Persuasive Email Copy: Every Word Counts

This is week 4 of MDR’s Email Best Practices series

Do the math.

mathEmail subject lines under 50 characters deliver the best results…Headlines should be 6 words or less…Line lengths under 50 characters work best on mobile… All the advice on email content adds up to one reality: education marketers have precious little real estate to make their point.  In email copy, every word counts.

Every Element has a Job

Like links in a chain, each email copy element must be effective for the overarching message to hold together and make an impact. In Week 2 we talked about how segmentation allows you to identify a distinct audience that will respond to a specific value proposition and call to action. This week we’ll share what MDR has learned over decades of education marketing on how each element of email copy can play its part in communicating that message.

Element.Headline.3

1. Subject Line: Teachers report that the number one factor in their likelihood to open an email is knowing the sender; so subject lines should focus on identity and brand. Their number two reason was message relevance. Subject line copy should focus on a solution to a problem, or a need that you know your reader has. In that first moment: help or interest them.

2. Pre-header: Pre-header text is simple text that displays below the subject line in many email clients. Pre-header text should work in unison with the subject line and expand on the offer. MDR research shows that single-sentence pre-header lines that are a succinct summary of the message and/or are a call to action (CTA) link are the most successful.

3. Headline: The purpose of the initial headline is to make an instant connection with the reader. 90% of your message should be conveyed through the subject line, headline and pre-header so the reader can quickly scan the message for relevance. 

4. Sub-header: It is also helpful to include sub-heads and even bullets to further call out important points or relevant messages. When you use sub-headers you break your email into digestible pieces which improves readability and makes it easier to get your value statement across.

5. Value Statement: Once you’ve proven relevance, it’s important to clearly make the case for your offering. A good value statement tells the reader what the offer is, what benefit it delivers to them, and why they should take action now. It should be clear, jargon free, and written in the customer’s language

6. Call to Action: CTA copy should focus on the benefit that will be delivered by clicking. For instance, using the word “Order Super Product” emphasizes what the customer has to do. “Get Super Product” emphasizes what they’re going to receive.

The goal of any email is NOT to sell the product or service; it is to sell the click through. After the click through is where you position the buy and get the prospect to “Yes.” If you’ve segmented properly, proven relevance, and hit home with a value proposition, you’ve created the right conditions for the reader to click through and say yes. In the ever-shrinking real estate of an email, these best practices ensure that every word counts and each copy element does its job.

Key Takeaway: Each element of email copy must be strong and work together to sell the click-through.   


About MDR: Build your brand, champion a cause and/or inspire a child by leveraging our suite of email marketing, market intelligence, creative services, database and technology. Deliver relevant content and create meaningful connections with millions of educators, parents, and children who can benefit from your organization with our unique connectivity to the market. Speak directly to your desired audience through our WeAreTeachers, WeAreParents and EdNET communities. Align your brand with the most trusted partner in education marketing, MDR. Contact us today.

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