketing. Not everyone will be secular, potty-mouthed or understand the slang. Alienating people should not be part of your brand.” – Katie Westlake-Waugh
While pushing the envelope may work for some, disrespecting your subscribers is never ok.
Without quality writing, the meaning of your email content is lost
Sometimes one small error can change the entire meaning of your message. Take Bill’s example:
“I wouldn’t want to change the claim on the filo dough package – “does not brake.” This helps speed me along when I’m baking. Most other errors reduce credibility for me.” – Bill Blackburn
Bill’s filo dough is virtually unstoppable. But I don’t think that’s what the company behind that package was trying to convey.
Here’s another example:
“I once got an email titled something like ‘SALE PEEPS!’ I remember thinking, this company is selling Peeps? You know, the marshmallow bird things? It turned out they were just trying an experiment in marketing. I emailed them to let them know it was not appreciated.” – Michelle Hanzel
Misspellings and unclear language – intentional or not – can completely change the meaning of your email. When you have something important to say, be as clear as possible. This isn’t the time to get creative. Your email content should drive people to your call-to-action so they can buy your product or learn more about you.
3 ways to write better email content
Take your time
When you’re stoked about promoting a new product, service or event, it’s so tempting write an email super fast and hit send without a second thought. Next time this happens, stop for a moment and ask yourself if your email can wait a few hours or even a few days.
In most cases, there are more benefits to holding off on sending the email because you’ll have more time to refine your message. Try creating an email editorial calendar to better plan your emails in advance – here’s how to do it.
Get a copy editor
Spellcheck and autocorrect are helpful, but they’re no substitute for human feedback. Even if your message is short, ask a friend or colleague to give it a read. You never know what kind of insight you’ll get from a fresh pair of eyes.
Want to add an extra layer of safety to prevent spelling and grammar gaffes? Try a browser plug-in like this one to automatically scan your email content for possible errors.
Own up to your mistakes
So you’ve made a mistake. Now what? Sending an apology email can help you save face whether you’ve accidently sent your subscribers a test email or included the wrong date or link in your email.
In your apology email, come clean about the error and give your subscribers the correct information. If you can, extend a virtual olive branch with a coupon code on your subscribers’ next purchase.
Need more help writing emails?
Figuring out what to write in your emails is half the battle. That’s why we created the What to Write in Your Emails course and templates. You’ll learn what to write in your autoresponders, broadcasts and more. Sign up for your free course and you’ll get 20+ email templates right away.
Join us for a Twitter chat!
Does your company keep email addresses? Do you use them to send out regular e-mail alerts to get returning customers? If you don’t send out email newsletters you are loosing out on a great marketing tool to reach your Cincinnati and Northern KY customers. E-mail marketing can be done through CRM tools such as Sales Force, Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, and Feed Blitz.
83% of customers who receive an email spend 43% more on purchases
Does that number sound good? You bet it does! Don’t loose your customers by failing to perform e-mail marketing. Contact Portal Planet to see how your e-mail campaigns can be branded for your companies look and feel.