1. Identify the requirements for an email.
The first step in this process is to notice that an email is required. This can happen in many ways. There are many emails that an organization sends that serve a functional purpose and their needs are fairly obvious. For example, if you allow customers to create online profiles, you’ll want to send them a registration confirmation email. If they can make purchases on your site, you may want to send them a receipt. If you think transaction emails should be plain text and as little information as possible, think again! Take a look at our blog to create most of your transactional emails.
Or, you may have an idea for a one-time single email. Maybe you want to promote a particular ad, or you just came up with a new feature or service. However, for email, you need to create the necessary paperwork to record your goals and other design ideas. This will help you create more campaigns in the future and make it easier for a team to work together on the project.
2. Document the requirements for this promotion.
This document is your (and your team’s) guide to creating the email. You can download our template for Requirements Dock here. Completing this guide can help you remember some of the steps involved. Start by filling out an email summary, which lets you know what the email is at a glance.
The goal is probably the most important part of the dock of necessity. Without clear goals, it is difficult for others to work on the project to know if they are doing the right thing. Your goal should be to take action when possible, such as “get the recipient to sign up for our webinar“, or “get the recipient to buy a specific product“.
Fill in the Tune, Voice, and Person section to make sure everyone has copied. Make sure they’ve achieved the result you’re looking for. Who you write to is crucial. Is this email directed to a power user or newborn? Make sure you know your audience. If you need a jumping point, check out a simple email myth about tone. What is personalization in email marketing? Also, note the “from” address and name. Is this email your CEO, or a newsletter? Clear it using your name and address. Note which category or list this email will go to. There is nothing better than a well-fragmented list when it comes to personalization. Small businesses or those who are just starting their email marketing efforts may have only one list.
The subject line is a very important part of an email, some marketers think it is the most important part. After all, a bad subject line can delete your email before it is. Note which template to use for this email, if you have more than one.
Finally, we need to know the outline in detail. You have left the bones of your email here. Where will the picture go? What will they look like? How many copies will you have and what will it communicate? By writing all of these carefully in the Requirements dock, you have made sure that the rest of the team involved in running this campaign (or you yourself come later) share the same perspective. When creating the outline, keep in mind the ultimate goal of the email. Everything in your email (subject line, artwork, copy, etc.) should work towards that goal.
3. Copy draft emails and look for artwork.
Draft email copy
Now that you have a clear idea of the purpose of your own email you can start writing the copy. We can write volumes on how to make a great marketing copy, but we’ll try to keep it short for this beginner’s guide. Here are a few things to keep in mind when writing your copy:
Stick to the point. Keep it short and sweet if possible. People aren’t just wandering around reading through the fluff. If you have a lot of valuable content to offer, don’t be afraid to go too far.
Provide value. If you only send promotional (sales alone) emails, people are going to lose interest quickly. Try to give your readers some value to keep them interested.
Make good use of bullet lists, underlines, underlines, and italics to make it easier to find the most important parts of a text-scannable email. Don’t go overboard too much with these, but you’ll do more harm than good.
Have a clean and strong CTA. The “call to action” of the email should be a large button or link that takes the recipient one step further towards the goal of your email. For example, if you want to sign up for their webinar, your CTA button might read, “Sign up now!”