Every choice is a compromise, isn’t it? By taking one path, you’re forsaking another. Go to the opera on Friday; you necessarily forego that dinner party at your boss’ house. Elect to vacation on the beach and you neglect your simultaneous desire to ski. Choose a nice Malbec, you lose a bourbon manhattan.
We face the same choice / compromise with email. With finite resources to devote to email, we have to choose between crafting irresistible messages, or devoting more time to analytics and optimization.
But what if there were ways to cut back on the time you spend composing messages, without eroding their appeal or brand impact? I think it can be done. Here’s are six ways to spend less time writing emails, so you can put more time into improving results:
1. Use a design template. Is there anything that you put in your message almost every time, that you could put instead into a template once and have it appear every time? Maybe it’s as simple as a header image and a signature file. But if you build a more intricate template that links to your social channels or includes additional branding or product promotion, there is less work for the copy to do. Consider separate templates for each campaign that will include a number of messages – including event promotions, webinar announcements, and new product introductions.
2. Use a copy template. Is there a way to organize your Newsletter so that each one contains items within the same headings? You’ll save a lot of time composing if you know which buckets you have to fill. And what about that intro copy that shows up at the top? Is it really topical, or do you struggle every week or month trying to find a lead-in to the real meat of your newsletter? Consider shortening that intro copy so that it’s the same every time, such as “Thanks for taking a look at our monthly newsletter. Here’s a snapshot of what is happening this month. For a more complete picture, visit our web site at http://www…”
3. Recycle. Didn’t you send an email promoting this same conference last year? And isn’t this your 11th Annual Member Satisfaction Survey? Chances are, you’ve written something to promote this very topic previously. Go find it and re-read it. Do you recall it word-for-word? Probably not, and you wrote it. Your audience won’t remember it either. And even if they do, it may sound vaguely familiar to them, almost like a deja vu. It doesn’t make the copy any less effective. No more new for new’s sake.
4. Write email like email, not a marcomm department deliverable. Take a look in your outbox. How many personal emails did you write and send last week? See, you’re really good at writing emails, and fast too. I’m sure some of them are too capitalization and grammar-challenged for your official communications, but the conversational tone you use in your personal emails allows you to write them with far less word-by-word deliberation. Furthermore, they’re easier and more pleasant to read. Somewhere there is a middle-ground between “artfully craft” and “bang out”. Find it.
5. Write less. I’ve argued before that brevity is the soul of ROI.
6. Don’t pontificate when you can point. Much email communication is designed convey the same information that is also up on your website. Instead of writing copy about the copy, simply excerpt it or – even better – write a brief abstract and link to the website. Not only will this take less time, it will put more links into your emails, giving you more click-through data to decipher afterwards.
Try these out and enjoy the gift of time. Use it to set up some A-B testing, dig more deeply into some analytics, or perform some list segmentation or hygiene. Your time devoted will be the same, but your emails will start to behave like you’ve just doubled the size of your email staff.
This blog post is being re-published from the Real Insights Archive.