Email Copywriting 101

Email Copywriting 101
Article by Bisera Stankovska
Last Updated: March 20, 2023

An average American has 1,602 unread emails in their inbox. 

If you’re considering embracing email copywriting as a marketing tool, this number is discouraging. 

However, 81% of professionals claim email is their primary customer acquisition channel—backing out is not an option! 

If you have difficulty mastering the email copywriting best practices, you can always opt for outsourced email marketing services and we can help you find the best agency for your needs. 

But, if you’d like to learn the art and science of email copywriting, this guide will steer you in the right direction! 

Receive proposals from top email marketing agencies. It’s free.
Agency description goes here
Agency description goes here
Agency description goes here

What Is Email Copywriting?

Email copywriting is a form of direct marketing that uses email to send promotional messages to existing or potential customers.

It requires a specific type of writing designed to get readers to take action, whether that’s signing up for a newsletter, buying a product, clicking on a link, or participating in a contest.

As a marketing tool, it can also be used to promote a wide variety of products or services, increase customer loyalty, or encourage customer referrals. 

To get all this from email marketing, your emails have to be persuasive and to the point — this is not the place for fluff.

And it’s not just about writing catchy subject lines—the entire email needs to be well-written and engaging. After all, you only have a split second to make a good impression.

So, why does email copywriting matter for your business?

Good email copywriting can be the difference between a successful campaign and one that flops. 

It can help you achieve your marketing goals, whether that’s increasing sales, boosting engagement, or growing your list of subscribers.

Investing in good email copywriting is an investment in your business’s future.

Is Email Marketing Dead?

There’s an ongoing debate among marketers about whether email copywriting is a thing of the past. With a new social media platform being the next shiny thing almost every month, has the time come for email marketing to retire?

Let’s base our answer on facts: 

  • The number of email users is expected to reach 4.6 billion in 2025.
  • 319.6 billion emails were sent and received per day in 2021, while the number is set to reach 333.2 billion in 2022 and 376.4 by 2025.
  • 61% of people prefer to be contacted by brands over email. 
  • 99% of email users check their emails daily, 65% check their email more than 3 times a day, and some even 20 times per day.
  • Email marketing can reach a 4,200% ROI. 
  • 60% of consumers have purchased something thanks to a marketing message they received by email.

The facts speak for themselves; not only is email marketing alive, but it might as well be immortal! 

Given its unparalleled potential and upper hand over other marketing channels (social media, we’re looking at you), it’s imperative you learn the email copywriting best practices so you too can start achieving results like these! 

How To Improve Email Copywriting 

A bit of effort goes a long way—when it comes to writing, the more you write, the better you become.

If you’re ready to start polishing your skills, keep these tips in mind:

Don't Sound Too Pushy

Don’t confuse persuasiveness with pushiness. 

The farthest you can get by being too pushy is straight to the spam folder. Even worse, people are guaranteed to unsubscribe. 

Knowing the line between the two will help you keep people interested in what you have to say.  

If you're not sure how to word something, go with the flow of what your audience is asking for and deliver it in their language. 

Be concise and get straight to the point. While you should use power words to persuade readers to take action, there’s a difference between use and abuse. Opt for the former. 

You've probably been there before—you're excited about a new product or service and you want to tell everyone about it. But before you hit "send" on that mass email, there's something important you should keep in mind: no one likes to be sold to.

A hard sell comes across as pushy and can quickly turn people off. 

So how can you avoid sounding like a used car salesman?

You can: 

  • Focus on the benefits of your product or service instead of only listing the features.
  • Use positive language that doesn't sound overly sales-y.
  • Resist the urge to include too many exclamation points—a few well-placed ones will do the trick.

Sending too many emails is also a red flag. If you’re bombarding people with emails just to increase engagement rates, your tactic will have the opposite effect. Once again, you’ll come off as pushy. 

Instead, adjust your send frequency based on how engaged your recipients are—as 63.33% of marketers do. 

When writing an email, try sticking to the direct response copywriting best practices. This way, you have higher chances of converting your recipients. 

No One Likes Talking to a Robot 

Even though it may seem like a small thing, the way you sound in your emails can make a big difference in how people perceive you. 

If you come across as harsh or abrasive, you're likely to turn people off and make them less likely to want to work with you. On the other hand, if you sound like a robot that just spits out a template, people will probably find you boring and unoriginal. 

You too have probably gotten an email that sounds a machine wrote it. It's cold and impersonal, as if the sender didn't put any thought into it. 

In contrast, an email that sounds like a real person is much more likely to get a response.

The key is to strike a balance between sounding too formal and too casual. 

How can you make sure your emails sound human? 

