Writing Short, Powerful Emails
That Inspire Action

Today I'd like to tell you about one of the most useful skills I've picked up as a copywriter.

  • When I wrote combined B2B and B2C copy for a technology career training publisher, I used this skill to drive sales of millions of dollars worth of training every year
  • When I write financial, self-help, and business opportunity long-copy promos today, I use this skill to get maximum readership for my promos (which leads to maximum sales)
  • For my self-publishing project, I've used this skill to set up an automatic system for converting website visitors into buyers — a system that has made me far more sales and profits than if I'd not applied this skill

So, what's this skill?

How To Write Short, Powerful Emails To Inspire Action

That's right. One of the most useful skills I've learned as a copywriter is how to write emails that get responses. I'm not even talking about big, long-copy sales letters that you send out through email. I'm talking about short ones — between 150 and 1,000 words.

The goal of an email like this isn't necessarily to make the sale. Instead, these emails get people interested enough that they'll click a link in the email that takes them to a sales message.

How valuable are these emails?


Let's say, for instance, that you have a sales letter landing page that converts 1 in every 100 visitors into a customer.

Let's also say you have an email list of 10,000 people you can send a marketing email to.

Keeping the math simple here, a poorly-written marketing email may get 1 out of every 100 people on your list to click-through and go to the landing page. At this rate, 100 out of the 10,000 people on your list visit the landing page and you make 1 sale.

Now, if your short marketing email is just a little bit better, it's possible it could get 2 out of every 100 people to go the landing page. This means 200 people go to the landing page and you make 2 sales. You double your sales from the same 10,000 emails!

Of course, if you get really good at writing these emails that get people to click-through and view a landing page, your numbers could be more like 10, 20, or 50 out of every 100 people who read your email click-through to view the landing page. Then you're making 10, 20, or 50 times the sales from the same 10,000 emails …

And, that's not even counting the fact that if you do a really good job in this short marketing email, you can actually increase the conversion rate on the landing page. What I mean by this is: while the average may be that 1 out of every 100 visitors buys from your landing page, 2, 3, or 10 out of every 100 who come to the landing page after reading your turbo-powered marketing email may buy. Think of how this multiplies the profits!

So, yes — these emails are extremely valuable.

The Secret To Writing Short Emails To Maximize Response

Let me just come right out with a shameless plug here and tell you — if you go through my friend and colleague Jay White's Autoresponder Apprentice program, you'll be 95% of the way to writing blockbuster short marketing emails, and the other 5% you'll only get by practicing what you've learned on real-world marketing campaigns.

Alongside Jay's program, I have a few ideas to help you maximize response from these short marketing emails:

  • Make sure your subject line is on target. Nobody's going to click-through from your email unless they read it. And, they won't read it unless the subject line convinces them it's worth reading. Personalization with the prospect's name almost always increases open rates, and using the 4 U’s® to measure your headline is a good way to make sure you're headed in the right direction.
  • Use a testimonial for your email. If you get a smoking hot testimonial from a customer, why not turn it into a marketing email? (With permission, of course.) Simply introduce the testimonial, and direct readers to your sales page … It's easy, and the proof drives sales!
  • Tell a story in your email. Have an interesting story you can tie back to your product? These are among the most engaging emails — and make people always want to read more from you.
  • Use a news item for your email. Tying a marketing message to a current news item keeps you fresh and relevant to your prospects. Why not give your take on something big the prospect is already hearing about? Link it back to the product or promotion and you're on your way to making the sale (this is especially big in financials where the news affects the market every day).
  • Give away a tip in your email. Have a how-to information product? This strategy works particularly well. Simply pull one small tip from the product, and rewrite it as an email. Give away half the tip, and tell the reader the rest is in the product. I use this strategy extensively, for phenomenal results.
  • Provide new proof in your email. Have you dug up proof such as a statistic, a success story, a demonstration, or some other powerful way to show the validity of your claims? Focus on that one single proof item in your email, and the reader will be conditioned to believe the sales message you link them to.
  • Stir urgency in your email. Limited time offers, or other reasons to act immediately, are good reasons to send a marketing email. You can send out emails that are simply reminders of a deadline — with the reason to act now — and get tremendous response.
  • Emphasize your guarantee or free trial. Guarantees and free trials sell. Period. If it's buried in a sales letter, some prospects will miss it — and not respond as a result. You can fix this by writing a short email emphasizing the risk-free nature of your offer, and get these prospects to take action.
  • Feature a big benefit in your email. If you're writing a series of autoresponders or other marketing emails, it's a great opportunity to focus on benefits one-by-one. We all respond for different reasons, and each benefit will target different readers. Write each benefit email to show how your product or service fulfills that exact benefit, and prove it, then link readers back to your sales letter.
  • Get an endorsement for your email. What you say about your products isn't as valuable as what others say. So, if you can land an endorsement from someone credible, send that endorsement out via email to your prospect list. Simply introduce the endorser, copy and paste their endorsement, and give a link to the product they're endorsing.

Each of these tips will help you write emails that get maximum response. And, if you're writing autoresponders or another type of ongoing email series, you can mix and match multiple strategies to keep your messages fresh, interesting, and to make more sales and profits.

This article, Writing Short, Powerful Emails That Inspire Action, was originally published by Wealthy Web Writer.

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Published: December 15, 2010

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