Great email copywriting is a bit like the worm that a fisherman dangles at the end of his hook. If the worm is fresh and juicy looking, the fish will gobble it up, but if it looks like a stale piece of rotten meat, the chances are the fish will swim away. You want your email copywriting to be fresh and juicy looking!
The fact is, copy in your email plays a decisive role in deciding whether your email gets opened or whether it gets trashed from the moment someone opens it.
In this blog post, I will touch on 15 proven techniques that have been shown to take email copywriting to another level.
1. The email subject line
Construct the subject line so that it grabs attention straight away. Whilst you want the subject line to grab attention, you don’t want an overly flashy or promotional line because this will put off readers off. One technique some email copywriters use is they put in the subject line “from team x” because this makes it sound like a bright, energetic team is standing behind whatever you’re attempting to sell.
One technique you can use is to make a promise in your headline. This will help lure readers into the body of copy. What we call this technique is the curiosity hook. This will induce readers into reading the rest of your copy and hopefully right down into the body of your email where you’ll make a conversion.
Studies suggest that brief, curiosity focused subject lines produce far more leads than more generic type subject lines. For example, if you wrote in your headline “The Pablo Escobar marketing tip to increase your profits 10x” or if you wrote “The Julius Caesar Marketing technique to expand your business” both headings evoke the curiosity principle. Its gets people wondering what the heck did these two infamous leaders did to increase their profits.
3. Ask a question in the headline
For example, if you’re in the legal industry and you receive an email and the headline states “The business technique that London Solicitors do, that you don’t ?” or if you receive a headline “Why the top New York Solicitors succeed?” These headlines will invoke a level of interest and could prompt your target (the solicitor) to read the rest of your email.
4. Tell a story
Story telling has a powerful influence on our brains and top email copywriting should use the tendency of our brains to engage with story telling to potent effect. Many copywriters advocate inserting an interesting story from the first line of email and this technique has been known for its effectiveness.
5. Avoid the word free
Whilst its well known that the words free is one of the most powerful tools in any digital marketers arsenal, when it comes to email copywriting I could well advise you to avoid using this word. The primary reason for this is because you want your email to avoid going into the spam folder.
Most email providers now provide spam filters and if you’re using certain keywords such as “free” the chances of your email ending up in the rubbish bin will be greatly increased. You may include “free” once or twice in the body of your email but any more than this and you’ll be really pushing the chances of your email never getting read.
6. Killer intro
You should always lead the intro of your copy with a killer intro. One of the best ways to accomplish this, is to get a great benefit right up front. In the first paragraph, you should strive to deliver a mini version of your complete message. State the offer and then provide an immediate response mechanism. This tactic will appeal to those readers who have a short attention span and may want to immediately take action.
7. Keep it short
Unlike mail order advertising in email copywriting, shorter content works better. Readers will normally have a lot of things to do and they won’t have to time so span shifting through a vast bulk on intimidating content that would have most people running for the hills.
Regardless of how long your email is, always ensure that you get your message across. Convey the main benefits. If you’re not communicating the major benefits in the first line, communicate them in at least the second or third line.
8. So how long?
This all depends on what your overall email marketing strategy is. Many marketers with simple lead generation offers use short emails (usually about 3 or 4 small paragraph’s) with a link included to their landing page. Another type of lead generation landing page is a web-based form. This type of format is similar in length to traditional sales letters.
Many well-established copywriters believe that email copywriting should be half as long as a standard sales letter.
9. Watch your tone
The tone that you use in your emails should be friendly, informative, and educational and not too sales like. If the tone is overtly promotional, this will have the tendency to put many readers off. People want quality information and if you’re going to make your emails work, you should fill the letter with quality information that gives the reader something useful.
You should refrain from using phrases like “we’re the best” or “quality” because these phrases are meaningless, cliché phrases that have very little power. What your email copywriting should strive to do is hammer home the benefits of the product or service that you’re attempting to sell.
10. Know your target market
Before you put pen to paper in any email copywriting plan, make sure that you know who you’re writing to. You’re going to need to build a profile of your ideal target audience and then craft copywriting around this profile. This type of intelligence will either make or break your copywriting. The fact is, if you don’t know who are targeting your emails will miss the target.
