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.

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