Author: Kaleigh Moore

The 3 Best Copywriting Formulas for Email Marketing

copywriting formulas

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a recipe to follow when it came to writing your emails? A recipe that not only sparks interest among your subscribers, but also encourages them to complete a call-to-action?

You can! Many marketers use copywriting formulas, which are proven structures to help you write all your copy faster and with greater likelihood of success.

Copywriting formulas provide a starting point to help you organize your message for the most persuasive impact. It’s how you turn so-so copy into killer copy, and convert subscribers into buyers.

Take a look at three tried-and-true copywriting formulas that are optimal for email marketing, below. You can also use them on your social media feeds or in blog headlines, too! That way, you reach your audience no matter where they are.

Copywriting Formulas for Email Marketing

Formula 1: F-A-B

You understand your product or service from the inside out, but it can be tough to communicate all the important details about it in an email or two. Plus, you run the risk of losing your reader’s interest if you drone on too long about your product features.

Yes, it’s important to explain the features of your product — but where the magic happens is when you connect those features with the advantages and benefits they bring to your customers.

With the F-A-B formula (which stands for Features, Advantages, Benefits), you can touch on your product’s bells and whistles, but you focus on why a person would find your product beneficial.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Feature: Briefly explain the elements of your product. Keep it short and sweet.
  • Advantages: Highlight why these features are unique and how they can make a difference in your customer’s business, life, etc.
  • Benefits: Showcase the value of your product and how it can solve your customer’s problems.

The emphasis is on why your product’s features are great and how they can help your customers rather than dissecting each feature ad naseaum.

So, how can you implement this formula?

It might look something like this:

{Insert feature} will help you {insert advantage} so you can {insert benefit}

Example of F-A-B in a Tweet: Our wireless Smart Robot Vacuum will clean your pet’s hair off floors and carpets, so you don’t have to spend time chasing down hairballs.

These same principles can be used in subject lines or stretched out to serve as body copy. For the latter, you may expand on the advantage and benefits in multiple paragraphs to really drive the value home.

Formula 2: P-A-S

It may not come as a surprise that P-A-S made our list, but it’s a tried-and-true copywriting formula that works for just about every scenario.

In fact, marketing legend Dan Kennedy calls it the most reliable sales formula ever invented.

Let’s take a look at how it works:

  • Problem: State your audience’s issue.
  • Agitator: Agitate the problem by talking about why it’s a problem in the first place.
  • Solution: Solve your audience’s issue by presenting your product or service as the solution.

This copywriting formula works best if you focus on the “A” aspect. To “agitate,” you need to stir up all the negative emotions attached to their problem. Make the reader squirm in their seat. Get inside their head.

And just before they’re ready to scream “Enough!”, present them with a solution (your product or service!).

(Not sure what your audience’s “P” — a.k.a. their biggest problem — is? Here’s a great guide to finding your subscribers’ biggest pain point.)

Here’s how you could use it:

State a problem: Got pet hair all over your carpet or floor?
Agitate the problem: More pet hair means more time sweeping your floors. You’re already busy enough. Do you really want to spend all this extra time cleaning when you could be doing other things? (Like napping or reading or watching Netflix.)
Present the solution: Or you could control your pet hair problem with our new Smart Robot Vacuum. Just charge it, turn it on, and get back to your day.

Like the F-A-B formula, the P-A-S formula translates well on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, or in headlines because of its directness. Using this same example, you could send a Tweet that says:

Pet hair everywhere? Spending more time cleaning up pet hair means less time for the things you want to do — like napping or watching Netflix. You could spend time sweeping every day, or you could let our Smart Robot Vacuum clean it up FOR you.

The P-A-S formula is excellent for subject lines, but it’s also a fast and easy way to explain your value proposition in a quick way. Many email marketing geniuses use this formula in their own emails.

Here’s an example from Paula Rizzo, an AWeber user and a TV producer who has an entire side business called The List Producer. Through this business, she helps customers stay organized with various checklists and courses.

Subscribers who sign up for Rizzo’s email below have stated they’re feeling a lack of control in their digital world. Their inbox is overflowing and they can’t keep up!

