10 Tips on How to Craft the Perfect Email Copy
If you’re worried or stressed about writing your email copy…then you’re on the right track. Email marketing has some of the highest potential ROIs for all types of businesses.
But if your content isn’t compelling, you’re going to wind up wasting your time.
Writing email copy should combine math, science, and art. The most successful campaigns are the results of following winning formulas, testing and analysing results and creative storytelling.
Here are 10 tips that will help you write email copy that is engaging, authentic and converting:
1. Set your objective
Before you start crafting the big picture, you need to have a goal. Whether you’re sending out an individual email or creating a larger campaign, this goal will determine every aspect of your copy.
Your goal should be as specific as possible and the results need to be measurable.
- What action(s) do I want my readers to take?
- How will I measure the success of my efforts?
This will bring clarity and purpose, and make it much easier to create content that matches your intentions.
Good: “I want to get a positive customer testimonial from each of my buyer personas that I can leverage in a social media campaign.”
Bad: “I want to sell more products.”
The more detailed your goal, the more deliberate your copy will become, and your email will be more likely to convert.
2. Be clear about your intentions from the beginning
When writing email copy, you have two main objectives:
- Convince your reader to open your email
- Convince them to take action
Your sender name, subject line and preheader text are where you focus on accomplishing the first goal, and the body of your email does the rest of the work.
I like to write the body of the email first, as that will influence your subject line and preheader text, so let’s start with tips for your body content:
3. Focus on your call(s)-to-action
In most cases, your CTA is going to measure the success of your email. It’s where your reader either takes action or hits delete. It should be directly in line with the goal you set.
When I write email copy, I like to start with my call-to-action. What do I want my readers to do after reading this email? After all, the purpose of your writing is to convince your reader to complete your CTA.
Include two versions of the main CTA.
One should be placed at the beginning of the email and one at the end. If you’ve done your job right, people should know exactly what the purpose of your email is as soon as they open it. Not everyone likes to read as much as I do, and giving them a quick option to take action without having to scroll appeals to many.
4. Make every word count
In an email, you don’t have much time to convince your reader to help you achieve your goal. And most “readers” aren’t even going to read your email word for word, they’ll scan it.
Therefore, you need to edit and format ruthlessly.
Sections get 3-5 lines. Paragraphs get 1 topic. Each word should work to convince your readers to take action, and the text should be broken up and formatted into bullet points wherever possible.
Here’s a neat little chart that shows how cutting fat, removing promotional/boastful language and organising information into bullets increases readability:
5. Fit your copy into your design
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my time as a copywriter in marketing is that you have to compromise with your designers in order to create effective copy.
Every type of content, from social media captions to whitepapers to billboards to emails, comes with unique parameters, challenges and goals. Your job is to think creatively in order to achieve these goals.
Email templates combine text, images and CTAs and are designed to convert your readers. Whether you’re creating one from scratch or choosing one of the preloaded templates from your email marketing service, you should start with a design and fit your copy into the predetermined parameters. If you have to rewrite your copy to fit inside the lines, so be it.
|Check out our blog How to Design Appealing and Effective Email Templates|
6. Write for your audience
If you haven’t already, you need to create buyer personas for your business. Creating segments of your audience in accordance with your buyer personas, as well as user behaviour, purchase history and place in your sales funnel will open up all sorts of marketing possibilities.
Before writing your email copy, you should know exactly who is on your recipient list. Segmenting your audience is the best way to get a relevant message to your readers. Your target audience, combined with your goals, will determine the tone of your copy.
7. Add personalisation
Email marketing services allow you to use the data you have on your contact list to add personal details to your email. (That’s one of the reasons we love HubSpot so much, they’re masters of this!)
Including your recipient’s name can help you connect with them, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. With the advanced personalisation options available now, you can monitor user behaviour, segment your audience and create customised content that enhances your customer experience.
Now that you’ve got an idea on how to create content for the body of your emails, let’s talk about how you can persuade your email list to actually open them.
8. Send from a real person
This is a pretty simple concept: customers like to know who is sending them an email. Choose the most relevant person on your team to be the sender, and have them “sign” the bottom of the mail with their name and maybe even a photo.
This increases trust levels and puts a face behind your words. Plus, they know who will be receiving their responses should they choose to reply.
9. Write an interesting subject line
That’s the trick, isn’t it? There are literally hundreds, maybe even thousands, of blog post out there on this subject, and for good reason.
Your subject line determines whether the recipient will open your email or ignore it. There are a number of different strategies for crafting the perfect subject, but it will all depend on who is receiving your email, and what you’re offering them.
The only way to figure out what works for your business is to test them out. Here are some of the most effective techniques that marketers use:
State your value proposition
Tell your readers what they’ll get by opening your email. Will they learn something new? Will they receive a discount? Telling your recipients exactly what’s inside is the most direct way of convincing them to open your email.
Make it urgent
Adding a time-limit to the relevancy of your email may increase the chances that the recipient will open it as soon as they see it. This is especially pertinent when offering discounts or promotional items.
Pique their curiosity
Sometimes a mysterious subject line can create an actionable intrigue. But be wary, it needs to be in line with your brand, and be compelling enough for them to want the rest of the story, otherwise, it could be confusing or spammy.
As I touched on before, personalisation can connect you with your audience. Catering to the individual recipient helps establish trust, which may increase your open rate.
Make it relevant
This may be the most effective tactic, and also the most difficult. Creating emails that anticipate your readers’ needs, interests and desires will get you the most opens.
Don’t forget the preheader text
The preheader text is the small preview that comes after the subject line and is the only other writing that your recipient will see in their inbox. Be sure it compliments your subject and works towards your goal.
10. Test, analyse and adjust
As with all your marketing efforts, running tests and analysing your results is the best way to increase your effectiveness. Email copy is no different.
One of the nice things about email marketing is that it is relatively easy to run tests and gather results for analysis. Any good email marketing service provider will have tutorials on how to best use their testing options and metrics.
A/B tests are a good way to start. You can create multiple versions of the same email and test important parts of it like the subject line and CTAs to hone in on what your audience engages with.
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