Email marketing is not dead. Far from it. In fact, email marketing remains one of the most powerful ways for you to grow your business and generate new leads. But here’s the catch - it’s harder than ever. Consumers are too savvy for you to follow a set of ‘best practices’ and expect results. Instead, by creating email copy around psychological triggers, you’ll speak directly to your entire audience, not a segment of them. That’s how you stay on the cutting edge of email marketing. And here’s how you do it.
Are you currently using email marketing to connect with your list of subscribers, attract site traffic, and drive tangible business outcomes?
While new technology has created new opportunities for businesses to connect with their audience - both existing and potential, email marketing remains a highly effective and proven way to nurture leads and turn prospects into sales.
The figures don’t lie.
At least 99% of consumers check their email daily.
While people who purchase products through email have been shown to spend 138% more than those who don’t receive email offers.
To take this a step further, email marketing has an average order value 3x higher than the average order value seen through social media.
Still, simply reaching out to your subscribers isn’t the definition of success. Inboxes in 2019 are more crowded than ever. It requires great skill and understanding of consumer behavior to turn interest into action. That’s the definition of success.
If you regularly run email marketing campaigns, you probably find yourself writing a significant amount of copy. With no shortage of resources available, it would be easy to tap into the latest personalisation guide or try to uncover a ground-breaking new approach to email marketing.
But while those techniques may work on a section of your audience, what about the rest?
Wouldn’t it be more effective to skip trends and fads, and speak directly to the minds of your ENTIRE audience?
That’s where effective persuasion comes in. By speaking to the psychology of consumers, you’ll be able to combine compelling copy with proven psychological triggers to turn your list of passive subscribers into highly engaged customers.
Effective persuasion might have once conjured up images of sleazy salespeople or hustlers tricking the unexpected. In 2019 this term refers to a widely used approach to email marketing that puts the needs of your audience first.
In modern-day marketing and sales, effective persuasion means sifting through masses of people to find the ones that need what you offer. Then using the right language to prove to them you’re worth paying attention to.
Persuasion is most powerful when it’s used on people that will truly benefit from your services.
You don’t turn a ‘no’ to a ‘yes’. You change uncertainty into certainty.
Effective persuasion involves the use of benefits-driven language and supporting facts or statistics to increase a prospects confidence in you, your company, and your product. And email is one of the most powerful mediums to use this for.
But before we talk about how to write copy that converts, let’s talk about the effective persuasion and the psychology that will drive your success.
Treat people how you want to be treated. Give before you take. Walk a mile in their shoes.
Somewhere along the line, marketers have forgotten these basic human principles. This is what builds trust and shows to your prospect that you're not there to just take their money and run.
If you offer a potential customer something, no matter how small, that act alone may be enough to give something in exchange.
A common example is a free gift or discount code.
Give your email subscribers a valuable gift that benefits them personally. By gifting them something via email you’ll create goodwill that will help advance your goals when it comes time to ask for something in return.
People are inherently lazy.
As Newton’s first law of motion states, an object will remain at rest until acted upon by an external force. You need to be that external force.
While your prospect might know that your product or service is exactly what they need to solve the problems they are facing, they may still put it off unless you inspire them to take action. Don’t wait for them to set a reminder to check it out again. Force their hand.
This is where scarcity, last-minute deals, bonus offers, and storytelling come into play.
According to Diego Varoli, email marketing expert at Search It Local, it’s important not to overuse this tactic in an attempt to inspire action. He notes, “while overly used scarcity tactics like “Only 6 left, purchase now!” might increase conversions over the short-term, these may harm your brand image over time. Instead, if you’re opting to use scarcity, use real scarcity that isn’t going to be there when they check out your site a few weeks later.”
Some examples of ethical and effective scarcity tactic that inspires action include:
You should always position yourself as an expert in your field.
If you are experiencing pain, would you listen to a doctor or to a plumber? And if your toilet wasn’t working, who would you go to?
Whatever pain your reader is facing, you want to be their expert.
However, authority takes time to develop. Every email you send should be adding to your sense of authority. This could be the tone that you use, the information that you give, and the personal experiences you reveal.
The best way to establish authority is to create good-will with your readers (the first principle of persuasion).
While it may seem counter-intuitive, giving away your prized secrets can actually turn you into an authority and create an unbreakable sense of trust. Most companies want to hide what works for them, but what customers often pay for is convenience.
They don’t want to do it themselves. So by revealing this information you’ll create goodwill, reveal the extent of your knowledge, and start building a lasting rapport.
When working with a company, people want to know they’re legitimate and won’t disappear on them after a few months.
By being consistent you show your readers that you will be there when they need you. This could mean publishing content at the same time every week or sending a weekly email newsletter.