In her first email, Rizzo welcomes her new subscriber, tells them a little bit about her business, and then launches into agitating their problem. The agitation section is shown below:

PAS copywriting formula

Then, Rizzo hits the reader with a solution: a paid course “Take Back Your Inbox: Stop Drowning in Unread Messages, Respond Quicker and Finally Achieve Inbox Zero.” (Check out all that’s included in her $47 course.)

 

PAS copywriting formula

Formula 3: A-I-D-A

A-I-D-A is arguably one of the most-used copywriting tactics of all.

First, here’s what it stands for:

  • Attention: Catch the reader’s eye.
  • Interest: Pique their interest with a compelling setup.
  • Desire: Make them crave the thing you’re offering.
  • Action: Tell them how to get the thing.

This is a classic formula for selling, so it makes sense to deploy it in an email environment where you want readers to take action and move from their inboxes to the next stepping stone in the conversion path.

Here’s how you could use it:

Attention: No matter how much you love your pet, there’s probably one thing that drives you nuts.
Interest: Pet hair is a never-ending battle (and it’s one you’re always losing). Right?
Desire: Smart pet owners know it doesn’t have to be that way. The Smart Robot Vacuum is always on top of hairballs (so you don’t have to be).
Action: Click here to get 20% off your purchase today only!

With a simple, actionable setup that solves problem and reduces a customer’s pain points, this formula is a sales-driving machine not only in emails, but also on landing pages and in video scripts.

Stretch it out!

You can use these copywriting formulas in one email — or you can expand it over a series of automated emails.

For instance, with P-A-S, you could use it over the following 5-email series:

Email 1: Introduce the reader’s biggest pain point
Email 2: Agitate the problem
Email 3: Really get in there! Agitate the problem some more. Start to hint that there may be a solution for their issue…
Email 4: Offer the solution — your product or service!
Email 5: If the reader doesn’t convert, you can offer a coupon or special incentive to buy.

Digital marketer gurus like Amy Porterfield, Henneke Duistermaat, and Jeff Walker have used similar email series when they launch a new online course or product.

Additional copywriting tips

Once you find a copywriting formula that works best for you, keep these tips in mind as you begin writing.

Avoid jargon
Using words that your customer may not understand is a quick way to lose their interest. Make sure they understand your message and what value you can provide them.

Nail the subject line
It’s been said a million times, but it rings true. Having a solid subject line that piques the interest of your subscribers will ensure the email content you worked so hard to create has a chance to be seen. Be sure to deploy A/B testing to find your strongest option.

Related: 6 Email Split Tests You Can Set Up in 1 Minute

Be conversational
Being personable with your copy is a great way to engage with your customers and show them that there are real humans behind your brand. Conversational tones not only make your brand sound more relatable, but it’ll ensure your customers understand what you’re saying, too.

For more email copywriting advice, check out our full list of copywriting tips.

Formulas save time and maximize ROI

Copywriting formulas are an excellent way to make sure you communicate your message clearly and present it in a way that will be most receptive to your audience. Different formulas work for various products and messages, so keep testing and tracking what you learn from each formula use.

Ready to see a greater ROI on your email marketing? Sign up for AWeber today or contact a Customer Solutions member. (Our team is available 24/7 at our Pennsylvania headquarters!)

The post The 3 Best Copywriting Formulas for Email Marketing appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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The Ultimate Guide to Email A/B Testing

email ab testing

In a world where people are bombarded with countless emails on a regular basis, it’s more important than ever to craft emails with purpose.

According to Statista, 269 billion emails were sent in 2017, and that figure is expected to rise to a staggering 333 billion by 2022.

These days it’s not enough to assume you know what type of email your audience will want to open — let alone read through it entirely.

You have to be certain.

Creating great emails requires a lot of hard work, researching, and strategizing. The best emails are crafted not only with goals in mind, but also with the target audience at the forefront.

From subject line strategies to sound design principles, there are many components that make up a successful email. But how can you be sure that one version of an email will be more successful than others?

You’re not the first person to ask that question.

What if there was a way to be sure that one version of an email would generate more engagement, lead to more landing page views, and/or provoke more sign ups?

Well . . . there is.

