Writing email copy is a pain… I’m not going to lie. But you don’t need to be a copywriter to write exceptionally well-crafted emails that convert readers into buyers to be successful.
You need to know precisely what you want your prospects to do ahead of time, and you also need to chain together enough emails that you can effectively promote your product or offer days in advance through an autoresponder!
You can sit at your desk daily and write one email, but stuff pops up. You’ll be interrupted, and fires will need to be put out… Emails are one of the easiest things to push off if you let them be! The guys who are building the biggest businesses through email, though – they’re the ones who know that the most essential part of their day is the email that they’re about to send to their list.
If you don’t know what ‘copy’ is (I didn’t 13 years ago when I started…), a copy is simply the words strung together on the page that you use to get your prospect, your reader, to take action.
Email copy is just that – the words used in your emails!
When you hear the terms ‘sales copy,’ ‘sales letters,’ or ‘email copy,’ it’s just the way that you write sales messages or email messages that incite some action from your prospect :0)
That action can be a click, a sale, or watching a video. That’s how you sell stuff! If no one clicks, buys, or watches, then your copy is the first place you have to start troubleshooting!
There is an art to writing emails that people open, read, and ultimately click through, and that’s what this article is about.
Before we get to writing emails, though, we need to step back and figure out what exactly we’re trying to get our list to do – in micro-steps…
Our Goal In Writing Email Copy
Email copy is an exciting animal in and of itself.
You see, your emails don’t typically do the selling for you. Sure, you can link right to an order form, and you’ll get a few sales, but the much more typical way of using email to get buyers is to connect to a sales page or an automated webinar like this:
The flow looks simple enough…
Email your prospect a link to your sales page, and they will click through to the order form and buy!
Here’s the challenge, though…
Not everyone you email will open your email, let alone click the link to the sales page…
This means a specific set of micro-actions associated with your email will make the whole thing work.
(Note: the sooner you understand this idea of ‘micro-actions,’ the quicker you’ll be able to turn your campaigns around! It took me a long time to figure this out…)
For every person who receives your email, they all must do three things before they hit your sales page:
- They have to open your email
- They must at least start to read your body copy
- They need to click a link in your email
All of that has to happen BEFORE they see your sales page!
So, when breaking down the results you get from your email marketing campaign, take a step back and consider the metrics associated with those micro-actions!
How many people opened the email?
How many people clicked the link to the sales page?
Those are your defining metrics when it comes to email copy…
Here’s the thing, though… The goal of your email isn’t to sell the product. The goal is to get the click. Let the sales page sell the product!
Now, let’s talk about what you can do to get the best results from your email, starting with the idea of ‘reframing.’
Preframing is an NLP technique used by copywriters to get a prospect or user to take action.
You don’t need to get crazy into NLP or anything to understand how to use it, though!
Successfully pre-framing someone is about setting them up to take action on the next page after they click the link in your email.
I’m running a paid traffic campaign in the photography niche where we’re collecting email addresses. Directly after they sign up, they get an email from me with some email copy and a link to a sales page.
Rather than say, “Check out this photography course. It’s got lots of training on picking the right camera, using Photoshop, and taking expert pictures…”
My email copy says, “Imagine using X technique to sharpen your client’s photos,” or “Y strategy has served as inspiration for a lot of the landscape photos that I’ve been taking…”
The ‘conditions’ are X technique Y strategy.
The ‘experience’ or ‘event’ is their education after purchasing the product!
Preframing is the most significant difference between marketers who make HUGE money and marketers who don’t. You can use it everywhere, including:
- Email messages you send out in your autoresponder
- Landing pages that come before the actual product, like download pages, reviews, and advertorials
- Sales copy you write, either as video sales letters or long-form sales messages
- Webinars that you do with your audience, talking about the benefits of a product before the product is revealed.
Unfortunately, it’s not something that you get. It takes practice.
Now that that’s out, let’s talk about your email copy!
Writing Solid Email Copy Without Being A Copywriter
Writing good, clickable email copy follows a specific formula that can be mastered if you start with a result in mind.
Your entire email (and the autoresponder series you’re writing to promote a product) needs to accomplish one thing… To get a click to the sales page. You want as many people on your list as possible to click through; sometimes, that takes a few emails!
Step 1: Start With The End In Mind
What do you want your email list to do?
You’ll rarely email your list without some specific action in mind…
When you send an email, you’re:
- Trying to build a relationship with them
- Wanting to re-engage with them
- Selling them something
- Getting them to sign up for something
Once you figure out what specific action you want your email list to take, it’s time to create a campaign around that action…
Step 2: Write a Strong Subject Line
The subject line is the first thing your prospect sees in their inbox and is the most significant factor in whether or not they’ll read your email.
There are LOTS of different types of subject lines, including:
- The "Ask A Question" subject line
- The "How To" subject line
- The "Scarcity" subject line
- The "Brand New" subject line
- The "Numbers" subject line
- The "Curiosity Gap" subject line
- The "Shock And Awe"subject line
- The "Named" subject line
(We’ll have more on subject lines soon; download the 100 Most Opened Subject Lines PDF here.)
You must appeal to the prospect and interest them to open the email.
