You know those moments where you shake your head and think, “Am I the only one seeing this?” Where tablets and long email copywriting are concerned, I’m having one now.
The marketing blogs are all abuzz over how to use mobile devices and email marketing to sell your products and promote your brand. However, the small business person looks at marketing through a different lens than most professional digital marketers.
Inside the marketing industry, I see many who live and breathe the latest trends and tools that enhance the marketing efforts of a business, from an e-commerce site to a local business. They are dazzled by big data, and stratified content geared to multiple niches, and the varying degrees of a consumer’s position in their funnel.
Of course, I’m assuming you’re a bit of a lone wolf. You’re not someone leading a division with a full-on PR department, advertising department, marketing department, and sales department. If you yourself are ALL of those departments rolled into your charming, rocking’ awesome, one-man or one-woman “department,” then let’s talk about you! (I know a lot about this because I’m the same kind of animal.)
Solo-preneurs must pick and choose the most effective marketing tips for their business and commit to getting results.
We don’t try every marketing tactic we come across and we don’t use every marketing channel either.
If you can’t make something work right now, with just you and few others on your team, then you can’t really use it at all. There’s no point in doing something half-assed.
I’m kind of obsessed with trying to show clients (and test for myself) which major marketing trends are actually do-able this month for the small biz marketer.
Mobile is front and center on my mind. I’ll be shamboozled if I’m going to let this thing happen without MyTeamConnects. I want to be part of this and I want to make sure you’re served with copywriting and content marketing that glides right into the mobile sea. No one’s going to get left behind on a desktop if I have something to do with it.
You already know that Christmas was epic in terms of mobile. 17.4 million mobile devices activated on a single day means the mobile revolution is underway. Everyone is talking about what that means for their business, their marketing, their PR, etc. how to make use of apps, harness the power of social media, and to ensure that you are where your customer is…on their phone or tablet or e-reader.
Which brings us to the topic sizzling off the top of every email designer’s, service’s or copywriter’s website: “Optimizing email for mobile.”
The general consensus concerning email copywriting length seems to be: Keep it short.
The theory behind that advice, I guess, is that since people are on the move, it must mean they are quickly checking email, and deciding at an even faster rate than when they’re on their desktops, whether to read, save or delete.
But where is it written that they won’t give a long email the time of day — if it’s good?
That a fallacy that must be killed. The truth is that people will read a long piece of content if it actually holds their attention.
If your email is boring, crappy, useless, or ALWAYS selling something…they’re going to delete it. But the fact that they’re reading it on mobile has nothing to do with it. They’re going to delete it just as fast if they see crappy, boring, useless, sales-y email on their desktops.
Junk mail is junk mail, no matter its length. It makes no difference where you encounter it.
I don’t advise keeping email short if you have something juicy to say.
Now I might concede that smart phones are tedious for reading long emails for a number of reasons. Let’s just agree that smart phones are great for a million things (the app explosion comes to mind) but reading long text is not one of them.
Here’s the little detail that stops me in my tracks: Of those 17.4 million devices, over half were tablets.
Smart phones are not much fun for reading long content… but tablets are divine.
What’s better than cozying in with a good read? If your email is a good read, then write away, my friend! Most people use their mobile tablets to read email. According to Pew Researcher Center’s Excellence in Journalism, at least 66% say it’s their #1 activity.
Just because they’re reading email on the go doesn’t necessarily mean they’re pressed for time. Yes, you have to get to the point, your copy must be consistently riveting, but short emails are not necessarily what people are craving. What they are craving is good content.
Long Email Copywriting At Its Best: Three Long Emails I Read Every Time I See Them, And Why
Early to Rise: A newsletter written by Craig Ballantyne with stellar guest posts by all sorts of people who inspire entrepreneurs. It comes out first thing in the morning, so I never miss it. Through this newsletter (usual article length somewhere around 1000 words) I was introduced to…
Kung Fu Finance: I just pulled up a recent newsletter (6,617 words!) and guess what? I admit I didn’t read that one in its entirety. But I opened it and skimmed it. And I’ve certainly read others equally as long. Why? Because Susan Fujii, Kung Fu Girl, is writing to me and my personal finance interests. I’ve not read any clearer insights on money and the markets than her articles, interviews and blog posts. She actively attends money conferences, interviews money experts, and exposes trends and opinions that I’d miss without her regular emails. Love Kung Fu Girl. KI-YA!!
Sandy Krakowski: The #1 reason I chose Sandi as a mentor last year is because her copy is as engaging as any on the internet. As a copywriter, I just HAD to rub elbows with this amazing, absolutely transparent and God-filled woman in hopes that a little of her magic rubbed off on me. She’s all about helping people create “A Real Change” in their lives, whether that means in business, fitness goals, family life, financial or spiritual mountains to climb; her site is a good one to visit and her email newsletters are fantastic pick-me-ups — every time. (P.S. My business has grown since learning from her.)
Brands have a unique outlook on email. We have the resources to target tiny markets, even down to the individual. We can now create ads that speak to recent engagement and behaviors. We can show retargetting ads to visitors who drop by and look, and we can develop relations via email with people who sign up to a list. We can do both!
A perfect example: I recently looked at some dressy shoes on Zappos for my daughter’s first winter formal. What do you think I’ve been seeing pop up on all the websites I’ve been searching — even the ones that have nothing to do with shoes?…yes, silver glittery pumps. It doesn’t matter if I’ve moved on to finance or real estate research.
To Zappos, I’m Glinda the Good Witch, shopping for some shoes. They’re going to hound me with those silver pumps until I either buy them or I drop off their hot prospect list.
Glinda: “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” (i.e. “Buy these shoes!”)
Dorothy: Me? Why, I’m not a witch at all. (i.e. “I don’t even have a dress yet, I was just looking!”)
“Get in and get out” may work for some businesses (Zappos has not emailed me about said pumps yet, but I’ll be expecting one with a subject line like “You recently viewed…”), and I’m certainly not one to disavow a process that works, but be wary of any marketing guru who says “Do this and not that” in any one marketing channel.
Just like the good witch/bad witch cautionary tale, there may be a happy medium that works for you.
Long copy in an email just might be exactly the content your audience wants.
Test things yourself. If you have something to say, then say it. If you want to send a long email, then try it. Forget about all the email experts telling you to send brief snippets of content in your email newsletters. In fact, you might even think about ditching your newsletter and replace it with a full blown copy of your blog post. Try different things with your audience. Don’t count your words all the time. Put your heart into it and trust your reader to decide.
As more and more people carry around tablets (in their homes, their cars and their offices) they may find your copy is exactly what they want to read. If you need 5 minutes and 1600 words to make your point, then be bold. Dare to hold their attention for that long. Their screen is perfect for it!
Creative Commons photo: Flickr: Mike Licht: NotionsCapital.com