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Welcome to the show, Inbox Hackers. I’ve had 22 ounces of coffee already so we’ll get right to it.
Marketing emails should be what? Clear and compelling. Wait, you may think everything you type is both. But remember, your readers are→ busy, distracted, and may have just discovered your brand.
Unclear, underwhelming copy costs brands subscribers and sales. To prevent that, I’ve laid out several examples of copy that’s not clear. Some that’s not compelling (+ more issues). Seeing these mistakes can help you avoid them in your email campaigns.
To be clear – this feature story is about copy that sucks on some level.
5 Unclear Copy Examples
Having little luck getting surveys filled out? Could be your questions are vague or confusing.
- Concise is good. Not at the cost of abbreviations people may not know though.
- Two elements in one question will get no answers or possibly half-true ones.
If you document instructions for your products / services, it takes a genius technical writer to ensure 100% of users understand.
The IKEA instructions above should not have mentioned the part destined to be thrown away. Big mystery why they included the part, but the instructions do nothing to solve it.
“See you at the webinar” sounds friendly but is not clear. “Sign up for the webinar” is a direct call-to-action. Be friendly in your email’s opening. Be direct in calls-to-action.
Copy That’s Too Wordy. All Stretched Out. Redundant and Unnecessary. Needless.😅
The copy above is clear. But could be cut down to one sentence.
“We provide affordable car insurance when you can’t get reasonable coverage at other insurance companies.”
Nobody knows or cares what “non-standard insurance” means. I’d never seen the phrase before and I’ve driven cars for 30 years!
The person shopping for insurance only needs to know this company will roll the dice on their dicey driving ability 🚓 or sketchy societal reputation.
Especially when the copy is at the top of the page (as the example was).
Another note. ‘Car insurance’ is clearer than ‘auto insurance.’ Also, 2x the people Googled the former vs. the latter.
Could be an intentional SEO move on the company’s part, of course. But not one dummy could mistake ‘car insurance’ for something else. Not true with ‘auto insurance.’ Trust me.
Another Wordy Copy Example
Last sentence is worthless. Should’ve been cut. Anyone unaware the internet and articles exist would never land on the page in the first place.
Worthless words detract from valuable ones and make visitors flee landing pages. Also, needless sentences take away from compelling ones.
Can Email Copy Be Too Clear?
The best practice of alerting readers and viewers to what a blog post, email, or video is about has gone overboard.
Yes, people want to know exactly what’s coming so they don’t waste their time. But if your video is 3 minutes, please don’t spend 60 seconds telling me what you’re about to tell me. Just tell me.
If you write enough content, mistakes will happen. You may have spotted mine at times.
Don’t worry, I lost my ego in the second divorce.
Mistakes even happen to Seth Godin.
I know ‘cools’ should be ‘tools.’ It’s a distraction when you notice it though.
Same as when two words are slammed together accidentally (above). Often, not by the writer but by the email program or website platform.
It happens with Active Campaign when you bold words sometimes. Test your emails so you can see what they look like in the inbox. Glitches happen between the ESP designer and the inbox.
Simple inconsistent formatting won’t bankrupt a brand. But if you catch little mistakes (‘W’ vs. ‘w’ above), giant ones stand little chance of escaping your attention. The example’s another big brand. Scott Galloway’s Section 4 email.
Clear Email Copy Summary
Email marketing messages can be improved with minor effort.
- Double-checking for distracting errors
- Slower editing
- Cutting out weak or unnecessary sentences
- Adding another set of eyeballs to ensure clarity before sending
Sometimes a single word change makes a major impact. Especially in subject lines and opening lines.
I think it’s a privilege to have someone read our emails. Writing crystal-clear copy that packs a punch respects that privilege and readers’ time.
Knowledge is power, but first, tiny motivation.
42 prospecting tools (6 categories).
Hot SEO trends (Voice search🙂? Nope 🤨).
Rest and let users generate content for ya (how to collect UGC).
Your newsletter has value, even when you want to move on.
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Why business folk and marketers are lusting after ChatGPT and other AI tools…
Same reason they’d love more user-generated content.
Because it’s free and less work for them (us).
No different than automated emails. Or automatic lead segmentation.
Any tool / tactic that eases your workload is worth a look.
Matter of fact, anything you can take off your plate, in general, is worth a look.
*Shout-out to Inbox Hacking Subscribers →
🏦Angela at BuildingEngines (Property)
🤖Aashish at Moda (AI-powered e-commerce)
Facts and Stats
- 55% of Americans made a purchase directly from an email in the last year, vs. just 23% via banner ads (Marigold)
- Gen Z lags behind other generations in email buying, averaging 49%
- 67% of U.S. millennials are more likely to engage in a loyalty program this year
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Data, analytics, and metrics.
Pile enough of them together and you can sell ice to an Eskimo, right?
Wrong. See, Eskimos have ice already. Plus, numbers are a snoozefest without a story to back them up.
Seth Godin has never once used a statistic in his 87.3 million blog posts. I checked.
But people get value from his thoughts and stories.
All Marvel Films are basically structured in the same way. Fans don’t tire of them though.
Can anyone tell a good story? Some people excel. But anyone can get better.
If they simply stick to time-tested storytelling structures.
You’ll be surprised how easy your audience is to please if you stick to what’s already been proven to work.
Choose one manual process and replace it with automation.
- Email list clean-up
- Newsletter / Blog outline using AI
- Certain social media updates
Working less isn’t being lazy. It’s smart. So is manually marking out to-do items that don’t matter.
*Cut down research time with this YouTube video summarizer (Chrome extension).
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