The Complete Guide to Email Copywriting for Content Marketers

Email marketing

“Email is the only direct marketing that delivers results.” — Jeff Walker, Author of “The Product Launch Formula”. You’ve heard it a thousand times: “the money is in the list.” It’s the most time-tested method of growing your business online, and it works — as long as you have high-quality content to deliver to your subscribers. The problem is that many people don’t know how to write email copywriting that is engaging and effective at driving conversions. This article will show you how.

How to write email copy that converts

216. Email

Knowing email copy 101 isn’t something you can learn while sipping a Mai Tai on a beach in Maui, even if the sun is shining.

Email copy takes practice, and there’s no way around it. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise. You can make your writing better every time by following a few key principles and applying them to the language you use.

The trick is to keep testing, measuring, and improving your results — this means keeping an eye on metrics like open rates, click-throughs, signups, and conversions (we’ll get into this more a bit later on)

Write a killer subject line.

If you want to write email copy that converts, it’s important to pay attention to the following: Your subject line is your first opportunity to grab your audience’s attention.

It’s the first thing they look at when deciding to open up your email (most of the time); therefore, it’s crucial to the success of your email marketing campaign.

It should be relevant, informative, as well-written as possible. It should also include a sense of urgency (the more clear it is, the better).

Make no mistake: The best subject lines are almost always at least 10 words long and are written after carefully considering all the elements that make a subject line click-worthy.

Shorter subject lines help bring your reader from feeling overwhelmed to feeling like they’ve finished reading the email and want to jump in.

How to optimize your subject line

Here is what you need to know about optimizing your subject line:

  • 1. Keep your subject line short.
  • 2. Keep your subject line specific.
  • 3. Keep it personal.
  • 4. Keep it accurate.
  • 5. Use emojis.
  • 6. Add a question.
  • 7. Don’t start with “Hey.”

What to include in the body

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Now let’s get into the body, which is obviously the most important part of your email.

It is often said that the entire point of an email is to get past the subject line and into the content of the email. This is why so many people fail at email marketing because they get this wrong. Think about it like this: If I asked you if you wanted to go skydiving, would your answer be the same as if I asked you if you’d like to go swimming? Of course not.

It is also important to remember that every email you send is an opportunity for a customer, so the more opportunities you have to make a sale, the more likely you are to make a sale.

The best way to do this is by writing emails that give your customers something of value.

When in doubt, always ask yourself: “does this add value to my customer?”

Value, value, value; it can’t be stressed enough!

Here is what you need to know about the body of your email.

The preview text

Even though it’s in the body, the preview text has a similar effect to a subject line.

Why is that? 

It is the first element your reader sees on their screen before they’ve opened the email, along with the subject line.

What your preview text says can determine if a person continues reading your email or if they click away.

Here is what you need to keep in mind: Keep your preview text short but clear. A single sentence is usually sufficient.

Use a call to action. Your reader has opened your email and is reading your preview text, which you have – hopefully – written well.

No caps, please! 

Please, for the love of God, stop using caps.

It isn’t enjoyable and comes across as spammy.

Think of it this way: Would you open a book that was screaming at you? It’s the same thing.

The best email marketers you know use mixed capitalization in their emails for grammar, meaning and a few other reasons that we will discuss in the next section.

Ask questions (yes, really!)

When it comes to sending emails, there is one thing you should never forget: FOLLOW UP!

That’s right, the last thing you should do before sending your email is to set a time to send yourself a reminder to follow up on the customer.

So, how do you follow up? That’s easy: Send them another email! But this time, it will be a follow-up email.

Your follow-up email should be sent at least 3 days later after your original email; make sure there is a decent time-span as it will just look like you’re spamming your users if you follow up with them every day.

Follow-ups mean that you will have another chance to get them to open your emails and do what you want them to do, which is something like sign up for your newsletter or give their email address to you.

Mixed capitalization

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I said I would get back to this, didn’t I?

In short: It is smart to keep your sentences with lower caps and certain words in all caps. Here’s why:

This is because most people will read lower capitals really quickly and then read letters will full caps a bit slowers (make sure you are very frugal with the capitalization, don’t sound spammy!)

