10 Email Copywriting Best Practices That Catapult Conversions

This cacophony of email copywriting tips was initially intended as notes to myself. You're probably interested in them as well. So, here they are, in no particular order.

This cacophony of email copywriting tips was initially intended as notes to myself.

Realized you might be interested in them as well.

(Sidenote: read to the end for a bonus.)

So, here they are, in no particular order.

1. One email, one offer.

Email is much like warfare.

But one thing’s different. Shotguns are worthless. In fact, they’re free. Everyone uses them. Yet, they have no value.

Precision bolt-action rifles on the other hand…? Difficult to use, expensive, and rare. But laser-focused.

What’s the shotgun approach? It’s blasting out a weekly/monthly newsletter with all of your offers in one. “With enough offers we’ll get someone. What is segmentation.”

And the sniper approach? One target, one offer, one purchase.

Write your emails with one goal – and CTA – in mind.

2. Shorten your sentences.

Eddie Shleyner is a copywriter. And a great one at that.

His best exercise tip for aspiring writers?

Shortening Wikipedia articles.

Eddie’s thoughts:
“Because — and this is almost always true — if you can rewrite something to say the same thing in fewer words, you’ve made the work better.”

3. Transform your content into stories.

Pick up a non-fiction book.

If it’s well-written, it teaches through parables. Stories.

Gladwell, Godin, Willink.

Stories help us relate. Stories help us understand. Stories help us remember. And ultimately – learn.

Without stories, you position yourself as a third-grade teacher and your audience as kids desperate to be anywhere else but your class.

The best non-fiction reads like fiction. Because fiction helps us remember.

4. Use open loops.

Hollywood’s perfected this.

A 2-minute movie trailer.

Action, mystique, an eery feeling that something’s wrong.

But we never get answers.

Not in the trailers. That’s not their purpose.

Trailers open loops. That’s what they’re for.

Want to close the loops? Gotta watch the movie.

So how do you use open loops in emails…? Read to the end… ????

5. Write in your list’s language

Is it internet marketing or online marketing?

Is it copywriting or content writing?

Should the email be funny or serious?

And what is funny, anyway?

And how serious should you be? Because there are levels…

Consult your audience. And you’ll know.

Note: You’ll find objectively correct answers to some of the above questions. You’ll also find that objectively correct answers seldom matter. Not in persuasive writing (sales, copywriting, etc.).

6. Encourage replies. Then, reply to them.

Why? 2 reasons.

Technical reason: it informs email clients that the subscriber wants your emails in the future as well (“why else would they reply?”). Meaning, you’ll see fewer deliverability issues down the line.

Marketing reason: it informs your subscribers that you’re not above them. Building rapport, nurturing the relationship, it ties them closer to you, and strangely enough, it makes them like you more.

We trust people whom we like. We buy things from people whom we like. Engage in a conversation with your subscribers. Turn your casual readers into true fans.

7. Utilize underlines, italics, emojis, and bold paragraphs.

Email marketing should feel like a rollercoaster. A wall of text is anything but.

Underline, italicize, and bold texts to keep your readers attention.

Energize your copy with well-placed emojis.

Your reader is constantly looking for a reason to stop reading. Reading takes effort. Reading takes focus. It’s much easier to stare at IG reels or nod off to Netflix.

Keep the rollercoaster going by switching things up.

8. Increase your font size.

We’re not in school anymore. And no one is paid to read your writing.

Therefore, make it easy – fun, even – to read. Easiest way to do that? Increasing your font size.

Nobody should need their reading glasses just to consume your content.

9. Write for mobile.

A mobile device beats a clunky desktop PC every time.

Write with mobile users in mind. Make sure the copy is easy to read. Check for line breaks.

Does the text flow?

10. Done writing? Read it out loud

This works even better if you get someone else to read it for you.

Notice where you pause. Pauses are bad.

They break the flow.

Fix those parts of the copy.

Then read out loud again.

Wrapping up

If you’re as lazy as I am and just skimmed through this post, here are the 10 tips in bullet form:

  • One email? One offer
  • Shorten your sentences.
  • Stories > Facts (so turn facts into stories)
  • Use open loops
  • Write using your target audience’s words
  • Encourage replies to your emails. Reply to them.
  • Good emails should feel like roller-coasters. Your readers are always pulled away to something else (ads, sites, feeds, chats, games…). Don’t let that happen. Keep things fresh.
  • People shouldn’t need glasses to read your emails
  • Mobile > PC
  • Done writing? Read it out loud

These were 10 email copywriting tips. But I have more to share.

A whole lot more.

In fact, you’ve missed out on over 160 email copywriting tips and ideas by not throwing your email my way. ????

And every day that passes you’ll miss another.

Thankfully there’s a remedy-

chuck your email in the form below. 

And curse yourself for not doing it sooner. ????

Uh Oh! Extra Tip Alert! ????

Surprise! We’re not done yet!

I’ve got one last tip for you:

Context is everything.

Even the advice in this list should be taken with a pinch of salt.

For instance… it’s better to optimize for mobile than desktop — in most cases. But if you know for a fact that your target audience is 60+ and probably doesn’t use their phone for much else than the necessities… there’s no point in focusing on mobile.

Another example is the tip about writing stories.

Sure, in general, stories are a powerful way to convey your message. But only if your audience can relate to your stories. If, say, you’re writing a sales email for a client where your lead is that, sometimes, it’s better to buy more expensive than cheap, you could write something like this:

“Hi there,

It’s been snowing like hell here in Finland.

And if you’ve ever woken up to a snow-covered front yard you know what that means.

Shoveling the driveway.

Depending on the snow coverage it takes about 20 minutes to clear everything.

In the morning. In freezing temperatures.

But this year I told myself I had enough.

So I made a deal with some entrepreneurial teenagers a few houses down. They’ll automatically come and shovel my driveway before school — whenever necessary.

I wouldn’t say it’s cheap (don’t want to deflate their dreams by being a bad client) but thanks to them, I’m saving 20 minutes every snow day.

Just like today.

They’re almost done shoveling my driveway-

and I’m almost done writing this email.

I think this is what the marketing professors call a win-win. ????

Now, you might not have a driveway — or snow, for that matter.

But you could create similar win-wins for yourself.

Wins that save you time — and make you money.

Here’s how.”

Let’s analyze this email example:

  • Would this story resonate with someone unfamiliar with a cold climate like the one described?
  • Or would it fall completely flat because your target market is in Miami?

That’s it.

No more extra surprise hidden tips.

Unless… you join the email list.

Which is free. For now. ????

Mats Liljeström
Mats Liljeström

Email Copywriter & Marketer.

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