Resources Hub » Blog » 16 Tips for Writing An Email People Will Actually Read And Reply To

This is a guest post from Helga Zabalkanskaya at Newoldstamp.

Whatever awesome tactics and cutting-edge strategies you choose in digital marketing, there’s always a place for email.

Love it or hate it, email wins digital marketing with its simplicity and straightforwardness, not to mention its high-performing effectiveness.

But what should you be looking for when it comes to email? If you’re not sure, it can be healthy to research what your goals should be. According to original Campaign Monitor research, these are the average email benchmarks for all industries:

  • Average open rate: 17.92%
  • Average click-through rate: 2.69%
  • Average unsubscribe rate: 0.17%
  • Average click-to-open rate: 14.10%

Staying on top of your email marketing efforts might seem difficult, but even a basic email marketing strategy can improve your ROI—by as much as 4500%.

And, if you want even more return on your investment, learn how to write emails that will be opened, read, re-read, and replied to.

Read on to learn how.

1. Do your homework.

Automation and personalization shouldn’t overwhelm each other. While it’s tempting to send one generic email to all your lists, you should learn something about your recipients and personalize based on that info.

Personalization increases open rates by 26%. Personalization can help you write emails that get read.

If you want your email opened and replied to, personalize it a little: There are a number of ways to make your messaging feel more tailored.

Add the recipient’s name or help them learn something useful. The latter requires building buyer personas and creating thoughtful nurtures.

You can go even further by learning about your audience demographics and using data to customize dynamic content.

Not sure which demographics to target? Use surveys to determine your customer base and research the marketing that appeals to them. For instance, our guide discusses how Gen Z and millennials differ.

2. Work on your subject line.

The best way to improve your open rate is by improving your subject lines. The difficulty is in making it both interesting enough and not too pushy.

If you want your emails opened, tell the recipient that the content inside is interesting. Try to describe what’s inside in just a few words. According to Retention Science, subject lines containing around eight words are the best.

This email example uses lots of space and relevant content to keep people reading.

As engaging as your subject line should be, use less exclamation points and caps and more action words instead (e.g. visit, buy, get, follow).

For added personalization, use your recipient’s name in an email subject line. People are much more likely to open an email from someone who knows who they are.

Also, consider using emojis in your subject lines to make your emails stand out.

Long story short: it’s best for your subject line to be simple and to the point. You want to hook readers into opening, reading, and clicking through to your website.

3. Use the preview text.

Most email clients show a preview of your email body text. Being up to 60 characters long, it’s a huge opportunity to help people take a glance at your email.

Watch the video below to learn about preheader text: what it is and how to use it.

4. Make your first sentence engaging.

If your email is opened, people will spend about two seconds looking through its content to decide whether they want to keep reading, so the first sentence is very important.

Begin your email with some numbers like: “90% of marketers say this tool is awesome.” Something that encourages them to read more.

Your recipients might be interested in what it’s all about.

5. Be specific in your requests.

People hate ambiguity and uncertainty. With two seconds of the recipient’s attention, you have to be as specific as possible.

Understanding an email’s intent from the first glance is crucially important. If it’s not clear, subscribers are less likely to read or reply. And people are more likely to respond if you ask directly for advice or reactions.

Thus, if you want something from your recipient, ask right away. And, if you send an email for educational purposes only, don’t make any promises.

6. Keep your email as short as possible.

You may want to share a lot of information in your email, but recipients might not need all of it. The rule here is simple: Try making your message as short as possible.

Plain text email example

You shouldn’t cut important stuff: Just make the whole email concise and simple.

7. Skip the small talk in your email.

To make your email shorter, avoid small talk. Don’t include extraneous information unless it pertains to your email’s message and theme.

Emails are built to encourage people to open, scan, click through, and (hopefully) convert.

Writing a wordy email won’t encourage subscribers to read more: It will discourage them from clicking on your emails in the future.

8. Make sure you highlight the most important parts.

You can use HTML email formatting to add headings to structure your content and highlight important data and CTAs throughout the email.

Also, try to add some white space between logical blocks or CTAs. It helps readers identify the most important content subconsciously and remember it more easily.

This is a plain text email example.

