Email marketing: everyone's doing it.
How well you do it and what kind of returns you get are highly dependent on the written content of the email. We all know that images, design, code and sending reputation are all important, but often the words are neglected in favour of getting the above considerations right.
Words will persuade the reader to click, to buy, to find out more. Everything else is there to make sure the message,or the written "copy", is delivered as effectively as possible. To write the content of the marketing email, most marketing managers will enlist the expertise of a copywriter (in-house or external), or an agency.
So how do you tell the writer what to put in the email? You will most likely write a brief, yet this isn't something most marketing managers do every day. That's where this article can help you.
Read on for a marketing manager's practical guide to writing the most effective email marketing brief for delivery by a third party.
How to write the perfect email marketing brief
A good brief shouldn't be seen as something to limit or constrain the person writing the marketing email, "the copywriter", but instead it will help to control and shape the copy.After years of experience of receiving email marketing briefs, I've come up with a short list of essentials to include, and there also are a few insider's tips for more successful campaigns included for good measure:
1. The "Offer"
If you've taken the time to produce a great ebook, whitepaper, ebrochure, updated website or simply a new sale item, then include the offer with the brief. Let the copywriter read the whole document - it will help them come up with more ideas for the email content.
2. Target Audience
No one knows your customers like you do. Tell the copywriter exactly who's going to be seeing the email in their inbox: who they will have to persuade to open, read, and respond to the email. Knowing your target audience is essential for using the right tone, and effectively communicating the offer to the reader.
3. Working Title
The title of the email is usually what you'll also put in the subject line of the email, so it's important to remember to keep it short, relevant and specific to the offer. While it might seem dull, a subject line can have a significant effect on the success rates of your email marketing. Vague, fanciful titles, or rhetorical questions do not work well for open rates or response in email. Keep it simple and direct, and you won't go wrong.
What do you want to happen as a result of sending this email? If it's brochure requests or ebook downloads, then tell the copywriter. If it's survey completions, tell them (and provide details of an incentive). This is where you can tell the copywriter anything you don't want included, too.
5. Word count
With email, less is more. For a simple offer (ebook, whitepaper, brochure, discount etc) 100-150 words is more than enough to communicate the current offer and persuade the reader to find out more. Any longer and you'll risk bombarding them with too much text and they won't respond, they'll unsubscribe - or worse - mark you as spam.
For a newsletter, a few short snippets (around 50-70 words) of text on each subject is best, but different approaches should always be tested for the best response from your particular audience.
Always include a reasonable deadline with the brief, so you can keep your email marketing messages current and responsive to market events.
7. Time Allowed/Budget
Always agree this ahead of time, best practice for avoiding excessive costs!
8. Additional Information
Examples of other successful emails you've sent out will help the copywriter to create an email that reflects your brand's voice and style.
Remember: Copywriters aren't necessarily going to be tuned in to your overall marketing strategy and house style right from the start, but with a good brief they can write great email marketing copy that actually gets results.
Stick to using this email marketing brief and you'll have a useful place to start when commissioning a marketing email from a third party.
Contact us if you'd like to speak to an expert.