Marketing Email Essentials: 10 Steps To Write Engaging Copy In 2020

Why do some brands experience remarkable performance from email marketing while others don’t?

Surely, a lot of factors come into play when ensuring success of your email campaign. But the content of your email is undeniably the most important.

So if you’re looking for ways to boost your email click-through and conversion rates, writing an email copy which works is on top of the list.

In this article, I’ll talk about writing compelling email marketing content that converts and puts real moolah into your pocket.

Before Writing Email Content

When it comes to writing a marketing email copy, the biggest mistake you can make is to rush to writing without a strategy in place. So take care of the following aspects first.

Email Copywriting Objective & Target Metrics

Before you begin with email content writing, it’s crucial to have a clear objective in mind. Think about why you’re writing and sending this email in the first place.

For instance, the objective of your email marketing content can be to:

  • Welcome and onboard new customers
  • Cross-sell or up-sell related products
  • Nurture a lead to take the next step in becoming a customer
  • Convert free members to premium members
  • Improve brand awareness and recall
  • Get readers to book a demo or consultation appointment

However, don’t pick too many objectives to begin with. Your marketing email copy should be focused on a single objective.

Once you have picked a goal to write email content, decide on the metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) you will use to measure performance for that goal.

The following image shows results from a survey on the most important email marketing metrics.

Email marketing content KPI

Cost Per Conversion - If you are trying to acquire leads or customers from email copywriting, this KPI will tell you how much you’re spending per acquisition.

Conversion Rate - This metric tells you that out of all the people who read and clicked the call to action in your email marketing content, what percentage turned to leads or customers.

Open Rate - This KPI speaks to the effectiveness of your subject lines. If a large percentage of people who received your marketing email copy didn’t even open the email, then the content you have inside won’t matter.

Click-Through Rate - The CTR metric tells you how many people clicked on the link you had in your email, out of all those who opened the email.

Key performance indicators are useful because they indicate which parts of your email campaign may need to be refined for better performance.

Segment Audience For Email Content Writing

Writing an effective email marketing content is not possible without audience segmentation. The better you divide your audience based on common attributes, the higher ROI you will get.

Simply put, segmentation means separating your list of email contacts into different sublists. Each sublist will have contacts which have something in common with each other, but not with contacts in other sublists.

Segment audience for marketing email copy

This filtering could be done based on any or more of attributes like these:

  • Age, location, profession and income
  • Position in the marketing funnel
  • Goals, interests, problems and pain points
  • Last performed action: ebook download, order placement etc.

Let’s say you have a travel blog. Since your blog is about travel, you naturally attract people who are interested in traveling.

Assuming you’re not using segmentation, your emails won’t be suitable for everyone. For example, if you’re sending a travel guide for budget travelers to people who are interested in luxury travel, they won’t open your emails.

This is a very simple example, but it illustrates the point: knowing your audience and segmenting them allows you to send targeted emails.

Filtering is effective because it helps you personalize your marketing email copy to make it more engaging for your prospects.

Subscribe To Competitor Newsletters

This is an easy yet very overlooked tactic when writing email content. Here’s the deal: If your competitors are doing something, it’s probably working.

That’s why it’s important to subscribe to their email lists. This will allow you to see what they’re doing, what’s working, and what’s not.

In fact, create a spreadsheet to collect the following details for competitor emails: arrival date and time, CTA, subject line, frequency and more.

Competitor analysis for email content writing

By analyzing your competitors’ emails, you can evaluate SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) factors and draw insights to improve your email.

Email Copywriting Best Practices

Now that you’re done with the prepwork, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of email content writing.

Write The Best Email Subject Line

Your subject line is the first thing that people will see, and they’ll usually use it to decide if they’re going to open your emails or not. It can’t be taken lightly when writing email content.

So how can you write a subject line that gets people to click?

Here are some proven email copywriting techniques to increase your open rates and write better subject lines.

Make it short - Here’s a fact: most people are reading their emails on their phones. This means your subject lines need to be shorter.

MailChimp recommends you use no more than 9 words and 60 characters, but you can always play around and see what works best for you.

Make it personal - According to Campaign Monitor, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. Use your subscribers’ names within your subject line.

While this tactic is effective, I don’t recommend using it in every email you send. Doing this will only make people desensitized, making it more and more ineffective.

So if you’re going to use personalization in your subject lines, do so with moderation.

Use numbers - Numbers have a way of attracting people’s attention. It’s an easy way to make your subject lines more attractive.

Numbers in subject line of email marketing content

Ask questions - Questions elicit curiosity. When people see a question that interests them, they’ll want to know the answer. Crafting a good question that interests your audience can be a great way to make them open your emails.

Use the fear of missing out - People hate to miss out on things, and you can use that to your advantage.

Try to write in a way that’ll make your audience feel you’re giving something that’ll help them and that they’ll miss out if they don’t open your emails.

