How to write email copy that converts

You’ve heard entrepreneurs gush about the magic of email marketing. And you feel like you can’t go a day without having someone tell you how darn important it is to build your email list.

But every time you hit “send” on a marketing email, it all falls flat. Your open rates are depressingly low. And your clickthroughs are almost nonexistent.

What the heck are you doing wrong? And more importantly, what can you do to fix it?

Keep reading below. Because I’m about to share my top 17 tips for writing email copy that converts.

 

Need help crafting email subject lines that will make your subscribers actually open your emails?
Download my 63 free email subject line templates.

1. Focus on one goal

You don’t have to be pitching a product or service in every email. In fact, you shouldn’t be. Because you don’t build a strong relationship with your audience by being that “friend” who only shows up when they need something. (I can see you nodding your head because we’ve ALL known that person.)

But even when you’re not trying to sell something in an email, you always want to have a goal. And you want it to be ONE goal, not two, or three, or four.

To identify your goal, think about the action you want your audience to take once they finish reading your email. Do you want them to read your newest blog post? Watch a video? Browse your new collection?

Once you know what your email copy needs to persuade your audience to do, it’s a whole lot easier to know what to write in it. And it’s simpler to keep your email copy focused on that objective.

Related: 10 expert tips for writing marketing emails that convert + 63 email subject line templates

Example: In this email, Mirvish focuses exclusively on their goal of retaining subscribers on their “special offers and promotions” list.

 

Example of email copy

2. Target a segment

It’s easier to write one version of a marketing email and send it to your entire list. But how often is the easy route the most successful one?

Instead of writing just one version of email copy that has to appeal to everyone on your list, write different versions for different segments—or subgroups—of your list. This lets you tailor your email copy to more specific and defined groups of people.

For example, if you were promoting your new lingerie collection, you’d want to send different versions of your email to women vs. men. Why? Because each of these groups would have different reasons for buying the lingerie. And they’d be looking for different benefits.

Because segmentation allows you to appeal to a specific group’s needs, goals, and desires, it tends to produce better results. In fact, when you write email copy for a segment, it can increase your clickthroughs by as much as 101%!

Here are just some categories you can use to segment your list:

  • Demographics
  • Interests
  • Stage in business/life
  • Opt-in incentive
  • Stage in sales funnel

Related: 10 effective ways to increase your email open rate + 63 free email subject line templates

Example: Ashlyn Carter segments her subscribers based on the stage they’re at as entrepreneurs.

 

Example of email copy

 

3. Consider one person

Even when you segment your email list well, each segment can still feel like a broad group of people. That’s why it’s helpful to have a single person in mind when you’re writing your email copy.

Now, by “writing for one person,” I don’t mean choosing a real subscriber in each segment and writing as though you’re sending an email just to that one person.

Instead, think of the person that represents your ideal customer within a particular segment. Really get down into the weeds of that person’s fears, hopes, dreams, and interests. Think about the language they use, the problems that keep them up at night, and the way these problems make them feel.

This will help you write email copy that sounds like it was written just for this particular segment of your list (because it was). In other words, it’ll make your email copy resonate with this segment of your list. And that’s exactly how you nudge people to click on that link to your blog, store, or webinar registration page.

Example: The Ten Spot had a very specific type of person in mind when they wrote this email to promote a product launch.

 

Example of email copy

 

4. Craft a magnetic subject line

Your email subject line is one of the only pieces of information your subscribers will see when your email pops up in their inbox. And it’s arguably the most important one. Because if your subject line makes your email sound boring, irrelevant, or spammy, your email will go straight to the trash folder.

That’s why it’s important to put in the time to write a magnetic email subject line. Here are some quick tips for writing email subject lines that hook your audience:

  • Emphasize benefits—Tell subscribers what they’ll get if they open your email (e.g., “My 10 best tips for writing high-converting copy”)
  • Invoke curiosity—Hold back the details so that subscribers can’t help but open your email to find out what it’s all about (e.g., “You deserve this”)
  • Keep it short—Make sure the entire subject line shows up even when subscribers scan their inbox on a mobile device

Related: 12 email subject line tips to boost your open rate + free spam trigger word list

Example: Amy Porterfield emphasizes benefits and invokes curiosity in this attention-grabbing subject line.

