How to Write Email Copy that Works

I read this all the time: no matter how good your marketing emails look, they won’t be effective without great copy.

But what makes great copy?  Here’s some advice everyone can follow to start writing email copy that works.

Subject Line

Your subject line is the most important line in your email.  Think about this: if you don’t write something that grabs someone’s attention, how are they going to open and read the rest of it?

  • Make it relevant, valuable and clear.
  • If you are stuck, write down the benefit readers will get from your entire email and then try and whittle that down to 5-7 words.
  • Write your subject line as one of these things: a question, a command, a teaser, a list, news, or “how-to.”

The most important piece of subject line advice: test, test, test.  Following best practices is important, but just remember that everyone’s list is different and you need to figure out what works to get your subscribers to open.


Have a clear and concise message.  Remember to write like a human: the best marketing writing says what you would say if you were talking to a good friend who needed your product.  It’s a conversation about them and their needs – and then your product – only as it relates to benefits for them.

Your copy should address these three key questions:

  • Who am I writing for? (Audience)
  • Why should they care? (Benefit)
  • What do I want them to do? (CTA)

Calls to Action

Make sure you have a clear call-to-action.  Tell your reader what you want them to do, and make it really easy for them to do so.  Whatever action you want them to take, just make sure it’s loud and clear (and so is the benefit).  Try and avoid boring words like “submit” or “click” and instead, add words like “exclusive” or “customized.”  For example: “Get exclusive access to all 10 tips now” is a much more compelling CTA than “Click here to learn more.”


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