If you’re going to take the time to provide clients and prospects with an email newsletter, why on Earth would you make it look like spam? As a content marketer, I often sign up to receive newsletters from other content marketers I come across online, and I quite often am surprised at the cheesy subject lines in their emails. These three are real examples:
- “Just a quick thing”
- “Here’s the list”
This reminds me of the infamous ILOVEYOU spam email that messed with some companies when employees opened the file only to download a computer virus.
My advice is simple: do NOT write a subject line that looks like you are trying to trick people into opening your email. Many assert that email subject lines should entice, be quirky or somehow else spark curiosity.
My counter argument is it is better to be direct. People don’t have time for guessing games, even if it is a matter of milliseconds. Don’t keep them guessing; that is rude. Write it like a news headline to let the recipients quickly decide whether they care or not.
If you mislead them into opening an email they really don’t care about at all, they may be inspired to take that extra step to scroll down and click on UNSUBSCRIBE. Mission defeated.
When I post the contents of this blog to my newsletter the subject line might say, “Tips from the Quill of Adroit Narratives” and the subheading might say, “Digital Marketing Viewpoints.” My audience immediately knows what to expect and whether they want to read it, save it for later or delete it. Give them the choice rather than play cutesy.
Also, if the email is time sensitive, put the date certain in the subject line, such as 10% offer good through October 31. Again, don’t bury the most important information – the reason why you are sending the email – inside the email. Why send newsletters?
- To tell people about a special offer or sale
- To offer free advice to valued contacts
- To remain front of mind
- To survey the market about products and services
- To invite customers and prospects to an event, etc.
Note the list does not say to irritate people with irrelevant but whimsically packaged email with frothy content. Most of all, do your best to not look like you are the spawn of the spam devil.
Patience is a Virtue in Social Media
The beauty of social media is the ability to respond to the market in real-time. Indeed, Facebook rewards business pages with a responsive badge to show users that your business is likely to quickly answer questions posed on Facebook.
This can be maddening if you are besieged with questions, but answer you must. The real-time nature of social media and everything else in the digital world is a blessing and a curse.
A threshold question you may have when pummeled by inquiries is how do I decide who is my customer and how do I respond? If something is simply spammy, you have no obligation to respond. Take joy in deleting it.
But the bulk of the questions will be real and merit courteous if not thorough and warm responses. Remember to keep the social in social media and write in a voice that is friendly.
I recently worked on an event promotion project and the preponderance of questions and responses were enthusiastic and valid. They primarily wanted to know about the vendors and performances, and I readily dispensed the information. Occasionally someone wanted to get something about their own business posted or cross-posted to this event’s huge audience. I declined.
One of these inquiries was from a very ardent person who had a request that was somewhat unclear. I maintained a very polite, respectful tone, even when I had to say sorry, no. We were glad they came to the event anyway.
The funny thing is some of the weird questions that came in that were not specific to the event itself, such as can I bring my dog? (yes, it was in a public park) or is it going to rain? (um, there are a variety of news and weather outlets that provide meteorological forecasts). The best thing to do is pass along the most useful info you have at hand, including links to other sources like the parks department or a local news channel’s weather website. Keep it classy and keep it friendly.
The Right Person for the Content Job
If you are looking to create original content, be sure to start the search for material on the inside. You will want the marketing team to have special writing skills and creative talent. Just make sure they are leveraging your in-house subject-matter experts. These are the people who make, deliver or sell the product or service. Their primary job is not crafting the marketing content, but they can represent the product.
I had the privilege of participating in such an exercise this week. I went to a job site of a client to interview an expert. I had only spoken to this person on a conference call and was absolutely thrilled to see he is articulate and telegenic.
Given he was amenable, I recorded video of him on the job explaining the service being provided and then went back to my office to produce a video for social media that shows why people should retain this company’s services. This (hopefully) did not disrupt the actual work at hand and the expert was left to finish his work without having to be bothered with the marketing coordination.
For more marketing ideas, contact consultant Katharine Fraser of Adroit Narratives, LLC.