7 Steps To Writing Wretched Emails That Nobody Will Read

7 Steps To Writing Wretched Emails That Nobody Will ReadSome marketing experts have already written their obituaries for email as a valid marketing form and have moved on to the latest and greatest marketing tools, without giving email another thought. But in doing so they are ignoring the fact that—while email is a terrible prospecting tool (nobody wants to open an email from someone they don’t know)—it is still a very effective way to stay in touch with existing clients. In fact, for a lot of people, email is still the preferred way to receive updates and that many peoples’ buying decisions are still influenced by email.

Just because email can be effective, however, doesn’t mean it automatically will be effective. There are some pretty simple things you can do that will turn your emails into electronic junk mail that nobody will ever want to read. If you have a good in-house email list, you may be sitting on a powerful tool to stay in touch with customers and boost sales. But you’ll want to avoid these “seven deadly sins” of email!

1. Boring Subject Lines: Most people scan their emails—by subject line—before deciding to read or delete. If your subject line is vague, boring or just misses the point, you’ll be gone in a click. When you write the subject line, think about what would make you open it if it were addressed to you. Think: “What’s in it for me?”

2. Boring Content: If you send people interesting content (something that really helps them or something that is unique) they will actually read it. But if you send the same old boring thing each time, people will throw it away—even if your subject line promises something better. The only thing people have less of than money is time. Respect that and don’t waste their time with worthless content.

3. Impersonal Tone: I’m not talking about including someone’s name in every line of your email. That’s not personal, and people know it. But stay away from “Dear Friend” and “Valued Customer” language. Write your email like you would to a real person.

4. Bury Your Message: Don’t make your reader wait too long to figure out why they’re getting this email. Get to the point quickly. That’s one thing people like (and expect) from email. It’s quick.

5. Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell: Emails that don’t ask the recipient to do something or don’t tell them to do something really don’t accomplish much. Include a call to action—and make it easy (and obvious how) to take action.

6. Poor Picture Choices: Conventional wisdom used to say not to include images in emails. That was a bandwidth issue that really doesn’t apply anymore. But pay attention to the images you choose. Your picture should tell your story at a glance. Poor quality images, or images that distract from the message are worse than no images at all. Not only can they keep people from getting your message, but they send an unwanted message: You’re not professional.

7. No Reply: Think about this for a moment. Do you really want people not to reply? The whole point of marketing is to get people to raise their hands and say, “Talk to me. I think you have something I can use.” And an extension of this is the ability to unsubscribe. If people don’t want to hear from you anymore give them the opportunity to unsubscribe. And then STOP. You’re not going to win them over by deluging them with unwanted emails.

Email isn’t dead. As a matter of fact, it’s still very effective—if you do it right. Avoid these seven wretched writing mistakes and take advantage of a powerful, inexpensive tool you already have in your toolbox!