The Top 14 Tips to Writing Email Copy That Converts

This is a guest post from Megan Wright at ChamberofCommerce.com.

Email marketing is highly effective; it’s a marketing channel you can’t afford to ignore.

However, this strategy isn’t a best-kept secret either. With many brands re-upping their efforts in email marketing, your emails have to cut through the clutter and get the attention of your subscribers.

To maximize your ROI, you need to create high-converting email content. Here are 14 effective ways for writing email copy that converts.

Want to be a copywriting pro? Browse our collection.

1. Write an attention-grabbing subject line.

Did you know that 33% of recipients open emails based on subject line alone? Your email won’t generate results if people don’t read them, so it’s important to write subject lines that’ll entice subscribers to open them.

People will open an email if they think they can benefit from the content, fear that they’ll miss out on a good deal, or are intrigued by the title. Incorporating urgency, curiosity, mention of special offers, personalized content, relevance, and timeliness into your subject lines can help increase open rates.

2. Use the preview text wisely.

The preview text appears on the inbox view and tells the recipients more about the content of your email. It gives you a great opportunity to supplement the subject line or highlight another aspect of the content to entice recipients to open the email.

Preview text ranges from 35 to 140 characters, depending on the email client and device on which an email is viewed. Make sure to put the most important content first and send out test emails to see how the preview text appears on different platforms.

3. Follow web copywriting best practices.

People read email copy in a way similar to how they consume web content. Recipients want to know “what’s in it for them,” so you should communicate how they can benefit from reading the email (e.g., learn to solve a problem, see how to take advantage of an offer.)

Use succinct sentences and short paragraphs. Follow a logical structure, communicate one main idea in each paragraph, and use white space strategically to improve legibility. You can also use bullet points to make the content easy to digest and include images to increase engagement.

4. Speak to subscribers thoughtfully.

All caps are often equated with shouting online—and nobody likes to be yelled at. The same goes for multiple exclamation marks in both the subject line and body of an email. Subscribers are looking for thoughtful, conversational emails. Don’t make them feel like they’re on the receiving end of an alert.

Part of thoughtful messaging is knowing which subscribers care about specific emails. Be sure to segment your subscribers into individual lists, making personalized messaging easier. If your emails aren’t personalized, your subscribers will be more likely to trash your sends or ignore them altogether.

5. Know your audience.

People are much more likely to read email content that meets their needs and talk about what’s important to them. To better understand your audience, create a series of buyer personas to document their demographic and psychographic information, as well as their challenges and desired outcomes.

While interviewing your best customers allows you to get in-depth insights, you can also leverage web analytics and social media interactions to learn about your audience. Note how they talk about their pain points and the results they want, so you can use the same language in your email copy.

6. Send personalized content.

Personalized email subject lines generate an average of 50% higher open rates while marketers experience a 760% increase in revenue from segmented campaigns. Sending personalized emails is the key to meeting today’s consumer expectations.

A segmentation strategy allows you to send the most relevant content and offers based on each group’s interaction with your brand, purchase history, geographic location, preferences, and more. This will help you deliver a personalized customer experience to boost conversion rates.

7. Write conversationally.

Email marketing is an effective tool for building trust over time. Writing conversationally, as if you’re talking to someone who’s sitting across the table and having coffee with you, helps you nurture relationships with the readers.

Don’t be boring and inject a sense of humor, if appropriate. Share stories about your brand and customers or a personal anecdote to stir your readers’ imagination. Engaging content makes recipients want to read your emails, giving you the opportunity to build trust and relationships that will increase sales.

8. Appeal to readers’ emotions.

Fostering emotional connections with the audience allows you to build brand loyalty and increase conversions. Understanding the psychology of your audience can help you use the appropriate stories and language that appeal to them.

For example, you can leverage relatable analogies to help readers understand a concept, use sensory words to paint a vivid picture and invoke a visceral feeling, or include power words to stir up emotions or elicit actions.

9. Don’t use shady tactics.

You want to make a sale, but it doesn’t mean you have to use shady marketing tactics or make false promises. Consumers are resistant to those outdated tactics, which can backfire and prompt them to unsubscribe from your list.

The best way to convert and retain customers is to focus on building trust and relationships by being genuine and helpful. Share relevant content and help readers solve their challenges. Then, the transition is natural when you present your solution and ask for the sale.

10. Include an appealing CTA.

If you want to drive conversions, you need to elicit actions from your readers. While you shouldn’t be hard selling in every single email, you should include a CTA that trains them to click on your links. This increases the chances that they’ll take action when you send out an offer.

For example, you can ask them to continue to read an article on your website, take a survey, forward the email, or opt in to receive a piece of free content. The CTA should be clear, start with an action word (i.e., a verb), and ask the readers to take a simple action.

