Email Copywriting: 3 tactics for delivering value over perceived cost

After a quick stroll through the Aria Resort & Casino’s brilliant collage of metal, glass and escalators, my journey to reach MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014 is complete.

As luck would have it, I’ve arrived just in time for the Email Messaging (overview of the online version of the course at that link) Workshop on “Writing Effective Email Copy,” led by Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS.

, Email Copywriting: 3 tactics for delivering value over perceived costDuring the session, Flint offered an interesting perspective on the relationship between email copy and the value proposition you deliver to prospects in your email marketing.

According to Flint, optimizing your email copy is a big key to tipping the value and cost force exchange fulcrum with your prospects.

“Copywriting is fraught with claims, and the job of a marketer is not to craft claims, but craft a conclusion,” Flint said.

In sum, good copywriting is about recognizing perceived costs in the mind of a prospect and delivering enough value to overcome those costs.

So in today’s post, I wanted to share three copywriting tactics for increasing perceived value that you can use to aid your email marketing efforts.

Use personalization to “arrest attention” from prospects

, Email Copywriting: 3 tactics for delivering value over perceived cost

Here’s a screenshot of the letter-style email Flint used as an example to begin walking through how email copy can be optimized to communicate value to your prospects.

One thing to keep in mind here is although the example is drawn from B2C marketing, the ideas are easily transferable and ultimately advantageous to any email program that realizes how rapidly B2B and B2C marketing segments are eroding.

A few things he pointed out in this example were:

  • Personal – The email initially engages the recipient with a personal greeting
  • Tone – Copy is written in relational language that is easy to understand

Connect your offer to a prospect’s behavior

The technology tools available to email marketers these days are amazingly sophisticated.

Marketers can segment, automate and personalize like never before.

, Email Copywriting: 3 tactics for delivering value over perceived cost

But unless you can connect your offer to a prospect’s position in the purchase cycle based on behavior, you’re going to have a tough go of making a meaningful connection.

Flint’s illustration emphasizes that point by highlighting a known behavior about the prospect.

“Look at how the first sentence begins to connect the offer of the email to the specific behavior of the recipient, Flint explained, “This email is going to give the customers just enough to move forward in the conversation and it’s also reminding you why you’re receiving this.”

Build interest before the “ask”

, Email Copywriting: 3 tactics for delivering value over perceived cost

Delivering value is all about building interest.

Copy that clearly answers the question, “What do I get out of this?” for a prospect while resisting the temptation to sell is key to doing this effectively, or as Flint simply puts it, “Clarity trumps persuasion.”

An email is just a vessel

One big takeaway from this session is essentially thinking not just about copywriting, but ultimately, thinking about email itself.

If you strip away all of the copy, images and expectations, emails are an empty vessel waiting to be filled.

They can be filled with valuable content, perceived as useful and delightful to the recipient.

Or they can be filled with another sales pitch thrown at the list with the hopes that a few a stick and click.

How we choose to fill those vessels for our prospects is truly how we are serving them.

And that choice is up to us.

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