"By taking a very conversational approach to my emails, I'll get dozens of replies to my weekly updates," said Ryan Robinson, a marketing consultant, in a post from the email marketing company Delivra. They asked 20 experts Their Best Advice on Engaging Email That Converts. "By building that genuine connection over weeks and months, without constantly blasting hardcore sales emails their way, I'm able to capture their true attention..."
The New York Times also encouraged a "more conversational writing style" in its most recent report—Journalism That Stands Apart, The Report of the 2020 Group—to get more with the "lingua franca of the Internet."
In addition, the Times addressed the importance of varying the look of your digital content. "We have dozens of regularly appearing features built for the print edition but not enough for a digital ecosystem," the report says. "We need more journalistic forms that make The Times a habit... through email newsletters, alerts, FAQs, scoreboards, audio, video and forms yet to be invented."
Here are 9 more tips on shaping email content from Delivra's post and beyond:
1. "Use the #1 question people ask you as the subject line of your next email," said Andy Crestodina, co-founder & CMO, Orbit Media Studios. "It's simple, powerful and the article is probably already written."
2. Improve content value, Sinkinson advised. Make your content specifically about reader needs—problems and opportunities—not just about things—news, industry analysis or data. [Your job is to] help readers solve problems and realize aspirations. Transform your service into a consultancy focused on customer needs.
3. Ask "What's in it for me?" "My top strategy for email copy is to ultimately ask yourself whether your copy answers this one critical question for your intended recipients: 'What's in it for me?'" said Scott Cohen, VP of marketing, InboxArmy. "Whether your copy is short and sweet and drives action on a big call to action or long-winded, funny, and/or informative, answering WIIFM should be your copy driver."
4. Highlight a problem your audience has and address it, said Robert Skrob, who literally wrote the book on Member Retention and emails to address it. "I often discover there are two or three quick wins you can implement within a week [of people joining] to lower churn immediately."
5. Be timely, concise and mysterious. "To me, an engaging email is going to be 3 things: 1. timely, 2. as concise as possible, and 3. somewhat mysterious," said Jenn Lisak, president & CEO, Sapphire Strategy. "Some of the best emails I've seen have made you wonder what's in them, and they get to the point quickly."
6. Offer advice. "Our readers are hungry for advice from The Times. Too often, we don't offer it, or offer it only in print-centric forms," the Times report said. "We expect that the bigger opportunities are in providing guidance rather than traditional features."
7. Create something the customer can't get anywhere else, wrote Skrob. To maintain your member's interest, you need to keep your content unique and necessary. He cites Inside Mortgage Finance's ability to publish valuable statistics and B2B news for residential mortgage executives, and constantly update their data content.
8. Research and empathy, said John McIntyre, founder, The McMethod. "Know your market....their hopes, dreams, fears and pains, and create content that fits that. Great copy always begins with research."
9. Get people in the right frame of mind to make a purchase. "We think about what's readily available to us, what's relevant," said consultant Nancy Harhut. "You want to get people to think of a time in their past where they could have used your product or service or think of a time in the future when it would it fit into their lifestyle."