Feb 15

How to Write an Email That Gets Response

I want to share an article with you from my friend, Joel Mark Witt. Joel has some great insights into social marketing.  Enjoy this guest post.

By Joel Mark Witt

With all the talk about social media these days it is no surprise to me that business owners and marketers forget about one of the most powerful forms of internet marketing...


We see people spending time searching on Twitter, updating their Facebook fan pages and discussing business topics inside LinkedIn groups. While these social media marketing activities do in fact benefit your organization and professional life, don’t neglect the obvious marketing powerhouse in online media.

Why email marketing gets great response

Emails are personal. People are used to getting messages in their inbox from their mom, friends or spouse. It really is the modern equivalent of getting a personal letter.

Ask any business person, old or young, and 90 percent of them use email at work. Email is familiar. Facebook is not. Don’t expect to reach many 55-year-old executives using Twitter. They simply aren’t using the service.

And email shares a common benefit with its social media cousins…it is scalable. Write an email once and send it to thousands with the click of a button. That is marketing power.

Effective email marketing

Email marketing is very similar to traditional direct mail marketing in that you are looking to connect with people personally and ask them to take a specific action. But with email the cost is so low, you have the ability to spend time developing and nurturing a solid RELATIONSHIP with your readers.

Don’t get me wrong. Any effective email marketing strategy involves a strong call to action. But it will also work in personal elements and a writing style that can cut to the heart of a prospect’s problem or desire.

How to write an email that gets response

First, begin with the end in mind. Know what action you want your readers to take. Do you want them to buy something? Do you want them to take a survey? Are you helping them take a small action in their life or business that will continue a relationship with you?

Figure out your “call to action” and build your email marketing around that. For example, our company is interested in getting people to take action by using social media in their day-to-day business. In many of our emails I invite people to participate in a 20 minute free consulting call to answer any questions they have about Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. This action benefits our readers and also gives us insight and feedback into their real-life business problems.

Second, build in metrics from the beginning. Track the nitty-gritty details of how many readers opened your email, who is forwarding emails to friends and how many click-throughs you are getting. These numbers can help you refine your email marketing in the future. Sound overwhelming? It doesn’t need to be. Most email service providers have these tools built into their systems.

Third, test everything. Email marketing is a process. Don’t assume you will get 50 percent open rates and massive clicks on the first few tries. It takes time to know what your readers will respond to.

A few items on the top of your list to test are:

  • Frequency (daily, weekly or monthly)
  • Headlines
  • Call to action (what do your readers respond to?)
  • Content

Finally, write with passion. Picture yourself writing to one person and pour out your heart and mind in a compelling and personal way. Don’t censor your personality. If you are a “faceless” business – change that and become the person your readers think of when they hear your business name. Become a mini-celebrity of sorts and nurture your personal touch. It will pay dividends in the long run.

Action Steps

Here is your assignment for today. So in keeping with our goal of being personable, think carefully about your ideal customer. List out their wants, needs and desires. In your mind, pick one customer and give them a name. Sit down and craft a personal email to that one person to help them solve one of their specific problems. Pick the need that is the biggest most obvious pain for them. Spend time showing them a simple, straightforward solution in a personal way... just for them. In your close, invite them to learn more from you by taking a particular action.

At the end of this exercise, you will have a powerful email to put into your marketing system. From here you can create a whole series of emails in a sequence to send to your email list.

Now go take action.


joel-mark-wittJoel Mark Witt is the Publisher of Folk Media and author of 21 Days To Twitter Leadership and How To Use Social Media To Find A Better Job. He is a producer, author, and speaker who consults with businesses and nonprofits on how to use social media in marketing and communications. Get more from Joel on Twitter.


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  1. Jennifer El Shafei

    I just wanted to thank you for the valuable information that you share here. I have been stuck on where to begin with my email campaign, your email came at the right time for me. 🙂

  2. Deborah Richmond

    Glad it was useful. Didn’t Joel do a nice job with this post? Definitely check out his website for more good social media information!

  3. La Kwanza

    This article was a great reminder to not forget how powerful and effective email marketing can be. Your point of keeping the emails personal and directed to your customer’s desire is great! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Deborah Richmond

    It’s true some people think it is now an old method, but it’s a method that gets results. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Loren Fogelman

    Deborah, thanks for posting this blog from Joel. It is important to let people know who you are. Creating that know, trust and like relationship will benefit any business.

  6. Douglas Kelly

    Great information here. I especially like the action steps at the end. Very nice.

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