Email marketing copywriting requires a lot of time, energy, creativity, and attention to detail. In other words, for the greater good of your email marketing campaign, you should give it everything. However, it can prove to be a bore of a task for some.
One way of making such a tedious task more fun is by breaking down each component and dealing with it individually. This article is a guide that will run you through the different email copywriting strategies that you should adopt, the key pieces of your email content, their purpose, and how they all work together.
Why is email marketing copywriting important?
No matter the medium, there’s no denying that the copy is the most important portion of the marketing piece. Granted, you should include several other aspects, like images, GIFs, videos, etc, but it’s the actual copy that will resonate with your audience and push them to click, purchase, or contact. In other words, it’s the copywriting that will move your subscribers along your consumer life cycle.
Just think about it for a minute. Every one of us receives hundreds of emails per day, but do we open all of them?
No sir. It depends on the copywriting of the emails.
If a subject line is intriguing, you’ll open the email. If the body copy grabs your attention, you’ll read it through. When the CTA is appealing, you’ll click.
Not only that but, if done right, email marketing copywriting can become the heart and soul of your business. After all, if you’re a skilled copywriter, your customers will eat up anything you send their way, whether it be an educational piece or a product announcement.
In a nutshell, email marketing copywriting can:
- Boost your email open rates
- Get you new customers
- Increase conversions (60% of consumers report that they’ve made a purchase because of an email they received according to Constant Contact)
- Establish trust between your brand and your customers
- Save you plenty of money (since email has the highest ROI of any digital marketing channel, according to Litmus)
Email marketing copywriting: Breaking up the pieces
Each component of a marketing email serves a purpose, mainly to persuade the reader to continue reading. So, when you plan out your email copy, make sure to always keep that grand purpose in mind as well as the individual purposes of each piece.
First off, there is the subject line, through which you will greet your recipients and set the tone for the whole email. You need to find a sweet spot where you pique interest enough without giving away too much from the start.
Next up, we have the preview text. It provides further context to the reader, and it also acts as the last piece a recipient will see before they choose to open the email. In other words, it’s as important as the subject line.
Once they click on an email and open it, the headline with which they’re greeted should meet the expectations they have already formed when reading the two previous pieces. You risk losing their attention if that’s not the case.
The body of the email should provide all the necessary details in a brief and clear manner. It should also act as an incentive for the recipient to move onto the CTA.
The CTA, short for “Call To Action,” should be styled as a button of some sort so that it can stand out from the rest of the email copy. If you’ve managed to keep a reader interested to the point where they’d reach the CTA, chances are they will interact with it.
Of course, you shouldn’t focus too much on everything else and include a messy CTA hoping the client wouldn’t mind it. Your CTA should be as well-crafted and flawless as the items that precede it in the copy.
Okay, now let’s dive into the many pieces of an email individually to further illustrate how email marketing copywriting works. We’ll be using the welcome discount email from EM Cosmetics to explain the different parts.
Subject lines & preview text
Just like showing up to your first day at work or meeting the parents, first impressions are very important in the case of a marketing email. And technically speaking, the very first impression that you would leave on your recipients is through the subject line.
Did you know that 69% of people will report an email as spam based on the subject line alone? (according to OptinMonster)
The following rule applies to all pieces of email marketing copywriting but mainly the subject line: remember that person’s email inbox is a digital arena, and manners are not appreciated but rather expected.
Writing an interesting and gripping subject line can be quite a challenge. However, do consider the following tips when doing it, and you’ll be fine:
- Utilise basic human curiosities
- Rely on strong and exciting action verbs
- Be provocative but don’t overdo it
Now that you’re done with the subject line, it’s time to move on to your preview text! It’s basically the bit of text that is displayed beside the subject line. It’s your chance to briefly provide some explanation for what is contained in your subject line. You can get very creative with it, all in the name of piquing the interest of your recipients.
Perfecting these two pieces of an email copy requires a lot of practice. In other words, the more you write them, the more comfortable you’ll become. Always try new things, and A/B test them to see what works and what doesn’t.
Don’t believe people who tell you that the body of an email is more important, your subject line and preview text are as crucial when it comes to email marketing copywriting.
Now, you can move on to the headline. It might be true that headlines are perhaps the shortest piece in an email, but they can be the biggest challenge out of the bunch.
