Some Thoughts On Copywriting E-mails
Should the writer be somber, serious, and businesslike, or more upbeat?
I vote for the latter. My advice is to write with energy and enthusiasm. Let me show you how it sounds when you don't. Listen to this pitch from a Fortune 500 company. (Name changed.):
You are invited to attend Anonotech's Real-Life Security Implementation - INTERNET BROADCAST June 2nd
Review the basics of security and glean valuable lessons learned from a case study involving a $9 billion financial services company.
Anonotech presents a unique opportunity to see and hear expert speakers from the convenience of your office or
home. Through the Internet, you will view presentations from security practitioners and researchers to learn about the latest advances in security tools designed for systems administrators, IT auditors, security directors, and consultants.
Don't you agree that this is rather boring? (I have no doubt that it's hurting Anonotech!)
E-mail sales letters just won't generate response rates if they're flat or dense. (Readers are as quick to trash e-mail as they are to change TV channels when they're surfing and there's nothing on.)
Take a look at this spunky email I received from Apple a while ago and please check out the first sentence:
Dear Ivan Levison,
Don't watch television -- make it! If you haven't already seen it, read the new edition of Apple Media Arts, which focuses on Digital video production -- Ideas in motion.
See how creative professionals make the most of QuickTime, FireWire and Final Cut Pro to create breakthroughs in motion graphics, the web and broadcast television. http://www.apple.com/mediaarts
I really like that first line: "Don't watch television -- make it!" It's challenging, engaging, and provocative.
The kind of smart, fun tone Apple has been using from day one. (This is not a trivial point. A smart, hip, cutting-edge attitude is at the heart of Apple's branding effort!)
Or take a look at this email I wrote for Shockwave. When I sat in front of my computer to write this e-mail, I imagined that I was sending a note to a 21-year-old sitting in his messy dorm room.
FROM: The shockwave.com team
SUBJECT: Shockmachine is FREE and it's AWESOME!
Hey, have we got something for YOU.
Shockmachine. Free. Now.
It's dynamite, and it's waiting for you at:
Why does Shockmachine deserve a place on YOUR hard drive?
Well, first of all Shockmachine is free so it will cost
you absolutely nada. (Not a bad selling point!)
Fun to write! Sometimes, when you add a little attitude, you can cut through the clutter and get the reader on your side. Then you're halfway home!
The takeaway message this month? When you're writing an e-mail sales letter, you should write with all the energy, enthusiasm and personality you can muster. When you do, profits inevitably follow.
Ivan Levison is a freelance direct response copywriter who works for companies like Bank of America, Fireman's Fund, Intel, Microsoft and many others. Levison writes direct mail sales letters, e-mail letters and ads. For a free subscription to his monthly e-mail newsletter for software marketers, visit his Web site at http://www.levison.com. He can be reached at (415) 461-0672 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.