Unfortunately, it’s so easy to just slap words together and hit “send” without really thinking about what you’re saying. This approach may yield the occasional win. But for the most part, it leads to subpar results, a disconnect with subscribers, and disappointment.
What if you could craft email marketing types that generate a veritable mountain of opens and click-throughs on a regular basis? That would be pretty great, right?
Persuasive writing is one of the keys to email marketing success. In this article, we’ll explain the six principles of persuasion, as well as five tips you can use to make your emails more persuasive and enticing to your readers.
Before we dive into the meat of this article, we need to make one thing clear: persuasion and manipulation are NOT the same thing. Your emails shouldn’t trick readers into making a purchase, they should show them how purchasing is in their best interest.
This is the art of persuasion. When done right, everybody wins.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at six principles of persuasion, as outlined by Dr Robert Cialdini, a celebrated psychologist and the author of the NYT bestseller, Influence.
Now that we know the basic building blocks of persuasion, let’s look at five specific ways you can make your emails more enticing to your readers.
You put a lot of time into crafting your email campaigns. Wouldn’t it be great if they generated more clicks? Of course it would! These five tips will help you write super persuasive emails:
It’s really hard (read: almost impossible) to win at marketing if you don’t have a solid understanding of your target audience. Who are you trying to reach?
Before you write another catchy subject line, paragraph of body text, or killer CTA, take time to learn about your readers. What do they like and dislike? What are their goals? Do they have specific daily challenges you can help them overcome?
When you understand the kind of content your audience likes to consume and the problems they want to solve, you can present your company’s products as a viable solution. There’s nothing more persuasive than the answer to a problem that hasn’t been solved.
But how do you get to know your readers? It’s simple, really…
If you’re like most other companies, you only feel comfortable emailing your list a couple of times a month. Because of this, you probably have a lot to say in each message. But the most persuasive emails are those that focus on one thing, and one thing only.
Put yourself in your readers’ shoes. How would you feel if a brand asked you to read their blog content, follow them on social media, purchase a product, and donate to an important cause they support in a single email? You’d be so overwhelmed you’d hit “delete” ASAP.
Stay focused, ask your audience to do one thing per email, and watch your results improve.
The good news is, there’s a solid chance you can email your subscribers more often than you currently do. 61% of consumers LIKE getting promotional emails on a weekly basis. And 38% of them wouldn’t mind if they received these types of messages even more frequently.
In other words, you don’t have to cram everything into one email. Just contact your list more often and make sure each message focuses on one thing only.
Fact: we’re all obsessed with stories. They’re essential to the human experience and always have been. To boost the persuasiveness of your emails, strengthen your storytelling chops.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be the second coming of Ernest Hemingway to succeed at this. You just have to follow a few best practices, which we outline below:
You don’t have to weave a grand tale in every email you send. But get into the habit of infusing your messages with little stories and it will be much easier to persuade subscribers.
We’ve all got problems. Sometimes it helps to remind readers of their struggles, then present your products and/or services as the logical solution.
This is a great persuasion tactic, especially when dealing with readers who aren’t particularly motivated to fix the things that ail them. Change is hard, even change for the better. You may need to stir up a few emotions to convince your subscribers to take action.
Just remember, it never pays to over-exaggerate, or worse, manufacture problems out of nothing. Use this persuasion strategy when you know your readers are faced with a challenge you can help them solve, but they haven’t fully embraced the consequences of inaction.
What does this look like in real life? Here’s a quick example:
A sales rep for a B2B software company learns that one of his brand’s main competitors just updated their SaaS product. Unfortunately for the competitor, customers are NOT happy. The software is buggy and hard to use. With this knowledge, the sales rep seeks out email addresses for the competitor’s customers and shoots them a quick message.
He tells them about how much his customers love his company’s products and how they don’t suffer from the same problems the competitor’s offerings do.
Finally, remember that, in general, people don’t want to be told what to do. They want to make their own decisions—or at least feel like they’re making their own decisions.
For this reason, reminding your list that clicking your email’s CTA, whether it leads them to a blog post, one of your social media channels, or a product page, is their choice. You’re not forcing them to anything, they’re free to act in the way they see fit.
Multiple studies have shown that using a simple phrase like “But the choice is yours” can double the chance a person accepts your suggestion.
Like many of the other persuasion tips in this article, you don’t want to overuse the phrase “the choice is yours.” Doing so is a good way to lose the respect of your subscribers. We suggest using this tactic when making a big ask, such as purchasing a product or service.
Persuasive writing is a valuable skill, especially in terms of email marketing. If you can consistently entice your subscribers to open your emails and click on your CTAs, your business will be more successful. Fortunately, the art of persuasion isn’t rocket science.
You just need to understand the basic persuasion principles, which we discussed above, and implement the five tips we shared. Do that and your email game will improve.
Thanks to MK Hamilton for the hypnotic cover photo.
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