It’s no secret around here that we are fans of the power of good email copy.  If you believe that you can write almost anything and it will be equally effective then this blog post isn’t for you.

However, if you believe that effective email copy can make your message stand out and propel your readers into action you’ll want to pay attention to these email marketing copywriting tips.

Write a compelling subject line

Right. But what makes a subject line compelling?  Firstly, DON’T make it funny, ambiguous, clever or misleading.  That never works.  Instead try one of these styles.

Try giving a strong benefit statement that leads into the message.  “Get 75% Off!”  This subject shows a clear benefit to the reader.  Or.  “Save on your next purchase”  Again, the benefit is spelled out to the reader.  Keep in mind it’s not always about saving money.  A totally different benefit could be based on saving time or energy on a task.  Productivity can be a good benefit.

Other benefits relate back to basic human desire:  to be wanted, to fit in, to get the girl (or guy), to get recognition, to be rewarded etc.  Never underestimate the power of basic human wants.

If you can tap into them with a subject line you’ll have a winner.

Make the first sentence in your email support the subject line

This is a pretty common mistake yet it will yield a much better result if you get it right.  The first sentence is the one you see when you see your message in a preview pane.  Once you start looking at the first sentence in the preview pane as a marketing tool, you’ll be amazed at how many people don’t use it.

Instead you’re likely to see ‘Click here to see a web version…” or some other tech text.  Tech text NEVER increases the marketing impact of a message.  Make sure you get it out of the way.

Replace it instead with a line or two of email copy which reinforces the subject line message.  This will be the deciding factor in tipping SOME people over into reading your message.  If you’re good at it, you’ll tip more than some.  This little tip can make a big difference in your readership.

Make your email copy short

A common mistake is you feel your email has to explain everything (including legal disclaimers) but the opposite is almost always true.  Your messages have too much information in them.

Too much!

When you create your email go back and re-read it a few times.  Start to slash out every word, sentence, and paragraph that doesn’t move people towards the call-to-action.

It doesn’t take long to get the hang of it and suddenly your click through rate will go up.  Simply because you only relayed the relevant info.

Don’t confuse the effectiveness of long copy on a landing page with long copy in an email.  In the many split tests we’ve done over the years, short emails almost always out perform longer emails.

Make your email copy clear

Clarity is a friend of short emails.  If it takes a few minutes to explain the content of the message, chances are the content itself is not as clear as it could be.

It might even be confusing.

Usually you can correct this by reading your email copy and seeing if it makes sense.  Resist the temptation to make it longer.  Instead take the time to clarify… and keep it short.  One common mistake is to try to include too many ideas or concepts in your message.  You really are better off sending two separate emails then including both in one email.

Make sure you have a call-to-action

This one is easy to miss.  In the flurry of writing you forget to make a clear, simple, single call-to-action in your message.

What we usually do is to have a call-to-action in mind BEFORE we start to write the email.  That way we stay focused on the purpose of your message.  Then you aren’t tempted to add in extra content that can muddle your message.

Make sure your call-to-action includes action text like “Get your 70% discount here”  You’ll be tempted to use the common “Click here” text links you see everywhere but again, our tests have shown better results from an action link like “Read more

You’ll even benefit if you use BOTH a text link AND a graphical button.

Use a signature block

If your message is being sent from a person in the organization, make sure you set up a proper signature line at the end of the message. This is where you include the other ways people may want to connect with you.  Things like phone, Facebook LinkedIn etc.

Then your message will have the appearance of a personal message (which people like) and not a corporate notification (which people don’t like as much).

Use a postscript

It’s no secret that the P.S. at the bottom of a letter is one of the most valuable pieces of a message.  The same is true for email.

Here’s our two pieces of advice for using the P.S. successfully in email copy.  One, don’t use it in every single message.  You’’ll want to change it up a bit to keep readers interested in what’s next. Two, include a link with your call-to-action in it.  You’ll capture those readers that skim through your message and read only the P.S.

Email copywriting is a skill and like any skill you can learn it and improve with practice.

The benefit to you is more sales, more client loyalty, more repeat business… the list goes on.