How to Write Emails that Convert

email copywriting

Email marketing is a leading source of revenue in the digital marketing space. It has helped millions of companies build relationships with their customers and promote their expertise to increase sales.

Despite the fact that some people may believe that email is underrated compared to other marketing channels such as paid advertisements, it is definitely not underperforming.

Email marketing has the highest return on investment for every dollar spent ($36 for every $1). As society shifts to a more digitized world, most people prefer email communication. 72% of people prefer brands to communicate with them through email.

There are many elements that influence the success of your email program. Your email deliverability and your email body are two of the most important aspects.

You can write the best email in the world, but if you don’t manage your deliverability, there is no guarantee that it would be seen by everyone on your email list. Likewise, your email may be delivered, but poor copy can influence your recipients to ignore your message or send it to the spam folder.

Inbox Insight

Are Your Emails Getting Delivered?

After you make sure that you’ve maximized your email deliverability, you can start to write an email that’ll excite your audience and increase opens, clicks, and sales.

This article will highlight 9 email writing tips that will help maximize the growth of your email program’s success.

9 Email Writing Best Practices that Drive Email Program Growth

#1 Your Email List Contains Humans, Not Contacts

Create your email program for people. Because there is a person behind every email address, it’s important to write your emails the same way you would have an in-person conversation with your close colleagues.

Conversational copy helps your recipient feel like you wrote a personalized email message just for them rather than a generic one meant for anyone.

Before you start writing an email, research your target audience. First, identify the right person to contact about your services. Understand what their company does and what their pain points are. Then demonstrate how your product or service can help them achieve their business goals.

By reaching out to offer support for their problems instead of trying to immediately pitch your service, you’ll build credibility as a resource for solutions.

As you continuously prioritize your client’s needs and provide a great service, multiple people who purchased your services will eventually refer you to other people.

#2 Maintain a Professional Image

When you’re writing emails to current customers and potential clients, your tone needs to match your audience.

If you’re speaking with a business professional, you should write a more professional email. Professional communication requires formal emails with:

  • a formal salutation
  • proper etiquette
  • an appropriate closing
  • a full email signature with your name, job title, and company

You don’t have to write as formally as “Dear Mr.” but you need to maintain a professional level of business communication and use formal language.

However, if you work for an eCommerce company and you’re speaking to an audience primarily consisting of teenage girls, a formal email wouldn’t resonate with them so well.

For this example, the email should be written in their dialect by using trendy words and references. An authentic, relatable, enthusiastic, and positive tone works best for a younger audience.

#3 Keep your Email Short, Sweet, and to the Point

Cognitive bias affects a person’s attention span. According to CRT, the average human attention span is only 8 seconds. That’s less than the attention span of a goldfish at 9 seconds!

With such a small window to grasp their attention, a busy person may only remember the first and last thing they see in an email message.

When sending emails, you can use that to your advantage. Since your subject line has already enticed your recipient to open your email message, your strongest, most-attractive point should be seen immediately whether it is a bright flashy title displaying an irresistible offer or an authentic, relatable, first sentence.

Keep your email sentences short and include plenty of spacing so a busy reader can scan over your email with ease. Your emails should be about 2-5 sentences with 50-125 words and no more than 200 words. You can also utilize bullet points to further condense your emails.

#4 Optimize your Email Subject Line

Well-written content is a big part of email marketing, but subject lines are your only chance to stand out in the inbox and be seen.

Ensure your subject line is clear and shows some sort of hint to the value that the email provides. Write different variations of a compelling subject line and A/B test them against a small batch of recipients.

If your company is B2C, you can even experiment with emojis in your subject line in order to better appeal to your audience.

Learn More: Ultimate Guide To Email Marketing Subject Lines

#5 Leverage your Preview Text

Alongside your subject line, you should leverage your email’s preview text to improve your recipient’s first impression. Before you click the send button, make sure you fill your preview text with no more than 90 characters to ensure your recipients can see your full message.

Your preview text should be complimentary to your subject line. If your subject line is “5 Days left for 30% OFF,” your preview text should say something like “Don’t miss out! All shirts are on Sale for up to 30% OFF Sitewide!”

#6 Create a Simple but Effective Call-to-Action (CTA) button

Every email you send has a goal. Your call to action (CTA) should be clear and simple enough to act upon.

Your Call to Action can direct recipients to:

  • Your blog article
  • Your product or service page
  • Reply to your email for further qualification
  • Book a meeting
  • Another action you’d like them to take

Try to minimize the number of CTAs in your email. With just one call to action and, perhaps, a secondary CTA in your signature, you can achieve your objectives. This will also give your recipient a clear path to follow and will reduce the chance of overwhelming your reader.

An effective CTA helps your email program grow – after you’ve tested different variations of your CTA, use the ones that performed the best.

You can also test different forms of CTAs, from a casual question that prompts readers to reply, to an obvious, bright button that attracts their attention. You can even add a small icon inside the button. Professional emails should use a casual sentence as their CTA, but eCommerce companies will perform better with a button as the CTA.

If you opt for a button as the call to action, make sure the text is equally as attractive and compelling. Instead of writing “Buy Now,” try highlighting the benefit that the reader gains by purchasing.

CTA Example 1: Monetary Benefit
If you’re promoting a discount, try saying “Save X%” or “Save $X.”

