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The 11 most important elements of successful email copywriting

Email copywriting techniques
1Create a captivating subject line
2Tell a story
3Speak to your reader
4Create compact content
5Use the right tone and style
6Grab attention with power words
7Add data
8Use segmentation
9Include framing
10Repeat ideas
11Focus on benefits
Final thoughts

Email is one of the most accessible and cost-effective forms of digital marketing. If you’ve ever wondered how to write the perfect marketing email, the following email copywriting tips will undoubtedly help you out.

A good email marketing campaign is designed with a specific goal in mind (e.g. click-throughs to landing pages or home pages, conversions, link clicks, sales, etc.).

To achieve those outcomes, you need to leverage copywriting techniques that make your emails stand out and perform better.

Most experts tell you that the best emails convey messages creatively and keep your audience engaged.

At the end, they encourage readers toward the next step (e.g. download sales collateral or buy a product) with a call to action (CTA).

In this article, we’ll share 11 good copywriting techniques you can use to improve your email marketing strategy.

1. Create a captivating subject line

Once a member of your target audience has subscribed to your email list, effective email campaigns all start with the first email. Your email subject line is the first thing your email list audience will see in your welcome email series. It’s what drives your subscribers to read your content and also introduces your brand’s image to the reader.

A great subject line:

  • Has a catchy, relevant headline

  • Is personalized to fit your recipient

Using your reader’s first name, surname, position, etc. in the subject line can make your audience feel valued, which increases the chances they’ll open and click through.

A/B testing also comes in handy when trying different email subject lines. This is because it’s easy to measure differences in email open rate according to changes of a single variable (the subject line), helping you with optimization efforts.

After all, your main objective in email marketing should be to connect with your audience, not necessarily to make sales.

To achieve this, the subject line and the content of the email must resonate with what your readers are interested in.

2. Tell a story

Storytelling is the ultimate feature of great copywriting. Furthermore, the goal of good email copywriting is to inform, convince, educate, inspire and entertain your reader.

Storytelling copywriting offers business owners the opportunity to create relatable, relevant content that captivates their reader’s attention and leads them toward profitable action.

Use these tips in your email outreach to increase conversion rates and lead generation:

  • Consider using open-ended questions. Many motivational speakers use this technique as a tool to engage the audience For example, you can ask “What are the top priorities in your business at the moment?” or “What is your 5-year goal?”

  • Start with a thought-provoking statement. This could help you to intrigue readers and encourage them to read more.

  • Select your story based on the core message you want to deliver. Here, giving a specific example can help. For example, you could share a story that helped an existing customer get the most value from your products or services, which helps new customers imagine doing the same.

  • Consider using infographics. Email infographics are a great way to help readers visualize a more complex story. Visuals cause a stronger reaction than words and are a nice way to break up text.

3. Speak to your reader

When creating your copy, don’t forget that you are interacting with real people, which is why it’s so important to have a clear idea of your buyer persona.

One of the best email copywriting techniques is to speak directly to your reader. This is a form of persuasive copywriting that helps you connect with them on a personal level and begin to form meaningful relationships.

To do this, you need to have a good understanding of your audience so your content is relevant, engaging and friendly.

4. Create compact content

The best email copywriting examples are those that deliver a powerful message in a small package.

It’s an email copywriter’s job to keep the number of words to a minimum so readers don’t get bored, distracted or click away.

Aim for well-thought-out content with a clear message and include the most important elements in the first sentence of your email to hook readers in. While your messages don’t need to be as short as a social media post on Twitter, for example, readers often skim and make split-second decisions on whether they’ll read on or leave.

Your email body copy, therefore, should include your take-home message at the beginning and end of your email copy.

A good way to organize your emails is to divide your text into paragraphs that do not exceed 20-25 words in length (max 2 to 3 lines). This way, you deliver your story in a simple-to-read format and ensure mobile readers don’t have to scroll too much either.

5. Use the right tone and style

Good email copywriting means understanding the person reading your emails, which will help you form a relatable tone of voice within your emails.

Start with a “thank you” or “welcome” email to express your gratitude and make the reader feel valued.

Learn which adjectives are most commonly used to describe your brand. These can act as a guideline to determine the best tone to use in your copy. Experienced email freelance copywriters will know how to conduct a target audience survey to get better email content ideas for your email sequence and create good copy.

It’s also important to use simple and easy-to-understand language. Here are a few tips:

  • Avoid jargon, buzzwords and acronyms, as they can distract and alienate your readers from the main message.

  • Use words that an average person would understand without taking out a dictionary.

Use action words to encourage readers toward your CTA.

Finally, be sure to preview text. Reading through your emails before sending them to your email list is vital in ensuring they’re mistake-free and that your content reads according to the tone and style you’ve set for your campaign. You’ll also catch any mistakes or typos, which can make your business emails appear unprofessional.