For starters: 

  • Use a friendly tone. Address the recipient by name, and avoid using formal language
  • Inject some personality into your messages. Share a funny story or joke, or include a thoughtful comment about something you have in common.
  • Don't be afraid to show some emotion. If you're excited about something, let your enthusiasm shine through.

Marketers list writing short subject lines, making links and buttons accessible, and keeping paragraphs short and sweet as the most important steps in coming up with professional but human email copy. 

With a little practice, you can find the perfect tone for your business communications and increase your chances of getting the response you're looking for.

Subject Lines Determine the Fate of Your Email  

Subject lines are the first thing people see when they open an email. They help you stand out from the crowd and get your message in front of people who will be interested in what you have to say. 

Take the time to think about your subject line and build up from there. Brainstorm ideas until one sticks out as being perfect for a particular email.

With so many emails, your subject line is often the deciding factor in whether or not your email will be opened. You may have the most beautifully designed email with stunning imagery and perfectly written copy, but if your subject line is lackluster, your open rates will likely suffer. 

47% of recipients open emails based on the subject line and 69% are likely to report them as spam.

So, how can you make sure that your subject lines are up to snuff? 

  • Keep it short and sweet. Long, rambling subject lines are more likely to be skipped over. Make them descriptive but not too long. 
  • Avoid using obvious spam triggers like all caps or excessive exclamation points. Make them interesting, but not misleading.
  • Personalize your subject line whenever possible. A little bit of effort can go a long way in ensuring your email gets noticed.
  • Make it relevant to the recipient and to the content of your email. 
  • Be creative and interesting without being too cute or clever.
  • Include a CTA that encourages the recipient to open your email.
  • With a little bit of effort, you can ensure your message gets across.

Make It Personal 

Personalization is one of the most important parts of email copywriting as it allows you to represent your brand in the best light possible. 

The way you craft your messages can make all the difference. 

There are a few things you can do: 

  • Use the recipient's name in the salutation or subject line. This shows that you've taken the time to read their email address, and it immediately makes your message feel warmer and more personal. 
  • Include relevant information about yourself, such as your job title or company name. This helps create a more robust profile for yourself, making it easier for recipients to understand who you are and what you do.
  • Write about them specifically (if possible). This proves that you understand their situation and care about what they're going through—and makes them more likely to respond positively when they see themselves reflected in your words.
  • Add links or images that relate directly back to whatever topic(s) were discussed earlier on within this particular email thread.
  • Don't be afraid to have a little fun. Including a funny quote or meme can help lighten the tone of your message, and it shows that you have a sense of humor. However, do it with caution—you don’t want to cross any lines. 

Personalization of content has become a necessity and is growing to become a requirement rather than a choice: 71% of consumers expect personalized marketing and 76% of them will get frustrated if you don’t personalize your approach. 

Bonus Tips on Mastering Copywriting for Email Marketing 

Now that you know the basics, let’s talk about the details that will help you write a winning email: 

Your Cta Should Be Clear and Easily Accessible

Make sure your CTA is not buried in the email or too far down so that it doesn't get lost among other information.

Leave enough room above or below it before moving on with other sections of your pitch—you don't want someone scrolling through the message without even noticing the most important pieces of information. 

Include a Link or Two in Your Email

If you want more clicks, you should add a: 

  • Link to your website. You can link directly to a specific page on your site in the copy itself or you can use the email signature section to direct readers to your website. 
  • Link to landing pages. If you have an email list, you may want to include links in your emails pointing readers back to the landing pages for each product or service—or even just one specific product. This gives people another way of accessing information about what they're looking for without getting overwhelmed. 
  • Link to blog posts/articles/guides, etc. If you have content that’s relevant to whatever you’re trying to promote in your email, put it in there! Additional information is often the deciding factor and instead of writing an essay rather than an email, simply direct the readers to what they should be reading. 

Test, Test, Test

One of the best ways to improve your email copywriting is to test different versions of your emails and see what works best. Try changing up the subject line, the length of the email, or the call to action and see how people respond. 

Testing different elements of your email will help you fine-tune your copywriting skills and ensure that you’re always sending out the best possible emails.

You can use A/B testing to send two different versions to a small group of recipients and see which one performs better before sending it out to your entire list. 

Email Copywriting: Key Takeaways 

The ability to write compelling emails is a skill that all marketers should have. 

When done right, it can help you reach more people with your brand or product, increase conversions from those who open your emails, boost your CTR, and much more!

The road to success is often paved with uncertainties but email copywriting grants certain results!

We’ll find qualified email marketing agencies for your project, for free.
Subscribe to Spotlight Newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest industry news