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Direct Mail, E-mail and Advertising Copywriting
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Action Ideas For Better Direct Mail,
Email, Web Sites & Advertising

Published by
Ivan Levison, Direct Response Copywriting
October, 2002
Volume: 17 Number: 10

The crisis in email marketing and how to survive it

If you've got an electronic mail inbox, you know how bad the spam
problem has become.

It seems that every day you get new offers of low
mortgage rates, psychic readings, pornography, get rich
schemes, etc.

What does this mean for email marketing?

It means that it's harder to cut through all the spam and
get your legitimate offer read by the prospect.

This isn't a personal observation based on anecdotal
evidence. The Wall Street Journal recently published a
terrific article dealing with the state of email
marketing and their conclusions aren't pretty.

The article explains that "initially, consumer response
to email was high, with click-through rates as high as
15% . . . The current average click-through rate (now) is
an anemic 1.8%."

The author emphasizes that:

"The stakes are high for aggressive marketers eager to
break through the clutter. Companies will blitz consumers
with more than 430 billion email advertisements this
year. By 2009 that figure is expected to reach 960
billion. It is, by any measure, a lot of spam."

A lot of spam, indeed! And if you want to be one of those
marketers who does manage to break through the clutter,
you had better do everything right. Here are just a few
things you can do to make sure your next message
gets read and acted on:

1. Use a high-impact "Subject" line

It's a simple fact. If your subject line isn't working
correctly, your letter will never get opened and your
campaign will be a failure. Keep your subject lines
short. (Never exceed forty characters including spaces.)
This means that every subject line must communicate
extremely quickly and have a little punch.

2. Make sure your Web address appears early in your
electronic mail

Don't bury your URL at the end of the letter. Put it near
the top of your message so it's readable as soon as your
email is opened. Make it easy for people to see your URL
quickly so they can get to the landing page with the
least possible effort.

3. Identify the reader's pain quickly

Don't start your email marketing letter by enumerating every feature and
benefit of your product or service. One effective way to
roll into your message is to prove to your prospects
immediately that you understand exactly what they're up
against - that you have the perfect answer to their
problem. Use a classic problem/solution format and you
won't go wrong.

4. Make the letter long enough to do the job

Some people have a terrible fear that their email won't
get read so they write two short paragraphs and call it
quits. That could be a big mistake. Prospects will read
your email if it's got valuable information for them.
The typical emails I write run a good seven or eight
paragraphs in length . . . often with bullets too. They
work just fine.

5: Write with enthusiasm

As I often say, you have to write with a little energy
and sense of fun. Flat, boring writing just won't cut it.
Sure, there are times when you have to sound sober, but
never as if you've just popped some ludes! Sometimes,
when you add a little attitude, you can cut through the
clutter and get the reader on your side. Then you're
halfway home!

The take-away message this month? It's getting harder and
harder for email to cut through the clutter. This means
you have to pay attention to the details and do
everything right. If you do, email marketing is still a very
powerful medium that can help you boost sales and profits.

I can help you improve your sales letter - Contact Me Here

freelance copywriter
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