Email Best Practices

Email Marketing Best Practices

There isn’t one right way to write email content, but certain types of subject lines, headlines and body copy have proven themselves to be successful over the years.

Subject Lines

High-performing subject lines typically follow one of the following five approaches.

Appeal to Curiosity. By leaving the reader wanting a little more information, you’ll increase the likelihood of opening. (Just be sure that what’s inside delivers—duping the reader with “click bait” won’t leave a positive impression of your brand.)

FAQ – How to Bypass the UL Certification Maze (Automation World)
Clever Invention Is the Easiest Way to Cut Belt Maintenance (OEM Magazine)
The Secret to Applying Challenging Coatings (ProFood World)

Leverage Fear. Use of fear in your subject lines—whether it’s the end user’s fear of making the wrong decision or fear of missing out on features—can help your message stand out and aid recall. Focusing around worst-case scenarios or desire not to “blow it” can be very powerful—often, more powerful than even discussing potential benefits. (Just don’t make the viewer feel bad about himself.)

Is Your Food Processing Facility Prepared to Weather the Swarm? (ProFood World)
Growing Your Beer Production? Don’t Forget These 5 Things (ProFood World)
Protecting Product from Ink Leachability (Healthcare Packaging)

Get Your Company and Product Name Out of There. Top-performers tend to create messaging around “fixes” to users’ challenges, as opposed to focusing on what the supplier is selling. Readers want practical information to address their needs, whether that’s strategies to increase output, cut costs, support safety or protect the environment. The more educational—as opposed to promotional— your content appears, the more likely end users will be to want to engage. When you lead with solving their pain point, and only then describe your product’s role in addressing this pain, you’ll be most successful.

White Paper: Selecting the Best Camera for Your Application (Automation World)
Easily Comply with Machine Safety Standards (OEM Magazine)
Preventing Dairy Products from Losing Key Nutrients (Packaging World)

Share Your Unique Bird’s Eye View. Everyone loves to know how they compare with peers. Marketers often garner high engagement by showcasing success strategies either with case studies or self-assessments and then highlighting this content angle in their subject lines.

Snack Manufacturer Switches Case Coder, Reduces Downtime (Packaging World)
Take Our Industry 5.0 Readiness Assessment (OEM Magazine)
Candy Company Overcomes Fragile Product Packaging Obstacles (ProFood World)

(Quick tip: If you have a customer willing to be identified in a case study, be sure to lead with that user company’s name. The customer’s cachet will only add to the level of interest among peers!)

Load Up on Tech and Innovation. Keeping up with trends is part of every end user’s job.  As such, advances in technology or processes are inherently interesting. Marketers that focus their subject lines around changing industry dynamics can best stand out from the crowd.

High-Speed Robotic Packaging for Challenging Applications (ProFood World)
Understanding Medical Device Packaging in the Digital Age (Healthcare Packaging)
7 Trends Shaping the Future of Package Printing (Packaging World)

Headlines and Body Copy

Your primary focus with your headline and body copy is to get the viewer to click. A good headline does NOT focus on selling to the reader. Instead, it entices and draws readers in to want to learn more.

 Some ways your headline might do this is by:

  • focusing around end-user pain point (“A New Way to Improve Label Adhesion without the Mess,” “Remote Monitoring Made Easy”)
  • highlighting usefulness (“How to do X,” “3 steps to Y,” etc.)
  • leveraging relevancy, perhaps referencing the audience’s industry or peer group in some way (Snack Maker Cuts Changeover Time by 30%, An OEM Approach to Cybersecurity) 

In the supporting body copy, don’t give away all of your information. You want to “tease” not “tell” about your solution (otherwise, there’s no reason to click!)

Focus on ONE, powerful call to action.

Directing someone to view a video and also to download a white paper in the same paragraph, muddies the viewer’s focus and results in neither message getting through as powerfully as it would on its own.                                                                                           

Also, consider funnel level. Requesting a demo is a much bigger “ask” than simply downloading a report. Far fewer (if any) prospect will click, especially if it is early in their process of learning about a supplier. You’ll be far more successful encouraging small engagements, “view a video” “download an infographic” or “read this report” and THEN nurturing those prospects who click with additional content until the point where those who may be coming into market trust enough to spend time and effort on a demo.