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With 90% of brands citing email as essential to their business’ success, email marketing skills are in high demand.
Email copywriting in particular can help engage your subscribers and turn them into loyal customers.
In this post, you’ll learn all about what email copywriting is, the benefits it brings to the table, and 13 tactics to super-charge your copywriting skills.
Let’s get started!
Email copywriting refers to the actual words that appear in your emails (the copy) and the skill it takes to put them together to achieve your goals.
Copywriting work can be profitable too — the average hourly pay for copywriters is $28/hour (with some earning as much as $49.75/hour).
Once all the technical elements behind getting an email into the right inbox have been handled, it’s the task of email copywriters to:
By carefully planning and creating every element of your emails, you’ll be far more likely to convert your prospects, and less likely to lose them.
Let’s jump into the different pieces that make up an email’s copy.
Email copy is made up of the following:
Check out this handy infographic on the anatomy of an email’s copy:
So much effort goes into every element of an email’s copy, so it’s important to know how all the pieces fit together.
What you choose to include in each of these is what contributes to the success of your email copywriting strategy.
While every email copywriter has a different opinion, there are several features they agree make email copy stand out.
Here are the 4 features common to any good example of email copywriting:
1. Deliver real value — Add actual value to your audience, address their pain points, and solve their problems
2. The perfect length — Keep your content long enough to communicate your idea but not so long that you bore your prospective customers
3. Interactive and engaging — Make sure that whatever you’re sending is actionable and gets subscribers to take the next step, moving them closer to conversion
4. Set the right tone — If your emails look and sound like adverts, they’ll probably go unread and unnoticed. We recommend a more editorial approach to hook interested readers
Before we dive into the tips that’ll take your email marketing copy from good to great, let’s check out why good copy is worth the investment.
In online business, your email subscriber list is the one thing that you 100% own, so keeping them engaged is important.
The content of your emails is how you communicate with your subscribers, so email copy contributes directly to having a happy list.
Here are several other ways that copywriting and email marketing can benefit your business:
1. Email reaches the widest portion of the population
There are already more than 4 billion active email users — that’s over half the human population.
With the ability to access that many potential customers, email is an excellent way to reach your target audience.
If leads subscribe to your list, you know that they’re already interested in your content — you need to use your email copywriting to keep them that way.
2. Email marketing has the highest ROI
The average return on investment (ROI) for email marketing is 4200% — that means that for every $1 you spend on your email marketing, you could see a return of $42.
That’s because honing your email skills and sending emails is relatively inexpensive, and it sees pretty high conversion rates.
Email copywriting is an integral part of your email marketing, and so it's a worthy investment of your time and money too.
3. You can make money from your email list
Just use email marketing to sell your products and services to your email list.
At systeme.io, we use a proven method to send promotional email campaigns to our audience — we routinely earn $2,500/week, selling online courses to our email list.
Keep reading this post and we’ll share the method with you so that you can also turn your email list into an income stream.
4. You can reliably reach your audience with email copy
While Instagram or TikTok might see your content go viral, views and likes don’t automatically equal sales.
It’s far easier to engage your audience and send them to your landing page with email, that’s why 4 out of 5 marketers would rather give up social media than email marketing.
Using well-written email copy and perfectly crafted email campaigns are the simplest option for online businesses.
As you can see, email is too great an opportunity to pass up, so copywriting is a skill you need to nurture.
Now, let’s jump into 13 email copywriting tips that will take your skills to the next level!
There’s a ton of advice out there on how to improve your email copywriting — we’ve collected the best of the best here.
Before you write that first email, there are some things you need to figure out:
Let’s start by finding the right email marketing recipe to follow.
If you’re starting an online business now, you can learn from the successes (and failures) of all the other entrepreneurs who’ve already made this journey.
The same is true of email copywriting — there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
At systeme.io, we sell online courses to our email list with a system that can sell any product, in any niche.
Using 8 emails, here’s how we make $2,500 every week:
systeme.io’s proven method to write email copy that sells
1. Introduce a new opportunity — Show email subscribers something new and make the offer an attractive one from the very beginning
2. Answer an objection — Ease any doubts your audience may have by proving that your offer is achievable
3. Tell a story — Explain how you achieved the same goals your audience has, by using your product/following your method
4. Announce a bonus — Use this bonus to add more value to your offer while also answering another common objection your audience has
5. Share a customer success story — Share a story of a customer who achieved their goals using your method, proving it’s possible
6. Introduce another new bonus — Further increase the value of your offer to show subscribers that they’re getting a bargain
7. The end of the launch — Create a sense of urgency and end your offer in 24 hours to push subscribers to make a purchase
8. The final hours — Remind subscribers who haven’t purchased that they’ll run out of time and emphasize the urgency
This email sequence can easily be extended by adding more storytelling and bonus emails before the end of the launch.
There are other ways to convey your sales pitch, but this one comes with proven results, so feel free to use it for your next set of emails.
