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How to write business e-shots that get results

By Adrian Barradell

E-mail marketing is an essential part of the process to let people know about your business and how it can help them.

The only problem is, when most of us get to our inbox we find it is bombarded with an endless array of black e-mail headers all demanding our attention. The majority of them therefore, just get deleted.

Here are some tips to get your email marketing working.

1. Decide what and who it’s for

Be very clear about what you actually want this e-shot to do and who it’s targeting.

Typically you will have some kind of business offer highlighted on your website that you want people to know about or you will be using the e-shot as a brand builder to show your expertise/ share useful information.

Remember, people are much more likely to read something if it is clear that it’s for them and if they see that it could help them.

For example, let’s say we’re a Health & Safety Advisory and Training Consultancy and we are running training sessions on the latest Govt. legislative H&S updates in October.

The aim of our e-shot is to let people know this and get some enquiries and bookings. It is therefore, going to be sent to our existing database of individuals with an in-house H&S responsibility.

2. Use a strong e-shot header

Spend some time on your header and make sure it is accurate and beneficial.

This e-shot header for example;

H&S Responsible? Oct workshop details essential, new Govt. legislation

is strong, because if you are personally responsible for Health & Safety in your workplace, this header shows that the sender understands that this is the case and therefore they are making an immediate connection to you.

Of course, it could still be deleted but it is stronger than saying

Book now for October workshop on new H&S legislation because, whilst this says basically the same thing, our first example actually makes a stronger and more personal connection.

You can also try the quirky, funny or ‘tease’ approach. Now, these can work well but don’t reduce the clarity regarding the message and who it’s actually for.

Oh... and don’t use the word ‘free’. It may sound like something people will respond well to, but in reality there’s nothing more off-putting and guaranteed to get your email deleted.

3. Keep it brief and engaging

Your e-shot content should be brief too. Use no more than (say) 100 words and carefully place the copy on the page so that it is very easy to read.

Use lots of paragraph returns and one sentence paragraphs (well, OK, two paragraph sentences at the most).

Sticking with our example, the idea then, is to get the reader to realise that they really should know all about these new changes in Health & Safety legalisation and therefore, that they’ll be missing out on some essential information (that’s directly related to them) if they fail to click on the website link and find out more.

The copy should therefore highlight:

- Who this info and workshop is for

- Basically - what the sessions give the attendee

- The direct benefits of attendance

- How to find out more and book a place

Remember, you do not have to put all the information here (such as the price for example) this is simply to prompt the reader to click through to further information on the website.

Make it terribly easy therefore, for them to do this.

4. Use appropriate photographs too

Images and photos are just as important as the words so do take care to ensure that you use strong and relative but pleasing photos.

For example, for our H&S training session e-shot, photos of people working wearing hi-viz jackets and a training session in action, as well as emergency /hazard symbols would be applicable and strong.

You could of course, take a quirky approach with some retro and funny images but due to the content of these particular sessions, direct, professional and business-like communications would work best.

5. Don’t forget the call to action

The call to action is an essential part of any marketing communication and keeping with our example, this would be an email link (or links) back into the main website, a ‘phone number to call for more details or perhaps additional options such as signing up for a monthly newsletter.

Don’t give too many options however and always ensure the call to action is directly linked to your above core aim.

That’s it.

Adrian Barradell is the owner of Clarify Copywriting. More at -

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