So you’ve got a great new product or feature that you’re about to launch.

You sit down to write copy for the email campaign and you start drawing blanks. What am I supposed to write? How do I make this new product or feature appealing to my audience?

It can be difficult to write great email copy, and in those times good copywriting can feel like a mysterious art.

However, the key to writing great email copy isn’t a big secret known only to the experts. The key to writing great email copy is simplicity.

By presenting the benefit of your product in a clear and concise manner, you’ll make it much more appealing to your audience and ultimately drive more conversions.

So how do you put that into practice? Here’s 5 tips we’ve learnt over the years that will help you write simple email copy that sells.

1. Focus on a single audience

It would be great to be able to make your product or feature appeal to every possible customer.

The unfortunate truth, however, is that if you try to write email copy that appeals to everybody, you end up writing copy that appeals to nobody.

So when writing copy for your email campaign, focus on a single view of your reader and think about what would appeal to them. Write headlines that speak to benefits they would want, include images that appeal specifically to them and write body copy that uses language they use.

For example

Let’s say you own an online flower store and have just started stocking roses.

Instead of sending an email campaign simply stating that you now sell roses, try segmenting your list and sending a campaign focused on a specific audience, such as your male subscribers. Use headlines that talk about the benefits of buying roses for their partners, use some beautiful stock photos of smiling and happy couples, and use language they use in your body copy.

Takeaway

By focusing on a single audience, you’ll be able to write email copy that speaks directly to the benefits those people want from your product or feature, and you’ll increase desire for your offer and drive more conversions.

2. Work towards one goal

We know readers are only skimming your email content, so it’s important to make it very clear to them what the next step is.

The best way to simplify your email copy in this area is to set one clear conversion goal for your campaign before you start writing.

By setting the goal upfront, you’ll know exactly what action you are trying to push people towards and you’ll naturally start to focus your copy on that single goal.

For example

Take a look at this email campaign from InVision announcing their new Photoshop plugin. They clearly set the goal of getting people to click through to their website, and as a result they’ve written simple copy that sells the benefits to the reader and makes it clear what the next step is.

Invision's new Photoshop plugin

Takeaway

Decide on the goal of your email campaign before you start writing. Are you trying to get them to signup for your new product straight away? Or just register for a demo? By setting your goal upfront, you’ll know exactly what conversion action to push people towards and your email copy will naturally become more focused and clear.

3. Make it conversational

When we talk with friends, we naturally simplify our language.

If your best friend asked what your product does, would you ever reply with ‘Our product is the world’s leading, device-agnostic message delivery platform’?

Probably not, but you might say ‘We make software that lets you send email marketing campaigns’

So when crafting email copy for your new product or feature announcement, focus on making it conversational and ensure it’s something you’d be happy to say to your friends. This little ‘filter’ will help keep out the jargon and make sure you write copy that is simple and easy for the reader to understand.

For example

Take a look at Medium’s customer email and notice the conversational tone. It’s written as if it were a letter from one friend to another.

Medium's customer email

Takeaway

By writing your email copy in a conversational tone, you’ll naturally filter out the jargon and end up writing simple copy that is easy for your audience to comprehend.

4. Get someone else to read it

Once you’ve created a first draft of your email copy, go back and edit it to remove the unnecessary words that detract from clarity.

Then, once you’ve edited it down yourself, send it over to someone else to have a read as well.

Most marketers suffer the curse of knowledge when it comes to their products. They forget their audience doesn’t have the expertise they do and end up writing copy that others struggle to understand.

By showing your copy to someone who isn’t as close to the product as you are, you’ll see the areas of your copy where others might struggle and be able to edit it down.

For example

Compare these two value propositions that you might find in an email marketing campaign announcing the launch of new online video product.

  • Our platform makes it easy to create your own cross-platform video website.
  • Our platform makes it easy to create your own video website that works across all devices.

The only difference in these two value propositions is the use of the word ‘cross-platform’.

To a marketer familar with online video and web design, the term ‘cross-platform’ is a short and concise way of saying that their video sites work across all devices.

However, to the end user not so familar with the industry, the term is meaningless and fails to convey what is a great feature.

Takeaway

By getting someone else to read your email copy before sending, you can spot buzzwords and jargon that make it difficult for your audience to understand the key messages you are trying to convey.

5. Test different versions

The only way to truly know which version of your email copy works best is to test, and fortunately setting up A/B tests of your email marketing campaigns is really easy.

If you’re a Campaign Monitor customer, you simply select the A/B test option from the “Create New Campaign” screen and write two versions of your email instead of one. The software monitors the results of both versions over the set time period then automatically sends the highest converting email to the rest of your list.

Not only does this make your campaign more effective, but you also start to get some insight into what works best for your audience.

For example

Here at Campaign Monitor, we’re big fans of testing our email copy to improve conversions. In fact, when we ran an A/B test comparing the call to action in one our campaigns, we got a 51% increase in click-throughs!

A/B Results in Campaign Monitor

Takeaway

While all the tips above are great for helping you write simpler email copy, the only way to really know what works for your audience is to test. Considering how easy it is to do, we’d definitely recommend testing different version of your email copy to see what works best.

In Conclusion

Writing great email copy that sells isn’t some voodoo magic.

The key is simplicity. If the copy of your next campaign is jargon free, targeted at a single audience and focused on a single goal, then you have successfully written email copy that sells.

So go forth and employ some of these tactics on your next email campaign and see how it changes your email’s performance.

Just remember: Keep it simple.

Your turn: What rules would you add to this list to help others write simple email copy that sells?

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  • Jaina

    Think one of the things I always keep in mind when writing email copy is putting myself in the end user/customer’s POV. Why are they getting the email and what do they want out of the email. What’s the end result.

    Also, feel it’s key to, depending on the subject of your email, to dumb down the copy to a certain level. But then, I think there’s a risk of simplifying it too much – after all, consumers are more intelligent than marketers sometimes give them credit for.

    Really great tips here for email copy writing :)

  • Kevin

    Great article, but you promised 6 tips … I’m eagerly looking forward to the final tip :-)

  • Ros Hodgekiss

    Kevin, ha – we totally got excited there! I’ve fixed the post, but really do owe you a bonus tip, so here goes…

    6. Check your work. Then check it again.

    I think that’s fitting ;)

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