An efficient way to do this is to use email automation and drip campaigns. You write your emails in advance and put them into an automated system which will later send them as scheduled.
But depending on your audience and the product or service you sell, the frequency will be different. For example, a lifestyle brand that’s building a tribe may send more frequent emails. This will be appreciated by their audience. But if you operate a funeral service, let’s just say that your audience won’t want to be hearing from you too often.
Speak to your audience and find out how often they want to hear from you. Ask them what content they like and give it to them.
It really is that simple.
You have probably heard of the term ‘rapport’ in sales.
In fact it’s become somewhat of a buzzword that marketers use without ever really driving home why it’s so important. Don’t let the saturation of this word convince you to disregard it when writing email copy.
Even in writing, building rapport with your reader is vital. While you can’t mirror your prospect using touch or any other physical device, you can create a genuine connection with your reader.
How do you create a genuine connection with someone through the screen?
One powerful method to do this is to show your reader that you understand them. Call out the pains and struggles they are facing. Reveal your personal experiences when facing the same struggles yourself. Finally, show them how you overcame the struggles that you both share.
Another strategy to build on this rapport, is to mention common interests. If you know that your target audience follows a particular influencer, make reference to them in your examples.
Customise this to your audience and segment your readership to make it as relevant to each reader as possible.
One of the core desires of every human being is to belong.
No one wants to be criticized, left out, or made to feel different. This is why big brands grow bigger without effort, why trends go viral, and why testimonials are so powerful.
By including testimonials, you have the opportunity to show your readers that people just like them have benefited from your product or service. For example, if you’re emailing a student, show them the experience of other students. If you’re emailing a CMO in a fortune 500 company, highlight a similar client with corporate needs.
You can never have too many testimonials or reviews.
When you show that plenty of other people have made the same decision that your prospects are considering making, the hesitation of your prospects decreases. In this way, it becomes easier for them to make that decision.
Remember, effective persuasion isn’t a gimmick or a trick. It’s about writing content for people first. And is centred on helping your reader make the decisions they should already be making.
Quick tips to create a sense of belonging:
Leverage these 6 principles and use them to create the overall strategy of your email campaigns.
Then, add on top of this a layer of powerful copywriting techniques that tug at the emotions of your readers and multiplies the effectiveness of your message.
But remember, it won’t matter how you write your copy if your main message isn’t powerful. You won’t see the results you want unless you use the 6 principles of effective persuasion, with the following techniques of effective persuasion.
Focus on the strategies above before you layer these additional copywriting tactics below.
You may have the most important message in the world. You may have the solution to all your customer’s problems. Plus the exact product they need to transform their lives.
That STILL doesn’t mean you’ll make a difference.
If they don’t read your message, how will they know you can help them?
Entertaining email copy is an important factor in securing conversions. You need to hook your reader by the cheek at first sight. Then you need to reel them in without letting any slack on the line.
The moment you ease off, even a little bit, your reader is going to shake their head and close your email.
Writing is a skill that takes time to develop. But there are persuasive shortcuts you can use to instantly give your words more flavor. And to keep your readers around long enough to get your message across.
Here are 5 effective persuasive writing techniques to make your writing pop and to start delivering email copy that actually converts.
What’s more appealing…
A freshly cut lawn or the intoxicating scent of a freshly cut lawn?
Clean skin or the silky touch of smooth, clean skin?
Gemstones or the sparkle and shine of a delicately crafted gemstone?
A guitar or the pounding reverberations of a rocking bass guitar?
See the difference? The subject matter stays the same. But the way you describe it can become transformative.
Use language that tingles the senses and creates images in the minds of your readers.
Whether it is through touch, smell, sound, taste, or sight, whenever you are able to use language that can tap into those faculties, do it! By using the senses, your reader can imagine the product or service already in their hands.
Consider the following email copy from Uber - promoting their UberEats partnership with Subway. They realized an email meant their audience wouldn’t get to see freshly prepared ingredients, or smell freshly baked bread. So Uber brings the power of sensory words to their subscriber’s inbox.
Instead of just saying “salted caramel”, Uber uses concrete and sensory-driven language like “buttery cookie”, “mouth-watering Salted Caramel” and imagery of that same sweet caramel being contrasted by surprise “bursts of salt”.
Feeling hungry yet?
This email copy is an example of multiple tools of effective persuasion with the injection of scarcity - ‘the new cookie is available for a limited time only’, used alongside sensory words to drive home the message in the most powerful way possible.
The use of imagination in your email copy will help readers picture themselves using your product or service. This will make them think about how they would feel and look if they owned the product you offer and will make their mental wheels turn.
The question is: what if your customers cannot physically hold what you are selling?