Focus On Relevant Benefits

The most important question that any prospect will have when reading your email marketing content is this: What’s in it for me?

Here’s an example of what most brands end up writing in their marketing email copy when they don’t consider this question.

“We’re glad to announce that we have launched the most sophisticated social media management software. It uses AI to analyze your content and automatically create and schedule social media posts on your accounts.”

The problem? Too much focus on features and not on the actual benefits for buyers. Here’s a better way to write email content:

“We’ve been working on developing a more intelligent social media management software which will slash your manual work by 50% and help increase brand awareness.

It uses AI to analyze your content and automatically create and schedule social media posts on your accounts. This means you spend less time thinking what to post next and more time growing your business.”

So when it comes to email content writing, empathize with your contacts, really understand what they want and shape your email around based on that.

Include A Call To Action

A call to action (CTA) is a request for your subscribers to perform a certain action. Here’s what a CTA looks like:

Source: The Next Scoop

For example, if you want people to reply, ask them to respond to your emails.

Email marketing doesn’t have to be a one-way street. You can give your prospects the chance to express their opinions, to ask for advice, or simply say hello.

This is a powerful way to engage them. They’ll be amazed to see that you’re actually responding to their emails, making them much more likely to open your emails in the future. To learn more, refer to my guide to writing a call to action.

Also, it might sound a bit counter-intuitive, but using only one CTA per email is the best way to make your readers convert.

When you give people too many choices, they get overwhelmed. Having just one clear CTA, and mentioning it 2–3 times in your email marketing content is the best way to go.

Send From A Personal Email Address

Here’s the thing: most people prefer to get emails from other people, not other companies. Here’s what a personal email address looks like:

pat@company.com

And here’s what a corporate email looks like:

hello@company.com

Emails sent by people feel more personal. That’s why people prefer them. To make your marketing email copy feel more personal, there are 2 things you have to do:

  • Change the from address (make it something like name@company.com)
  • Change the sender’s name (instead of company name, it should be a person’s name)

The more personalized your email, the most trust you build and the better your conversions.

Include Signature/Contact Info

Including who you are and how to contact you in email marketing content goes a long way in assuring readers that your brand can be trusted and it’s safe to follow through your call to action.

Your marketing email copy should end with your name, brand name, website and links to social media profiles too if available.

If you’re sending email on behalf of a business, there should be an address and phone number for additional support.

Write email content for footer

All these elements show that there is a real person or team behind the business and makes prospects feel secure.

Comply With GDPR Laws

Including an unsubscription link is essential when you write email content. It helps you maintain brand reputation by avoiding unwanted emails.

Moreover, it prevents prospects from marking your emails as spam by making it easy to opt out instead. And it’s the law.

Under the EU GDPR, the unsubscribe process should be as clear and simple as other parts of your email copywriting. Your prospect should be able to:

  • Contact you back by hitting reply or another way mentioned in your email
  • Opt out from a specific email campaign
  • Edit and delete their contact data
  • Unsubscribe from all of your mailing lists

Being GDPR compliant isn’t just for being on the good side of law, but also helps your audience have a positive experience from your brand. For more information, refer to this guide to sending GDPR compliant emails.

Don’t Forget Proofreading

Mistakes are inevitable - part of being human. But not fixing them in your email marketing content before you hit send is lazy and inexcusable.

Before you send your marketing email copy, make sure to check spelling, grammar, functionality of links and more. Be assured that everything is fine and working as intended.

It would also help to send an email to a colleague or people in your team to get a second pair of eyes to look at it. Remember, once you hit send, there is no going back.

Conclusion

There you go. This guide to email content writing helps you not to miss any step and maximize success of your email campaign.

When rubber meets the road, it all boils down to personalizing as much as possible and meeting your prospects’ needs. And these best practices will make your emails marketing content as engaging as possible.

Did I miss anything? Did you try these tips? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments section below.

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Hi, I'm Hitesh Sahni

My team & I help brands with superior content marketing services, software reviews, and insights to boost traffic and lead generation. Sign up for our free email newsletter and get notified once a week about new blog posts with strategies to turn content into a growth channel for your business.

2 thoughts on “Marketing Email Essentials: 10 Steps To Write Engaging Copy In 2020”

  1. Good evening Mr. Sahni,
    You have a wonderful way of explaining how the email process should work. I’m a freelance writer and part of my specialty is email composition. My intent for each piece I send is to reach out in a friendly and unobtrusive way. Part of my problem is that I write long passages with feeling built in them. Some people don’t feel comfortable with unabashed intimacy.

    This habit is difficult to control. Do you have any advice for me so I can deliver the message without inadvertently making my reader uncomfortable?

    Thanks for your help and have a miraculous day.

    Warm regards,
    Bill

    1. Hi Bill, thanks for stopping by. I don’t think there’s anything wrong if your email makes the reader feel something. Regarding long passages, you can always split them into two short ones. Hope this helps!

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