Email A/B testing or split testing is a brilliant way to determine what resonates with your audience and what sparks their interest. With email A/B testing, your team can gather data-backed proof of the effectiveness of your email marketing.

(AWeber just released a new email A/B testing feature that allows you to test more than just your subject lines — like send times, copy, templates, buttons, and more! Try out AWeber for FREE for 30 days — and split test away!)

Getting Started with Email A/B Testing

Conducting an email A/B test is simple. Create two or three identical versions of the same email, but change one variable like the subject line, the lead image, or the CTA button. You can test variables as distinct or as nuanced as you see fit.

For example: You might test the color of a CTA button versus testing the subject line.

Related: 6 Email A/B Tests You Can Set Up in 1 Minutes

If you think that creating multiple versions of the same email with a tweak or two sounds tedious or time-consuming (and wonder how much insight can you gain from changing the text on a CTA button), consider this.

AWeber customer and photo sharing community Light Stalking split their email subject lines to gauge the success of one versus the other.

email ab testing

email ab testing

As a result, they were able to increase their web traffic from the winning subject line email by 83%.

How’d they do it?

The founder of the community, Rob Wood, wanted to run an email A/B test on the subject line of the Light Stalking weekly challenge email, which asked subscribers to send in a photo of a silhouette.

The test was simple: Wood created two identical versions of the same email, changing only the subject lines. The first email used a straightforward subject line, “The Weekly Challenge is Live!” and the second email was just one word and hinted at the nature of the challenge, “Silhouettes.”

The email with the shorter headline (“Silhouettes”) was the winner, which Wood sent to the remaining 90% of his list. From there, the email yielded an above-average click-through rate, which drove more people to the Light Stalking website and increased overall engagement levels.

Impressive, right? And simple. This is a perfect example of how email A/B testing helps you make data-backed decisions.

With that, let’s talk a bit more about the basics of email A/B testing and how it can help you optimize your next email campaign.

Related: Should You Capitalize Your Subject Lines? This Marketing Expert Found Out

Setting Goals for Email A/B Testing

Anyone can split test an email, but like anything in digital marketing, having a clear goal and purpose for testing is essential. Sure, you can run a quick email A/B test and obtain useful results, but having a more precise testing strategy will yield more powerful data.

Email A/B testing is a great tool to use at any time, but it can be especially useful if you want to gain insight on a new campaign or email format. Before you begin your test, it’s essential to establish what you are testing and why.

A few questions that can help guide your team at this stage include:

  • Why are we testing this variable?
  • What are we hoping to learn from this?
  • What is the impact this variable has in relation to the performance of this email?

In theory, you could test any element of an email, but some variables will give you more insight into your subscribers’ minds than others.

The beauty of split testing is that no variable is too small to test.

Copy Elements

Copy elements such as subject lines, headlines, body copy, and calls to action immediately come to mind when thinking about what variables to test.

After all, copy elements are some of the first things people see when your email pops into their inbox (as well as after they open it), so it’s important to optimize.

For example, a personalized subject line that reads, “Ben, did you see this?” versus “Did you see this?” could be the difference between a subscriber opening and deleting the email.

But just how important are a few words?

We wanted to get to the bottom of this, so we added an extra word to a call-to-action button in one of our promotional emails. Doing so subsequently increased our trial subscriptions by 12.8%. Talk about the power of words.

Design Elements

Design elements like colors, fonts, images, templates, and spacing are just as crucial to an email as the copy and links.

Did you know that 53% of emails are opened on mobile devices? With this in mind, think about how your email visually appeals to subscribers and what they need to get the best reading experience.

email design ab testing

These two emails have the same copy and messaging, but are presented in very different ways. One puts a bit of written copy up top, while the other relies on a central hero image as a visual cue. This simple tweak in formatting could yield wildly different results.

Email A/B test different templates, layouts, and formats to see which yields the best results for your email campaigns.

Related: How to Create Amazing Photos for Your Emails on Zero Budget

Additional Elements

Aside from the visual and copy elements within an email, you can A/B test a few other variables as well. Testing when you send an email could be just as important as what your email says.

When measuring the success of an email as it relates to the time it’s sent, consider:

  • Day of the week
  • Time of day
  • Relation to the time of year (e.g., holidays, industry events, seasons, etc.)

