Like a lot of writers, I regularly ask someone whose work I admire to check my copy. They don’t look for literals, poor grammar or the occasional over-used cliché, but instead read through a few randomly-selected submissions, not only for email marketing, and criticise them. It’s a bit of a risk, but only to my self-image.
I won’t reveal the comments she made, except for one which I think is all but endemic in professionally created copy, be it for websites or an email marketing campaign. Once you start looking, it seems everywhere. It is almost as if copywriters strive for it, and I’ve got to say, I’m probably one; my copy reads as if it has been created by a professional copywriter.
It might seem obvious. If you pay for someone to produce your copy, you would expect it to seem professional, but it should be written to read just as if it was designed for the target audience. Copy needs to click with the reader.
If you go to the bother of splitting your email marketing lists, you should also change the copy to reflect this. Tone is vital. If you continue in the same tone in email after email, each will be indistinguishable. It goes even more for websites. Any content manager will tell you of being shown the content from a competitor’s website and being told that the customer wants ‘something just like this’. I mean to say, what about some job satisfaction?
That said, you don’t want something different just for the sake of it, but you obviously should not have copy that’s the same as that of your competitors. You want to stand out. You want to be noticed. There’s enough grey porridge in the world without us adding to it.
One of the most important factors to remember is that copy tone is not subject led. The biggest sinner here is B2B. It’s as if a marketing email is being sent to a corporation rather than a person, yet the easiest way to be noticed, to stand out, is to build up a relationship with the receiver by using a tone that they respond to. If you’re excited by your product, sound excited. If you’re copy is boring, guess how they will feel.
Those advertising the facilities of a gym often sounds as if Tigger from Pooh Bear wrote it. They’re very bouncy. Energy is exploding. It’s very positive. If all companies in the business sound the same, a little judicious use of humour, perhaps some self-deprecating comment, might be enough to help your subscribers relate to you that little bit more.
You might think sounding professional will establish your expertise, but before that, email marketing needs to engage with the subscriber. It must talk their language rather than yours. Once you have sectioned your email marketing list for the product, you will have to do so again in order to target the copy. We work in small percentages. If it was easy, everyone would do it.