september 9, 2023

10 Email Copywriting Tips to Instantly Boost Your Conversion Rate

Engaging with your customers through email requires both creativity and analysis. Marketing research has proven that emotionally engaged customers will spend more, promote your brand, and remain loyal for years to come.

But email marketing can pose a challenge. After all, your email has only a few seconds to grab attention in your customers' inboxes. Many brands have spent hours writing the perfect email copy, only to yield less-than-expected opens, clicks, and conversions. Your online business cannot afford to waste time or money on a failed marketing strategy.

So, to help your business market get smart, we've created a list of email copywriting tips sure to give your conversion rates a boost! As an email copywriter at Essence of Email, these are strategies I apply every time I sit down to write.

1. Grab Their Attention. And Quick!

You only have a few seconds to grab your customer's attention in their inbox.

Although it takes up the least space, you should spend the most time crafting the perfect subject line. If your subject line fails, it hardly matters if you've written the most evocative, persuasive body. Your email still ends up in the trash.

The best subject lines motivate the reader to open the email with humor, shock, or excitement. Spend some time playing around with wording and grammar to find your perfect line.

2. Contribute to Their Inbox

Your customer has tons of daily emails reminding him or her about new deals and product releases. It's vital to grab their attention before your email lands in the trash bin.

However, more so than grabbing their attention, it's your job as a copywriter to contribute to their inbox. Your contribution can take many forms, but it's often helpful to think about your customer's daily routine.

What do they like to see? What will put a smile on their face? Maybe it's a funny pun or a cute rhyme. Maybe it's informational or discusses a topic they're interested in. Either way, you have valuable real estate by being in their mailbox. Take advantage of your opportunity by making them glad you're there.

3. Put Yourself in Your Customer's Shoes

When I'm in the process of copywriting, it's often helpful to imagine a potential customer receiving my email on their phone or computer.

If I'm writing for a customer segment with young children, I take a moment to picture them cleaning up after a messy lunch or rushing off to soccer practice. I then ask myself, how can this product help this specific customer segment?

The answer to that question should be the focus of the email. Discounts, company values, and other promotions are interesting, but the most important thing is to communicate how your product can improve the lives of your customers.

4. Keep It Short and Sweet

When you're writing for email, you have limited space and time. You have literally seconds to grab someone's attention with an interesting subject line. After you overcome that hurdle, you face the challenge of converting your readers into purchasing customers.

There is often a temptation to write long-winded emails that can fully explain the merits of your project. Particularly when we feel passionate about a product, it's difficult to step back and understand the limited time our customers have to understand our message. Instead of fully explaining your product, it's more helpful to write a message that helps the customer arrive at the explanation themselves.

One great example I saw was Headspace's (a meditation smartphone application) New Year's campaign. Rather than explain to the reader all the reasons why they should use the app, Headspace simply asked the reader about their New Year's resolution. This subtle approach allowed the reader to arrive at the message themselves: in the next year, they should begin meditating with Headspace.

5. Tell a Story

Limited space doesn't mean storytelling is off-limits. In fact, the best copywriters are always coming up with a story for their email. Even if you don't write the entire story in your email, telling a story before you begin writing can help you to better understand the motivations and interests of your customers. This helps you take a walk in their shoes.

For example, I was writing an email for a dog collar promotion the other day. To begin, I imagined a brief story about a loving dog-owner who planned to bring her dog with her to a summer barbecue. I imagined her and all of her friends taking pictures with the dog and posting them online. Of course, I didn't write the story explicitly, but this thought process helped me to come up with an ad campaign that played on America's Next Top Model (with dogs!).

6. Use Action Words in Your Call-to-Action

Think about these two examples:


The second one is much clearer and more direct. It motivates its reader to take action. Always add an action word in your calls-to-action to motivate the customer and direct them to your site.

7. Be Yourself. Showcase Your Brand's Values

Especially when targeting millennials or younger customer segments, your brand's character matters. Work to demonstrate your brand's values with your language and tone. Emphasizing the environmental or health benefits of your product is a great way to showcase your company character.

Although it's wise to avoid overtly political allusions, companies that have a larger commitment to ethical business practices are more likely to succeed with certain customer segments. If your company is taking steps to do good, be sure to promote that in your copy!

8. Be Relatable, yet Polished

It's important to strike the right balance between relatability and polish. One basic way to sound relatable is to avoid industry jargon or verbose expressions.

Keep it short and simple, similar to the style in which your customer speaks. At the same time, make sure not to sound overly casual. At its worst, using an overly familiar tone can appear unprofessional and sloppy.

One way to avoid this is to check for grammatical and spelling errors rigorously. In addition, it's best to avoid regional colloquialisms unless you are sure that your customers are familiar and comfortable with their usage.

9. Partner with an Expert Company

Even with all of these tips, copywriting for email marketing can be very difficult. Generating conversions requires skill across fields in graphic design, writing, and email strategy. It's a steep learning curve for brands who are just starting out, or who are busy refining their product.

At Essence of Email, we are happy to partner with your brand to create authentic and effective email campaigns. You can trust that your conversion rate will increase with our help.

10. Use A/B Testing to Hone Your Strategy

Although writing is an art, we also must test our success to make effective modifications.

A/B testing is most effective when there is a substantive difference between two email subject lines or messages. You can choose to change just the subject lines and keep the message the same or vice versa. Changing only one aspect of the email while holding everything else constant enables us to identify the specific part of the email that did or didn't work.

Wrap Up

Copywriting for email marketing is a formidable challenge. However, these email copywriting tips should help you succeed and overcome the many challenges.

When in doubt, our team of graphic designers, copywriters, and eCommerce experts at Essence of Email can help your business craft the perfect email campaign. Check out our website and blog for more information on copywriting and successful email marketing tips.

Make sure to subscribe to Essence of Email Weekly to receive the top stories from the email marketing world in your inbox once a week. You can also check out our previous email newsletters here.
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