Testing the time you send an email can provide a valuable understanding of your subscribers’ behavior as well . . . not just their interests.

Not sure about what font to use for the body of the email? Test it. Going back and forth between a few colors for the CTA button? Test it.

The bottom line: You can and should test different variables of your email campaign before launch so you can optimize for success. Just be sure you’re testing only one variable at a time to get the most accurate and useful results possible.

How big should your test sample size be?

It’s important to note that when conducting your email A/B test, you’re testing on only a small percentage of your subscriber list.

You want your test list to be large enough that you can gauge how the rest of the subscribers will likely react without using the entire list, but just small enough that you can send the winning version to a large portion of your audience. The goal is to get accurate, significant results, so bigger lists (minimum 75 to 100 subscribers) typically work the best.

However, keep in mind that you should be using a sample that represents the whole list, not just a specific segment.

Related: Your Start-to-Finish Plan to Get 1,000 Subscribers

So what does a sample look like?

There are many ways to approach this. You can figure out a generic sample size with a calculation that factors in your email list confidence level, size, and confidence interval.

Or, if you’re an AWeber customer, you can manually select the percentage of your list that will receive each version of the split test.

create email ab test

Either way, make sure you select a viable percentage of your list to send your test emails to so you have enough data to analyze. Often this is in the 10% to 20% range.

Best Practices for Email A/B Testing

Email A/B testing seems pretty straightforward, right?

It is, but like any experiment, if you don’t solidify the details and ensure your test is valid, your results may turn out to be useless.

Keep these things in mind when creating your split test:

  • Use a large enough sample to get as close to statistically significant as possible
  • Make sure your sample group is randomized
  • Test early (like before a campaign launch, so you have time to interpret the results) and test often
  • Identify each variable you want to study and test one at a time

The important thing to remember when it comes to creating an email A/B test is that it doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Email A/B testing is designed to deliver powerful, straightforward insights without a bunch of confusing variables.

Email A/B Testing Set Up

You have the basics of email A/B testing down, so let’s next discuss how to set one up properly.

Determine your goals

First things first: Identify the intentions behind the campaign you want to test.

Your goals will act as your compass when figuring out the details of your email A/B test. Every component of your campaign should trace back to your end goals.

Establish test benchmarks

Once you have defined your goals, take a look at your current email data and examine how your previous email campaigns have fared. From there, use your findings as benchmark numbers.

These numbers will be significant when it comes time to analyze your email A/B test data so you can gauge early success. These numbers should also help you decide on the variables you want to test moving forward.

Build the test

You have your goals and your benchmark data; now it’s time to build your test. Remember to test only one variable at a time. (Refer back to our best practices — above — if needed.)

Bonus: Did you know AWeber customers can automatically split test their email campaigns (and can test up to three emails at a time)?

It’s true. Here’s how it works:

1. Log into your AWeber account.

2. Hover over Messages, then click Broadcasts.

email ab test

3. Click on Create.

email ab test

4. Name your split test. Be as detailed as possible when naming them so you can make sure you select the right one when it comes time to run the test.

email ab test

5. If you’d like, you can send your split test to a segment a.k.a. a group of subscribers. Click on the drop-down menu and select the segment.

email ab test

email ab test

6. Using the slider, define your split segments into their two or three groups. (You can change the percentages to make sure you’re testing with only a small percentage of your list. So if you were sending to two groups, you could have 10% of your list get one variation and another 10% get the second variation. Then, you can send the winning message to remaining 80% of your list.) Once you are satisfied with your settings, click Save.

email ab test

email ab test

7. Then, to select the message you want to test, click Select a Draft on the right hand side menu.

email ab test

8. From there, select the message you want to use and click Select.

email ab test

9.You will then see the selected message added into one of your split test segments. Click Schedule to schedule your split test message.

email ab test

email ab test

10. Schedule your message just as you would with any other Broadcast message within your AWeber account. Once your Broadcast settings are set, click Send Message Now.

There you have it! Repeat these steps each time you want to send a split test message.

Email A/B Testing Inspiration and Examples

It can be tricky to identify what variable test can help you improve key metrics. Here are a few examples that can help you figure out which variables to test.

