How to Write a Marketing Email: Step-by-Step Email Copywriting Tips

Email copywriting makes a massive difference to the success of your campaigns. If you’re sending out regular marketing emails (which you should be doing), then you need to make sure that your email copy is helping your brand achieve its goal.

Quite simply, email copywriting can make or break your campaigns. You could have an amazing offer, and your email might land in all the right inboxes. If you don't lure readers in with the right copywriting though, then your email marketing won’t be very successful. Every word of your email content makes a difference, so make sure that you’re writing your emails carefully.

Luckily, high-impact email copywriting can be achieved with the right formula. With the right tips and understanding of email content, you can become an expert email copywriter in no time. Follow our email copywriting guide below to start running email marketing campaigns that do more for your business.

email

First Things First: Writing the Subject Line

The subject line is one of the most crucial parts of any effective email campaign. The subject line is the first thing that the recipient will see, and the subject line will probably determine whether your email gets opened or not. There’s no point having the perfectly crafted email body copy if your subject line falls short. Bad subject lines will probably mean the emails don't even get opened in the first place.

So, when it comes to email copywriting, start by paying careful attention to the subject line. The subject line of the email needs to create interest, and it needs to be compelling enough for the recipient to read more.

Strong subject lines use actionable language. You want the email subject line to get the reader excited to take action. Instead of using a subject line like “special lunch offer”, rather go for “try our special lunch offer”. Including a verb in the subject line is always a good idea for stronger content.

The subject line also needs to be clear, concise, and catchy. The reader needs to be able to understand exactly what the email will be about and why they should open it. It should also be fun enough to really grab the reader’s attention.

The subject line needs to be clearly connected to the body copy. Yes, subject lines are there to get readers to click on your email. If the reader gets through all of the body copy and ends up being confused about the subject line, then you’ve done something wrong. So, make sure that the email copy and subject lines have a clear connection.

If you want to increase your open rate, then subject lines are the first place to focus. Email copywriting is pointless if you don’t get this part right first.

email subject line


Make it Relevant

Well done, you’ve managed to get your target audience to open your email. Now, you need to maintain their interest.

Your audience might get their inbox bombarded with email marketing content every day, so you have to make sure that your email stands out and offers something interesting to them. To do this, you need to ensure that the email is relevant to the recipient.

Clearly explain why you’re sending them the email. Email copywriting should start off by grabbing attention and by establishing relevance. Whenever you write email campaigns, start the email off by explaining the relevance of the message.

“Hello, thanks for making your first purchase…” is one example. Now the reader knows why they’ve received this email (because they’ve just made their first purchase), so they will have a reason to continue reading.

If you don’t make your email relevant straight away, then your subscribers could quickly close your email without reading further.

email marketing


Create a Story

You’ve captured your subscriber’s attention with a compelling subject line, you’ve made the marketing email relevant, now they’re ready to read the rest of the email copy. Your next step in email copywriting is to start to tell a story.

You don’t want your email marketing campaign to be overly promotional. Instead, email marketing should generate attention in your target audience, and get them to take the next step. If you start to unravel a short story in your email, you will have greater success here.

For example, let’s say your email marketing strategy is to get your audience to sign up for a free course on how to make bread. An example of creating a story could be focused on how you learned how to bake bread, the challenges you faced, and why you’re now offering a course on bread making to help aspiring bakers. You could even say “Let me tell you a quick story about how I learned to bake bread…”.

You don’t have to write a best-selling novel here. Just a quick background story on why you’re sending this email and why it’s helpful to your readers will go a long way.

Storytelling is interesting and entertaining too. Not only does storytelling make your email easier to digest, but it also helps to keep the reader's attention.

email marketing story


Turn Features into Benefits

This is an important lesson in email copywriting, or any kind of sales copywriting for that matter. One of the best practices to follow when you write email campaigns is to turn any features you’re offering into clear benefits for the reader.

Your email campaign shouldn’t just offer a story on what the email is going to offer. You also need to outline how this is going to help the reader. Writing emails for marketing should be done to inspire the reader, and let them know how whatever you’re offering will improve their life. Clearly explain the value of your email every single time in the body of your content.

For a very basic example, your marketing email could say “Our new jacket is made with superior polyester with a fleece lining”. This doesn’t offer any value, just information. If you rather say “Our new jacket is warmer and softer with superior polyester and a fleece lining”, you’re explaining to the reader what kind of benefit they will get from the jacket.

email marketing benefit


Create an Action

Why are you sending out the email in the first place? Your email copywriting needs to clearly support the action that you want the email to produce. Email marketing isn’t just about advertising products, it’s about moving your subscribers down your marketing funnel. You need them to take action.