So now lets look at data backed email targeting.
11. Data backed email copywriting
Before you embark on any email copywriting campaign, it’s going to be absolutely vital that you have a solid grasp of your target market. Who are you writing to? Why is your content going to benefit them? What age demographic is your target market? What sex are? The list goes on and on.
The great General Napoleon Bonaparte once said that “time spent on reconnaissance, is rarely wasted” and with effective email copywriting this saying is very true. You need to build up a picture of the ideal persona you’re going to be targeting and how best you can touch on their pain points and solve these pain points. Data backed email copywriting is the best way you can achieve the conversions you’re looking to achieve.
12. Power words
Certain words have a tendency to provoke users into taking certain actions, and we know these words as power words. So what exactly are power words? For the most part, power words will have several unique attributes. Some of the key attributes include:
• Unique words.
For example, let’s consider these two words:
The first word doesn’t produce much of an emotional reaction, but the second word produces all kinds of sensations. For example, if you used the word “kill” or “death” both words produce intense emotional reactions. Now let’s consider a headline for a second “How Banks sucked blood like vampires.” This headline provokes all kinds of emotional reactions and images in your mind.
13. Writing an email marketing conversion series
This is quite a simple tactic, but yet so effective. First, you repackage some existing content that is already on your website and you label this as “free content.” We use this free content as a lead magnet to lure people into your net. The second step is to offer this free content in an exchange for their details. Finally, you must convert these leads into paying customers. The last step is where your email copywriting skills will come into the equation.
We know this step as the email conversion series. The general rule of thumb is that it works best if you create between three and seven email copywriting emails. At the early stage of this copywriting phase some marketers advocate “free touch” emails which contact people without directly asking them for a sale. The subsequent emails in the list ask for sales, we know these as the conversion emails.
You should write your email marketing series in the same way you would write other promotional emails. Use similar copy, content, and organisation strategy. Seek to get attention in the lead email, generate interest, and create a desire for your product that will lead to a sale.
14. Use templates
Whilst many new copywriters might wrongly believe that you should produce new content on an ad hoc basis. This is wrong. Why spend hours attempting to come up with some new magic formula when you can have a ready-made system at your fingertips?
The best email copywriting will use templates to enhance the speed and effectiveness of their email copywriting. A great technique to use is keeping a swipe file. A swipe file will allow you to dig back over pieces of content that you like and then incorporate these words or phrases into your email copywriting.
Email copywriting when done correctly has the potential to increase your conversions. As already discussed in this blog there are several vital techniques that you should incorporate into your email copywriting. Like so many things in copywriting, the most important area is the headline. If you don’t have some kind of catch in your headline, your email is going nowhere fast.
Let’s end this blog post by taking a brief look at some of the key skills that a person needs to make it as a copywriter, because without these skills you’re never going to make it as an email copywriter.
English language skills.
A copywriter who is not skilled at the English language is like a bird without wings. Both are going to get eaten up. One by a Cat, and the other by clients fleeing in horror at the poor English language skills.
A top copywriter should be curious about a variety of different disciplines. The best copywriter will not only be skilled in crafting great content they’ll also be skilled in psychology and knowing how some basic techniques can take their content writing to the next level.
A copywriter whose not skilled at researching is a bit like a blind man stumbling around trying to wire the electricity in the house. Its not going to work. A top copywriter should be supremely skilled at researching because this will allow them to better understand their target market and then craft content that going to be far more effective.
Ok, now that we’ve taken a look at some of the basic skills that a copywriter needs before they delve into email copywriting, now let’s look at email copywriting and everything that it entails.
First, if you’re looking to write email copywriting there are several fundamentals that you’re going to need to abide by.
Write killer subject lines
If you’re not writing killer subject lines, you’re already wasting 90c in every euro that you spend.
Don’t be too salesy
If you’re writing content and the content comes off like some BS sales page, this will put people off reading the rest of the email.
The best email copywriting will immerse their copy with power words that will greatly increase the chances of readers converting into clients.
So let’s take a deeper look at some of the key areas.