6. Grab attention with power words

Human beings are emotional, so to spice things up, you can use words that inspire emotion and imagery.

Particularly useful in email newsletters and sales emails, power words have an emotional impact, which leads to great emails with higher engagement and (hopefully) more sales.

To find the right power word try to think of words that have a psychological impact and tap into the readers‘ emotions during the reading process.

For example, in order to create a sense of urgency for an instant call to action, many marketers use words and phrases like:

  • Act now

  • Instantly

  • New

  • Ending soon

Once you get more accustomed to this practice, adapt these powerful words to suit your goals and convey your message.

7. Add data

Email copywriting is the art of organizing research to build a compelling message.

By adding some well-researched facts or statistics to your copy, you add credibility to your story and come across as more trustworthy, which will help you justify your message.

Read reviews and social proof on related services or products to understand how your audience feels. Forums and review sites offer content creation specialists the opportunity to see a customer’s past user experience with a product and how they rate it, which is highly beneficial when creating persuasive copy.

Some people will leave an extended review, talking about all the problems they have encountered on the subject. Use the language they use in your copy, then do your research, see how you can address these issues and add your unique findings into your email templates to send to your audience.

8. Use segmentation

Email copywriting gives you the power to communicate directly with your readers. Make sure you use this power wisely by personalizing and segmenting your audience.

If you have implemented the email copywriting tips mentioned above, you should already have a good understanding of your audience. That said, not all of them have similar personalities or interests.

This is where segmentation comes in.

So how can you segment your email subscribers?

Start by looking at all the different types of people on your mailing list and the reasons they subscribed.

If you can figure out the commonalities between the different groups of people in your list, you have found the ultimate copywriting success factor.

You can create various segmentation criteria. Typically, there are four categories that describe the types of data and they are more commonly known as pillars of segmentation.

These four pillars are:

  • Geographics. Location, language, climate, area, population, etc.

  • Demographics and Profile. Age, gender, education, income, social status, etc.

  • Psychographics. Lifestyle, interests, personality, values, etc.

  • Behavioral. Benefits sought, intent, purchase usage, etc.

After you create different segments, you can approach each group individually with the value proposition that’s more appealing to that segment. You will be able to address each group separately, focusing on their pain points and offering solutions to their needs.

9. Include framing

Positive framing is also a great way to enhance your content’s quality. This technique focuses on how something is said instead of the message itself.

Think of the moment a subscriber receives your email. As soon as they click on it, they expect to gain some form of value from it.

You can deliver this value in many different ways and it’s usually best to start by highlighting growth and improvement.

To achieve this, use words like evolve, awesome, amazing, growth or improve, as they all evoke a positive response from your readers. Then, in the body of the email, move into the direct benefits your reader will experience by taking advantage of your offer.

You can also induce a negative reaction when the focus is set on losing something instead of gaining. Utilizing the fear of missing out (FOMO) can make your readers act upon their urges but comes with its own risks, as you will have to stay true to your word.

For example, you may send your readers an email titled: “Don‘t miss out! Offer ends at midnight.”

When midnight comes you will have to end that offer, whether you’ve hit your targets or not. If you don’t, you risk losing your credibility.

To create an urgent frame, you can use words like:

  • Ends tonight

  • Don’t miss out on

  • Last chance

  • Limited offer

10. Repeat ideas

The art of persuasion is crucial if you want to get the maximum results out of your content marketing.

For that reason, repetition is a powerful email copywriting technique that drives results.

This is called the Illusory Truth Effect.

You can commit this information to the recipient's memory by repeating your core message several times throughout an email.

Try mentioning your core message 1-2 times per 60-80 words, but make sure to do it organically. If a reader feels like you’re giving them a hard sale, then they’re likely to unsubscribe from your email list.

Using follow-up emails in your email campaign is also part of repetition - either reminding your readers of a last-minute offer or double-checking they received an important message.

11. Focus on benefits

Consumers are more interested in the end result they’ll get from using your product or services, rather than your product itself. It’s ultimately about how your product solves their problems and improves their lives.

Particularly for ecommerce sales emails, tell your readers in your email body what they will gain by purchasing your offer.

For example, if you are selling a new product, such as a type of superfood, you know that buyers will be more focused on the health benefits rather than the flavor. Therefore, double down on that and mention more about the vitamins, minerals and overall health improvements.

Add some proof in the form of case studies or testimonials and sales will likely come in.

Final thoughts

Now that you’ve read our tips, all you need is practice.

If you want to get more ideas, subscribe to the content of writers you enjoy reading and try to find similarities that you can implement in your own email copy.

Then rinse and repeat until your copywriting skills are polished to perfection.

Driving business growth