One of the most important skills an email marketer can have is the ability to create an email message which captures it's reader's attention and piques their interest.
This in itself is an art form as, to be successful in email marketing you have to be able to create messages which are interesting enough to be opened and read, whilst not triggering the spam filtering systems of the popular email providers. You also need your message to be persuasive enough, in the case of sales motivated emails, to inspire the reader to buy your product, whilst at the same time not being inaccurate or exaggerating.
Personally, the types of emails I send can be separated into 2 main categories. The first category is those emails which I send to people who aren't already on my autoresponder list (ie. cold prospects on 3rd party email lists) and the second is the emails I send to my existing subscribers.
With both categories of email message I base the structure of the message on the well known marketing acronym 'AIDA', that is, 'Attention, Interest, Desire and Action'. The message should be structured so as to first capture attention, then pique interest, then create a feeling of desire in the reader, by which I mean a desire to solve a problem they have eg. to get quality online advertising if they haven't already got enough and then finally to inspire an action, which could be to subscribe to my email newsletter or, in the case of an existing subscriber, to buy a product or promote one of my products as an affiliate.
There are differences in the type of email I send to each category of prospect. When I send an email to my existing subscribers I use a generic 'opener' type of subject line. By this I mean that the subject line must be attention grabbing but does NOT need to be laser targeted to the product I am promoting in the email. An example would be something like:
'Are You Ready for the TRUTH? This will Shock You...'
The subject line is vague and doesn't disclose the nature of the email message but it does leave the reader with unanswered questions - it piques curiosity. Obviously, some readers will ignore it but quite a large portion of the people who read a message like that will wonder what it is about and open it.
When I send an email to a list belonging to someone else, whether it is another marketer or an online advertising site, I never use a generic 'opener'. This is because I only ever promote lead capture pages when I mail to people who aren't already on my mailing list and I want the people who join my mailing list to be people who have an interest in the types of product I sell. Therefore the subject line has to be targeted to grab the attention of people with this interest.
For example, recently I have been promoting a ready-built sales funnel which was designed to show people how to be more successful affiliate marketers. One of the subject lines I have been using for this funnel, promoted to people who are NOT already my subscribers reads as follows:
'Create an Unlimited Income by GIVING People Useful Information.'
This subject line tells people what the product is about so that people who open this message are 'in the market' for the product promoted inside the funnel.
As regards the body of your email, the part of the email that people see when they have clicked on the subject line, this should be structured according to it's purpose. If your email is intended to give your subscribers information and build a relationship with them it should contain relevant information that will actually help them and it should be clear and easy to read, there should be no excessively long paragraphs as there are a lot of people who have a very low attention span when it comes to reading text and you don't want to bore them.
If the body of your email is intended to get people to click a link inside your email which takes them to your lead capture page, then a short, punchy email which entices people to click the link to learn more has always worked best for me. For example:
Want to find out how to make money on the internet just by giving
people useful information that really helps them?
Click here for more details.
The email is short and to the point, it aims to create lots of intrigue and contains a strong call to action.
As regards emails which are intended to sell your products or products you are promoting as an affiliate, you should only ever send these to people who are already on your subscriber list. In this instance a longer email usually works better as you need to tell your reader why the product is something they need that solves a problem you know they have (for an internet marketing product this could be 'not getting enough traffic' or for a health product it could be 'needing to get fitter'). It is also important that this email is honest. For example if you are promoting a downloadable workout and dieting guide you shouldn't tell them it will enable them to get a beach-ready physique, whilst eating whatever they want, with only 5 minutes light exercise a day. If you do pull tricks like that and people buy them, they certainly won't trust you again or want to buy anything from you or through you in the future.
I also use my email marketing to send my leads to my blog posts, which, is probably why you're here now. I believe that there is no better way to promote a blog than by emailing people who you know are genuinely interested in the blog's subject matter and asking them to visit it. This action adds value to your blog as people who find it useful will often share your posts and make relevant, interesting comments.