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  • Writer's pictureZach Linge

The Dos and Don'ts of Copywriting for Email Marketing

Chances are that if you're reading this, you're either about to write an email campaign for the first time, or you've tried before and it didn't go great. You spent a week working hard to write copy that said exactly what you wanted it to say, but nobody cared.

Your email campaign didn't generate clicks. It didn't sell products. It didn't bring more people to your website. It flopped.

The secret to writing effective copywriting for email marketing is that you have to capture your reader's attention, keep them interested, and convince them to do something. But how do you do that effectively?

Do: Be concise

According to a Litmus study, the average time spent reading an email is just 11 seconds. That means you have no time to grab your reader's attention and convince them to keep reading. Be clear. Get to the point.

Don't: Use generic subject lines

Your subject line is the first thing your reader will see. It determines whether or not they open your email.

HubSpot says personalized subject lines increase open rates by 50%. So, make your subject line relevant and specific to your reader.

Do: Be conversational

Email marketing is all about building relationships with your audience. To do that, you need to write in a conversational tone that makes your reader feel like you're talking directly to them. Not down to them. Not around them. To them.

This might take a while to get good at. A lot of early-career marketers get nervous when creating their copy. It happens. And even seasoned copywriting experts have to draft and revise.

What did Hemingway say? Write drunk, edit sober? Take a breath. Get it down on the page. Then worry about how it sounds.

Don't: Use too much jargon

It doesn't matter if your emails are going out to experts in the field. Using too much industry-specific jargon can make your emails feel impersonal and hard to understand. Instead, use language that your reader can relate to.

Nielsen Norman Group recommends writing for a 10th- to 12th-grade reading level. Even your most sophisticated readers will appreciate email copy that is easy to scan.

Do: Include a clear call-to-action

Your ultimate goal with email marketing is to get your reader to do something. Whether that's to make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter, or attend an event, you need to include a clear call-to-action (CTA) that tells your reader what to do next. According to a study by Campaign Monitor, emails with a single CTA increased clicks 371% and sales 1617%. That's a lot of percent.

Don't: Overuse exclamation points and all-caps

You might think exclamation points and caps makes your message stand out. It does. But for all the wrong reasons. Boomerang showed in a recent study that emails with exclamation points and all-caps have a lower response rate than those without. YOU DON'T WANT TO YELL AT YOUR READER. OKAY!

In conclusion:

  1. Be concise

  2. Personalize subject lines

  3. Be conversational

  4. Avoid jargon

  5. Include clear CTA


You're gonna do great.

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