The FTC says you must adequately describe what is in the email, although that’s pretty vague. Something as simple as ‘New Stuff’ technically explains what’s in the email…
Elements of a great subject line include:
- Curiosity – Make them so curious that they have to open the email to find out the rest of the story. (ie. Bad News)
- Contradiction – Contradict something customarily held to be true (i.e., SEO is dead!)
- Specificity – Specifics help make the subject line more accurate (i.e., THIS is 62% more options!)
- Personal Touch – Make them feel like the email is from a friend… not a business marketing to them. (ie. Hey!)
- Instant Usability – Make them think there is something they can instantly use to get a desired result (i.e., PDF Download Inside!)
I tend to be along the ‘Instant Usability’ spectrum, but that’s just me.:0)
Did you think this was going to be complicated? It isn’t!
The more people that open and read the email, the more clicks you’ll get. The more clicks, the more income!
Step 3: The Email Body
Writing email copy is pretty easy, especially with a great subject line.
The most obvious thing is to talk more about the email, explaining it and fulfilling the promise of what will happen when someone opens the email.
The next thing you want them to do is to take action…
You want them to click something in your email. That’s the whole reason for emailing them in the first place, right?!
You want your prospect to take action in almost every email, usually clicking on a link.
Keep in mind a person is reading this email. Too often, when an email marketer knows that 70,000 prospects are reading their emails, they forget to write for one person. They think they’ll get results if they blast out an image or a banner.
The key to email copy is to be relatable. To tell stories. To treat their email like it’s written to their best friend. It shouldn’t be written differently than if it was an email to a good friend you haven’t talked to in six months.
It’s your preference if you write a long copy or want to write a short document. Short composition tends to get more clicks, but those clicks are less qualified. Long copy tends to get fewer clicks, but the clicks are highly skilled (they read your whole email!).
Step 4: Getting The Clickthrough
Now for the link, you include in your email…
Your goal in writing an email is to get folks from your list back to your website for some reason. Sometimes, it’s just to place a retargeting pixel or watch a video. Other times, it’s because you’re selling something.
The link text you use in your email has a LOT to do with how many people click through…
Here are a few of the strategies we use in our emails occasionally. We switch it up sometimes, depending on what looks better in the email copy…
Getting The Click
The subject line is the reason that somebody opened up your email. It makes sense to use the exact text as your link.
For example, if your subject line is ‘7 Fat Burning Foods,’ use it as the link in your email, taking prospects to watch the sales video!
Include A Clickable Image
Putting an image in your email content is a great way to encourage a clickthrough AND helps your deliverability.
For someone to see the image, they have to enable images in some email platforms, which means they’ve taken another step in receiving your email…
That’s a good thing!
Here are some types of images that you can include:
- A graphical button that they can click
- A screenshot of the page that they’ll be going to after they click
- A banner that you plan on using for the page (think banner images like Facebook uses)
- A still image of the video that they’ll be watching
You can take a screenshot or some graphical element of the page you’re linking to to make this work!
The “Double Line Link Trick”
One of my favorites is the “Double Line Link.”
In your body copy, a double-line link is tough to ignore… So, rather than use something like:
Click here >>
You use something like this:
The big block of blue is hard not to notice, so you’ll get a bump in clicks!
“List-Style Link Trick”
Another thing I like to do from time to time is put a series of links in a list, all linking to the same place.
Often, I’ll tie this to a ‘rule‘ that saves the link that someone clicked so I can use it later for a more specialized email copy.
For example, you can do something like this:
In the blog post, you’ll discover:
- How to write subject lines that get the open.
- Crafting email body copy that gets read and clicked!
- Effectively pre-framing your prospect into buying before they ever get to your sales page…
Then, every link links right to the same place!
Spell It Out
This option is the easiest…
Just spell out precisely what you want your prospect to do! The most obvious example is:
Click here >>
Download this PDF >>
You don’t have to be fancy… Just get the click!
… Some Additional Email Copywriting Tips
Here are some additional tips and tricks for writing email copy that’ll make it easier for you to finish…
These tips are all tried and true and have helped me immensely in getting more done in less time!
Write Narrow Email Copy
One little trick is that you never have a line more than 45 or 50 characters. Once the bar reaches 45 or 50 characters, you hold ‘shift’ and ‘enter’ and space the new line down.
It’s just a single space that keeps people reading down the screen, no different than why a newspaper has multiple columns. Scanning a newspaper is straightforward; your email should be the same.
Batch Your Writing
Another tip is to batch copy when writing autoresponders. It helps you consciously open and close loops, sometimes between three or four emails.
Basically, you start telling a story or raise an objection in the first email, then leave it open for a while. You don’t answer that objection or finish that story until three or four emails later. This process opens a ‘hook’ in the reader’s brain, and they must close it by continuing your emails!
The important thing is that you’re writing all of them in one stream of consciousness, so you’re not getting up and moving around and constantly being interrupted. You write your emails in the same train of thought and keep a consistent flow in your dialogue from email to email.
This ensures that you are consistent in your speech patterns, how you talk, and the stories you’re telling because you’re doing it all in one sitting.
Include Bonding Emails
Another essential thing to realize is that not every email has to be about selling.
I like to do three or four bonding emails when somebody signs up for my list. The bonding sequences contain little promotional stuff, just a little bit, but establish a good common ground between the reader and me.
They’ve all been about bonding lately because we haven’t sold anything inside the marketing niche, but other niches are a different story.