So, the body copy of your email should be focused on getting the reader to take action at the end of the email. This is one of the most important email copywriting tips out there, because if you don’t have a clear action that needs to be taken, then your email marketing campaign will be pretty pointless.

For example, your email copy could be crafted around getting subscribers to read your latest blog post. Once they’re on the blog post, you could direct them to a product that you’re highlighting.

If this is the case, don’t focus your email copy on your product. Your subject line and email copy should be focused on the blog post that you want to get subscribers excited to read. Before you get started with email copywriting, always understand the chain of actions that you want your subscribers to take, then focus the email marketing efforts on this.

email action


Optimize Your Call to Action

One of the most important parts of email marketing comes down to the call to action. You’ve been able to get your email opened, you’ve inspired subscribers with effective email copy, you’ve created a clear action that you want your audience to take. Now you need to make sure they give you that click that you’re after.

Maybe you want to move them to a landing page or get them to enter a giveaway. Whatever the case, your CTA is what will achieve this.

This is why writing the right call to action (CTA) is important. The CTA is the last chance you have to get your readers to take action, so make it compelling. Keep your CTA simple, clear and punchy.

Your CTA also needs to use actionable language. For example, don’t just make your CTA say “Price”, rather say “Check Price”. You want to create action, and including verbs will help you achieve this.

When trying to establish the perfect CTA copy, you should be A/B testing your marketing emails. A/B testing lets you try out different CTA variations to see which one does best. Each time you test, you can refine your email copywriting a little bit more according to which version gets the best results.

Wondering how to write the perfect CTA? Check out these examples for inspiration.


email CTA


Write Like a Friend

One of the most important things to remember with email copywriting is that you don’t want to sound like a business trying to sell its product. Instead, your email copy should be fun and friendly.

One of the best practices with email copywriting is to write to your subscribers as if they were your friends. Don’t be too formal, and try to keep things conversational. Email marketing is all about building a relationship with your email list. Don’t be afraid to show off your personality and have a little bit of fun.

You want your subscribers to like you, and to get more from your emails than just information. Providing a friendly experience through your email copywriting will certainly help you to build up a more interested audience.

friendly email


Email Copywriting Best Practices

We’ve covered the most important steps for you to take as you craft your next email copy. There are still more email copywriting tips that you should keep in mind each time you write an email for your audience. Remember these best practices for creating more powerful email content:

  • Keep it short: Email copywriting needs to be short, simple, and to the point. A common mistake for an email copywriter to make is writing long paragraphs. Your subscribers don’t have the time to read this, no matter how good your email copywriting is. Keep it short, helpful, and relevant.

short email

  • Add value: Whenever you write an email for your subscribers, you need to make sure that it's offering them something of value. Your subscribers did not sign up for your list to be bombarded with sales emails. Instead, they wanted to get something of value in return. Offer helpful tips, discount codes, interesting news, promotions, or anything that will actually help your readers in some way. This is the only way to keep your open rate up.

exclusive savings email

  • Write directly to the readers: When you write an email, say “You”. Talk to the readers directly and make sure that your copywriting feels personal. You want your readers to relate to your emails and be interested in what you have to tell them. Writing in the second person is one of the easiest ways to improve your email language.

  • Personalize your emails: If you want your leads to convert, then you need to send the right content to the right people. Any good email focuses on personalization. This is not just including their first name, but it's about speaking to a specific group of customers or readers about a specific product. This is why having the right lead management tool is essential for good email marketing. This allows you to segment your leads into different groups, and make sure that the right readers get sent the right content.

    For example, if you're sending out a discount code for first-time buyers, don’t send this to your list of existing customers, because it doesn't apply to them.

personalized email

  • Ask questions: There are loads of different approaches that you can take when writing an email, but one of the easiest strategies is to ask questions to your readers. This is a great email copywriting tactic that can help to promote the benefits you’re offering to your subscribers. Questions get your readers thinking about their situation, making it easier for them to grasp the benefits of your business.

email headline question

  • Have fun and experiment: We’ve revealed some of the best tips for powerful email copy, but there are no set templates or rules when it comes to email copywriting. Whenever you're writing content, don’t be afraid to experiment with it and try out new approaches. This is the only way to figure out exactly what content works and what you should focus on. Remember to keep email marketing fun - this is important for your brand and for your customers.

Wrapping Up

Email marketing is one of the most powerful tactics for attracting new customers and retaining existing ones. The right content can convert potential new customers, increase your blog traffic, drive up your sales, get more visitors to your landing page, or more. Whatever action you want from your emails, following the right copywriting practices is essential.

Follow the tips we’ve listed above, and you will see a big difference in your email marketing results. With the right email copywriting practices and email marketing software, you can easily take your business to the next level.

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Written by Tom

Tom is a marketing content writer at Wishpond, focused on the latest marketing and tech trends. Also a keen sourdough baker and dog person.