When a well-crafted email arrives in your inbox, it grabs your attention and without any effort you know if you want to act on it or not. It is like you are sucked in, and can’t resist taking the next step.
These types of emails might look as if they are made in a few minutes. That’s how natural they seem. Yes, achieving a balanced, clear and persuasive message takes extra work on the marketer’s side, but it is worth it, for the result is a more effective email.
Steps through an effective email marketing message
Now what main elements does an effective email consist of? Think of it as is a stairway with logical (although often subconsciously taken) steps.
Of course there is more to the anatomy of an effective email, such as the footer. A footer can contain social, preference, unsubscribe links, etc. But they are not important for the main click and conversion. Second rate elements you might call them.
Remember that some elements in your mail have priority over others:
We are not trying to get someone to click on your privacy statement.
We are getting them to say yes and click on your main call to action.
Now think of those elements as steps on a stairway. You need to go from one to the other, in order to get up the stairs. So from name and subject line should entice to open. (micro-yes). The header and headline should explain what is in your email and entice to pay attention (micro yes nr 2). Then we come to the body of the message: text and images to convince the reader to click (micro-yes 3) and then the Call to Action to proceed to the landing page (Yes number 4).
Make it more than a consistent message, make it a persuasive message
Human nature defines we want to stay consistent. In all areas of our life. Work, deeds, opinions, it’s a shortcut easily made. Once you (sub)consciously decide on something it is easier to repeat that than it is to reevaluate each and every time. Once a person takes a stand, or performs an action, he strives to make all future behavior match this past behavior. It’s hard wired into our brains. And one of cialdini‘s Principles of Persuasion
For persuasive emails, that are geared to elicit a sale, the consistent thought pattern should be “yes”. E-mails that have all their elements aligned to mirco-yes their readers towards the next step in their purchase path, outperform their brothers and sisters that don’t. The message should lead up to the action. Growing from small yesses to bigger yesses.
Clear email promotions get better results, is it that simple? Explaining where necessary, but not overly informative or chatty. Or as Mr. Myagi might say “Focus Email marketer-San, Focus”
Now what often happens is that a message is broken and the yesses don’t add up. This is called email misalignment. The fastest way to lose someone in your march to email results is to offer contradictory information.
In the subject line we present “great sales on dresses this week”.
But the headline says “all products 30% off”. With a mixed assortment of clothes being presented.
Is the email factually wrong? No. Does it feel disconnected? Yes.
The first yes (open), isn’t confirmed in the email and headline. Everytime we have to think to make the connection between elements, we lose a part of our audience. So that is a big email marketing No-No.
Your message is much more powerful if “Click-killing” obstacles are removed.
Making images say “yes” too
Your images play a big part your path to yes, too. Promising an exclusive service and showing a stock image. It just doesn’t say yes. Make sure your images reinforces the main message and keep them consistent and reappear on to the landing page. That way people feel that they have landed on the right page and can easily continue in their flow. More about the flow and placement of ”yes enabled” images next time.
Sequential versus parallels or enforcing yesses
We mentioned yesses. And how they work together in guiding your reader towards the action. There is one ever important factor to be very aware of. Sequential versus parallels or enforcing yesses.
Sequential yesses would work like this:
First this yes -> then this yes -> then this yes! -> Call to action
The problem with sequential yesses in email. Some people might read your email, but most scan.
So the email elements, should ideally enforce each other but also be approachable without sequential context.
In other words, Let your headline be understandable for people who didn’t read the subject line.
Let your CTA be as self-explanatory as it can be. Keep in mind that every time an element makes a reader go back, you are losing conversions too.
If your email doesn’t deliver, go through the elements and see if you are getting the right yesses and taken out all the no’s.
The product and the presentation layer
It’s not only about the product or service. Of course a great deal and a great product help, but just a great product is not enough for people to recognize it as such. Let alone grab their attention. You need to have an inviting presentation layer to make your offers have *The Zing*.
Compare it to a shopping window, the more inviting the display, the more people will enter the shop. Let’s see how you can improve the flow of your email and let the Micro-yeses add up to your audience acting on that email.
Image by Jake Hills