A good email takes your prospects on a journey...

...from an engaging opening line, to a message that speaks to their problems and challenges, to a clear call-to-action that makes clicking through a natural and easy next step.

The journey to a response, click-through, or “conversion” can take a million different routes, but there are no shortcuts—just the time-tested guideposts of clear, concise, empathetic writing to make sure your prospects complete the trip...

...and deliver you more good leads.

To craft a message that generates more good leads, use these rules of the road:



Start With Your Offer


The whole point of your email is to get your prospect to act—to click, call, or reply.

But your prospects won’t act unless there’s something in it for them. That’s where your “offer” comes in.

Whether you want your prospect to download a helpful piece of content, sign up for a free trial, or simply fill out a request for contact, ask yourself:

  • What action do I want my prospect to take?
  • What benefit will my prospect receive by taking that action?

The clearer and more specific you are about the nature and benefit of your offer, the more likely your prospect will be to act.

Once you’re clear on the purpose and appeal of your offer, you can start actually writing…

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Wise Guys Tip:
The most successful offers help your prospects solve problems or address priorities. For example, an accounting firm might offer Free QuickBooks Tips, or a business brokerage house might offer Answers to Common Seller Questions.



Open With A Bang

Most people don’t read beyond the first few lines of a marketing email—if they even make it that far.

Your opening line offers your best chance to grab their attention, so don’t waste it.

Above all, be clear and concise. If you’re opening sentence is too long or hard to understand, your prospect will stop reading.

In addition, use your first sentence to speak to your offer and entice your prospects to read on, either by hinting at a benefit or piquing their curiosity.

Wise Guys Tip:
Short, direct questions can be an effective way to grab your prospect’s attention (“It’s 2016… where will your new business come from this year?”).



Highlight The Problem

Once you’ve grabbed your prospect’s attention, reel them in with more details.

Use the next few lines of your email to flesh out your message. Explain more clearly the nature of the problem and why your offer will help solve it.

Don’t be long-winded; be direct and informative.

Don’t talk about yourself or your product; use the second person “you” to speak to what your prospect cares about.

And don’t use buzzwords or business jargon; write plainly using words everyone understands.

Wise Guys Tip:
It’s okay to include information about yourself, but always phrase it in a way that speaks to your prospects’ point of view. For example, instead of writing “We’ve been the industry leader in X, Y, and Z since 1995,” write “For over 20 years, we’ve been helping businesses like yours accomplish X, Y, and Z.”



Make It Easy For Your Prospect

If your goal is a click-through (and in email marketing, it usually is), you want to make it as easy as possible for your prospect to do just that with a clear “call-to-action.”

Calls-to-action are most successful when they are:

  • Clear—tell your prospect exactly what they get
  • Frequent—give your prospect multiple chances to act by inserting your call-to-action as early as possible in your message, then repeating it one or two more times
  • Focused—prompt your prospects to take one action only (no irrelevant or distracting links to take their eye off the ball)

Wise Guys Tip:
Calls-to-action are more successful when they stand out visually. Try linking an entire line of text (rather than just one or two words) so your call-to-action catches your reader’s eye.



Review for Clarity & Empathy

You’re done (almost).

Now, go back to the beginning and re-read your whole message, applying the following checklist to every paragraph, sentence, and word:

  • Is it as clear as possible?
  • Is it written to appeal to my prospect’s point of view?
  • Is it concise (paragraphs no more than ~4 lines and sentences of no more than ~15 words)?
  • Did I use any unnecessary business jargon that could be replaced with something more conversational?
  • Did I make it as easy as possible for my prospect to act?

Most importantly, ask yourself: is my message relevant—to my offer and to my prospects?

Wise Guys Tip:
Need a fresh take? Let a colleague review your message, or set it aside and revisit it in a couple of days.


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