I just got an email with the subject line “From copy mistakes to inbound superstar” and I opened it, intrigued. The message was from Jon Hosier of Marketing Sherpa.

What was it about that message that so grabbed my attention? How did he cut through the clutter?

I had to find out and so asking Jon for an interview was the logical next step.

Why did you write that email?

Jon explained, we do a best of weekly newsletter – that sent out a couple of things including a blog ‘Misstakes arr Bad by David Kirkpatrick, and we chose to deliberately include copy mistakes in the newsletter too.

I took a step back from the day to day and realised something simple, I am sending to people and not to email addresses and I should treat them as such, chances are they may have already seen the other email.

I took my marketing sense in a different direction – go holistic. I strung my promotion on the back of the marketing value the reader had already gotten.

I played off that internal editorial content and put a more personal approach to the subject line copy just trying to cut through the clutter.

[The full email text is at the end of this post.]

You send a lot of mass outbound emails – how do you stand out?

Recently I’ve been trying to add more value to my email sends and having a more indirect approach with my promotions. We are all so conditioned the way search engines condition us to see the snippet and click, read the value we want there – and within 5 seconds I’ll go yes or no, click the back button and I’m done.

As a direct marketer, you want to get that click but you want to get them engaged with you but you can’t do it too soon.

I was building off the rapport that the editorial team already built up and going off that. We “coddle” them and put them into a frame of mind that we’re speaking to them and not at them.

What metrics do you track?

I have a report from the previous week’s send every Monday and the main metrics are open rates, click through rates and conversion rates. I keep a spreadsheet of the week by week totals so we can track progress.

We are doing some list hygiene – and as a result there is more personalisation in our emails. This is more than just subject line and name; but segmented into – book buyers, best of weeklies.

I did this test on a webinar I was promoting and I edited the test as we were going – we got a sizeable lift from just the personalisation alone.

We have about 5 lists and we segment down in terms of engagement; product buyers, book buyers; we segment down 5 times as well (email, B2B, B2C, inbound etc).

What would you have changed?

Not much – this is the first time I’ve implemented this tactic. I guess I’d be happy to update

How can new business professionals use this story for their work?

The best thing to remember starting out is this: Always be testing. Catalog your findings. A negative result is still a result. You can still learn from it. You don’t need to use letterhead templates in the name of professionalism. Find creative ways to distinguish your message. Make it fun.

People read a ton of emails a day. Don’t try to do too much too fast. Lead their thought process from email, to landing page, to conversion. You don’t always need to sell from the subject line to the salutation.

One of the core messages of our Inbound Handbook is that we need to understand the needs and behaviours of their target audience. As you test, make sure you track everything. All links, all ads, etc. If you aren’t using tracking links, do so. If you’re not using Google Analytics or something that can show you where you’re losing them, do so.

The email is just the beginning. Make it interesting, make it fun, inspire the open, and then the click. These are just 2 “micro-yeses” towards your main objective – the conversion.

The full email copy

From copy mistakes to inbound superstar

If you glanced over the Best of the Week newsletter this week, you may have seen a mistake or two in the copy. Put down the pitchforks. We did it on purpose.

Content Marketing: Misstakes arr Bad” is a message that comes straight from our editing department. But, once you solidify the importance of editing, you still have content that needs to be leveraged to its greatest extent.

This is where inbound marketing can significantly reduce costs, increases sales, and improve ROI. View this free 22-page excerpt from the 2012 Inbound Marketing Handbook to see more.

We have constructed an outline of practical steps organizations can take from years of research and data. It has already helped many marketerssignificantly reduce costs, increases sales, and improve ROI.