In marketing, not many things convert like power copy. So, it makes sense to optimise it in email, the marketing channel that gets a global average ROI of R40 for every R1 spent. Here are 10 of our email copywriting tips (we use them in our own marketing too) that you can use to improve conversions from your email campaigns.
1. Nail the Properties
The first things your recipients see of your email are the email properties. These typically include the subject line, the from name, and some preview text (on platforms like Everlytic, you can customise the preview text, so it ties into your subject line).
How effective these bits of text are can have a big impact on your email open rate. How do you write to increase opens? In our blog post, Write Strong Email Subject Lines to Boost Your Open Rate, we recommend:
- Referring to numbers and lists
- Including personalisation
- Using questions & punctuation
- Incorporating scarcity tactics
- Testing controversial / striking messaging
The from name you use on your emails may not seem like a big deal, but our research shows that it is. It needs to be a name that’s recognised and trusted. Read more in our blog post, Research: Why People Don’t Open Your Emails.
2. Use the Right Tone
The best way to speak to your readers is using language that they use every day. In other words: ‘speaking’ to them the way they speak to themselves and others.
In most industries, this means writing simply and clearly, avoiding jargon, and making your copy conversational. This can depend on the brand though. Some brands strategically use more complex language and jargon as a barrier to entry, limiting their audience to those who are educated in a specific field.
3. Use ‘You’ & ‘Your’
No one likes the guy at the party who only talks about himself. Don’t make this mistake in your emails either. Instead of writing about your brand and what you do, focus on the reader and their needs. This helps them see immediately how their needs and interests fit in with your products and services.
Customer-Centricity in Email
Listen to our podcast with senior digital copywriter, Candice Lee Reeves, where she talks us through:
- Why customer centricity is so important in marketing (especially digital),
- How marketers can make their marketing more customer centric by using storytelling principles from Donald Miller’s book, Building a Storybrand, and
- The 5 tips you can use to apply customer-centricity to your email marketing.
4. Get to the Point
When people read online content, like emails, they don’t read with the same state of mind as they do when they read a book. When online, they read for a purpose – to achieve something, to improve something, to get somewhere. They want to get in and out again as quickly as possible and if your message doesn’t help them do that, they’ll leave.
To address this, we recommend using the inverted pyramid, where you include all the important information first, descending by order of importance. This way, even if the reader doesn’t read your entire email, they’ll at least have read what’s necessary right at the top.
5. Shorten Sentences
On that note, it often helps to keep your content short too. That means cutting out every word that doesn’t add value to a sentence. In every sentence. Then apply it to every paragraph, every heading. Cut, cut, cut, so every word in that email is essential to the message and no words are straggling on for nothing.
Valueless words add friction to your message and decrease the amount of content your reader is likely to consume before leaving.
Great ways of shortening copy include:
This whole article is great for writing in general (not just for academia, as it suggests). Use and practice these tips to keep your writing tight and punchy.
6. Use Sub-Headings
Online readers typically read in an F pattern. This means they don’t really read your content – they scan headings and intro sentences. And the more ‘ledges’ you can create for them to hook onto along the way, the more of your content they’ll read.
There are two great ways to do this that work especially well when used together: the inverted pyramid (mentioned above) and sub-headings.
When you use sub-headings, readers can see immediately what you’re discussing in different sections of your email. So, even if they just scan the sub-heads, they’ve gathered valuable information about your message. Sub-headings also empower the reader to read the sections that are most relevant to them, making it easier to partner with your content to achieve their goals.
7. Tighten Paragraphs
On digital screens, long reams of text are difficult to read and can seem like a mountain to climb for your reader (it’s exhausting just looking at it). So, make sure to chunk your content into easily digestible paragraphs. If you write your content in Microsoft Word before transferring it to other mediums and channels, like email, we generally stick to four to five lines of text per paragraph, maximum.
Tip: The best way to know when to add a paragraph break is to pay attention to when the subject changes. If you start talking about something new, start a new paragraph.
8. Use Bulleted Lists
If you’re listing something, like types of products in a category or the steps to take to achieve something, use bulleted or numbered lists. This is less daunting than trying to read lists in paragraph format, and it accommodates people who scan.
Lists like this also provide valuable white space (or visual breathing room) between chunks of content; much like tight paragraphs and clear sub-heads do too.
9. Limit Calls to Action
It can be tempting to throw everything at your readers and hope something sticks. But more calls to action (CTAs) don’t equal more action. In fact, the more options you give an email reader, the more uncertain they’re likely to feel, reducing their chances of engaging with anything.
To simplify the process, stick to one main CTA per email. This gives them one clear task to complete without having to think too much about it. If you must include a secondary call to action, make it look different, either by changing the button colour, including it as hyperlinked text, or by laying it out differently to the primary one.
10. Analyse What Works
The proof is in the pudding, right? And in email marketing, that means tracking which emails and which content strategies get the most engagement, A/B testing different approaches, and making changes based on what gets the best results. Platforms like Everlytic provide in-depth email analytics, so you can track what works best for your audience.
Convert More with Great Copy
Power copywriting takes time to master. Combine the rules in this blog post with a bit of creative writing flair and you may be well on your way to improving your conversions.