This is great because it means that they will read all of your text – especially if you are a clothing brand and you want them to buy your t-shirt.

What about the format of my emails?

This depends on what you normally write in your emails, but to make it easy on you, here are some of the most common formats:

Blank or header?

Some people like having a blank header, and others like having the subject in the top header.

This is just a matter of personal preference, so test both of them if you don’t know what you prefer.

I recommend using the blank header because it’s easier to include images in that kind of layout, and also, it is a little less spammy.

1/3 blank 1/3 subject 1/3 body makes the email seem more personal and can be used in combination with the subject to give you a better chance of getting people to open your email.

User numbers and weird characters

If you are having problems getting your subject line read, an easy tip is to add some numbers that don’t have any meaning but look good to the eye.

For instance, if you want to let your customers know about a sale on some of your products, you could write something like this:

★The 100% Sale★ – Get your favourite coffee mug for only $5!

This way, even if the customer glances at the subject line, they will see the nicely presented amount of $5, and they will at least be curious.

Have a call to action

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Next up, sprinkle in the body of your email with your call to action.

A call to action is a phrase that tells your reader what YOU want them to do.

It could be “Don’t forget to check out our new blog post”, “Try this 10-day yoga challenge”, or “Make an appointment now.”

If you forget to add a call to action, your email list might never take the action you want them to take.

How to craft the perfect call to action

The good thing about the call to action is that you can mix it up according to what works best for your application.

Make sure people don’t miss it.

Make sure your call to action is prominent within the body of your email (i.e., don’t hide it in the middle of a big block of text) and that it’s eye-catching.

You can use colour (black handles well, but you can also use red, pink, or a different colour), formatting (bold or italic), and capitalization to make it stand out.

Make it clear and concise.​

The simpler, the better.

The more specific you can be, the better. If you want them to sign up for a newsletter, tell them to sign up for the newsletter. If you want them to purchase something, tell them exactly what they should do next.

Don’t forget to include everything required for them to take action.

Make it eye-catching and attention-grabbing.

It’s not enough for your readers to see your call to action.

You have to make readers WANT to do it, and the best way to do this is to make it as eye-catching as possible.

Here’s how: make it stand out with formatting (bold, italics), include a sense of urgency


Start a conversation with your users.

So what about the actual body? What should I include?

Although it may seem that the title alone would get your reader to open your email, you’ll likely have to craft a conversation you can have with your reader (that provides value and solves any problems they might be having) to get them to take action.

Once the conversation has started, you can follow it up with a series of related and relevant questions and/or answers, all geared towards providing your reader with actionable, value-bearing information.

Personalization is key

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It’s crucial to know who you’re sending emails to and what they want from your campaign.

You don’t need to ask customers’ preferences and all those other unnecessary details.

All you need to know is who they are, what they’re interested in, and how they can benefit from your offer.

We call this segmentation, where we divide potential customers into different categories to offer relevant information to each group of people.

We divide these people depending on your target audience’s age, gender, and region, whether they are searching for a personal or business buy, and so on.

Personalization, in general, is the future of content marketing; therefore, it can’t be neglected when making email copies.

I forgot to mention: Personalization is not adding people’s names to the subject or body. That greatly helps without a doubt (and is something you should be doing anyway), but you should also be looking at the other points mentioned above and how they apply to your subscribers and customers.

Overall, make sure you personalise your emails by using the correct tone of voice and ensuring it’s completely relevant to everyone who opens it.

Know your audience

What I mean by this is that you should know what they want from your product/service.

Don’t send them some new DIY tips for their bathroom if they’re looking for a new sofa. Instead, focus on things that are relevant to their current situation.

This means that you don’t just make one email and then send it to everyone on your list.

When we talk about relevancy, we discuss the relationship between what you’re saying and your potential customer’s needs.

This means that it’s essential to consider your customer’s current situation and what they want when you write an email.

Relevancy is important because it proves that you understand your customer’s needs and are a reliable source of information.

Creating a buyer persona is one of the best ways to ensure your campaigns are relevant and effective.

If you feel like you don’t know your audience very well, consider using:

  • Surveys
  • Polls
  • Questionnaires
  • Interviews with your audience.