Example of email copy

 

5. Play with preview text

As long as your subscribers use a modern email program, they’ll see more than just your subject line in their inbox. They’ll also see preview text.

Preview text is the text that shows up in an inbox after or below the subject line. It gives people more information about what an email is about.

 

Example of email copy

 

Now, if you don’t write a subject line for your email, it’ll show up as a blank field in your subscribers’ inboxes. But that’s not how preview text works—at least not right now.

If you don’t specify the preview text that you want people to see, email programs will choose the preview text for you. In some cases, they’ll choose the first sentence or two of your email. And in others, they’ll display instructions for how to read the email online. So if you leave it up to a bot to do the work for you, the preview text probably isn’t doing you any favours. In fact, it’s a wasted opportunity.

Instead of leaving it up to chance, write the preview text for your email yourself. This way, you can strategically use the preview text to support your subject line and convince your subscribers to open your email.

 

 

Need help crafting email subject lines that will make your subscribers actually open your emails?
Download my 63 free email subject line templates.

Send me the templates

6. Use captivating words

In addition to making your email copy conversational, you also want to use captivating words that draw people in.

In particular, it’s helpful to remember that people make decisions based on emotion. So when you’re writing email copy, weave in words that appeal to your subscribers’ emotions. Power words and sensory words are great tools for this.

Related: How to use power words to instantly write stronger copy + free list of 476 power words

Example: Check out the sensory words that DavidsTea uses in this email to promote its ginger crystals tea.

 

Example of email copy

 

7. Tap into FOMO

FOMO (fear of missing out) is real. And it doesn’t apply just to the fear of missing out on an exclusive special event or the hottest sale of the year. People can experience FOMO even if they think they could miss out on getting a valuable freebie or learning tips from a pro during a free webinar.

So when you’re writing email copy, tap into FOMO. You don’t want to do it every single time. But when it makes sense to, create a sense of urgency by telling your subscribers that they definitely don’t want to miss out on what you have to offer.

Example: Celebrity Cruises uses FOMO about locking in a great rate for a cruise to get people to click through on this email.

 

Example of email copy

 

8. Make it conversational

It’s easier to build a connection with someone and convince them to do something when you talk to them the way a friend would talk to them. That’s why it’s helpful to make your email copy conversational.

Ditch the long complex words and industry jargon. And in their place, use simple words that are punctuated with personality.

Related: How to add personality to your copy + free list of 476 power words

Example: SnapTravel uses conversational copy in this email to promote its hot hotel deals.

 

Example of email copy

9. Address subscribers by name

What’s an even easier way to connect with your subscribers in your email copy? Address them by name. You can do this when you greet them at the beginning of the email. But you can also weave their name into the body of the email.

Addressing your subscribers by their first name makes your emails feel more personalized—like your talking to them directly. Just be sure that you don’t overuse this strategy. If people see their name peppered throughout an email, it’ll seem forced or even downright creepy.

Example: DigitalMarketer personalized this lead magnet delivery email by addressing me by my name.

 

Example of email copy

10. Use “you” and “your”

Another way to make your email copy feel more personal is to use “you” and “your.” These words emphasize that the focus is on your subscribers, not on you. And it makes your emails feel more like a conversation.

Example: Melyssa Griffin’s emails feel like a conversation between her and her subscribers because she uses “you” and “your” throughout them.

 

Example of email copy

 

11. Share your story

It’s hard to form a genuine relationship with someone without sharing something about yourself. That’s why one of the most powerful copy techniques is to let your subscribers get to know you.

Of course, you don’t want to dominate the conversation or make you feel like it’s all about you. But it makes it easier for your subscribers to like and trust you if you share details about your life.

I’m not saying that you need to share your deepest darkest secret or the worst thing that’s ever happened to you. But if you open up about a relevant challenge you’ve overcome or even just how you had the best coffee of your life yesterday, it can do wonders to humanize your copy. And it helps people truly connect with you.

Example: In this email, Marie Forleo connects with her audience by getting personal about something she used to struggle with as an entrepreneur.