You need to plan and have all the information you need, at your fingertips, before you start your email copywriting.
The first thing you’ll need to know is who you’re targeting with these emails — who is your target audience?
If you’ve already got an email list, it’s pretty easy to create your buyer’s persona and reach your ideal customers who are, hopefully, already on your email list.
Even without an email list, you can still identify your target audience by looking at relevant Facebook groups or Reddit.
You can also use marketplaces on platforms like systeme.io, Amazon, and ClickBank to find people who are already looking for products similar to yours.
Once you’ve established who you’re targeting with your emails, you can begin your market research.
You’ll need to focus your research on 3 main areas:
1. Product — Run product tests, list features, and list your main and secondary (less important) benefits
2. Competition — Look at competitors’ sales pages and emails, note how much they charge and which benefits they mention
3. Customers — Send a survey to your email list and write down emotive words they use when they explain what they want or struggle with
The reason for all of this research is so that when you sit down and begin writing emails, you already have all of the information you need.
It’ll save you time and by collecting this data about your audience, you’ll be able to write email copy that reads their minds.
Research shows that between 33% and 64% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone.
First impressions can be fleeting, but they set the tone for your leads’ expectations when they open up a message from you.
There are several reasons for keeping your subject line on the shorter side:
That’s why we suggest you keep any email subject line between 5 and 7 words long.
Here are some simple subject line templates that you can use for your emails:
Your subject line should reflect the reason for the email, as well as the rest of the content.
An excellent way to stand out in a crowded inbox is to immediately promise value.
Addressing your email clients’ problems from the subject line will make you more relatable to your audience and less likely to be sentenced to the spam folder.
We talked earlier about the importance of research — here’s where it starts making your email copywriting easier.
Grab your reader’s attention by making your promise in the subject line in one of these 3 ways:
1. Focus on the benefit — Announce the life-changing powers of your product that an email client would be foolish to miss out on
2. Address a major pain point — Show a deep understanding of the struggles your audience face by putting them into words and promising an attainable solution
3. Use your email clients’ own words — Use the emotional words your audience use themselves when describing their problem and/or how your offer will solve it
All of this information should be quickly accessible to you if you’ve done the research we mentioned before.
Here’s an example of an email subject line that makes a promise packed with value, from Better.com:
Protect your home without breaking the bank — From a promotional email campaign.
This subject line works so well for the following reasons:
Why not use this strategy to write your next killer subject line?
The last and easiest way to hook your email recipients from the start is with an email subject line that asks a question.
When you use a question as your subject line, you automatically promise the answer in the rest of your email content.
Even if that question is rhetorical and makes use of a psychological technique like scarcity, you’re still likely to convince more people to open up and read your email.
Here are a few examples of subject lines that ask questions:
As you can see, questions in your subject line can re-engage your leads, get them curious, and speak to their pain points too.
Once you’ve crafted your killer subject line, you’ll need to get to work on your email’s body copy.
The body copy is your chance to show your audience that you can deliver on your promise and provide them with value.
When someone opens up your email, they’re expecting to get exactly what you promised them in the subject line.
Delivering on your promise builds trust with your audience.
Your audience will give you a 1-way ticket to their spam folders if your copy isn’t aligned with your email subject line.
Here’s how you can ensure your content is aligned to your subject line:
This email from Calm, with the subject line, Try this next time you’re feeling anxious, is a perfect example:
The email immediately provides the reader with a strategy that will help them next time they’re feeling anxious — free value first, builds authority and trust.
This email delivers on its promise immediately with something that actively changes the lives of Calm’s audience.
Generally, it’s advisable to keep your email copywriting brief and to the point.
There is a school of thought that says that your email copy should be the reverse of the page/link you’re trying to get your audience to click to.
In other words, short emails should point to longer sales pages or blog posts, and vice versa.
Here’s an email copywriting example from Virgin:
This email has just 4 lines of copy, which echo the image and the subject line, Rediscover your adventurous side.
That’s all it takes to excite a reader and make them feel like they’ve been missing out on an adventure, so they need to take action now.
No matter how long you make your copy, there are some email copywriting best practices you should follow:
While the length of your email copywriting is determined more by your business and your niche, you should always aim for clarity.
Personalization is the one tactic that you cannot ignore when it comes to your email marketing strategy.
This email uses personalization in the following ways:
Personalized email copywriting might seem like a lot of effort — how do you make your message sound like it’s written for just one person?
Thanks to email marketing software, some personalization tricks can be done automatically:
Don’t have email marketing software yet?
Check out systeme.io’s free account and discover how we can help you personalize your email copywriting today.
The words you use in your email copy directly contribute to your brand voice.
Your marketing emails are how you communicate with your audience, so you need to ensure that the words you’re using:
The subject line that goes with this email is, Explore the moon on Earth…
It takes just those 5 words to intrigue a reader, and then 3 lines of email copywriting to convince them to click on the CTA.
