Entries from November 2009 ↓

Email Marketing – It’s All In The Subject Line


The inbox is a harsh and unforgiving environment. For an email to survive it has to be strong, clear and concise otherwise it could end up in the pit of doom – also knows as the deleted items folder (or worse still, the junk mail).

Subject lines that won’t get ‘junked’

The subject line of your message is its ‘do or die’. If it doesn’t catch the recipient’s eye the email will go straight to the delete box.

So how do you make sure your email survives this particular hurdle?

  • Keep it short – no more than 60 characters (including spaces)
  • Personalise it – if possible add the recipient’s name
  • Identify your company – get your company name in there
  • Tell them what your e-mail’s about (e.g. new ideas for home makeovers)
  • State a benefit – this will act as an enticement

Don’t go too salesy

If you have a hard salesy subject line your email will probably be deleted. Your recipient will know in an instant you just want to sell them something and the barriers will go up.

You also have to be careful about what words you use. Tripping a spam filter can be all too easy so you have to choose your words very cautiously. Therefore words you would normally use in headlines should be avoided in subject lines, such as:

  • You – almost always shows the email is coming from a stranger
  • Exclamation marks – I’m not a fan of these little fella’s anyway and they certainly are not welcome in subject lines.
  • Buzz words such as – free, sale, only, urgent, information, limited-time, opportunity… By all means use these in your email body, but not the subject line.

By following this advice your email marketing should run a bit smoother. Your subject line should come across as unthreatening and hopefully, interesting enough for the recipient to open and read on…

Further reading:

Is Email Marketing Right For You?

Work Your Way Towards The Perfect Email Body

Sally Ormond – Freelance copywriting services

Is Email Marketing Right For You?

email marketing

Email marketing provides businesses with a quick and inexpensive way to reach hundreds of customers instantly. It has revolutionised marketing – but its impact has also been lessened by the spammers out there.

Spammers are email marketers who fill millions of inboxes with unsolicited messages. The problem is their abuse of the system has made in increasingly difficult for genuine businesses to use this method.

You used to only have to worry about having a strong message to make sure your email got read. Now you have to prove it’s not spam.

What is a spam email?

Spam is unwanted email that is delivered to thousands of recipient simultaneously. Obviously you could argue what constitutes ‘unwanted’ email until the cows come home but as a general rule if the email comes from someone you don’t know it is perceived as spam.

When you should use email…

  • To tell your customers about new offers
  • When sending advice, useful information to enhance your customer service
  • Keeping leads warm by staying in touch
  • Following up contacts in a sales campaign (e.g. to encourage sign-ups etc).

All of these have one thing in common – they are concerned with building relationships with your customers and keeping them up to date.

…and when you shouldn’t

  • Prospecting – this can be seen as an annoying and impersonal method of initial contact
  • Generating leads  – again this is impersonal and your email will be deleted
  • Using rented lists – you have no relationship with these contacts so you’ll be seen as a spammer

If you want to market through email your best bet would be to develop your own opt-in list – if you have the recipient’s agreement for you to send information to them they are more likely to buy from you at some point.

Build your own list

Building your own opt-in list is fairly straightforward but it can take time. Therefore you should start immediately rather than wait until you have a campaign in mind.

You can attract opt-ins through your website (give away a free report in exchange for their details), your reply devices and your order forms.

Your request doesn’t have to be complicated, simply:

  • Ask for their email address
  • Ask for permission to send emails to them
  • Tell them exactly what kind of emails you will send them
  • Assure them you won’t share their contact details with anyone else

Of course, one thing to remember is that you must create an opt-out. This should consist of a reminder of why they are receiving the emails (i.e. they requested updates) and an opt-out link which will take them through to a webpage which automatically removes them from your mailing list.

Before you know it, you’ll have an in-house marketing list.

Further reading:

Email Marketing – It’s All In The Subject Line

Work You Way Towards The Perfect Email Body

Sally Ormond – Freelance Copywriter

Blog Your Way to a Traffic Jam


Your website could be the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen, but if it isn’t getting traffic it may as well have been written in invisible code.

If your website has been written with the search engines in mind and your copy is SEO friendly you will stand a good chance of getting good organic listings. However there is another element that needs to be taken into consideration – back links.

Google loves back links; they are a way of showing your sites’ authority – the more external links that point to your site the better. A great way of producing these links is to start a blog and by using other social media tools such as Squidoo or Hub pages.

