And now I’m going to take you to the data sheet

Finishing the week as we started, on email marketing, I’d like to remind everyone that the content of a sales email is only half of the job. Generally, we send out emails to try to interest our audience in something, and – of course – we end with a powerful call to action. However, if that call to action is to visit a web page, the offer on the web page needs to be matched to the email. If there’s an obvious disconnect, your conversion rate is going to be dramatically reduced.

Imagine emailing to promote an offer about blue widgets, telling your audience at the end to phone this number to find out more, and not telling the person answering the phone what the offer was. Just as you wouldn’t do that, don’t send people from an email to a web page which doesn’t take up the story explicitly. A good call to action offers something interesting, such as “See why our blue widgets are more blue than anything you’ve used before!”. The clickthrough page following that good call-to-action needs to be headed “…and here’s why our blue widgets are more blue than anything you’ve used before!”. The whole exercise is ruined if the clickthrough dumps the reader on a page simply headed “Blue Widgets”.

But what happens if you really can’t create a page to pick up the story from the call-to-action? What happens if you really have to send people to an existing (dull) page headed “Blue Widgets”? That’s when it’s time to reverse-engineer the message in the email.

What does the page say? Whatever it is, that’s going to be the payoff for your call to action, so you need to revise things appropriately. If the page is basically just a data sheet, then perhaps your email should sell the product and then say “and now I’m going to take you to the data sheet”.

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