Email marketing is extremely common in most of the world. Interestingly it is still to pick up steam in Zimbabwe, I wonder why though but I guess not many people use emails. Interestingly, there could be as many as 4 billion email users in the world. Anyways, email marketing is the use of emails in marketing products or services to prospective and existing customers. It is something that Zimbabwean businesses should seriously consider. Composing emails for marketing purposes is both an art and a science. In this article, I will be discussing an email template belonging to Amazon that accidentally got into the public domain.

What Happened?

Earlier this year someone posted about an email template belonging to Amazon that had accidentally found its way into the public domain. There is speculation on why it got out but the truth is that it is not quite clear how and why it got out. All that is not that important anyway, what is important is that it is an email template belonging to the company with a market capitalization of over US$570 billion. This rouses our attention because there are definitely nuggets to draw from it.

Breaking Down The Email Template

If we are to break it down there are 3 core aspects to discuss on the template. These are an image, a headline, and the body.

The Image

The template included the dimensions that the image ought to have. The dimensions were 600 x 200, what is so special about those dimensions? Such dimensions strike the perfect balance for the visual appeal of an image. It will not be too small and not too big at the same. It will rightly-sized and noticeable at the same; even its placement at the top is strategic for it to be immediately noticed. The position causes it to be noticed first before all else – it is meant to draw the reader in and be curious to explore the email further.

The Headline

I cannot overemphasise the importance of the headline – it could easily be the most important part of the email. If the headline is not alluring or gripping enough someone might not even read the email at all. There is a balance to be struck here just like the image does. The headline must be short enough to draw attention but long enough cover the essentials. What is a headline for really? A headline is meant to give a summary of what the email is all about.

The headline must be able to address 3 fundamental questions any average might have. The questions pertain to what the email contains, why they should read it, and what is in it for them?

This all sounds simple and straightforward, right? Not necessarily so I would say. You have to come up with a headline that is not too long, not too short, and convinces the reader they must read it. It takes some considerable amount of thoughtful consideration to be able to achieve that.

The Body

Now let us take a look at the body of the email. From Amazon’s email template there is a remarkable principle explained therein. The principle is summed in this statement: strategically combine long, short, and medium sentences to make words sound melodious. You have to systematically alternate statements that are 5 words long, 4 words, 2 words long and so on. You also have to throw in some statements that have several words. There is a book by Gary Provost called Make Every Word Count. There is an excerpt from that book that demonstrates this principle. Here it is:

This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. The ear demands some variety.

Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length.

And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbal sounds that say listen to this, it is important.

I highlighted those parts to show you the principle I have just been explaining. The red section shows statements of either 4 words or 5 words in alternation. The blue part shows a considerably long statement whereas the green part shows a medium length statement. The part I highlighted in brown shows an example of a short statement. So that healthy mix is what you should play with when composing the body of the email.

Call To Action

The final element to discuss the Amazon email template is the call to action (CTA). I will not say much here but just tell that you must be creative with this. Do not be ordinary or use CTAs most businesses use. For instance, “Click Here” is very common but it does get the job done. A CTA must be convincing enough to cause one to act immediately. There is no cast in stone CTA but simply apply the principle I have highlighted here. An example of a better CTA is “Be Part Of The Revolution”.

All this information I have shared with you goes beyond just an email template. You can even use these principles whenever you create written online content. All the same, take some time to seriously consider email marketing in Zimbabwe and put this email template to the test.