Also, analyze the data you already have about your customers and try to identify patterns. For example, age groups and their interests may be one of those things.

You can then group your customer base according to age groups, interests and then optimize your copy based on what you’ve learned.

Don’t make them yawn.

Don’t make a boring email copy.

If you do that, your readers could stop reading the email and click ‘delete’.

It would be best if you were writing clearly and concisely.

Don’t use complicated sentences or words because the chances are that your readers won’t understand it.

Try to rephrase it to be more precise and keep things simple.

You can also improve the quality of your copy by getting rid of any messages that are not relevant to your email subscribers.

The fewer words you use, the better; we should live by the “less is more” rule.

#How to reel them in with a joke

You have to really engage the users; Sometimes, the content of your email may be boring, and hooking them with a joke could be your way of hooking your users.

It will make the readers smile, and they will be more receptive to your message.

If you use jokes, start with a punchline or some lead-up. It will help your readers find out what the joke is, and they will like it more.

Jokes are usually the best way to prove that you know your audience, that you can relate with them, and that you aren’t a robot behind a screen!

Tell a story

It is also a good idea to tell a story in your email.

In fact, you should try to get your readers involved and feel part of the story.

It is usually an analogy that the reader will relate to.

Here’s a small example

“I remember when I was 15 years old. It was my first day at a new school. I felt so nervous that I threw up in the parking lot. My stomach was doing flip-flops, and my hands were shaking as I walked into the classroom. I didn’t know anybody in that class, and the teacher was really old (not to mention scary). And then she said, “Everyone, I want you to get to know your new classmate ….”

I realized I was the only freshman in that class full of upper-level students. I looked around, and everyone was looking at me. They were all smiling, but something told me that they weren’t smiling because they liked me. I wondered why I had ever thought being the new kid would be a good idea.”

The story allows you to get your readers involved, and it’s easier for them to relate; it’s part of what we discussed before, the fact you’re more or less creating a conversation with your audience more than anything.

Split Test

If you are not sure that your copy is great, you can always try a split test.

Split testing is when you have two emails or two parts of the same email. And you send it to a portion of your audience.

If, after analysis, one copy brings more results than the other copy, then you can continue to use the most effective one.

Growth hackers use split testing as their shield against failure.

Here are just a few ways you can split test your email copies

You can try different things in your email copy and send it to a small part of your subscribers, collect the data from your email service provider to figure out which email has the most 1.) open rate and 2.) click-through rate and 3) conversion rates. These are all factors that really tell you whether or not your email copy is good.

You can also try to split test your subject line with a twist. For example, you can use tools like ‘’ to split test your subject lines and the Coschedule Headline analyzer to check the headlines for effectiveness.

You can also try to send them the email at different times of the day to see which time your audience is more receptive.

All of these things can help you know your audience better and make a better email copy that will flood your website with traffic and increase sales.

Don’t forget about human psychology.

Use psychology to get your reader to do what you want.

You can use scarcity or urgency in your copy.

 “Only 2 hours left until the offer expires.”

This will make your audience want to click and buy right away.

This is known as the F.O.M.O technique, the fear of missing out, an extremely effective technique used to increase conversion rates.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

You should have seen that there are many techniques you can use to improve your email campaigns.

The most important thing is to keep your audience interested, read what they are saying! See what their expectations are.

If there is something that really interests them, write about it in your emails! Don’t forget to give them links that will help you boost your conversion rate.

Optimize your subject lines, but don’t be too sales-y and go for the hard sell; that’s what will turn people off.

Use psychology to get your reader to do what you want.

Write as if you were talking to a friend and let them know about your brand, what makes it better than the rest.

Get help if you need it!

I spend a lot of time reading about and writing emails; I could never have done all this independently. But, sometimes I get stuck, and I need help, so I asked my friends.

I have a group of smart people who love to write emails.

We read each other’s emails and give our honest feedback.

This helps me a lot! I highly recommend you find someone to talk about your emails and ask for their honest opinion.

Well, that’s about it! As I said earlier, if you enjoyed the article, please share your experience with us in the comments section.

I would love to hear your feedback and see you on my next article!



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