Something that hasn’t gone away or been traded out for a new technological tool is e-mail. Even with social media, e-mail marketing still has its place. Direct messages do not have the same power, accessibility, and freedom that a good e-mail does, which makes e-mail outreach essential in effective PR.
Media recognition and utilization are great for getting a business’s name out, but keeping that attention and making loyal customers is a different story. E-mail operates as an attention keeper. Media is a way to get people in the door and hopefully to the checkout stand. However, e-mail is a tool to keep them coming back. To outreach with e-mail effectively, you’ll have to be tactful and wise.
Watch Your Mouth
It’s very important to target your audience wisely. For a normal mailing list, your contact base will start with your customers, or people who have expressed interest in your products. If you’re looking for press coverage, you’ll create a contact list similar to if you were doing SEO or link building, where you’re targeting people you may not have talked to before and hoping they share your information on their outlets. E-mail marketing sometimes does the same thing, but is usually done best when reaching out to people who have already gotten involved with a business and their products.
Regardless, there are basic rules that transcend your audience base, and that can be summed up with a piece of advice: watch your mouth. Use business etiquette and act professional. Not that there’s not a place for humor, but vulgar or aggressive language doesn’t typically have a place in this kind of scenario. Think of who your audience is, and get quickly to the point. Do not waste time oversharing — give them what they’re there for or what you’re reaching out to them for. Oh, and don’t be overbearing — sending e-mails too frequently or having too much text and information in your e-mails can put people off and cause them to unsubscribe.
Formatting is important because the organization layout of your content works deeply on an aesthetic level. The organization of the heading, paragraphs, and divisions between new products and announcements should come across in an aesthetically pleasing way. The paragraphs should be relatively short, the font shouldn’t be anything silly (do not use comic sans).
Placement is also extremely important. Put your product announcements relatively soon in the message, and don’t make the e-mail too large! This doesn’t just mean loading time — which is very important — but how much your customers will have to scroll as well. Any “action” buttons should be big and clear, but shouldn’t impede on the textual information in the message either. Similarly, the text is there to lead to action, so the reader should be able to naturally and quickly read the text into the action button.
Visuals are props. Action buttons are props. The colors you choose are props. Placement is important for props but so is the relevance of what you post. Think carefully about the colors you use (different colors evoke different emotions), how the pictures line up with your mission, the time of year, and the interconnectedness of all visual props. Props are necessary for good user experience, even when you feel like they’re a hassle or not something you want to put time into.
For instance, you obviously don’t want to be spammy with your emails. If it’s clear that your outreach is part of an e-mail list, then don’t try to pretend like it’s not. You’ll want to leave an unsubscribe link, and if you use a middleman like Mailchimp, that option will be programmed for you. Typically, a good format leaves the unsubscribe button in an obvious place — the bottom or top of the e-mail.
On a more positive note, it can be hard to find the perfect picture for your e-mail or the perfect color scheme. Honestly consider what you would like to see in an e-mail as a consumer if you were signed up for a mailing list. Visuals take a while to load sometimes, so make sure to use files that won’t crash slower servers or keep someone waiting. And at the end of the day, remember that aesthetics are just a means to information and conversion.
How do you craft your outreach e-mails? Let us know in the comments below!