Secrets of Email Marketing Copywriting: Craft Engaging Campaigns That Convert
Email marketing can be an incredibly powerful channel for engaging customers and driving conversions. But your meticulously designed campaigns and clever offers won’t make an impact if your emails don’t get opened and read.
That’s where compelling copywriting comes in. Your words are often the first impression your emails make on subscribers. Strong copy prompts opens, sparks interest, and motivates action. Weak copy results in swift deletes and missed opportunities.
Whether you’re looking to improve your email clickthrough rates, boost conversions, or take your copywriting to the next level, these insights will help strengthen your skills. Let’s dive in to the secrets of writing emails that get opened, read, and acted on.
Know Your Audience
The first key to effective email copywriting is knowing your audience. Who are you sending emails to? What are their interests, needs, and pain points? The more you understand your subscribers, the better you can craft messaging that resonates with them. Do audience research, gather customer data, and create buyer personas to get insight into your email list. This will allow you to segment and target emails appropriately.
Writing to specific subscriber groups instead of your entire list will result in higher open and click-through rates. Personalization is key—include subscriber names, location details, past purchases, and more to make your emails feel customized. This shows recipients that you know them and makes your messaging more relevant.
Craft Attention-Grabbing Subject Lines
Your subject line is the first impression your email makes. A strong subject line piques curiosity, compels the reader to open, and hints at the value within the email. Some best practices for subject line writing include:
- Keep it short, under 50 characters. Lengthy subject lines get cut off in inboxes.
- Use the recipient’s name. Personalized subject lines boost open rates.
- Ask a question. Subject lines that begin with “how to” or “do you” perform well.
- Include numbers. Stats, percentages, and numbers tend to catch eyes.
- Urgency and exclusivity work. Phrases like “ENDS TONIGHT” or “VIP ACCESS” entice opens.
- Avoid spam trigger words. Terms like “free,” “act now,” “offer” may get flagged as spam.
Subject lines should be relevant, compelling, and designed for the specific audience receiving the email. A/B test different options to see what resonates best.
Lead with Value in the Preheader
Preheader text appears under the subject line in most email clients. This preview text should highlight value and motivate the reader to open. Bring up your primary offer, biggest benefit, or most intriguing content teaser.
Some preheader tips:
- Keep it short, typically 125 characters max
- Don’t repeat the subject line verbatim
- Ask a new question to pique interest
- List specifics like percentage discounts
Well-crafted preheader text gives recipients another reason to open and read your full email.
Structure Email Content with the Inverted Pyramid
Use the inverted pyramid structure to organize your email content. This entails leading with the most important information first, then providing supporting details below.
- Start with your main value proposition, offer, or purpose at the very top. State the primary benefit the reader will get from your email.
- Follow up with the details, context, and additional info under your heading.
- Use subheadings, bulleted lists, and emphasis formatting to make scanning easy.
- Place less critical content, links, and supplementary material further down.
Funneling value to the top and structuring details underneath makes your emails easy to skim and absorb.
Optimize Email Copy for Scanning
Most people don’t read emails word for word—they scan for relevancy. Optimize email copy for skimming:
- Use short paragraphs of 1-4 sentences. Big blocks of text are skipped over.
- Begin each paragraph with a descriptive subheading in bold.
- Highlight key copy in italics, bold, or colored text for emphasis.
- Include numbered or bulleted lists for quick comprehension.
- Right align critical info like dates, codes, and phone numbers.
Well-formatted copy with visual hierarchy allows recipients to quickly identify and digest your key messages.
Speak Directly to the Reader
Email copy should use a conversational tone and speak directly to the recipient. Avoid overly formal language and get personal with your messaging.
- Use “you” and “your” frequently.
- Write like you’re talking to a friend.
- Share how your product or service benefits readers specifically.
- Ask questions to engage the reader.
- Weave in actual subscriber names where possible.
Speaking intimately with one recipient instead of to a faceless crowd strengthens connections with your audience.
