Writing a few sentences for an email campaign might not seem challenging, but there’s an art to crafting effective copy.
To help time-strapped marketers create emails that are effective, here are ten advanced email copywriting tips to follow:
1. Solve a problem
People buy solutions, not products. No one wants a plunger. Write your copy to help the reader understand how your product or service will save them time or money, or generally make their life easier.
Solving a problem also requires your recipient to trust you, that is, believe that you’re an expert on the subject.
2. Focus on one point
Don’t try to cram your new product announcement, free shipping promotion, and upcoming webinar into one email. Choose a topic and stick to it. It’s better to send multiple emails than to try to squeeze everything into one, which not only overwhelms subscribers but also dilutes your messaging.
3. Set a deadline
Email copy should compel subscribers to act instantly. Once they’ve read your message, you need them to click and convert. To do that, give subscribers a deadline.
Every sale should have an end date and every coupon should have a quick expiration date. The idea is to get subscribers to act fast so they don’t miss the deal. Mention the deadline in your subject line and again in the copy.
You could even send a second email as a “last chance” to take advantage of the sale or coupon.
Here’s a great example from Bath and Body Works. This is the second email sent about this deal and the deadline is clear at the top of the email.
4. Talk to the reader
Just as you don’t want to get stuck in the corner at the dinner party with the guy who only talks about himself, no one wants to read copy that’s full of “me,” “we” or “I.”
Instead, use “you” to make the reader feel engaged in the copy. Think of it as a respectful conversation in which it’s your turn to talk about something that (hopefully) interests you both.
Using “you” in the copy also forces you to think about the customer as you write, which will make your messages stronger and more relevant.
5. Don’t overpromise
In an effort to sell products, brands sometimes overpromise. They exaggerate a product’s features or use phrases like, “Guaranteed not to break.”
If you make a promise that you can’t keep, customer retention will suffer and word of mouth could negatively affect sales. Dishonesty will be a disaster for your company; no one does business with someone they don’t trust.
Be honest and realistic with your subscribers. Period.
6. Format for scanners
Assume that everyone reading your email is incredibly busy and won’t read every word of the text. Use headlines, subheads and very short blocks of text, or better yet, bullet points, to get your point across to skimmers. Put your most important message first and use boldface to draw attention to other important messages.
Remember, your copy can always include links to longer pieces, which gives the email a cleaner look and the reader the option to click to read more.
Paul Boag writes copy using short paragraphs, colorful headlines and linked text for recipients who want to read more on a topic. In this end-of-year email, he immediately gives readers an option to skip something that might be irrelevant to them by addressing the target readership in the headlines
7. Avoid the exclamation point
Marketers tend to believe that everything they say is exciting, which is probably why they overuse the exclamation point. Used sparingly, the exclamation point can show enthusiasm, but most of the time it’s just unnecessary.
Your email copy should mimic a conversation, so unless you’re the type that runs around yelling all the time, you should stick with normal, conversational punctuation like a period.
With these email copywriting tips, you can create compelling emails that subscribers will love. Remember, sending a quality email with a great message is more effective than creating sloppy copy in an effort to get an email out quickly.