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A Quick Copywriting Lesson Taken Directly from an Email Marketing Fail

"Reveal the details that compel your prospect to take action immediately." – Stefanie Flaxman

Ten years ago, a tattoo shop I went to subscribed my email address to their email newsletter.

They didn’t send updates very often, so I never unsubscribed. However, new owners recently acquired the business — and apparently their email newsletter list — because lately I’ve been getting not very good emails more frequently.

I should have unsubscribed after receiving the first few, but I kept forgetting. I’d just scroll through an email quickly and delete it.

And I’m glad that was my routine, because today I have a copywriting lesson to share that I took directly from a mistake they made in an email they sent last week.

What was the email marketing mistake?

The first three paragraphs of the email contained too many comma splices and exclamation marks for my taste, but those goofs didn’t bother me too much.

As I continued to scroll down, a photo caught my eye and I wanted to read more about the tattoos in the image.

But when I looked at the caption below the photo, it said:

“Create a great offer by adding words like ‘free,’ ‘personalized,’ ‘complimentary,’ or ‘customized.’ A sense of urgency often helps readers take an action, so think about inserting phrases like ‘for a limited time only’ or ‘only 7 remaining!’”

The person who wrote the email didn’t fill out that section of their template and forgot to delete the placeholder text. Although that’s a forgivable mistake that any busy person could easily make, it communicates a bit of carelessness.

If someone else proofread the email, they would have caught the error before it was transmitted to everyone on their list.

Even though I’m not interested in getting any new tattoos in the near future, I’m a potential customer to the shop and they didn’t take steps to demonstrate that their business pays attention to details. I was also disappointed that there wasn’t a caption with descriptions about the tattoos.

All businesses need to establish trust with prospects, and that’s especially true when you use needles and ink to permanently mark your customers.

What’s special about your offer?

So, now that I’ve reminded you to double-check all the information you send to your email list, let’s discuss the copywriting lesson that was accidentally sent to me:

What else can you add to make a reader say “yes?”

When you’re ready to make an offer, the first part suggests including words like:

  • Free
  • Personalized
  • Complimentary
  • Customized

If you craft your own content and copy, you may take information you’re quite familiar with for granted. See if you’ve forgotten to communicate any powerful benefits as you review your writing.

The second part suggests creating a sense of urgency with phrases like:

  • For a limited time only
  • Only 7 remaining!

Ultimately, you want to reveal the details that compel your prospect to take action immediately.

Talk to one person intimately, as if you’re sharing the secrets of a great deal they need to act on right away. Explain why it wouldn’t make sense to wait.

Some speculation, just for fun …

I’ve been thinking about possible reasons why the tattoo shop left that portion of the email template blank.

In addition to the likely possibility that it was an absentminded error, I’m speculating that they did not intend to make any direct call to action in this email, so they ignored the “create a great offer with a sense of urgency” suggestion.

My assumption is that they mainly want to provide interesting and useful content to their audience in order to build relationships with people who will eventually become customers.

Unfortunately, they didn’t persuade me to continue a relationship with them. I’ve now unsubscribed.

The post A Quick Copywriting Lesson Taken Directly from an Email Marketing Fail appeared first on Copyblogger.


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