Localize Content with Dynamic Fields
Increase relevancy with dynamic content that localizes your emails using recipient data. Insertmerge tags that populate location, name, past purchase details, and more.
Examples of dynamic fields:
- First name: Thanks [first name], enjoy 20% off your next order!
- City: This weekend only, get free shipping if you live in [city].
- Past purchase: You bought [product] last time, here’s a coupon for your next purchase!
Swap in custom details that make each email feel personal and applicable to the reader.
Break up Text with Images, Video, and Graphics
Large blocks of text are tough on the eyes. Insert images, graphics, illustrations, screenshots, gifs, and videos throughout your email content to provide visual relief.
Multimedia elements also capture attention as readers scroll, highlighting important messages. Just be sure embedded images are optimized for fast load times, videos don’t play automatically, and hyperlinked images aren’t the main call-to-action.
Lead the Reader’s Eye with Clear CTA Buttons
Every email needs one strong call-to-action button that prompts the desired next step. This could be “Shop Now,” “Register,” “Download,” “Learn More” or something similar that guides the reader.
For effective CTAs:
- Use contrasting colors that make the button stand out.
- Keep button text short and action-driven.
- Place the CTA below the opening copy or content it’s associated with.
- Never attach your CTA to an image—it needs to be clickable text.
Well-designed CTAs should draw attention and clearly direct the next click.
Include Social Sharing Icons
Add social media follow, share, and forward icons to your emails. This encourages readers to spread your content to interested contacts.
Place social icons at both the top and bottom of your email. The footer icons allowforwarding or sharing after reading the full content.
Use large, colorful icons that stand out. Make sure each one links to your actual company profiles. Track clicks to see which get the most engagement.
Link Relevant Resources
emails shouldn’t exist in isolation—they should link out to other content and resources when appropriate. This continues the relationship with your audience.
Examples of helpful links:
- Blog posts and articles expanding on email content
- Product pages and category pages on your website
- Online communities, forums, or groups
- Social media profiles
- Past email campaigns or series
- Landing pages with more details
- Coupon codes, promos, or sales
Links provide next steps for interested readers to go deeper. Just be sure they open in a new tab so your email stays open.
Close with a Clear Call to Action
Wrap up your email with a concluding CTA that prompts the reader’s next step. This reinforces the desired action and provides an obvious end point.
Some final CTA options:
- Click here to get started
- Register today
- Start your free trial
- Join now and save 50%
- Download the guide
- Shop the collection
- Reserve your spot
Repeated CTAs boost conversions. The last impression can motivate readers to take action.
Include Email Sign Offs
Signing off your emails with a closing salutation gives them a more conversational, friendly tone. It also signals the message is complete.
- Thanks, [Your Name]
- Best, [Your Company]
- Have a great week, [Your Team]
- Looking forward to seeing you, [Your Brand]
Casual closings like “Talk soon” and “Until next time” work for more personal outreach. Stay on brand and experiment to see what resonates with your audience.
Add Postscripts with Extra Value
A postscript or PS can highlight an important detail as a final email sell. This could be a deadline, discount code, new product teaser, or compelling statistic.
PS – This 30% off sale ends Friday, so don’t wait!
PS – We have a new mobile app launching next month!
Postscripts stand out since they come after the email close. Use them sparingly for maximum effect.
Include an Email Footer
Your email footer should contain subscription management links, contact information, and social media icons. These standard details give recipients context.
Footer elements to include:
- “Update your preferences” or “Unsubscribe” links
- Support email address and phone number
- Physical mailing address
- Social media profiles
- Copyright date and company name
A professional footer lends legitimacy and gives email recipients options to engage further. Just keep footers short—3-5 lines is ideal.
Email marketing copywriting is both an art and a science. You need compelling headlines, openings, imagery, and calls to action—combined with subject line optimization, list segmentation, dynamic content, and more. Keep these best practices in mind to craft emails that engage your audience and drive results. Focus on relevant, valuable information written conversationally, and you’ll connect with readers. Continually test and improve your email campaigns to maximize open rates, clickthroughs, and conversions.