The words Airbnb use are brief but descriptive, creating vibrant images of an otherworldly escape without giving all of the information away.
Here’s why this strategy is one worth stealing for your own email copywriting:
Add these techniques to your next marketing email and try treating your blog post like an exotic destination that readers are dying to discover.
A popular email copywriting technique uses storytelling to share experiences and create compelling and relatable content.
This complex world often leaves us suffering from information overload, so when we’re presented with more information in an email, we resist it.
Storytelling gets around this resistance, because of how we relate to it and how it offers a sense of escapism.
Piecework tells their origin story in this email to introduce their new range of puzzles for children:
Telling a personal anecdote like this automatically puts your audience in your shoes and makes you more relatable.
Piecework’s newsletter works perfectly to capture a youthful and silly tone that many parents (their target market) will resonate with.
Here are some of the most successful tactics employed in email copywriting examples like this:
Remember, you don’t have to share your own stories when using this technique — your current customers’ success stories will make for an engaging email.
One of the quickest ways to end up in an email trash bin is by sending irrelevant content to your email list.
There are several ways to go about keeping your email content up to date and relevant to your audience.
The first is to make email recipients the star of your content — Spotify’s emails are a great example of this:
This Your year in music email uses data from the recipients’ behavior on the app to create curated content that celebrates them.
By putting a spotlight on their clients, this email is made of content that’s highly relevant and personal to them.
You can also curate your content around a topic that’s relevant and directly affecting your audience, like this example from Skillshare:
This message was sent to the Skillshare community after the first week of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The email includes links to posts that will help people adjust to the new circumstances of being stuck indoors, at home, taking charge of their children’s education.
It provides 2 important benefits:
Here are a few more ways to keep your body content audience-appropriate:
By sticking to these tactics, you’ll be able to send your audience exactly what they need, and stay relevant to them.
The final element of email copywriting that you need to master is your CTA.
If an increase in sales is one of your marketing goals, your CTA presents a direct line to achieving that.
Your CTA is where you tell your email recipient what they need to do next — even if it seems obvious, this step is essential.
This button or linked line of text should direct your audience to take action immediately.
Here are 3 simple steps to make your CTA more actionable:
1. Use action verbs — Leave no room for doubt or confusion in the reader and help them get to the next step
2. Include your CTA more than once — If your email is long, don’t force readers to scroll back to take action, make it easy to take action
3. Create a sense of urgency — Expiring deals and words like “now” or “today” convince readers not to delay their action
They’ve also included a link to their contact page, should someone have more questions about what’s included before they sign up.
This is a clever email design because it is simple, yet very effective.
The second CTA tactic is all about engaging your audience by giving them what they want.
Your subject line and body copy have convinced anyone reading your email that they need the value you’re offering — your CTA needs to deliver on that promise.
Here’s a great example of how it’s done by LendingTree:
Follow in the footsteps of this highly-effective CTA by:
This approach works for visual or text-based emails alike because it makes your unique value clear to your audience.
Now that you’ve learned how to make copywriting your superpower, allow us to introduce the ultimate sidekick for your email marketing success — systeme.io!
This all-in-one marketing tool packs a powerful punch for freelance email copywriters and online business owners alike.
Want to see how easy it is to launch a product via email on our platform?
Keep reading . . .
Systeme.io gives you everything you need to achieve your email marketing goals:
Our platform is so easy to use — you can create an entire email campaign in just 3 steps:
1. First, click on “Create” and name your campaign.
systeme.io’s email campaign creator
2. Then, select “Add an email”, enter the details, and choose an email template.
systeme.io’s email template options
You can create as many emails as you need to within your campaign.
3. Finally, add or write your subject line, CTA, and email copy in the spaces provided, and save your work.
systeme.io’s email editor
Once you’ve built your email sequence, you can send yourself a test email, publish the emails and monitor their individual metrics.
You can even go into a campaign that you’ve been running for some time and edit the actual copy to suit your evolving business and audience.
The best part? Systeme.io isn’t a one-trick pony — we’ve got a lot more up our sleeve.
On top of this functionality, systeme.io gives you a host of other features to help you run your online business.
These include the following:
Often, software like this is out of reach for a small business owner, but not with systeme.io.
Our pricing plans are built to scale alongside your business, and you can even start for free!
systeme.io’s 4 pricing plans
All plans include access to these features:
On top of that, our Free plan has everything you need if you’re launching a new business or want to take our platform for a test drive.
If you sign up for our Free plan, you’ll get:
As an online business owner or a freelance email copywriter, choosing software like systeme.io is a no-brainer.
Don’t just take our word for it — see what our happy customers have to say.
Email marketing’s ROI makes it a seriously attractive marketing channel.
However, inboxes are crowded, so the only way to get high returns is to hone your email skills.
Powerful email copywriting is essential to making your messages stand out in your audience’s inbox.
Join forces with systeme.io today and take your email copy to new heights!
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