9. Make your links friendly.

If you want to add links to your emails, make sure these links look attractive and friendly. This means they’re not ambiguous and it’s easy to find.

Use anchor texts for links that make you want to check it out. For example, write some interesting facts and follow them with a link to the source.

Pro-tip: CTA buttons get more clicks than hyperlinks.

10. Use bullets to make your email easy to scan.

Bullet points highlight and separate important information. What’s more, they leave more white space between sentences, so it’s easier for recipients to find what they’re looking for.

Additionally, bullet points are useful for listing your software features or adding arguments to support a point.

11. Use the word “you.”

The word “you” makes emails even more personal. Plus, by speaking directly to your readers, you’re positioning yourself as a thought leader. You’re guiding them on next steps through authoritative language.

Plus, saying, “you” in your copy is a simple way to create a message that feels authentic—like it’s coming from a friend or colleague.

12. Use the same language that your readers do.

You want people to speak to you the way you want to be spoken to: This means respectful, thoughtful language. (And it also means the write language and dialect!)

Localization, paired with inclusive language, is a professional way to appeal to subscribers and customers. Not only are you breaking down language barriers, but you are respecting the culture and UX of your subscribers.

Have questions about email localization? Read all about it in our guide.

13. Add facts.

Instead of making assumptions, add facts and data to your emails. Make sure your subscribers get value from your content—with facts and interesting copy.

Some statistical data, research-based information, and case studies are always valuable and interesting. Support your facts with corresponding links and mentions to ensure credibility.

14. Add an email signature.

Any emails you send should be as personalized as possible, and this includes a custom email signature.

Give your subscribers an idea of who is sending the email: the face behind the name or the personality behind the brand.

Want to write emails that will be read? Create a custom email signature like this example.


Plus, you can add important content to your email signature. HTML techniques allow adding pretty much anything to an email footer:

  • Your name and contact information conveniently displayed in a logical order.
  • Your personal photo or company logo to increase personalization and credibility of an email or boost brand awareness.
  • Social media icons with links to your business profiles to increase engagement and followers number.
  • CTAs with links or even CTA buttons.
  • Promo banners linked to any kind of content, like your recent blog posts, calendar appointment scheduling, meeting invitations, etc.

You can use email signature generators like or Newoldstamp. These allow you to build a signature in a convenient online editor. You can customize all the elements and choose the appearance with galleries of templates and banners.

What’s more, online email signature generators allow organizing multiple signatures in departments and sending those to different users. It’s great for corporate customers, as assigning similar signatures to all employees is a powerful move for a brand.

15. Consider using images.

You can use images in your email. However, make sure they’re no larger than 50 kB.

Also, people expect an image to be linked, so use hyperlinks and alt tags that describe what’s on it. The latter is useful in case your images don’t load.

Learn more about using images in email by reading our marketer’s guide.

16. Double-check attachment names.

If you’re writing a 1:1 email and you attach a document, name it correctly. Something like “document.pdf” looks weird and you can’t really tell what’s in it. Use more specific words, like “winter-sales-report.pdf.”

Also, make sure you mention all the attachments in the email body. Let people know how they can use them.

Wrap up

An interesting and engaging email will always get positive attention. When writing one, think about what emails you personally like to read and will reply to. Also, keep these tips in mind:

  • Learn who your recipients are.
  • Use a descriptive subject line with no more than 10 words.
  • Make an email interesting from the first sentence.
  • Avoid ambiguity and be specific.
  • Skip small talk and add useful information only.
  • Highlight the most important parts with headings, CTA links, or buttons.
  • Use bullet points.
  • Refer to your readers with the word “you.”
  • Try writing in the recipient’s language/tone.
  • Use an email signature to stay professional, make emails more personalized, and promote your content.
  • Avoid uploading images that are too large.
  • Double-check the names of all attachments.

This list isn’t at all difficult to follow. Although it might seem restricting at first, once you start crafting your emails accordingly, you’ll see the number of reads and replies grow exponentially.

Author bio:  Helga Zabalkanskaya is the Head of Marketing at Newoldstamp, a 500Startups-backed startup that helps marketers to promote their services through brand consistent email signatures with banner campaigns.

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This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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