The next best thing is to help them imagine holding it. For example, consider the following examples of email copy that evokes the imagination and generate a powerful mental image in your mind.
Instead of saying “save time”, courier service Sendle engages your imagination with “don’t waste hours in the post office line”. If you’ve sent parcels at your local post office, you’re probably familiar with those long lines.
Imagine standing in a line. You’ve been stationary for what feels like an hour. Your feet are tired and you’re getting frustrated. It’s not a tough mental image to form, as it’s likely we’ve all been there.
“Don’t waste hours in the post office line”.
Sendle just painted a picture of leaving that line, sending your package, and having all the time you need for yourself.
That’s the power of evoking imagination.
Small injections of key words can elevate your email copy.
If you use the word “because” in your email copy it creates a sense of purpose for your business.
Why? Because you will not only be telling your potential customers how wonderful and unique your product is. But also providing a justification for this belief and giving them reasons to believe you.
This isn’t something marketers have dreamt up either. This is grounded in science.
A professor of psychology at Harvard, Ellen Langer, published a study in 1978 that highlights this principle. She used research subjects that attempted to cut in front of a line of people who were waiting to use a copier. In the first instance, the person that was pushing in asked “May I use the copier?” and 63% allowed them to cut in line and go first. In the second instance, the person pushing in asked, “May I use the copier because I need to make copies?” and 94% allowed them to go first.
In spite of the fact that everyone was in line for the same purpose of making copies, there was a considerable increase in the number of people that allowed somebody to go ahead in line when the word “because” was added to the request.
You can incorporate this same principle in your email copy. Rather than just tell your audience what you want them to do, explain why they should do it.
Simplifying your process will always increase your chances of conversion. No one wants to be made to jump through endless hoops or connect the dots for themselves.
Consider how using the word “because” helps the following business create a bridge between where their audience is and where they want them to go.
The inclusion of the word “because” helps reinforce the logic behind the purchase and the necessity of the purchase. It bridges the gap between where you are and where you want someone to go.
The only thing left for a prospect to do...is to make the purchase.
Sound bites are pieces of copy that linger in your reader’s mind. They’re memorable and stick in your brain. This turns passing interest into lasting thought and can help your business grow in the minds of your audience, without you ever having to follow up with them.
Repetition and rhyme are two key elements of sound bites, though they’re not the only examples.
In fact, studies have revealed that rhymes can help increase the believability of messages while repetition helps create a form of mesmerism.
Sound bites not only roll off the tongue in a way that’s audibly pleasing but also ensure that messages are more memorable.
You have probably seen this strategy being used, though you may not have been aware of why it was so pleasing to see, hear and read. Commercials use repeating phone numbers or rhyming for jingles time and time again in the short time the ad runs.
You may not have purchased any of the following brands, but there’s a good chance you know what they do based on their instantly memorable slogans…
Notice how sound bites including alliteration and repetition it becomes catchier and becomes instantly more memorable?
If you give your reader an easy message to recite and remember you can write better email copy.
Storytelling is a great way to foster a sense of connection, start breaking the sales barrier and sweep the reader into an alternative world.
Why is this important? According to research, if readers are able to imagine themselves in the story you create using your sales copy, your sales messages will start to stick.
Storytelling is a critical part of human existence and has been since the start of time. It was used for passing along lessons, cultural heritage, as well as important events.
, For this reason, it resonates strongly with the human experience. If your readers can relate to your tale’s protagonist, they are more likely to follow the hero’s lead. This is because they can picture themselves as being in the story too.
Due to the value placed on stories, it is critical to incorporate narrative form into your email copy.
Marketers that have not mastered the art of storytelling today cannot easily create content that can stand out from the crowd.
So make storytelling your focus.
Perfecting your email copy is a mixture of art and science.
High-converting copy is the perfect blend of both.
Using the secrets of effective persuasion you can improve the quality of your email copy and increase your click-through-rates too.
Remember though, you’re not the only one competing for space and attention in the inbox of your audience.
Don’t take your audience for granted. Put the necessary effort into each email and continue to prove that your email is worth their time.
What worked last year doesn’t necessarily work this year. And what worked last week might not work next week. So use the psychology of effective persuasion to test and see what works and what doesn’t.
Email marketing can boost your brand, generate leads and drive sales. But only when executed flawlessly.
So get out there and start executing.
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Published on 07/29/2019 by Alexander Porter.
Alexander J Porter is Head of Copy for Search It Local - Sydney’s boutique agency with bold visions. Bringing a creative flair to everything that he does, he wields words to weave magic connections between brands and their buyers. With extensive experience as a content writer, he is constantly driven to explore the way language can strike consumers like lightning.