11. Tap into readers’ psychology.

You can increase the effectiveness of your email copy by tapping into consumer psychology. For example, use the fear of missing out (FOMO) to your advantage by communicating scarcity and/or urgency (e.g., limited time or quantity) in your email copy.

You can add social proof or testimonials to your email content and include pictures of people showing the emotion you want to elicit in the readers. Also, experiment with the design of your CTA button, since different colors evoke different emotions.

12. Focus on one objective.

Each email should have one objective. Whether it’s making a sale or getting subscribers to click through to an article, decide on the one action you want the readers to take and then build your content and subject line around that goal.

This will help you create a coherent narrative throughout the email, leading the readers to the CTA. Having one objective also allows you to better measure the effectiveness of the copy, so you can fine-tune your approach to better appeal to the audience.

13. Add a personal touch.

Build relationships with your readers by including a picture of the sender (i.e., you or someone in your organization) in the email. Also, use the sender’s name in the “from” field, so the email will appear to have come from a person rather than a faceless company.

You can also take this opportunity to deliver a diverse experience while maintaining a consistent brand image by assigning different senders for various types of content. For example, a piece from the CEO can be authoritative, while one from the customer success manager can be light-hearted and friendly.

14. Deliver a coherent experience.

Consistency builds trust and trust leads to sales. Not only do you have to align everything in one email (e.g., the subject line, preview text, content, and CTA) but you should also make sure each email delivers on the promise of the opt-in page and a post-click user experience that’s consistent with the content.

In addition, tying a series of emails with a coherent narrative can increase engagement and make subscribers look forward to getting the emails. You can also set up behavior-triggered sequences to deliver relevant content and customer experience based on how recipients interact with previous emails.

Wrap up

With the many moving parts involved in writing email copy that converts, you need a system to track all the content and sequences. This will help you orchestrate a cohesive customer experience that builds trust and drives conversion.

One effective way to keep track of everything and make sure nothing falls through the cracks is to use a “bullet journal.” This method helps you create an overview of the tasks while breaking down a complex plan into daily and monthly action items.

No matter how you orchestrate your email marketing, the key is to deliver a seamless customer experience that’ll help you build trust and relationships to drive conversions.


Megan Wright is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. Chamber specializes in helping small businesses grow on the web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

The post The Top 14 Tips to Writing Email Copy That Converts appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

How to Write Your CTAs to Fit Your Campaign

You’ve planned and created your best email campaign yet and you’re excited to hit “send.”

Now, before you do, ask yourself this question, “Did I remember to include an actionable CTA?”

We don’t mean a simple “buy now” CTA. If you want your CTA to be truly effective, you must know how to write your CTAs to fit your campaign.

Common CTA strategies include “Buy now!” or “Visit today!” However, to make your CTA truly stand out, you need to stay up to date on CTA writing and design best practices and take some time to learn from outstanding, real-world examples.

How to write your CTAs: It will affect the success of your campaigns.

Each of your email campaigns serves a purpose. Without a CTA, your subscribers have nothing to act on, leaving your emails nearly useless. Having either a hyperlinked CTA or a clickable button CTA gives your readers a chance to act on something, such as:

  • Downloading a freebie
  • Clipping a virtual coupon
  • Heading over to your shop to browse

An effective CTA example from Victoria’s Secret

Source: Gmail/Victoria’s Secret

Without these CTAs, there is, again, nothing for your readers to act on, making your emails nothing more than a digital piece of information—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, you won’t get the ROI you’re aiming for without an actionable CTA.

Learning how to design and write your CTAs can make or break your campaign.

Taking the time to learn how to write your CTAs and design them can make a significant difference in the overall success of your email campaign. From placement to color choices and choosing between hyperlinked CTAs and button CTAs—they all play vital roles in not only whether your readers will choose to interact with your CTAs, but whether your readers will even notice them.

That said, here are some interesting facts regarding CTA creation and use in email marketing:

  • Forty-eight percent of brands choose to match their CTA to a color that they used in their brand logo – Really Good Emails
  • Button-based CTAs can improve click-through rates by 28% – Campaign Monitor
  • Benefit-focused copy in a CTA button can increase click-through rates by nearly 10% – Campaign Monitor
  • First-person text in a CTA can increase clicks by almost 90% – Campaign Monitor

button-based CTA example by Campaign Monitor

Source: Campaign Monitor

Having a CTA in your email marketing campaign can make all the difference. However, merely slapping in a traditional CTA simply won’t do it anymore. That’s why taking adequate time to learn how to write your CTAs and how to design them is crucial.

Learning how to design your CTAs effectively

Traditionally, email designers put little thought into designing the actual CTA that was included within the body of an email campaign. For many years, this was simply left to the writing team because hyperlinked CTAs were the way to go. In many cases, these CTAs are still perfectly acceptable. For example, in the case of this welcome email from social media guru, Kelsey Chapman.

