If you work as a marketer, you want to write awesome emails. But what makes a well-written email? Perhaps surprisingly, it’s not what your high school teacher taught you about writing essays.
Why? Because writing for email subscribers is a completely different than honing in on the perfect thesis statement, piecing together drawn out supporting arguments, and driving your persuasive ideas home with a detailed conclusion. In fact, when writing for consumers, you’re writing for a population with an attention span that’s less than 8 seconds—1 second less than a goldfish.
It takes skill to get your message across to your email subscribers in less than 8 seconds. It’s important that you learn this skill, especially considering 78% of CMOs believe custom content is the future of marketing.
That’s why we’re sharing the best tips for crafting email copy that wins over your subscribers.
1. Nail your subject line
The subject line is your storefront, your first impression, your invitation to present more information. If you want subscribers to like you, you must nail it. Here’s how.
Personalize your subject line – Emails with a personalized subject lines boost open rates by 50%. If you want to engage your readers, use their first name just like Delta does in the following email.
Avoid spammy words – It may be true that you are offering “instant” prizes or “luxury” experiences. Maybe you are giving something away for “free.” However, your subject line is not the place to mention it. If you do mention it, give it a more creative spin. These 100+ words are a turn off as far as copywriting is concerned.
Keep it short – You only have so many characters before your subject line gets cut off. This is especially true when it comes to mobile device viewing. Since, the majority of emails are opened on a mobile device, it’s best to keep subject lines snappy.
Tell them what’s inside – You may be tempted to get caught up in being funny or creative that you actually forget to tell subscribers why they need to open the email. Something like “offer inside,” “your guide included,” “your ebook awaits,” or “order details” will do the trick.
The subject line is the grand introduction to the email, the summation of what’s inside, and the key to prompting subscribers to engage. Get the 4 tips above right, and you’re already on your way to becoming an email copy champ.
2. Open with a compelling and clear headline
Headlines aren’t just for newspapers. They are also a great way to open your email, especially considering emails are written for consumers who typically scan content, rather than read every word.
A headline should be 3-6 words and tell the readers exactly what they get out of the email. Let’s look at a few awesome examples to guide us.
For example, Facebook is a thought leader in the business world, and as it turns out, they are also forging paths when it comes to email copywriting. In the following email, you’ll notice they include a 3-word headline that tells readers exactly what they get out of the email: a way to get more sign ups.
The headline is concise, descriptive, and short. All requirements for writing the perfect email headline.
Like Facebook Business, Lyft is creating great headlines. In the following email from Lyft, they do a couple things right. Like Facebook Business, they offer concise insight into what the email is about—an individual’s yearly review of the rides they took with lift.
Lyft also hits the nail on the head by personalizing the content. This is not Jay-Z’s Lyft lookback or Beyonce’s Lyft lookback (wait…do you think they use Lyft?). It’s Smiles Davis’s Lyft lookback. Personalization in a headline is an awesome way to engage readers.
3. Use as little words as possible in the body copy
You want to explain everything about your new product, service, or offer, right? Wrong. You may think the best way to inform your customers is to write a lengthy email pre-empting every potential customer question.
Remember, emails are not eBooks, whitepapers, or even blog posts. If you absolutely feel it necessary to include more information, you can include a link to some of your most popular resources.
When writing body copy, you want to keep it as short and sweet as possible. In other words, say more with less. Here are a few examples of brands that are doing it right.
Asana shows off one key feature
Do you know how much you can do with the Asana project management software? A lot. However, do you think it’s a good idea to write a detailed list of everything Asana can do in one email? No.
Asana takes a more relaxed approach to presenting their product. They choose one key feature, write a killer headline, include a picture that tells and shows, write two short sentences giving further explanation, and then call the audience to action.
Kidly puts the offer on the table
Kidly is also crushing it when it comes to keeping emails succinct. They know you don’t have to write out all the details of an offer. Sometimes you just need to let your subscribers know an offer is on the table.
The copywriters and designers at Kidly are responsible for this winner of an email. In a few words, you know they are having a 3 day sales and to access the deals, all you have to do is click. Plus, the copy is creative, and how cute are those penguins?
Mention calls out achievements
An email congratulating a subscriber on an achievement is a great way to engage subscribers, and Mention does a great job executing on this kind of email.
The copy almost resembles a certificate, which is the perfect way to congratulation someone. The copy says exactly what they achieved, offers congratulations and encouragement, and then reminds the subscriber the company is on their side.
Email copy doesn’t have to be long to get the job done. You just have to focus on finding as little as the the right words as possible.
4. Include a call to action (CTA)
Not including a call to action (CTA) in an email is kind of like walking out the door without your shoes on in the morning. It’s a necessary part of every email. Even if you write a bad CTA, it’s better than not writing one at all.
You don’t, however, want to write a bad CTA. Here are some examples of good calls to action from popular brands.
Light uses a spot on CTA
While the promo code on this email is a little bit ridiculous, the CTA is spot on. What do they want you to do? Light wants you to shop now. A simple CTA in a nicely designed button leads the subscriber right to their website.
Uber Eats encourages subscribers to browse
Uber Eats has one objective, and that’s to get you to order off their menu. Their CTA is as good as the call to action from Light. A simple “see the menu” will help subscribers order their next meal with Uber Eats.
Designmodo highlights their offers
CTAs can be longer and specific. That’s the approach Designmodo takes and it works. In the CTA button, Designmodo highlights their offer.
That was nothing like a lesson from your college English teacher, right? When you focus on the 4 tips above, however, you’ll find you are writing email copy that converts.