How to write killer email copy

As crucial as it is for your social media to be on point from a branding perspective, there’s no denying that email marketing still reigns supreme commercially. I’ve worked in-house at many brands and the link between them all has been the reliance on a strong database. But building the database is one thing, keeping it engaged is another.

Of course, at its core the most important element to your email is the product or service you’re selling. That said, the content used and copy written in your email can really make or break it. So whether it’s penning a powerful subject line or keeping quality content the focus, here’s how to effortlessly write killer email copy and keep that database subscribed.

Understand the power of subject lines

How many times have you hit delete on an email without even opening it? If you’re anything like me, this is likely a daily occurrence. And sure, a lot of the time this will simply be because you have no interest in whatever product or service is being sold to you. But there must have been a reason you subscribed in the first place (hopefully, getting added to mailing lists without your consent is both irritating and against the law!).

The power of subject lines is not to be underestimated. They are the gatekeepers standing between your emails even getting opened or not. There are so many ways to approach writing subject lines and the results will differ depending on your product and audience. My advice would be to try different styles out and compare the results, or even better – perform AB testing.

Short, sweet and playful subject lines can often be enticing enough to get people opening your emails. But be careful with sounding too clickbaity. Your customers aren’t stupid, nor will it be the first time they’ve seen the message ‘You’ve GOT to see this’ or ‘You won’t believe this’ in their emails or social media.

Try something a bit smarter; add a bit of humour if appropriate. For a fashion retailer I once worked for we occasionally tried adding pop culture references and lyrics to our subject lines. I remember Bon Jovi’s ‘Ooh, we’re halfway there’ being particularly successful when we sent it out on a Wednesday once.

Of course, these sorts of subject lines won’t always be appropriate. They also risk users opening them and getting confused if the content of the email doesn’t relate. Longer copy that includes offers can also work, but be wary with using spam trigger words such as ‘discount’ and ‘win’, as your email could quite easily end up in your customers’ Junk.

Keep it clear and concise

Emails tend to go wrong when a brand tries to say too much. Ensure your objective for the email is clear before putting it together, and once the email has been written and designed – revisit that initial objective. Have you strayed too far from what you set out to say? If so, it might be worth revising it.

Make sure your call to action is strong and direct, as this is ultimately what you want customers to respond to. Keep it short, punchy and broken up well with subheaders. Make sure you use the same tone of voice you use in all your marketing collateral such as your social media and blog posts. You want your customers to recognise your tone of voice as much as they recognise your visual branding.

Consider hierarchy

It’s nothing new that the majority of emails are read on smartphones these days, so this needs to be front of mind when putting together your email copy. Ensure your most important messaging and call to action are right at the top of your email to avoid them getting missed.

If you’re trying to get your customers to buy a certain product, such as an item of clothing, make sure the image of your product and clear direction as to how to purchase it are right at the top of your eDM. If you have an educational piece about the product, such as a blog post, include this underneath. Otherwise, try dual CTAs: ‘Buy Now’ and ‘Learn More’.

Make it personal

In my last post of 2017, I rounded up 18 ways to grow your brand in 2018. In these points, I mentioned the importance of personalisation in emails this year, which is not to be overlooked. I described a survey ran by HubSpot back in 2013 analysing nearly 100,000 CTAs on their platform which revealed engagement was over 40% higher with customised CTAs instead of generic messages. 40%!

Understand why your product or service will benefit your customers and speak to them like human beings instead of plainly listing the benefits of what you’re trying to sell. Engaging with your customers in this way, almost like you’re a friend or colleague sending them an email, will create a far more tailored experience. This will ultimately build trust between your brand and your audience, leading them to open future emails you send them instead of simply sending them to trash.

Ready to try it for yourself? Look at your upcoming content schedule and begin brainstorming ideas as to how you could approach your emails. Will you try a short and snappy subject line, or go for something a bit longer but relevant? How will you ensure your email is clear and concise and how will it look when opened on a smartphone?

Follow these tips and you’ll be sure to see your email database become far more engaged in 2018, as well as keeping them firmly away from the ‘Unsubscribe’ button. Good luck!

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