Example of a hyperlinked CTA by Kelsey Chapman

Source: Gmail/Kelsey Chapman

As we move into a new century, technology is changing, and with it are consumer preferences. That’s why it’s vital to know not only how to write your CTAs, but how to design them as well. So we’ve compiled an essential list of the most crucial CTA design best practices that you should keep in mind during your email design phase.

CTA buttons perform better than hyperlinked CTA text.

While hyperlinked CTA text is still a viable design option, brands have noticed that consumers prefer a clickable button CTA over a hyperlinked CTA. In fact, during our own research, we found that simply adjusting our CTA in one campaign from hyperlinked text to a clickable button increased our overall click-throughs by 127%.

CTA button vs. hyperlinked text example

Source: Campaign Monitor

Make sure your CTA is clearly identifiable.

One reason why consumers prefer clickable CTA buttons is that they’re much easier to find than hyperlinked text options. Unfortunately, while using a hyperlinked CTA is still common practice, many brands leave the text in the same color as the rest of the email text. This makes it nearly impossible to identify quickly.

Here’s the thing: Only a handful of your readers are going to take the time to read your email. The rest are going to scan for important information, including the CTA button. If it’s not easy to spot, then your readers are going to move on without a second thought.

CTA placement is vital.

Since more consumers are spending time scanning their emails for relevant information, it’s vital to consider the placement of your CTA within the body of your email. While many brands include their CTAs at the end of the message, you want to place your CTA above the fold.

Above the fold means within the first viewing window your readers get after opening your message. The more scrolling a reader has to do, the less likely they are to find and click on your CTA.

Example of a CTA placed above the fold

Source: Really Good Email

Learning how to write your CTAs effectively

Now that you’ve gotten a chance to review some CTA design best practices, adopt the same philosophy into how you write your CTAs to get the most out of each campaign.

Always include action-oriented text.

Remember, the entire point of your email marketing efforts is to drive action. The most effective way to do that is by always including action-oriented text within your CTA. Popular action words for CTAs include:

  • Try
  • Buy
  • Get
  • Order
  • Reserve
  • Download
  • Add
  • Sign up
  • Register

 Examples of CTAs with actionable text

Source: Self-made

Avoid “friction words.”

While you want your CTAs to be actionable, you also want to make sure you avoid the use of friction words. Friction words are either words or phrases that imply your reader must do something that they may not really want to do. Some common friction words that are traditionally used in email marketing CTAs include:

  • Submit
  • Order
  • Download

While these are all actionable words, they tell the reader what to do instead of encouraging them. Here are various ways you can alter your CTAs to include frictionless words:

  • Download – Get
  • Order – Reserve
  • Apply – Learn

Example of an actionable, frictionless CTA from Breguet

Source: Really Good Emails

CTA text should be both large and legible.

When designing your email CTA, we mentioned that you have to make it easily noticeable. The most effective way to do that is by making sure your text is both legible and big enough to stand out. However, that doesn’t mean you want to make it obnoxious.

Take this example from Resy. Their CTA is very legible, thanks to the font and coloring they chose during the design phase. They took it a step further by choosing to bolden the text. Notice, however, that it doesn’t look clunky or out of place.

 Example of a bold, short and sweet email CTA from Resy.

Source: Really Good Emails

The best way to make your CTA bold and legible is by choosing a font that matches your text hierarchy. To do this, choose something similar to the fonts that you used for your heading text.

Keep CTA text short and sweet.

Along with having a bold, legible CTA comes one that’s both short and sweet. At this point, your reader should already understand the benefit of clicking on your CTA, so you want to keep the text short and simple. Ideally, your CTA will only be 3-5 words in length. Anything more than that begins to look too messy.

Short and sweet email CTAs in action

Source: Gmail/Chewy

First person/personalization goes a long way in your CTA.

Now, adding first person into your email CTA doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it can be as simple as saying “Reserve my seat” instead of “reserve a seat.” Studies have shown that simply changing this one word in a CTA can increase clicks by nearly 90%, a number that warrants consideration.

If first-person doesn’t really sound right in your mind, then simply personalizing with the second-person point of view works great too. So, instead of “reserve a seat,” you can opt for “reserve your seat.” This added touch of personalization makes your call to action that much more inviting to your subscribers.

Example of a personalized CTA by PlayStation

Source: Really Good Emails

Wrap up

Knowing how to write your CTAs is a vital part of your email marketing process. Again, if you want to see the ROI from this marketing strategy, you have to give your email subscribers something to do.

When it comes to your email CTAs, you’ll want to keep in mind some of the design and writing tips we’ve minted, including:

  • Include action-oriented text
  • Avoiding “friction words”
  • Using a button vs. hyperlinked text
  • Keeping it short and sweet

Looking for a little more guidance on how to write and optimize your email CTAs? Then make sure you check out our email CTA optimization guide today.

The post How to Write Your CTAs to Fit Your Campaign appeared first on Campaign Monitor.