5 Steps to Writing Email Copy that Converts

Sasha Zinevych
Sasha Zinevych social media manager, Publ.com

Posted on April 8th 2013

5 Steps to Writing Email Copy that Converts

ImageIs your email marketing truly compelling and relevant to your company prospects? The ROI of email is still around $44.25 for every dollar invested, and customers who read emails from brands spend an average of 85% more while shopping. Investing in improving the content in your email outreach efforts may be the sharpest marketing decision you makes this year. We’ve highlighted some of the best ways you can optimize your copy for real-life contacts:

1. Write for Your Segments

In an era of content abundance, no one has time to read irrelevant emails or boring company newsletters. Segmenting your email lists by stage in the buying cycle, demographics and other factors is among the best ways to boost how well you’re able to target your copy. If you’re not separating your lists, you risk falling behind. eMarketer has found that 85% of marketers are currently using multiple segments, and the practice can improve your metrics in the following ways:

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Image credit: HubSpot

By speaking directly to your prospects about where they are in the buying cycle and tailoring your subject lines and content body accordingly, you will increase open rates, retain more customers, and increase revenue.

2. Make Sure Your Subject Line and Copy Match

Modern consumers are wary of spam, and creating an email subject line that’s compelling but doesn’t match the content in the body of the email could damage trust. If you promise a content offer that isn’t delivered in the body, your click-through rates will plummet, and these contacts will be less-likely to read your information in the future. HubSpot found that improving the relevance of their subject lines increased click-through rates by 15.6% in an A/B test.

3. Write in the Second Person

Even if your list segment contains thousands of contacts, your prospects and customers don’t want to feel like you’re speaking to a large group. Your email copy should feel highly personal, and one of the simplest ways to accomplish this is by simply speaking in the second person. In the example below from car service provider Uber, they’re able to effectively establish rapport with contacts by addressing them directly:

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image credit: Skadeedle

4. Keep it Brief and Test Continually

Every marketer wishes there were a single answer about how long their email marketing copy should be. Unfortunately, best practices can vary significantly according to industry, and a prospect’s stage in the buying cycle. Marketing Expert Grant Johnson cautions against contributing to “inbox overload,” and recommends that you consider the following factors when determining how many words to write for your emails:

  • Monitor Your Leading Competitors: Sending emails that are more brief, or even longer than competitors could be a powerful way to differentiate your brand.
  • Test Lengths According to Campaign: You may find that existing customers react better to longer emails than your prospects. Determine the optimal length for each stage of your buying cycle.

While it’s commonly thought that more-expensive products warrant longer emails, due to a longer decision-making process before purchase, you  should use continual testing to determine the best approach.

5. Don’t Underestimate Your Subject Line

Even with the perfectly-crafted content in the body of your email, your open rates could be terrible if you haven’t paid attention to your subject line. Marketer Oli Gardner reports that the average person receives more than 100 emails a day, and your subject line could be your brand’s only shot at standing out. The following best practices can ensure that the all-important sentence in the subject catches your contacts’ eyes:

  • Keep it really short. While many experts recommend 50 characters or less as a rule of thumb, MailChimp has found that 28-39 characters can result in the best open rates:

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image credit: Unbounce

  • Be Really Specific. Does your email contain a link to 52 tips, or has your product improved your client’s business by 38%? Let your contacts know the facts and figures up front.
  • Be Incredibly Relevant. Reference current events or your prospects pain points to ensure they’re intrigued by what you have to say.
  • Create a Sense of Urgency. Reference deadlines, such as a limited-time sale, to convince your contacts they can’t waste time before opening the email.

In an era where consumers encounter 5,000 advertising messages each day, you need to compel contacts to care about your email marketing. By crafting the perfect subject line and copy for the body of the email, you can strengthen relationships, establish trust and increase your revenue.

What do you put in your e-mails? What are the most successful copies? Please share your e-mail experience in comments.

image: email/shutterstock

Sasha Zinevych

Sasha Zinevych

social media manager, Publ.com

I'm a Social Media Manager at Publ.com and FlippingBook, and in my view mobile marketing will definitely change the landscape of today's commerce. 

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