Copywriting For Emails: Tips, Tricks, Dos And Don'ts

Here's how to secure the attention of your list

06 October 2022

5 minutes

Anam Jalil

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Copywriting for emails is an art, like the stroke of a brush, the angle of a pencil, and the contemplation that goes into a script. 

While paintings, movies, and other art forms specifically target certain personality types or people with particular preferences, the artist usually knows exactly who they are targeting and creates content or art, particularly for them. Sometimes they create the product and then find a market for it. 

Emails usually target different types of people with a few similar behavioral traits simultaneously - and emails must engage the reader until they make a purchase (usually). A harder feat - which is why copywriting for emails can be complicated.

Also Read: 12 Habits of Highly Successful Email Marketers

A movie or a show has a couple of minutes or even an hour to make an impression, but emails barely have a couple of seconds to hook the reader. Digitaldoughnut mentions that you have three seconds to catch a reader’s attention in an email - and that’s only when you are lucky, otherwise it may be even less. 

Hypothetical sirens are constantly blaring, signaling that if you don’t catch the reader’s attention now, you may never be able to do it again! 

Therefore, you need to be very particular about copywriting for emails. 

Let’s start with a few basic Dos and Don’ts before we delve into copywriting for emails tips and tricks.  

Dos: 

  • Pay attention to your subject line. This is what gets your email opened, so you need to master this. Make sure it’s attention-grabbing and gives a good summary of what to expect in your email. 

  • Be precise. The ideal email is no more than 150 words. You may have a lot to say but it is best to lead your audience to another page with more information instead of writing 1000 words in your email. That is too much and there is a very high chance that your recipient will not read all of it.

  • Use simple language. Your reader shouldn’t have to Google words in your email to understand them. You are talking to a normal person so industry jargon or university vocabulary should be left out. Simple and easily understandable is the key. 

  • A/B test emails to see which one is working better. CampaignMonitor says that companies that do A/B testing have an edge over those that do not as their campaigns will run at optimum level. Data speaks volumes and it’s important to base email marketing decisions on what is working and what is not.

Don’ts: 

  • Put too many themes in your email. The reader should be able to follow what you are saying and asking them to do, without getting lost in your email. They should be able to retain the information you provide. 

  • Add a video that plays automatically in your email. No one wants to hear audio without prompting it first. That’s one of the quickest ways to go to spam

  • Add any click-bait links or subject lines. Do not trick your readers into clicking on something - that just makes you lose trust and credibility in their eyes and they won’t be interested in reading any of your content in the future. 

  • Use hyperbole and spammy words. Avoid words such as free, astonishing offer, you will never get something like this again, etc. No one buys into that anymore. It’s better to focus on the value that your product/service provides rather than exaggerating how excellent or deprived someone’s life will be if they do not avail of it now. 

Let’s dive into how you should be writing your email marketing campaigns and what will be most effective when copywriting for emails. 

Tips and Tricks for Copywriting for Emails:

1. Always personalize your email. Pretend that you are talking to one person and direct your conversation to them. Ensure you include tags for their first name and other details about them. All of these are email marketing best practices.

2. Focus on the reader, not on your business. Use words such as you and your instead of we and us. For example, don’t write, We provide accounting services for businesses but write, You need to ensure your books are accurate and your accounts balance - XYZ can fulfill this need with affordable accounting services. 

3. Write about the value you provide. Avoid using hyperbole and saying stuff like, “We are excellent and unbeatable” etc. Clearly speak about the value you provide. An example would be, “After 20 years in business, we have helped over 5000 people lose weight and achieve their ideal body. We do this by empathizing with the client’s situation and devising a plan that is conducive to their lifestyle.” 

4. Write short, punchy sentences. Try to limit your sentences to seven to eight words max. Short, punchy sentences are more effective rather than long, winding sentences that the reader cannot follow. 

5. Give examples and tell a story. It is a good idea to give examples and write in a storytelling style so that readers get immersed in your content and you can illustrate a point for them. Remember to add relevant stats, expert quotes, and maybe even a few infographics. 

6. Minimalist writing is best.  Remember the saying “less is more”? Try to focus on it in your writing. This might sound counterintuitive, especially in line with the last point. However, this means that you shouldn’t over-describe something or use too many words to say something. 

Cut out irrelevant words or replace them with a better word.

This step is extremely important. This step is essential.

7. Include a clear call-to-action and tell the reader why they need to click. Include a call-to-action and tell the reader what the next steps are or what you want them to do. 

However, you also need to tell them exactly what they will get by performing the action. For example, Subscribe to our newsletter isn’t as clear as Subscribe to our newsletter to get copywriting for emails templates and more information. Then your button can say Subscribe Now. 

8. Avoid hard-selling. This may not be applicable to all products/services and this is a personal preference. However, I feel that hard-selling is not effective and is annoying. Don’t make the reader feel pressured or compelled to buy or respond at that moment. Make them feel like their business is valuable to you at any time. 

Once you have written an email, here is a checklist that you can use to see if you have covered most of the basic points for copywriting for emails.

  • My email includes tags for personalization 

  • My email is to the point and is no more than 150 words. 

  • All paragraphs are no more than 3-4 lines. 

  • The email is easy to read and conveys the value my product/service provides. 

  • My subject line is short and engaging

  • I have not said anything in my email that may be considered offensive to anyone. 

  • I have avoided using filler words or hyperbole. All sentences use the minimum number of words. 

  • There are no grammar or spelling errors

  • Hyperlinks are added where needed. 

  • My CTA is clear and leads the reader to a page with more information 

  • I have included an unsubscribe link 

If you make sure you follow all of these instructions, you are likely to write an email that converts. 

There are several other steps to copywriting for emails that we will be exploring in the future on the blog. If you have some email marketing stress and want to know more about what you should check before hitting send on an email, click here.

Relax and write out those email sequences now!  Don’t forget to warm up your email domain to make sure your copy doesn’t go to waste and is seen by the recipient.

Pribox can definitely help here!