 

 

Example of email copy

 

 

Need help crafting email subject lines that will make your subscribers actually open your emails?
Download my 63 free email subject line templates.

Send me the templates

12. Use short paragraphs

No matter who your subscribers are, there’s one thing I can guarantee: they get WAY too many emails.

So if you want them to open your emails and click through, there’s something you have to do: you’ve got to make your emails easy to read.

What’s a super simple way to do this? Write short paragraphs. I’m talking no more than 4 sentences per paragraph. And don’t be afraid to play around with single-sentence paragraphs too.

Short paragraphs don’t just make your email copy easy to read. They also make it feel less intimidating and more manageable.

Want to take this even further? You can also use bullets and numbered lists to break up large chunks of text in your email copy.

Related: Scannable copy: How to write for your audience online + free scannable copy checklist

Example: Mattamy Homes uses short paragraphs and bullet points to make the copy in this email easy to read.

 

Example of email copy

 

13. Include one CTA

I started this post by telling you how important it is to identify the action you want your subscribers to take. Now it’s time to actually ask them to take that next step.

To do this, craft a clear call to action (CTA) that tells your subscribers exactly what you want them to do.

But don’t get carried away here. It can be tempting to include multiple CTAs in the hopes that one of them will appeal to your subscribers. But the reality is that when you give people too many options, it makes them less likely to choose one at all.

So instead of asking your subscribers to check out your blog post AND follow you on Instagram, focus on one CTA—the one that aligns with the goal of your email.

Related: The 62 best words to use in your call to action + 80 free call-to-action templates

Example: This email from AskingCanadians stays focused by including just one CTA.

 

Example of email copy

 

14. Repeat your CTA

You don’t want to include different types of CTAs in a single email. But it does pay off to include more than one link for your key CTA.

Why? It’s simple. When you remind people about what you want them to do, it encourages them to actually take action (and click!).

Example: RBC included its CTA twice in this email.

 

Example of email copy

 

15. Include a P.S. message

You don’t want your email copy to sound like a broken record. But people don’t read every word you write in your email copy. And they often need to hear a message more than once before they decide to act on it.

That’s why it pays to include a P.S. message in your emails—especially for those people who tend to skip right to the end of emails.

A P.S. in an email is just like the P.S. you’d find in personal snail mail letters. Except instead of providing an additional nugget of info, it sums up your key message and offer.

In particular, it identifies the problem your email addresses, the solution your email covers, and a CTA link.

Example: I boost clickthroughs on my emails by including a P.S. message.

 

Example of email copy

 

16. Reuse great ideas

Like with any kind of copy, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel when crafting marketing emails. Instead, don’t be afraid to model your email copy on what your competitors or favourite brands are doing.

Studying the emails of your top competitor or a brand crush is a great way to get inspiration for your own emails or uncover what works. It’s why I save all the marketing emails from my favourite brands in an “example emails” folder.

These example emails help me come up with new ideas for subject lines, CTAs, and body copy. And they allow me to identify the details I want to include in different types of emails.

You might think this is cheating or plagiarizing. But as long as you use the emails for inspiration and not to copy + paste, there’s nothing wrong with it. In fact, it’s a strategy the experts recommend.

 

17. A/B test

Even within the same niche, every audience is unique. That’s why it pays off to A/B test your email copy. Test out different subject lines, CTAs, and body copy to find what works best for each segment of your list. That’s how you find the formula for YOUR best-performing email.

Use these email copy tips to get more opens and clicks

When your open and clickthrough rates are low, email marketing can feel frustrating as hell. But when you use the right email copy techniques and A/B test to find what works for your subscribers, you can craft powerful marketing emails that hook, persuade, and convert.

Use the 17 email copy tips I’ve shared above to craft easy-to-read emails that resonate with your subscribers and have a personalized, human touch. They’ll help you tap into the power of email marketing so you can connect with your subscribers, make more sales, and build a thriving business.

 

Need help crafting email subject lines that will make your subscribers actually open your emails?
Download my 63 free email subject line templates.

Send me the templates

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to write email copy that converts

17 email copy techniques that make your subscribers open and click + 63 free email subject line templates
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