Tips for e-mail copywriting

13 replies
E-mail copywriting is one topic I have been absolutely fascinated with lately. I did some autoresponder copy for a one client last week, and in the process of working with him, I managed to tease out some very effective strategies for writing copy that gets a good open rate. Even if everyone on your list opted in seeing value you have to offer, there is always that risk of coming across too "hyped up" or "salesy" and getting trash-canned. With that in mind, I've come up with some tips for writing e-mail copy actually works. These tips are, of course, not the be all and end all of e-mail copywriting, but if you're wondering what distinguishes good e-mail copywriting from good website copywriting, you will get some good ideas from the points below.

1. Be informative.

If you got people onto your list by offering a free report on subject "x," the best way to keep them as newsletter readers is to continue to offer valuable information about "x." The distinction between copywriting and content marketing is blurred in the realm of e-mail. Frank Kern says it is better to come across as a friend and advisor than a salesman, and there is no better way to do that than to deliver a couple installments of a value-adding newsletter BEFORE you go in with a sales pitch. Give before you take.

2. Take advantage of repetition to build familiarity.

People rarely buy the first time they see an ad. Usually, it multiple impressions for a product or idea to grow on them. After repeated impressions, they finally buy. Use this principle to your advantage in e-mail copy by sending out messages regularly and at regular intervals.

3. Create a warm and friendly vibe.

Being personable and friendly creates trust. Create a warm and friendly vibe by referring to your list subscribers by name (make sure you get the name when they opt in) and by using personal pronouns like "I," "you," "we," and so on. Share personal anecdotes and stories that reveal a bit of who you are as a person; doing so will make you look sincere and genuine.

4. Don't sell directly from the e-mail message.

If you want to sell something to someone via the written word, you will at some point have to include a call to action. However, it is crucial that you not include the call to action directly in your e-mail copy. If you do so, you'll run the risk of being perceived as a spammer. Instead, what you should do is include a link (or several links embedded at various points throughout the message) to a landing page or sales page where the person can read your sales pitch through and make the order. It requires some discipline to not cave to the temptation to include that call to action directly in your e-mails, but it will pay off in the end (as a side note, you can consider the invitation to click the landing page link the "call to action" for the purposes of the e-mail copy itself).

5. Use relatively short form copy when writing to your list.

Okay, I know that the question of short vs. long form copy is a contentious one here (and anywhere else IM topics are discussed), but I think there is a very simple reason to always keep e-mail copy to less than, say, 600 words unless you absolutely need to make it longer. The reason is that you want people on your list to read your e-mail messages repeatedly, and if you keep sending out 2000 word sales letters, you will bore your audience and get marked as spam. To keep people reading every week, you need to keep it short and sweet. Leave the long form copy for the sales letters you link to inside each e-mail.

.................................................. .................................................. .............................................

As I said in the intro, the above is hardly the be all and end all of e-mail copywriting, but it is a start, and I do think these points capture the essence of what makes e-mail copy different from website copy. If you have any e-mail copywriting ideas of your own, feel free to add them to this thread.
#copywriting #email #tips
  • Profile picture of the author gs000707
    Thanks for the tips Andy, I recently found myself often in an awkward position of trying to explain some basic marketing strategy to people over the mail and I must tell, it's nearly bloody impossible, especially, when the people are random, not a special targeted group and no matter what I wrote, it must have sounded to them weird, impossible or suspicious. Being able to select the proper audience is also the key, because some people are somewhat immune to whatever you write them or tell them, more or less those, who don't trust into Internet business, shame.. .)
    Signature

    I guess, here goes the fee first, fancy sig later after that, I'll have to wait then... .)

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  • Profile picture of the author universefriendly
    Andy,
    Great post and Happy New Year! I have a question for you. You are obvioulsy very knowledgable about copy writing. How would you approach a large list of people that have never got an email from you before? The list is members to a upscale healthclub. My client says he has over 20,000 emails.

    I told him he would need to set up a lead capture page and try to build rapport with them because a unresponsive list doesn't equate to $$$. I guess it's a good time of year since it's the new year, but isn't this spam?

    I've BUILT lists before through article and video marketing, but have never tried using someone elses list. How would you approach this?
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    • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
      Originally Posted by universefriendly View Post

      The list is members to a upscale healthclub. My client says he has over 20,000 emails.
      universefriendly,

      Do your homework.

      How was this list generated specifically.

      I doubt these are members, current or past. The list is too big.

      But for the sake of example, create a "New Year, New Life" irresistible offer. One to current members and one to past members.

      Use your imagination about the offer. Drive them to a landing page and get them converted.

      - Rick Duris
      Signature
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  • Profile picture of the author EmotionalRational
    Email is personal so got to respect that.

    The tips are excellent. I would suggest along with that...

    Keep the copy entertaining and informative 90% and sale-sy rest 10%. Try what Jay White(the Autoresponderguy) teaches. Connect something similar but unrelated with your main message in your email and weave a story around it.

    Also keep an email tightly focused on one benefit at a time.