CTA Example 2: Product Benefit
If you’re promoting a cybersecurity service that protects domains, you can say “Protect your Domain” inside the button.

Keep the text short so the button isn’t too long. You want it to appear as though it’s a button rather than a clickable bar.

Footer unsubscribe links are not just an email best practice, but also a legal requirement. If you are sending a person any sort of marketing email, you are legally required to include a way for that person to unsubscribe. An email service can even block your account from sending emails if your email lacks a proper unsubscribe tag.

You need to pay careful attention to this requirement for every email. Failure to do so can result in legal complications or fines. Transactional emails do not have this requirement as they are a form of receipt.

When writing professional emails, you want to make the whole experience of your email is casual and cohesive. Every element of your email should be optimized to highlight your company.

By law, you also have to include your business name and address along with your unsubscribe link. You can achieve this in different ways.

You can have a simple unsubscribe footer:

mailchimp unsubscribe link

Or you can provide a sentence with the benefits of your company’s email:

klaviyo unsubscribe link

Alternatively, you should give your subscribers the option to manage their email preferences. Instead of having that contact unsubscribe from all email communication, you could categorize your emails into:

  • Educational Emails
  • Marketing Emails
  • Important Updates about the company
  • Transactional emails

Therefore, if the contact does not want to receive marketing emails but would prefer to only receive educational content and important updates, they don’t have to opt-out of the whole email list. They’ll be content by only receiving relevant content.

There may be some customers that you can win back by making them feel valued. You can offer them a gift, an exclusive discount, or a handwritten letter from the CEO depending on how much you value your subscribers.

If a contact does opt out of all communication, use this opportunity to gain some feedback on their reasoning. Format a quick, optional survey to observe why that individual lost interest in your emails and unsubscribed.

Analyze that data and evaluate why they have unsubscribed to improve your company’s processes and customer experience.

#8 Experiment with emails

In order to improve your email writing, you have to experiment. Check to see if your email provider supports A/B testing. A/B testing allows you to optimize your email campaign by testing different isolated variables within the email.

A/B testing your campaigns is an excellent strategy to improve your email’s open and click-through rates. With the help of email marketing tools, it is now easier to test almost any aspect of your email marketing campaigns, such as the subject lines, content, personalization, visuals, tone, and call-to-action. You can even A/B test your follow-up email to choose the best-performing variation.

You can choose what percentage of your segment receives email “A” and what percentage receives email “B.” You can select how large of a sample size you want to test your email list on, and after that, send the most successful email to the rest of the recipients.

For Example:

Email A and email B will each receive 50% of your initial broadcast.

You broadcast this A/B test to a list segment of 4,000 contacts.

Depending on your email service provider, emails A & B may only be sent to 500 people, but email B had an open rate that was more than double that of email A’s.

Therefore, email B is the champion and will be sent to the remaining 1,000 people.

Aside from A/B testing, you can also experiment with your email automation sequences such as your cart abandonment.

It was previously a best practice to send customers an email 24 hours after their cart had been abandoned. However, it has been observed that 90% of shoppers who intend to buy – purchase the products on the same day within two hours. With this knowledge, you can test cart recovery success rates by emailing customers within two hours of abandoning their carts.

#9 Test email deliverability before hitting Send

You can write the best email in the world but its performance may suffer if your domain struggles with deliverability.

As filtering systems keep evolving, it is highly recommended to test your email deliverability. Use tools like Inbox Insight to see:

  • where your emails are delivered to different mailbox providers
  • if your IP is on any blacklists
  • if your email authentication is working properly
  • if your email contains “spammy” content, broken HTML, or broken links

Cold Email Template Example

Cold emails are emails that are sent to a person who is not subscribed to your list and may not be familiar with your company. When you write an email to a cold contact, make sure you use simple sentences that are easy to understand. Begin your initial email with a relatable remark about the problem they may be facing.

For example, if you’re writing an email to HR professionals and you sell applicant tracking software, you can say:

“Hi first_name,

[Empathize] I know how difficult it can be to manage hundreds of applications a day…

or

[Show Vulnerability] I’m not sure if company_name is having problems monitoring your application system… “

Then instead of asking for their time in a meeting, you can ask your prospect how they currently handle this problem:

  • Ask a qualifying question
  • Ask when they last performed a relevant action
  • Or your can directly offer them value by asking permission if you can create a personalized solution to their problem

Conclusion

Although email may be considered “old school” by most people, it is here to stay because it works and shows great results. Email marketing helps companies save time and reach billions of people worldwide every single day.

Email marketing is suitable for all businesses with its clear advantages:

  • less expensive than most marketing tactics
  • direct communication with your target audience
  • can be personalized
  • can be automated

Regardless of what your company specializes in, following the above email writing tips will help you improve your campaign’s performance metrics and eventually increase your revenue.

Most importantly, remember to keep practicing and improving your email etiquette. Your email program is created for people, not just their email addresses. The general rule in email is:

  • Be personal
  • Engage your recipients
  • Write a compelling subject line
  • Provide a direct CTA they can act on
  • Ultimately build a long-lasting and authentic relationship

Learn More: 

How to Grow Your Email List – 27 List Building Strategies

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AUTHOR BIO

Julia Gulevich is an email marketing expert and customer support professional at Geminds LLC with more than 15 years of experience. Author of numerous blog posts, publications, and articles about email marketing and deliverability.