Blogging really works

This really does work as I have used this method to achieve great organic listings for my chosen keywords.

I began this blog last year for 2 reasons – to drive traffic to my website and to give away copywriting tips. It took only a matter of months before I was seeing great results and my main website began climbing the Google rankings.

I know what you’re thinking “It’s alright for you, you’re a freelance copywriter so you know how to write stuff that works – I don’t even know where to start.”

OK, yes I write for a living but that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve the same results as I have. As for not knowing what to write about, here are some tips:

  • Think keywords – write a post around your main keywords. Remember to use these words as your anchor text for when linking back to your main website.
  • Think products and services – if you make cards, don’t write about how to make them (you probably don’t want to give your secrets away) instead blog about the type of cards you are making. So if you are selling a range depicting poppies, blog about poppies.
  • Think about venues – if you provide a service such as wedding photography, blog about some of the venues you work at.
  • Think relevance – if something interesting has happened in your field recently, blog about it again linking through your keywords.
  • Read around – if you follow other blogs in your industry and read something interesting, blog about that post and link back to it and to your site (again through relevant keywords).

Blog regularly

To reap the rewards of your blogging you should also blog regularly. Spread the word about what you’re doing through other applications such as Twitter or social networking sites such as BTTradespace. This will help you increase your web ‘footprint’ and generate more interest and traffic.

Once you get the ball rolling you’ll begin to see the benefits. But remember don’t just write about the same things all the time – variety keeps your writing fresh.

Useful Websites You Should Know About

If you follow me on Twitter you may already have seen this information. But if you’ve not seen it grab a pen, you’ll want to make a note of what is about to follow.

Websites you should know about

The first website is http://gethuman.com/numbers/uk.

This one is fab for those of you who’ve experienced the frustration of trying to get through to a real person on a customer service line.

The site lists short cuts to a human voice for a number of UK companies. It will save a lot of time and frustration.

The second site is www.saynoto0870.com. Many companies use 0870, 0500 etc premium rate numbers which we pay through the nose for. This site allows you to search for the geographical equivalent number saving you £££££s!

So there you go – my handy hints for the day 🙂

General Website Copywriting (Part 2) – What Pages Do I Need?


My previous post touched on the importance of your Home page and About Us page.

Now we shall move onto the Products and Services page and FAQs

Products and Services

Let’s start off by looking at a product selling company.

Frequently when you look at a website, the products page is full of great images of what you can buy but very little copy relating to the features and benefits.

This is a big mistake. Most of your keywords are going to be product specific so it stands to reason you must have a good amount of copy on these pages. These pages should contain enough information to enable your reader to understand what you are offering and why they should buy it.

Many people have difficulty in differentiating between features and benefits – to put it simply, features will tell your reader what your product does but the benefits tell them what difference it will make to their life.

If you’re still not sure what the benefits are ask your customers! They will gladly tell you and will help you produce some great, hard-hitting, conversational, benefit laden website copywriting.

If you’re a service orientated company then much of the above still applies but you also have to consider whether your service is a commodity or not. If it is (e.g. law services) you’ll have more general copy on your page (still selling the benefits) which directs the reader to contact you so you can sell in a more personal way.

If it’s not a commodity (e.g. a window cleaning service) your copywriting will be more detailed so your reader sees instantly what you are offering.

Keywords are also important here if you are a service company because you can use geographical keywords such as Ipswich window cleaning services.

Whether you offer a product or service this page must contain a strong call to action to either phone/email for more information or ‘buy now’ which takes the reader straight to an order form/shopping cart.


This is a great page to have and one that could save you money. How? Well if you have a comprehensive FAQ section do you also need a phone Customer Help function? I’m guessing not.

Often when people are searching for a product or service they are looking for an answer to a problem. That means there is a strong chance they will start their search using a question. If your copywriting on your FAQ page is keyword rich there is a very good chance you will rank highly.

One tip here is to make sure you keep your copy short and to the point. Visitors will probably only scan this page so if they can find what they are looking for quickly and easily they’ll be very happy.

Once your website has all these pages (and possibly a few more besides) your prospects will want to know how to get in touch with you. Your Contact page should therefore provide several options. Start with a short paragraph showing how much you’d like them to get in touch and follow it up with your address, email address and phone number (and data capture form). By providing all of these options you are adding credibility to your company – you’re not hiding behind your website.