How do you write a really engaging email? One that is going to not only get your email list clicking on it immediately but also getting them to take action.

Well, like everything in copywriting, there is, of course, a formula. And while you may think, “I did English at school, I got this,” writing an email is that is going to make people take action is a whole different kettle of fish.

And yes, while there is a lot of new fandangled whizz bang going on, actually sticking to some copywriting best practices can have a much better result.


You can craft a well-written, plain-text email, and it can perform just as well (if not better) than a super sleek designed email with tons of bells and whistles.

And whatever business you’re in, filling your email with pretty pictures is not going to make people put money where their mouth is. Nope, you have to have good content to make that happen.

Why? Well, it’s a bit like eating a pie which looks delicious, and then you cut into it, and the filling is a bit bleurgh. You aren’t going to be going for that pie, again, are you?
In fact, you will choose to avoid it on the menu (insert ‘delete the email here’ for this example).

So, what does it take to write a great marketing email? Here are some tips you can apply to your headline and your email content to make them super easy to open for your clients.

Get your subject line doing the hard yards for you

This is, of course, the teaser for your email. This is the window display for all your good stuff inside.
Nailing your subject line is THE. MOST. IMPORTANT. THING. You can write the most fantabulous email in the world, but if no one is clicking on it, they aren’t going to see the fruits of your labor. And that would be a travesty!

It’s just like when you have a party, send the invites out, lay on the booze, the food put the lights up in the garden. And YOU know it looks great. YOU know everyone will have a good time. BUT. No one turns up. That’s a yucky feeling.

So how do you get people to open that email and come to your virtual shindig? Or, in other words, get your copywriting in your email more inviting than a free invite to an A-list film premier?
Ways you can get people to open your email include:

Use your client’s name in the subject line

Why? This makes it more personal. Ever been walking down the street, and someone shouts your name? What do you do? You look around and try and see who is

Keep your subject line to nine words

Yes, short and sweet. Just nine words works. Honest.

Use actionable language

This isn’t necessarily a verb (a doing word), but they do help. For example, you can instruct someone to do something. If you are a spa or beauty parlor, you could say: Take Mom for a spa treatment. Then the reader knows exactly what they are finding out about, and they can do in the email.

However, you can also play around with wording, You just need to keep the language clear and concise. The key to good copywriting is just imagine you are having a conversation with someone face to face.

Make it clear to the recipient what they can do with the email’s information, should they choose to open it. What are they going to get from it? What is the benefit?

In other words, keep the value for your user top-of-mind. Your audience is always thinking: “It’s all about me. What’s in it for me.”

So, suppose you are sending out an email about a retreat with a unique host like Deepak Chopra (I’ve interviewed him. He would be worth seeing). In that case, you could say: “Don’t miss this last chance to see Deepak Chopra reveal his top mental health tips.” Now the person knows what they need to do and what it’s all about. But it’s not telling them to buy anything.

Keep it personal

Highly segmented emails tend to have higher performance levels. This refers to their open rate and click-through rate.

What do I mean by segmented?

If you send out emails to your audience and know half of them are really into eating tomatoes and the other half are into eating cucumbers, you shouldn’t send out a general email about both.

Why? If I like eating tomatoes, I am more likely to open emails about tomatoes that don’t say anything about cucumbers.

This may sound crazy. But again, it goes back to the basics of our human nature. You only really focus on things which are interesting to you. And you don’t really care about anything else.

Make your audience feel special by sending them an email on the thing they love and are interested in. Why? They’re much more likely to open it.

Is there a way to make your email subject line more personal?

Here is another scenario: You have a CBD brand with a massive database of clients …
· Some of them are looking to ease muscle aches because of working out a lot.

· Others really want to use the cream to ease health issues, like arthritis.

· You also have people on your list who want to use a CBD balm and are very specific about the levels of CBD in the product.

· They all have different price points with which they’re comfortable.

· Some are looking for a cream or a topical. Others want a gummy or an oil.

· You even know that a group of them will only use CBD products, which have some THC in as well.

· So, with that in mind, would you send an email across all of these different segments of your list?

Get clear first, then get catchy with your headline. Then you can tailor your email to precisely what your clients want.

Clarity always needs to be your first priority. If your audience doesn’t understand you, they won’t be interested in what you are selling or saying to them.

Once it’s clear as crystal, you can add your pizazz. You can be bizarre or funny, but make sure you are clear.

