Entries from May 2015 ↓

Boost Your Email Marketing Open Rate

This post first appeared on Briar Copywriting’s blog, but we thought you might be interested in it too.

Email marketing remains one of the most popular forms of marketing. When things get a bit slack, it doesn’t take long to put something together and send it out to the thousands of opt-in contacts in your customer database.

The only problem is most industries have an average open rate in the low 20 per cents and a click through rate that barely scrapes 4 per cent. Even if you hit those averages, it doesn’t matter how big your list is, your not really being effective.

There are numerous articles out there that claim to have the magic formula to higher open rates, but there’s nothing magic about email marketing. All you need to do is be yourself.

1. Be you

Even though you want your customers to buy from your company, it’s you they are really dealing with.

That’s why you should always write like a human. Even if you are in the B2B sector a human will be reading your email, so keep it conversational. If you’re not sure how to do that, picture yourself having a conversation about what you’re writing about and write as you talk. When done, read it out loud and if any parts start to sound wooden or business-like, cut them.

“Voice” is one of the most important parts of your marketing, but it’s a term that’s used liberally without much explanation. The best way to think about it is the “voice” you use is how your writing sounds when it’s read.

Another big part of conversational writing is asking questions, so make sure you use them in your email. They will make the reader stop and think about what you’re saying, increasing engagement.

Admittedly, this may not be your natural way of writing and it will take time to perfect, but persevere with it and you’ll see those open rates begin to rise (when used in conjunction with the other points I’m about to raise).

2. Important elements

What are the 3 most important elements of your email?

Give up?

OK, I’ll tell you:

  • Your subject line
  • The first line of your email
  • Your “From” line

When your email arrives these are the first 3 things the recipient will see, so they have to make an impact if you want them to open it.

For the subject line and first line of your email, make sure they are short and to the point, personalised (definitely the first line, up to you about the subject line) and that they lead with a benefit.

What about the “From” line, I hear you say? How on earth can that have an effect on the open rate?

Well, it’s important it comes from a real person. If your customers get an email from sales@briarcopywriting.com they are more likely to ignore it than if it came from sally@briarcopywriting.com.

3. Responsive

Last, but not least is the responsiveness of your email.

Did you know that 65% of emails are opened on mobile devices these days? That’s why they need to be responsive so they open and display correctly on any device and any screen size.


Email marketing is great when it works well, but as with all marketing it takes time to refine the art and that means constant testing.

Try different styles of subject lines, when you send your mailing and the subjects that you cover. Over time you’ll gradually learn what your audience is looking for.


The Value of No-follow Links

nofollow links

Links are a vital part of your search engine optimisation strategy, but it can be a frustrating practice.

How many times have you written a superb article for a website only to be told their policy is to give no-follow links.

You want to scream, right?

Before you tell them where to go, stop and think for a moment.

Ask yourself why you wrote the article in the first place?

You wrote it because you want to show yourself as an expert in your field and spread the word about what you do.

Granted, a follow link from such an auspicious website would have been very welcome, but a no-follow one could be just as valuable.

No. bear with me on this one.

OK, so you won’t get any link juice, but you will get something else.

The website in question agreed to publish because they were impressed with your writing and felt it was something their readers would enjoy. That means they think you’re a thought leader, which is how their readers will see you too.

Once they read your article the chances are they’ll check out your author’s bio at the end. They’ll want to know more about you and so will follow the link to your website.

Boom – you’ve got increased traffic.

Once on your site they’ll have a poke around to see what you do and what you can offer them.

See where this is going?

You may not get a dribble of page rank juice, but you will get new visitors to your website, opening up your business to a whole new market.

That’s pretty cool.

You see, links aren’t just about juice, they are also about building a reputation and that’s worth its weight in gold.

Does Your Web Copy Really Reflect Your Values?

reflection of image

You have a set of values within your company.

Every employee is supposed to uphold those to provide a united front of customer excellence.

You’ve probably got an “Our Values” page or section on your website that outlines them, but are they reflected in the rest of your website copy?

What does your website tell your customers?

For a moment let’s imagine I’m a potential customer.

After browsing the web I found your website. I’ve had a quick peak at your About Page and read all about the values you hold dear. Great, you sound like my kind of company. Then I nip back to the Home Page – ah, something’s not right.

Your values told me that your customers always come first, how you bend over backwards for them and offer an unrivalled level of customer service. The problem is that your Home Page completely ignores my needs and talks about your company’s growth, the awards you’ve won, your passion for your industry and how long you’ve been in business.

Hang on a minute, what happened to being the company that puts its customers first?

You haven’t told me what you do or how it will benefit me – so I’m not the centre of your world at all, you are.

It’s mixed messages like this that will scare off potential customers.

Customers always come first

Your website isn’t your online portfolio from which you can shout about how amazing you are. It should be an outlet through which you can show me, as a potential new customer, how you will make my life easier, better or more productive.

It is there to attract new customers. If it just talks about you and your achievements it won’t convert visitors into customers.

Sure, you can talk about you achievements and awards to back up your services, but confine it to the About section. Your Home Page must be about your customers.

Make sure your Home Page:

  • Clearly shows what you can do
  • How your products or services benefit your customers
  • Tells them how to get in touch

It must be all about your customers because that’s what they want to hear. There is no room for your ego on your Home Page.


Personalise to Be More Effective on LinkedIn

Using LinkedIn as a marketing tool

LinkedIn is a great platform for networking. It gives you access to all sorts of people, but you have to make the right impression if you want to get noticed.

How many times have you received this standard connection request?

“I’d like to add you to my professional network.”

Really? Why? Who are you? Do I know you?

It raises more questions than it answers.

Of course, you’ll only be sending invites to connect to people you actually know (won’t you?), so take a bit of time and write them a personalised message. After all, they may have met you at a networking event, but it’s fair to say they would have met a number of people there so they can’t be expected to remember everyone.

Make it personal

To make your request personal you’ll have to do it from your PC or laptop. I don’t believe the option is available through the LinkedIn app.

First of all make sure your LinkedIn profile shows a professional photo of you.

Then start your request with a greeting bearing the recipient’s name (spelt correctly).

Tell them how you know them. Perhaps you met at an event, have mutual acquaintances, or follow each other on Twitter.

Once you’ve done that tell them why you want to connect with them followed by a short description about what you do.

Finish it off with a bit of flattery about their work (not so much that it’s creepy or embarrassing) and sign off in a friendly way.

It does’t take long to do and it will make your request stand out from all the other standard ones they get.

So remember, if you want to make an impact and some valuable connections, put in the effort to make it personal.