In journalism, one of the most basic lessons they teach you in your intro to journalism class is the concept of the 5 Ws (and one H). The 5 Ws are questions that every proper journalistic story should answer. They, along with the one H, are:
Every story you read, no matter if it's in a newspaper, a magazine, or online, answers these same basic questions.
But you're not a journalist, and this isn't a newspaper you're trying to sell; it's your products and services. However, the 5 Ws can still be used to apply to your marketing techniques, especially when it comes to email marketing.
To create a successful email, you first need to ask the question "what is the purpose of this email?" Are you trying to sell a new product? Retain customers through promotions? Give them some helpful info that will keep them interested in your brand? The "what" of your email is where you always need to start.
Next, it's important to understand who your target audience is. Is it new customers? Customers who already have your business? Customers who need a specific product that you're selling? Figure out who you're selling to, and build your email around their needs.
When we talk about "where" in marketing, we're usually talking about the place that your customers are getting their info, but with emails, we already know the "where" is through emails. However, the "where" in this situation could also be where you can lead your customers through your email, aka your Call To Action. If you want them to click into your website, or call you directly with a listed phone number, then ease them into making that decision through a finely crafted CTA.
When are your customers most likely to open their inbox and see your email? Different customers are online at different times, and if you miss your window of opportunity, the customer may glance over your email and accidentally delete it without ever seeing your message. Experiment with sending your emails at different times of the day and days of the week and see what works for you.
Why are you making this email? Is it to sell more products, bring in more customers, increase brand awareness, gain more social media followers, or retain returning customers? There are a number of reasons to send an email, but you need to figure out why you're sending your email before it's time to send it to your customers.
Although it's not a W, the "how" of an email is just as important as its alphabetical counterparts. The "how" of your email is a final question that you have to ask before sending out your email; How is this going to help my business? Think about how your email is going to help your business grow, and what you expect to get from your email before you're certain you want to send it out to your hundreds or thousands of customers. Remember, you can't take your email back once it's sent out to your customers. Be sure of the message and how it will affect your business.
Remember the 5 Ws when considering any marketing strategy your business has, not just with email marketing.
This post originally appeared on FGmarket.com.
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Contributor Caleb Hennington is a 25-year-old writer, who manages the Atwill Media and FGmarket blogs. He graduated from Arkansas State University in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.
When not writing, Caleb enjoys camping, running, collecting comic books, and geeking out over pretty much everything.