Align your subject line with your email copy

Ok, so it’s all very well to have a fantabulous subject line. But what if it has nothing to do with your email content?

That’s just going to leave your reader scratching their head. What your email subject line promises, the email message should deliver. And if you don’t, it just pisses people off. And your click-through rates plummet. Here is an example of what that misleading info can do.

Reebok sent me an email the other day saying they had 30% off sitewide on their trainers. “Yes!” I thought to myself and went over the site (even though I didn’t need any. I get over there, they have my size, I get to the checkout.

I put in the discount code – a message pops up telling me this style is not in the offer. Now, in my indignant state, when I went back to check WHY the style I wanted wasn’t in the offer, I had to get my magnifying glass out.

Because, there, in tiny print, Reebok had written it was only selected styles.

This made me really mad. And I can tell you, I felt cheated. And, I am not going to be purchasing from Reebok again any time soon. Why? Because I don’t trust them!

This can apply to not only your email but also your website copy (but that’s another blogpost)

How To Write Your Stellar Email

Ok, so you have a magnificent email subject line. What about what’s in it? Focus on these key areas, and you’ll have them eating out the palm of your hand. Seriously.

Keep it relevant

Always use the beginning of your email to establish a connection (we all need a bit of that these days without hugs being readily available.)
How do you know them?
A good example is Warby Parker, who sent the email: ‘Your prescription is expiring soon.’ In the first line, they told the reader exactly why they were sending it. They then had the date of the prescription update from their database of each individual client.

Always use you and yours

This applies to ALL copywriting. Don’t say “we” and “I,” say “you,” and “yours.” You are then talking directly to your audience. (Yes, you did read this earlier). Get it?

It’s always your customer thinking, “What’s in it for me?” Tell them, “Here’s what’s in it for you.”

Avoid jargon

Don’t bamboozle your reader with loads of technical terms. Why do you hire an attorney? Because you can’t go into a court of law and speak the legal lingo.

So, why on earth do so many attorneys use their emails and their websites to talk to their potential clients like they are attorneys? THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND YOU! Ditch your fancy language and get back to basics.

When I worked on tabloid newspapers, we were told to imagine our reader had a reading age of around six years old. And to take complex subjects and rewrite accordingly. And believe me, when I was writing about the American election, that got interesting!

Choose your words carefully

Of course, the key to copywriting is using the right words. And that is crucial to the content of your emails.

And when most emails are short, every word has to do more heavy lifting that an Olympian weightlifter,

You MUST ask them to take action. If you don’t instruct them to do something, they won’t do it. For example, ‘click on the link now.’

You can use analogies and other literary techniques. This is where you use metaphors, similes, alliterations, hyperboles, and allegory. Check out my social posts for what these are.

And you can seed your email with sensory words to help them see and feel the picture you’re painting.

These words describe how you experience the world. How you smell, see, hear, feel, or taste something. These words are related to sight, indicate colors, shape, or appearance.

For instance: gloomy, dazzling, bright, foggy, gigantic. Words related to touch describe textures.

You want your reader to imagine in complete detail how your product or service will make them feel. Transport them to that place in their head, and then they will yearn to be taken there. What does that mean? They’ll be purchasing pronto.

Get into their heads

Psychology is a great weapon to power up your email and give it a good fighting chance to get eyeballs on the contents. Right the way to your sign off!

Hype up the FOMO

Using the fear of missing out (FOMO) works wonders because no one ever wants to lose out on anything. That’s why time-limited discounts work so well.

For example: ‘Deal runs out at midnight.’

How many times have you been on Amazon, and it says: ‘only 1 left in stock.’

Or you are on a holiday website, and it says: ‘Only 1 room left!’ That makes you reach for your wallet. Your client is not different.

Scarcity and urgency in your email can also get people to click as well.

Color can change the rate of clicks

Did you know your color choice can elicit different reactions?

And did you know that if you choose a specific color for your CTA (call to action) button, it can improve the chance of getting them to take action?

This is where your audience actually clicks to buy.

Steer clear of red and green. Go for blue and pink.

Social proof also tells readers that people like them think you’re great! Don’t be afraid to add in some quotes or a testimonial from another client.

So, there you have it. 13 ways you can jazz up your emails, so you get wild open rates. Hurrah!

If you liked reading this blog post, check out my post on 9 tools you can use while working from home.

You can also get my 1 minute videos on copywriting do’s and don’ts on my Instagram @theoriginalzoenauman.

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