To improve your open rate…

This one is easy! To improve your open rate, you need to test different subject lines. We recommend trying a few different types of subject lines like questions, capitalization, long vs. short, subject lines with emotional value, emojis, etc.

You can also test different preheaders — the preview snippet of text that is next to your subject line or below it (on mobile) in your inbox.

In addition to testing subject lines, try sending the test emails at different times of day and see if that has an impact on the open rate. Your subscribers may be more inclined to open an email in the morning on their way to work or at night after dinner instead of during the middle of a workday.

The better your subject line, the more likely your subscribers will open the email and read through. Having a solid subject line is like getting your foot in the door.

Related: How Do I Avoid the Spam Filter?

To improve your click through rate…

Keep subscribers interested in the email by providing eye-catching, engaging content throughout. If it’s your click-through rate you want to improve, make sure you create clickable content. Consider how interactive content, information gaps (missing pieces of info that spark a reader’s curiosity), or contests could boost your in-email engagement.

There are also many variables you can test to optimize for click-through rate — a strong CTA, intriguing anchor text, personalization, spacing, or bold imagery. Just remember to test one at a time to ensure you know precisely why subscribers are clicking more (or less).

To improve your reply rate…

Many marketers tend to overthink this one, but it’s actually pretty simple. If you want your subscribers to reply to your emails, ask them to!

It’s that easy.

Try testing a “From [your name] at [your business here]” approach, which can make an email feel like a personal note instead of an email blast. (For instance, “From Andy at AWeber” would be the sender name that appears.)  Think about it: If subscribers think they are replying to an actual person, they are more inclined to do so.

You also might try testing long-form vs. short-form emails with a call-to-action that encourages subscribers to reply to the email with their thoughts, opinions, or questions.

Leverage that P.S. line, too. That last line can be an opportunity to encourage conversations and replies from subscribers.

Tracking and Measuring Email A/B Testing Success

We’ve covered a lot of ground so far around email A/B testing.

With so many elements to test, you might be thinking, “How can I verify that a campaign is successful or that a test yielded helpful data?”

The answer: Think back to your goals. Your goals will tell you what metrics you should pay the most attention to and what you should work on improving. For example, if generating more leads from email campaigns is your goal, you’ll want to focus on metrics like open rate, click-through rate, and form fills.

It’s also important to look at your metrics as a whole to see the big picture of how an email performed. Being able to track that data and refer back to it will also help you optimize future campaigns.

Another question that might be top-of-mind for you: How long should you let an email A/B test run for before ending it and analyzing the results?

According to Zapier, after about four to five days the effectiveness of an email dies out. They claim that if your email isn’t seeing any other significant activity after five days, it’s likely it won’t see any other activity.

However, digital marketer Neil Patel recommends running your A/B test for at least two weeks with 100 subscribers to determine any statistical significance of your results — or that they aren’t due to chance. If you run your test for too short a period, you run the risk of not allowing enough subscribers to open the email.

With that being said, why not test how long you run your test? If you see engagement with your emails die out after 48 hours, then you can cut the tests off around that point.

Once your test has ended and as you begin analyzing your data, keep detailed notes of your findings. Ask yourself:

  • What metrics improved?
  • What elements of the email flat-out didn’t work?
  • Were there any patterns that correlated with past tests?

Maintaining records and tracking results will help guide future campaign optimizations.

Put together a testing roadmap or a detailed record of what you’ve tested, the results, and what you plan on testing in the future. That way, you’ll have a detailed account of your tests and won’t leave any stone unturned in the process.

Get Started with Email A/B Testing Today

Email A/B testing is imperative to the success and optimization of any email campaign. It allows you to gain real insight that can help you make decisions about existing and future emails.

Email marketing is always changing, and as subscribers’ attention spans seem to get shorter, it’s vital to know what will yield the most success.

Get started today with AWeber. Our email A/B testing tool allows you to do more than just split test subject lines — you can test almost anything (calls-to-action, colors, templates, preheaders, images, copy, and more!). Give AWeber a FREE spin for 30 days. 

Want to learn even more about email A/B testing? Download our free guide here.

The post The Ultimate Guide to Email A/B Testing appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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