Do you know that a single email brought us our first round of investment?
Do you know that a single email did it again for us?
Email is not dead.
Email is pretty much alive and people are building entire online empires using nothing else but email.
I often get questions from the community on how StayUncle is able to come up with such extraordinary ideas for email campaigns.
Let me get straight to my ways:
1. Write directly to a person
A company I am consulting complained of getting no leads at all from their email campaigns. They wondered what was wrong with their ways. A 10 seconds look was all I took to figure out the reasons. Not only that their call to action was generic, their email was super long addressing no particular problem.
They still relied on past century corporate jargons to communicate with prospects whereas Millenials dominate the workforce.
I asked for 60 seconds and composed a new sample plain text email campaign for them:
They were taken back. How can we send this to our prospects? No we cannot use the word “dude.” We have to look like an organization and talk professional.
Why does the email above work? Because it is personal, it speaks to a specific person addressing his specific problem with a solution specific to him.
There is no such thing as organization (apart from the legal point of view). You do not communicate with organization. An organization does not bring the purchase decision.
A person does. A person that might have tons of daily challenges and is constantly looking for someone who can connect personally and show understanding of his problem.
Noah Kagan built his Appsumo empire by using only email. And he didn’t even bother to start his sentences with a capital letter.
Be personal. Address people by their names. Ask them about the well-being of their families.
Then go straight to the point and address their problem with your offer. Respect their time.
Long gone are the days of – Distinguished Sir, I was wonder if we can schedule a quick call so that we can see whether my organization can help you achieve your business objectives.
2. Avoid images, use text only
This is extremely important advice for startups.
Because your purpose is not to demonstrate your design prowess that early. Your purpose is to crack sales and that will only happen if your email gets delivered in the Primary mailbox first.
StayUncle campaigns do not include any images. They do not include even our logo as well, just a green banner at the top of it to invoke the brand resonance.
Because email spam filters are programmed to categorize media rich emails as promotional ones and categorize them accordingly.
It is of no use to you if your beautifully designed email lands up in the Promotion Tab.
Your objection if you are a startup company is to boost conversions with email not to build brands and indulge in creativity.
3. Avoid Buttons
This may sound extreme to you but you must find way to digest it.
Just like the case with images, buttons may betray your campaign to the email host and make your campaign end up in the Promotions tab. The Gmail filters know well enough that people based email exchange is not rich with click buttons.
Use plain text links as your Call to Action instead.
4. Borrow from the best ones
How many email campaigns are you subscribed to?
I am subscribed to 207.
By following other’s email campaigns you get a rich source of ideas and best practices for your own campaigns. For that reason I reserve a time twice a week of 1 hour each to scan through all promotional email campaigns I’ve received and extract the things I like about them.
5. Start your own copywriting deck
Do you know how the best copywriters differ from the average one?
They maintain a copywriting deck and keep adding to it daily.
My copywriting deck is a folder that contains the following files:
- Email Subject lines I loved
- Email openings I loved
- Awesome blog post openings
- Awesome headlines
- Truly terrible headlines
- Best outdoor ad text
I never read online content for the sake of it. When I do, I try to extract a tangible takeaway from each one of them, whether it is a good opening, or a great headline.
I suggest you start following the same practice. Your copywriting deck will be your repository of email campaign ideas always coming to your aid.
6. Ask for help
Are you completely out of ideas for your next email campaign? There is always something you can do next. Ask for help regarding any challenge you face in your business. Let your audience work on your problem. Crowdsource the solutions and the ideas you seek.
Few days ago I requested our subscribers to share ideas for possible growth partnerships for StayUncle we should consider. I was humbled by the sheer and sincere feedback I got.
People want to help. Give them the chance!
7. Introduce a hero
Every email of StayUncle is a story that features a hero. In our case, that is Sanchit, my co-founder. Every next email delivers a personal note or anecdote Sanchit and I went throughout our startup journey.
Don’t just mention a person. Be brutally honest about telling the insider details of that hero. An email I sent recently had somehow found it’s way to Sanchit’s family.
He was invited back home and was asked for explanation. Few days later he came back at me black with rage. “Why did you do this”, he screamed? “Do you know what troubles you caused at my house? Why do you write about me?”
I am sorry, I said, I will be milder next time, but I cannot stop it.
But why, he insisted? What’s the reason behind it?
Every story needs a hero. I am the story teller. You are the hero. People need to see that there are real vulnerable people on the other side with daily humane problems just like them.
Sanchit understood and never asked me this again.
Find your hero. Establish the characters and the plot in your company’s story.
8. Always give something out
Most of our email campaigns features a free content giveaway, like highly useful Ebooks.
When we are out of content, then the world gets to know about Sanchit’s Tinder adventures. You get the point right? Never send a boring email out there. For the same reason our email subscribers are accustomed to the voice of our communication and know what to expect.
9. Use the recipient’s name. As often as you can
People love the sound of their names. Best salesmen know that and use it in your advantage.
Time for you to start using this for your advantage as well. Email automation software makes personalization a child’s game. Make sure you mention your subscribers’ name at least 3 times.
Trust me it works wonders.
10. Use emoticons in your subject line
It was a tricky thing at the beginning, but gradually we got our subscribers accustomed to it. Today there is a rarely an email of ours which does not contain smiley. Emoticons are used in personal communication between friends. You too should make your subject line as personal as possible to cheat those email filters out.
Remember to provide value with each correspondence and keep in mind that your primary goal is to get your email delivered in the right place in order to be seen.
Those were some of my thoughts, what do you do to produce brilliant email campaign? Any practice that I haven’t mentioned here? Do share with the community.