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Wouldn’t it be great if there was a vault, library, or domain where all the secrets of writing a winning song were stored?

While such a place doesn’t yet exist, there some tricks to the trade that anyone with a desire to be successful can adopt and apply.

These tricks are not exclusive to songwriting and there is much an ambitious email marketer can learn from a successful songwriter.

Below I explain why email marketing is like writing a winning song and lay out some lessons that you can take away and apply to your next campaign. Read on and find out how to get your emails singing.

Recommended reading: 80/20 Rule: How To Hack Learning Guitar

Structure your email like an ancient Egyptian

Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You was Spotify’s most streamed track of 2017, but it would have gone nowhere without a proper structure. If you want your emails to be the most-opened of 2018, then you need to need to make sure they are well structured.

Even though email marketing doesn’t follow the same verse-chorus-verse structure of today’s music, it does need to present information in a way that makes it easy for your readers to digest. That’s where the inverted pyramid comes in.

Inverted pyramid graphic

This structure is designed to take your readers on a journey that ends with them doing what you want of them – completing your call to action. Not only is it the most persuasive way of structuring the emails you are marketing, it’s also how your readers want to digest them.

Inverted pyramid graphic

Step 1: Get Their Attention

The first stage: grabbing attention, is all about knowing what your audience cares about. Once you’ve got that figured out, you need to convey it in clear and direct language that’s going to get people to stop, read, and click.

See what Beats email their customers at the end of free trial:
Beats email marketing example

The tongue-in-cheek copy and emoji make this a super engaging and clear email. No one can miss the message this email is trying to convey. When you’re trying to get people to buy, get them to smile first.

Inverted pyramid graphic

Step 2: Build Anticipation

Massdrop’s email is all about building anticipation with their latest ‘drop’:
Mass Drop's email marketing example

It’s a good idea to keep your readers in the loop about upcoming launches, webinars, content, and products, but don’t go overboard with #hype emails either. Just keep it factual and stick to the main benefits and features – if you’ve done your segmentation right, people will care. Time-sensitive emails are always a winner, but give people enough time to react.

Inverted pyramid graphic

Step 3: Present the Call to Action

A good CTA (call to action) should work with the rest of your email, and a bit of wit doesn’t hurt either. This email from Ticketfly is a great example of a neat email with a seasonal slant:
Ticketfly email marketing example

The seasonal CTA “Give the gift of music” is simple, compelling, and perfectly in tune with the “Dashing to the show” pun. Try to think out of the box with your CTAs like Ticketfly.

While your emails might not be read by 1.6 billion people (that’s right, more than a billion people have streamed Shape of You), you’ll increase the chances of your customers getting to the end of your email if you follow the inverted pyramid structure.

Find your hook

Smells Like Teen Spirit, Beat It, Dancing Queen, She Loves You, Staying Alive, Single Ladies, Good Vibrations, what are they all? Winning songs. What do they all have in common? Great big hooks that suck listeners in and then take residence in their heads.

The need for a great hook is just the same in email marketing – your readers must instantly get what your campaign is about and know how your business can improve their lives.

While Nirvana’s 90s smash has crunching chords and The Beatles’ 60s chart-topper glorious harmonies, your hook comes from the subject line of your email, not a Fender or Rickenbacker.

There are a huge number of tricks that you can employ to write the perfect email subject line, but this brilliant video isolates five top tips and sums them up in a way that’s clear, concise, and actionable. I recommend that you review this before starting your next round of email marketing.

Select the right tools

Jimi Hendrix had his guitar, Adele has her voice, Lorde rocks her synth, and David Bowie had whatever he wanted.

What’s important here, though, is that these musicians knew what instrument was required to turn their ideas into a winning song. Likewise, email marketing benefits from mastery of the right tools.

One of the tools you may benefit from employing is an email marketing platform. This gives you the ability to manage your marketing campaigns from a central location, making it a lot easier for you to coordinate your campaigns.

MailChimp is an example of a platform you can employ to bring simplicity to your email marketing, giving you the ability to deliver campaigns around the globe without needing to lift a finger.
Deliver campaigns around the globe
Image created by Elastic Email.

In addition, if you’re in the business of selling goods and services, then you can extract even greater efficiency by using a CMS that integrates with email & marketing software, such as Shopify.

Doing this means that you can utilize the most up-to-date technology available to you to deliver a service that is as easy to digest as possible, in exactly the same way that songwriters take advantage of the latest recording technology to produce their winning songs.

Be honest with your audience

While not all artists write biographical songs, most hits remain honest about the message they convey to their listeners.

Take Justin Bieber’s Love Yourself. Ahead of the release of the song, Bieber announced that Ed Sheeran had written the song for him.

That didn’t mean fans couldn’t buy into the message Bieber conveyed, but it meant the Canadian pop star kept his authenticity. And what of Love Yourself? It’s Spotify’s 7th most streamed song of all time, with just under 1 billion streams and counting.

Your email marketing must also be honest about the message conveyed. Don’t give your readers unsubstantiated facts, entice them with headline-grabbing offers that are a mirage, or claim your product is something that it’s not.

Use your email marketing to sell the unique benefits of your brand and goods in a way that rings true and sincere. You may also want to extend your email efforts and create a lifestyle community.

If you are able to poke fun at the insincerity found in other brands’ marketing then you could even win yourself some fans, as in the case of Scandinavian bank Nordnet.

Writing a winning song takes time, effort, and more than a little luck. While email marketing also requires you to put in the hours and the hard work, you can make your own luck by taking the lessons from this article and putting them into practice. Do that and you’ll have a winning campaign.

Victoria Greene

Author Bio

Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she uses her experience in the field of email marketing, digital marketing, and social media marketing to help companies grow their brand.

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