    It works really well.
    Signature

    Landing Page, Autoresponders and Video Script Copywriter for Software Business

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    • Profile picture of the author universefriendly
      Thank you. Your responses are very informative!

      EmotionalRational: I will def check out jay white and that makes sense to focus on 1 thing. I appreciate your input my friend

      Rick Duris: It is a new member list. Or current member I should say. average 3000 members with close to 20 clubs nation wide. 20,000 adult targeted traffic. Maybe more?
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  • Profile picture of the author Zero
    I'm on Ben Settle's email list. I like the way he does email marketing. He always provides some cool information, or uses a story from every day situations or maybe about some TV show he is a big fan of and then ties it into his own product somehow - with a link to the bottom of the email.

    For example, he's a fan of the Walking Dead - and when season 2 started back in October, he came up with a good way to tie it into the next issue of his email marketing course.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jay White
    Thanks for the mention everyone! There's some free videos in the Youtube link under my avatar on the left that might help too. Check 'em out.
    Signature
    Copywriters! Want to Get More Clients and Make More Money? FREE Webinar: www.GetCopywritingClients.com
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  • Profile picture of the author Darion
    Very interesting read. I personally have a bad habit with Tip #5 since I do like my long and descriptive sentences. From the feedback I've gotten, short and succient e-mails are far more effective than the long and redundant ones. Being concise is key. No one wants to read an essay!

    I also think adding a little personality goes a long way, especially at the beginning of the e-mail. It takes just the first few words to lose a reader's interest, so always make them count.
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  • Profile picture of the author JTCopywriting
    Very handy,
    Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author chansgrose
    Originally Posted by Andy Button View Post

    E-mail copywriting is one topic I have been absolutely fascinated with lately. I did some autoresponder copy for a one client last week, and in the process of working with him, I managed to tease out some very effective strategies for writing copy that gets a good open rate. Even if everyone on your list opted in seeing value you have to offer, there is always that risk of coming across too "hyped up" or "salesy" and getting trash-canned. With that in mind, I've come up with some tips for writing e-mail copy actually works. These tips are, of course, not the be all and end all of e-mail copywriting, but if you're wondering what distinguishes good e-mail copywriting from good website copywriting, you will get some good ideas from the points below.

    1. Be informative.

    If you got people onto your list by offering a free report on subject "x," the best way to keep them as newsletter readers is to continue to offer valuable information about "x." The distinction between copywriting and content marketing is blurred in the realm of e-mail. Frank Kern says it is better to come across as a friend and advisor than a salesman, and there is no better way to do that than to deliver a couple installments of a value-adding newsletter BEFORE you go in with a sales pitch. Give before you take.

    2. Take advantage of repetition to build familiarity.

    People rarely buy the first time they see an ad. Usually, it multiple impressions for a product or idea to grow on them. After repeated impressions, they finally buy. Use this principle to your advantage in e-mail copy by sending out messages regularly and at regular intervals.

    3. Create a warm and friendly vibe.

    Being personable and friendly creates trust. Create a warm and friendly vibe by referring to your list subscribers by name (make sure you get the name when they opt in) and by using personal pronouns like "I," "you," "we," and so on. Share personal anecdotes and stories that reveal a bit of who you are as a person; doing so will make you look sincere and genuine.

    4. Don't sell directly from the e-mail message.

    If you want to sell something to someone via the written word, you will at some point have to include a call to action. However, it is crucial that you not include the call to action directly in your e-mail copy. If you do so, you'll run the risk of being perceived as a spammer. Instead, what you should do is include a link (or several links embedded at various points throughout the message) to a landing page or sales page where the person can read your sales pitch through and make the order. It requires some discipline to not cave to the temptation to include that call to action directly in your e-mails, but it will pay off in the end (as a side note, you can consider the invitation to click the landing page link the "call to action" for the purposes of the e-mail copy itself).

    5. Use relatively short form copy when writing to your list.

    Okay, I know that the question of short vs. long form copy is a contentious one here (and anywhere else IM topics are discussed), but I think there is a very simple reason to always keep e-mail copy to less than, say, 600 words unless you absolutely need to make it longer. The reason is that you want people on your list to read your e-mail messages repeatedly, and if you keep sending out 2000 word sales letters, you will bore your audience and get marked as spam. To keep people reading every week, you need to keep it short and sweet. Leave the long form copy for the sales letters you link to inside each e-mail.

    .................................................. .................................................. .............................................

    As I said in the intro, the above is hardly the be all and end all of e-mail copywriting, but it is a start, and I do think these points capture the essence of what makes e-mail copy different from website copy. If you have any e-mail copywriting ideas of your own, feel free to add them to this thread.
    Thanks Andy, very informative! Just a little tip for everyone else too, is something I always do before sending is using a spam check. Certain words can spark email filters and not get through. Just thought I'd throw that out there, because you can have an excellent email copy, but if it doesn't inbox whats the point:rolleyes:
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  • Profile picture of the author Kitaro
    Thank you for very useful tips !
    I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now.
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  • Profile picture of the author dm5k
    I have a question. When it comes to an opt-in type of website is it better to have a blog on your landing page OR a review on your landing page and your blog on a seperate page?
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