Email Copywriting That Converts

Mitch Tarr

Let's face it - copywriting can make or break your email campaigns.

At ZinMarketing, we’re big fans of strong email copy. We’ve been writing emails for a long time, and the takeaways we’ve learned over the years have enabled us to be successful with all kinds of readers. We know that good copy is the difference between a powerful email campaign and one that falls flat.

For anyone in need of email content advice, here are some of our top tips for leveling up your email copywriting:

1. Write a compelling subject line

Okay, so you’re probably wondering…what is it that makes a subject line compelling? For starters, avoid anything ambiguous, misleading, or overly clever. You might want to try something funny, but rest assured that almost never works. Instead, try opting for a strong benefit statement that leads into your main message. Something like “Get 75% off!” or “Save on your next purchase” spells out a clear benefit for your reader.

Keep in mind that it’s not always about saving money. There’s plenty of other benefits to highlight for your customers, such as productivity in the form of saved time or energy. Other benefits relate back to basic human desire - to be wanted, to fit in, to be recognized, etc. If you can tap in to your readers’ subconscious priorities, you’re more likely to get them to engage with your subject line.

2. Stay relevant in your first line

This is a pretty common mistake that - if avoided - can be a game changer. The first sentence in an email is crucial because it’s the part of the message that readers first see in the preview pane. This is the first impression that readers will have of the overall email, which is why many email marketers regard the first sentence preview as a powerful marketing tool. 

With this in mind, it’s important to make sure that the content of the first sentence reinforces the subject line message. That means avoiding any meaningless copy like “Click here to see a web version…” Tech text never increases the marketing impact of a message. Instead, include info that could be a deciding factor for readers to read the rest of your email.

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3. Keep your email copy short

Believe it or not, your email doesn’t have to explain everything for your readers. In fact, it’s usually the opposite that’s true. There’s a strong chance that your email copy contains too much information - legal disclaimers and all. Don’t confuse the effectiveness of long-form copy on a landing page with long-form copy in an email. These are different channels that serve different purposes. Trust us, we’ve run the split tests - longer emails don’t perform well.

To avoid this, go back and re-read your email a few times. Start to cut out words, sentences, and even paragraphs that don’t move your readers toward the call-to-action. It doesn’t take long to get the hang of this practice, and once you incorporate it into your copywriting process you’ll find that your click rates will go up - simply because you only relayed relevant info to your readers. And if you really need to convey more ideas, you’re better off sending two separate emails rather than one long one.

4. Always have a call-to-action

This one is easy to miss. In the flurry of writing your email copy, you forget to include a clear, simple call-to-action in your message. The best way to way to avoid making this mistake is to decide on a call-to-action BEFORE writing your email. This will keep you focused on the purpose of your message in every component of your email, and you won’t be tempted to add in extra content that might muddle your message.

When creating your call-to-action, stay away from common text like “Click Here” and instead opt for actionable text like “Get your 70% discount here.” Boost your effectiveness by using both a text link and a graphical button for your CTA.

5. Use signatures and postscripts

If your email is being sent from a person in your organization, make sure you set up a proper signature block to include at the end of the message. Your signature should include alternative ways for people to connect with you, such as phone number, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. The main benefit here is that the signature will give your email the appearance of a personalized message (which people respond well to) rather than a corporate notification (which people don’t like as much).

Postscripts at the bottom of your emails are another valuable way to get your message across. Here are our two pieces of advice for using the P.S. successfully in email copy: 1) Don’t use it in every message. 2) Include a link with your call-to-action in it. This way, you’ll keep readers interested and capture the ones who skim through the rest of your email content.

Mitch Tarr President ZinMarketing

About The Author

Mitch Tarr is the author of Email Marketing Mastery: Accelerate Your Business Using Email Marketing.