Even if Email Marketing has tremendously changed and evolved, we need to remember that copy remained at its core for many years and it will continue to do so. It represents indeed that essential factor that will always determine the outcome of your email marketing efforts, even if you invest a considerable amount of time into Email Design or List Building.
This simply means that if you do not write good content, your other endeavors will surely fade away, causing your subscribers to stop opening your messages or even to delete or dump them into the spam box.
But how do you actually manage to transform your intended message into that unique, well-written email copy? It is a craft in it of itself, but we have some tips that can help you improve your copywriting practices and we would be more than happy to share them with you.
Starting with a powerful subject line.
Your Subject Line plays a very important role and it can determine if you recipients decide to actually open your email message or not. With such an abundance of emails that we receive every day, you know as well as I do that it becomes increasingly more difficult to put together that perfect, informative and attention grabbing subject line.
The truth is that you might be able to write amazing content, however, if your subject line is not interesting enough to your recipients, there is a possibility that your open rate will drop significantly. You might get away with it a few times if you already have a strong bond with your subscribers and they recognize your emails, but otherwise, creating a good subject line should always be a priority.
33% of email recipients open email based on subject line alone. (Source: Convince&Convert).
That is a pretty high percentage if you ask me.
Another tip for you is to be aware of timing. And this time I am referring to our momentary context in the email world. You need to be aware that there are some great practices available to you at this moment and they definitely bring great results, but please remember that while they can serve you as guidelines, the truth is that you need to go further than that, as recipients tend to quickly get used to your content format and become “immune” to it.
Using actionable language and addressing your recipient in the second person.
It seems like marketers register great results when they use actionable language, as it serves the purpose to guide the recipient towards the next step, towards what they are actually supposed to do after they open your email. The good part is that this is a format that helps you expose part of the reason you sent that particular message and what they can actually expect when they open it.
Working hand in hand is writing your copy in the second person as this allows you to direct your message towards the recipient instead of simply talking about yourself.
What are you writing about?
By this time we know that our email message needs to bring value to the recipient, but the way you actually shape that message can have a great impact on perception.
It’s important for the message to revolve around the recipient. You don’t want to expose the features of your product or service, but rather to show them the benefits that they can acquire. Your choice of words is fundamental as it sets the tone of your entire message. We find that staying away from too much “fluff”, promotional phrases and spammy or unusual terms can also keep you away from spam filters.
Focusing on Personalization and Relevancy.
Recipients used to be really impressed when they would see their name on the subject line, in fact, they could not resist the urge to open such an email. However, as I was saying earlier, this practice became a prerequisite and it definitely doesn’t create the same effect.
The upside is that personalization is more than that, and it goes hand in hand with relevancy. But what does this mean? What is that “more”? Well, you can personalize your email messages by using segmentation and targeting. By doing so you can manage to stay relevant and send out only the messages that belong and fit into that inbox. Segmented and targeted mailings perform much better and according to the Direct Marketing Association, they managed to generate over 58% of the revenue coming from email marketing.
Getting to the point fast.
As far as the length of your subject line is concerned, it’s probably best to study up on the behavior of your audience. As a guideline, generally over a half of email users open their emails on mobile devices, therefore writing a short subject line is the way to go if you want it fully displayed. Limiting your subject line to about 50 characters is recommended, but this is a decision that also depends on the limitations of each email client.
And since we are talking about getting to the point really fast, we found that there are a lot of marketers that achieve that by basing their content strategy on emotion. This technique instills the idea of urgency in the minds of recipients with the purpose of persuading them into acting upon a certain action in a very timely manner.
Subject lines that create a sense of urgency and exclusivity can give a 22% higher open rate. (Source: Email Institute).
While this brings you quick results, I think we should remember that there is a fine balance you need to find when you create this variation of a subject line. For instance, you may sound too demanding and your recipients would most likely resent that, so keep that in mind if you decide to use this technique.
Your main purpose should always be a clear, concise and transparent subject line, instead of a catchy, funny or abstract choice of wording, as it is pointless to bring up those open rates if the recipient is not actually receiving what they expected and implicitly not following through with your call-to-action.
Creating a connecting bridge.
It is essential for your email message to feel and look like a unified entity. This means that you should always align your subject line with the actual copy of your message. Use the same writing style, and tone of voice and keep that promise you made in the subject line.
When that email pops into the inbox it creates an expectation and the purpose is to never disappoint your subscribers, otherwise, they might lose interest and your click-through-rates will not look very promising.
Creating an email headline: yes or no?
Now that we established a few important aspects, let’s think about how we can make a smooth transition from the subject line to the actual email body. One possible, however not always a necessary option is to create a headline for your emails. This is a very popular formula as it gives you the chance to add that extra punch that you could not include into your subject line.
This can also be used as an umbrella phrase, complementing the subject line and informing your recipient about what are they going to read further on. It can also act as a hook, exposing that really important part of your email that you are eager to share and definitely want to communicate before the recipient decides to leave.
What about the email body?
Moving on towards the email body, I am going to start by saying that the points we discussed above definitely also apply to the email body. However, there are still several techniques that I want to share with you.
Similarly to your subject line, your email body should be short yet captivating. Try to concentrate your message and get your point across in a compressed format, so your recipients are not in a position where they can get bored. Be mindful of their time and remember the psychological implications and diminishing attention span of your recipients the next time you write a message.
A good email is one that is brief, crisp and to the point, sharing only the necessary information and nothing else. This way, there is a high chance that more of your prospects will actually read through the entire content.
Relevance and personalization also apply to your copy. In addition to that, keep in mind that a friendly and empathetic writing style is a great way to get a successful response from your prospects. Adjust your tone to your recipients, sympathize with the user’s predicament and focus your email on what are the benefits and values that your company, product or service can bring to them.
What happens next?
Don’t forget about the call-to-action and invest some time and thought into it.
Every email message that you send out to your prospects has a well-defined purpose. Whether you want them to purchase a new product you’ve launched, redeem a discount or promotion you’re offering or you’re simply sharing an update, keep in mind that the recipient should be guided towards an action after they assimilate your message.
This is exactly where the call-to-action comes in. The copy, equally important with design, should always align with the overall purpose and content of your email. Again, try to keep is short, concise and focus on instilling action.
Use a few words to instruct the recipient on what to do next and avoid including elaborate and cluttered messages with zero impact. Keeping it short and simple is the best way to make a statement and make sure that the recipient will follow through.
As an ending note, I recommend you to study up and research some valuable example that can help you establish a starting point. And don’t forget to share with us your opinion. What else can we do to improve email copy? Let’s discuss this in the comment section.