5 Email Copywriting Tips You Should Borrow (With Examples)

Writing emails that get reasonable ROI is an uphill task, especially with new privacy protection policies and the removal of third-party cookies. 

It’s essential to appeal to readers’ interests to encourage them to open the email. Otherwise, your email will go unnoticed, leading to unengaged subscribers and an underwhelming bottom line.  

Copywriting lets you frame your email to show what’s in it for the audience. It also helps with the overall structure of your email layout. You can communicate the benefits, present offers at the right time, and get customers to take action. 

Here are a few email copywriting tips you can leverage to turn cold subscribers into a warm, engaged audience. 

1. The Rule of One

Introduced by Mark Morgan Ford, former copywriter at Agora Publishing, the Rule of One says your copy—be it emails, ads, or sales copy—should focus on one big idea, one reader, one offer, one promise, and one call-to-action. 

Applying the rule of one means nailing down your email to one simple, core message that your reader can follow. It also means fighting confusion and fluff from the very beginning, so you are only sharing things that matter to the audience. 

Here’s a simple breakdown of each component of the rule:

  • One big idea: A single, interesting idea that stops people in their tracks. 
  • One reader: Create a different copy for each segment of your audience to appeal to their pain points.
  • One benefit/promise: Even if you have two or three significant benefits, only pick the strongest one to concentrate on. Use this benefit in the headline, the intro, and as the driving force of your copy. 
  • One offer: A clear, irresistible offer made for them,
  • One call-to-action: Do not include 5-6 links in your emails, all leading to different pages. Stick to one. 

“Every email, I write to ONE reader, present ONE message, and call them to ONE specific action,” says Matt Synder, copywriter, and strategist for e-commerce/DTC brands. 

“By observing the Rule of One, you’re presenting the reader with ONE problem they have, offering them ONE solution, and encouraging them to take ONE action to solve said problem.”

Matt applied this rule to a recent HexClad Knife Block campaign

The results? 52.3% open rates, 9.6% CTR, and increased revenue for the client. 

“It’s written to ONE reader (previous knife purchasers), presents ONE message (display your cutlery with this new knife block), and calls them to ONE action (order now),” explains Matt. 

2. Comprehensive Customer Research 

Personalization goes beyond using the reader’s name and a bunch of “you” in your email. 

Marketers who use “you” in their subject lines get only a measly 16.23% open rate, according to GetResponse. 

Great copywriters master the art of customer research to create targeted, relevant emails. 

“I perform comprehensive customer research. Who is my target audience? What is their core desire? What are their problems?” says Matt. “I try to learn everything I can about the person I’m writing to, so I can craft the most compelling message that intersects with their needs at that moment.”

Good research is the data that helps write the right words, the right way, in the right order.

To improve your copy, weave in insight from live conversations with existing clients and ex-customers. You can create an even more solid email by stealing some UX research methods like:

  • Focus groups: Meet several people from your target audience and hear how they speak and describe your products. 
  • A/B testing: Testing different subject lines can help to better reach the target audience with the most likable message. 
  • Customer feedback: Look into customer data from the customer success team to find unanswered questions. 

3. Copywriting Frameworks

Copywriting frameworks help you create digestible emails and remove fluff from your message. They can also help you conquer writer’s block by providing an easy way to organize your thoughts and get the word flowing.

“Copywriting formulas not only help you write better-converting emails; they also give you a starting point so that you’re not stuck with a blank page,” says Mira ANAMAE, B2B SaaS conversion copywriter and email copywriter.

One good framework you can start with is PAS, which stands for Problem Agitation Solution. This framework is popular for crafting ad copy and sales copy, but it can also be used in email marketing to evoke a response and present your message more persuasively. 

In practice, PAS allows marketers to:

  • Hook the reader with a specific pain point they want to be solved (problem).
  • Show them the consequence of not solving this problem (agitation). 
  • Offer a specific solution to their problem (solution). 

Here’s a sample email that follows this framework: 

“Copywriting research is time-consuming and strenuous. If you don’t deliver on time, you could lose clients and run out of cash. My 3-part research framework teaches you how to never run out of ideas when researching.”

As an additional step, show the outcome to reinforce your message and make your offer much more compelling. 

Here’s how that is applied in this email:

4. Write Crisp Copy

Customers are impatient and busy. You don’t want them wading through each paragraph to understand the purpose of your emails. So, it’s important to get to the point quickly.

Email marketer and direct response copywriter Kiranjyot Kaur attests to this: 

“Attention span is decreasing and we don’t have enough time to browse all the emails we receive in a day. So, being short, crisp, and to the point is really important.”

Being short and crisp can mean a lot of things. On one hand, it means having a short subject line, so your reader understands what’s in it for them right off the bat. 

On the other hand, it can mean hitting delete on filler words and ideas that mean nothing so your email remains actionable and interesting, regardless of the device they’re viewing it from.

Share your message in an easily consumable way. For example, you can use images, memes, doodles, or analogies to illustrate your point and make your copy more appealing.

One example of a brand that applies this technique in its email marketing is Zomato, a top Indian food delivery brand. The brand is known for its witty and interesting emails, but despite this, the message is always clear and straight to the point. 

“As a user, I love their (Zomato) shortest delivery messages and I never leave a chance to open their email,” says Kiran. “It takes less than 15 seconds to understand and feel their message.”

Zomato’s Father’s day email could have been around 700 words of copy, but it nailed it down to a direct message that subscribers can quickly understand. 

5. Sell an Outcome

The most successful email campaigns share one thing in common: they sell the outcome, not the product. The same goes for leading brands in each industry.

Coca-Cola, for instance, became popular because they sell the best feeling you get from a sip of coke. It doesn’t exaggerate the factory production processes or the people working on the product as its unique selling proposition. 

By selling the outcomes, you give people specific reasons to choose what you’re offering — be it a course, webinar, or ebook. 

Email marketer Chase Dimond advises:

Rather than focusing on your product’s features, sell the transformation and the benefits. If you sell Facebook ads services for e-commerce businesses, selling the outcome might mean choosing the subject line “boost revenue by 50% in 10 weeks” over “Facebook ads for e-commerce business”

When using this approach, it’s critical to address your audience’s objections and show proof. Check through reviews of similar products and show how your product is different. You should also use statistics, screenshots, case studies, and testimonials to boost credibility. 

Create Conversion-Focused Emails 

To truly create memorable experiences and stand out in a crowd, personalization is key. While these email copywriting techniques are not hard and fast rules, they can help ensure your message elicits the right emotions and response.

About the Author

Olawale Olayinka is a freelancer B2B writer who delights in crafting actionable, audience-centric content that drives revenue. Reach out to him on LinkedIn or Twitter.