Yes, you do need to be clear about what the gist of the email is in your headline but be cautious about writing it too literally. It doesn’t need to engulf all of the elements of the story. Even if you wished to do so for some reason, there isn’t really much space. So instead, tackle the content from one angle only.
While writing up a headline, remember that action verbs and words are as useful as they are in subject lines. If you’re still stuck on the headline, though, consider some of these tips:
- Take a well-known saying or pun and change it to the spirit of your brand or industry in general
- Rely on some alliteration. We do realise that it can come off as a corny trope, but if you use it smartly, you should be good
- Boil down your story to three to four words, and then brainstorm angles related to those keywords
The job of the headline is simple, really; it should be used to convince the reader to move to the body. And as with all things marketing, there are endless ways to achieve this. So, experiment a lot and settle on what you think works best for you and your audience.
Body of the email
Once a recipient opens the email, the content contained within the email is crucial to building as well as maintaining appreciation, trust, and credibility. But the question is, exactly how many words do you need to achieve such a feat?
Well, it depends on how many things you need to be included within your email. Still, make sure to always convey whatever you have to convey in as few words as possible. One of the key things that you need to achieve when email marketing copywriting is a 1:1 experience for your recipient. That is, think of the email less as a billboard advertisement and more like a conversation you’d have with a colleague (or stranger) in a bar where you’d explaining or telling them a story.
Here are some great examples of great body copy:
KonMari’s welcome email perfectly reflects her brand. The message uses the first person, making it feel personal, which is an excellent way to establish trust and make new subscribers feel like they’re having a conversation with Marie.
That, along with the stunning visuals and colours that go hand in hand with those used on Marie’s website, make this welcome email a perfect example to follow.
This is another email copy that feels personal, but that’s used for a different purpose.
We all know cart abandonment is bad news, and EM Cosmetics uses some of the practices mentioned in this guide to push customers to complete their purchases.
First, the brand uses the subscriber’s name in the subject line to boost open rates. As for the body copy, it’s concise and adds a sense of urgency to get customers to reconsider their decision. There’s also the fact that the product is at the centre of the email copy, making it easier for potential customers to see what they’re missing on.
Shopify uses another approach in its email marketing copywriting. In this copy, instead of evoking emotions, the company addresses pain points with a more professional tone, which makes sense, considering that Shopify is a B2B, not B2C.
In short, the body copy of your email is where the meat of your story lives. Remember, be brief, concise, and clear. You need to make the transition to the CTA as smooth and obvious of a choice as possible.
Call to action (CTA)
If we were living in a wonderland, you would have enough time to write the best CTA out there. However, the reality is rather disappointing. Chances are, the deadline for your email marketing copywriting is near, very near. As a result, you would find yourself having to come up with a good CTA and almost out of time since it’s technically the last piece that you need to write.
Still, you need to always keep in mind that the CTA is one of the most important pieces of email copywriting solely because it is the literal manifestation of whether your email recipient chooses to click (convert) or not.
Follow these tips when writing CTAs:
- Again, rely on action words, mainly verbs. Avoid adverbs and maybe, just maybe, use adjectives. Make sure that whatever action verbs you settle with are direct and clear. The last thing you would want to happen is your reader being confused
- Make sure that the link in your CTA copy looks clear and legit and not like a “scam.” Emails are a harbour of such trickery, leading many people to be on their tiptoes before clicking anything
Moreover, make sure to direct recipients to a personalised landing page.
- You can always go with something familiar and safe if you are not feeling creative. Examples include “learn more,” “read more,” etc
Email marketing copywriting: Editing and testing
After you are done with your CTA, it’s now time to move on to editing and testing the email copy. This is a crucial step in email marketing copywriting.
You need to do at least two rounds of edits before you send anything out. First off, you should thoroughly check how the different pieces of the puzzle work together and whether the email as a whole sounds persuasive and engaging enough. This is basically the phase where you check whether a piece like the subject line fits okay with the rest of the email or not.
Once you have decided that all is well, you then move to the second round of edits. This is where you ensure that things like spelling, grammar, punctuation, and such are all correct.
Lastly, enlisting another set of eyes to check the email’s content for you is always a good idea. It helps to provide an additional perspective on things.