August 29, 2017

5 email copywriting strategies to get your emails read.


Do you ever worry your contacts don’t actually read your emails? Seeing a respectable ROI from your email marketing efforts hinges on sending messages your recipients will find engaging, and strong copy is key.

According to expert copywriter Liston Witherill, “Copy can boost your sales by almost 20 times on the same offer.”

Great inbox placement and a well-designed template certainly help, but they can only take you so far. Amazing email copy is what firmly grabs hold of your readers’ attention and compels them to respond to your call to action.

>Here are our top five copywriting strategies to make sure your list not only opens your emails, but actually converts:

1. Make it about them

Writing great copy really isn’t about talking about yourself, your product, or your business. Copywriting is about getting into your customers’ minds, figuring out what matters to them and bridging the gap between their pain points and the solution/benefit your product provides. Here’s how to write copy that speaks loudly and clearly to your ideal customer:

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes
Try to look at the world from your customers’ perspective. What do they want more than anything? What is their life like on an average day? What are the biggest problems and pain points they encounter?

Give them the perfect solution to their problem
Once you have a sense of your customers’ biggest problems, make a bridge and connect your product or service as the solution to these problems. Explain exactly how your product or service will help them get rid of certain issues. Try to really focus on the benefits your product or service provides. Instead of telling readers about features and expecting them to understand how they solve their problem, show readers how those features are going to impact their everyday experiences.

Explain exactly what they have to do
ven after you’ve successfully made the connection between their problem and your solution, you need to tell readers exactly what is necessary for them to reap the benefits you advertised. Keep it as simple as possible—what is the next step you want them to take? Maybe you want them to click a link to view a product or register for a webinar. Isolate one single action you want them to take after reading your email. Everything in the body of the email should be moving the reader toward taking that action.

call of action

2. Build rapport

One of the most useful, yet strangely difficult copywriting tips is to write the same way you talk. To go one step further—write the way your audience talks. Aim to create a conversational tone that makes your audience feel as though they are reading a personal email from a good friend. You can amplify this effect by personalizing your message with their name.

3. Keep it brief

Don’t count on holding your readers’ attention for too long, even if your copy hits the nail on the head. There are likely dozens of other emails sitting there waiting for them to read, so make sure not to beat around the bush. Don’t make your emails any longer than they need to be—create a concise copy to convey the information or offer you’re sending.

4. Craft effective subject lines

No matter how amazing your email’s body copy is, your recipients may never see it if your email subject line doesn’t compel them to open it. Here are a few tips to writing subject lines to spark readers’ curiosity and make them want to click through.

clicking links

Offer a reward
Give the reader a reason to click. Are you offering valuable info, a special offer, or a unique opportunity? Let them know what they stand to gain.

Examples:

We’ll teach you to do search marketing in your sleep – MarketingProfs
A Gift for Dad, a Bonus for You – Birchbox
What’s free and saves you money? – Zulily

Be honest and straightforward
Readers can sniff out deceptive headlines, so don’t promise them something you can’t deliver. You’re better off telling them exactly what your email is about, while also showcasing the value it offers them.

Examples:

Three Simple Steps to Striking Design – Canva
SEO at a price you can afford – Bluehost

Create a sense of urgency
Everyone suffers from F.O.M.O.—fear of missing out. If your offer expires in a certain time or has limited availability, mention it in the subject line, but don’t create fake scarcity that doesn’t accurately reflect your offer—it could cause your readers’ spam radars to go off.

Examples:

Eeeek – something you like is almost sold out – ModCloth
Just Hours Left to Win $5k – Weebly
Time is running out to claim your $50 – Lyft

Trigger emotion
Use your audience’s emotional reactions to grab their attention quickly. Instead of framing the value of your message in a purely logical way, try framing it in a way that shows them what they’d gain on a personal level from opening it. Think about what your audience values, what they hold dear, and what they desire most.

Examples:

Cute Things for Free. Take Your Pick! – Birchbox
Make Yourself a Hot Tech Commodity with UX Design Skills – General Assembly
You’re so close to riding in style – Uber</span

Use unique and intriguing language
Another great way to arouse your readers’ curiosity is to use words they wouldn’t expect to see in their inbox. You don’t have to be overly silly or outrageous, but do choose words and phrases that are colorful, descriptive, and a bit unusual. It adds a sense of mystery and intrigue.

Examples:

Fireworks and Darts and Models and Swim Trunks – UrbanDaddy
Chocolate dipper + pretzel = nom – Graze
For hustlers only – AppSumo

5. Create a strong call to action

It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or the Mozart of copywriting; if you don’t spell out a clear call to action, you won’t be satisfied with your email marketing ROI.

Remember the reason you’re writing email copy: To get readers to take action. Do you want them to download a piece of content, respond to a specific offer, or sign up for your free webinar?

No matter what action you want your readers to take, you have to make it crystal clear by telling them to do it. Don’t ask too politely or beat around the bush. Spell it out in black and white, and tell them exactly what will happen once they take the action.

Email copywriting can be tricky to master, but these basic concepts will take you far. By focusing on your audience, writing in a clear and concise manner, and giving your readers actionable solutions they can use right away, you’ll be able to write email messages that capture your readers’ attention every time.

Author: Megan Monroe

Megan is a graduate of Santa Barbara’s Westmont College, where she studied philosophy and communications. After working for several local small businesses, Megan joined the ONTRAPORT Marketing team as Assistant Marketing Manager. When she isn’t writing marketing copy or educational guides for entrepreneurs, she enjoys taking advantage of the Central Coast’s amazing wineries and cooking without following a recipe.

You may also like...

[Infographic] Global Privacy Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

I recently gave a presentation on global privacy regulations to a post-graduate marketing class and one of the things I noticed while preparing was that even within a single country, privacy is complicated. On a global scale, it is really complicated. For example, Canada has one federal private sector privacy law, three similar provincial laws, […]

The Year in Email 2018

*Update: This article was featured on email influencer Jordie van Rijn’s emailmonday blog! To see it in action, plus a great round-up of other articles and thought leadership looking forward to the future of email, click here.* The Black Friday emails are deleted, marketers’ email lists are checked twice, we pretty much know which senders […]

Poorly designed emails could cost you millions of dollars. But what does that really mean?

We partnered with the smart folks at Lab42 to research what people really think about marketing email. Do they like how they look on their preferred device? Do they prioritize the same design elements you do? If you’re not aligned with your recipients, you could end up sending unwanted, unsatisfying email. You know what that […]

Ready to get started?