8 Steps to Writing Email Marketing Campaigns that Convert

8 Steps to Writing Emails that Convert


Have you wondered how to write emails that convert?

You’ve come to the right place.

Though email might seem like one of the most “traditional” forms of promotion today, it still has plenty of value to offer. 99% of consumers check their emails every day – and it’s not just the older internet users either. 73% of millennials prefer to get messages from businesses via email.

For any email campaign to deliver the best possible results, you’ll need to make sure your messages aren’t falling on deaf ears. Email might have the highest ROI of any marketing channel, but it doesn’t do much if your customers don’t open and interact with your content.

The reality is that a successful email isn’t just about a great CTA or a strong subject line. The impact of your campaigns relies heavily on how you write your copy.

The words you use to attract, convert, and sell to your audience can make or break your email efforts.

So, how do you create killer emails that convert?

Step 1: Write for the Right People

Whenever we talk about email content best practices, segmentation is sure to come up. Today’s customers are sick of getting irrelevant emails shoved into their inbox. The only messages that they won’t push straight to spam are those that are appealing to their interests and needs.

Segmented emails result in 50% more click-throughs than “generic” emails. To ensure you’re driving the right results from your campaigns, take advantage of your user personas and divide your lists by things like:

  • Demographics
  • Purchasing history
  • Lead source
  • Job title or background
  • Location

Once you have your segments, construct each email to speak in the same voice as your target customer. Ask yourself what you would want to see if you were in their shoes. What benefits are they looking for? What kind of pain points will they resonate with? Check out this email from Barkbox. It immediately asks customers to choose the size of their dog so future emails can be tailored to that pooch’s specific needs.

Barkbox segmentation email

Step 2: Strengthen your Subject Lines

The best email copywriting examples have so much more than a great subject line going for them. However, without the right subject line, your audience may never open your emails and see the other content you have to offer.

The average open rate for emails in the eCommerce sector is about 11.84%. That means you’re going to need something special to convince your audience to engage with your messages. With your individual segments in mind, think about how you can capture the attention of customers. Some options include:

  • Using numbers in your subject line to demonstrate knowledge: “The top 15 ways to convert customers…”
  • Inciting curiosity with questions: “Do you know the secret behind a great email campaign?”
  • Playing on the fear of missing out with scarcity: “Only a handful of VIP tickets remain…”
  • Using personalization to improve relevance: “Steve, this is how you can improve conversion rates.”
  • Employing the curiosity gap: “Most people don’t know this secret to improving open rates.”

Remember, your subject line needs to be short, sweet, and value-driven too. The optimal subject line, according to some studies, is 65 characters. However, with more people opening their emails on mobile, the shorter you can go, the better. Check out this email copywriting example from GetResponse. Even the initial “Only 500 accounts left!” would be enough to capture attention.

Emails that convert: GetResponse FOMO email

Step 3: Don’t Forget your Preheader Text

When it comes to learning how to write email marketing campaigns, many companies get caught up trying to write the best subject lines. However, it’s essential not to forget about that little snippet of test that comes after your subject line too.

The preheader text is a summary that follows your subject line when someone sees your content in their inbox. It’s a good way to re-affirm the value of what you’re offering in your email. For instance, in this example, Wimdu highlights how affordable a rental could be for their customers.

Wimdu preheader text

Preheaders are your customer’s way of screening their emails to make sure that they want to open them. In a world where customers are becoming increasingly conscious of spam, your preheader could give you a greater chance of earning your client’s attention.

Step 4: Align your Body Content with the Subject Line

A good email subject line and preheader text isn’t just clickbait.

The last thing you want to do is convince someone to click into your email, just to find that they’re not getting what they thought they were. Instead, it’s your job to provide customers with a preview of what they can expect from the email when they open it. Once they arrive in the body of your message, make sure you deliver on your promise.

For instance, Beardbrand uses their subject line here to spark curiosity in their readers:

Beardbrand subject line

Once someone clicks into the message, they get a full explanation of what the mysterious subject line meant, complete with a demonstration video.

Ensuring that you deliver on your subject lines is an essential component of your email content best practices. Remember, your emails aren’t just about selling to customers; they’re also a way for you to build trust with your audience and improve your relationships for the future. If people know they can trust you, then they’ll be more likely to open the future messages you send.

Beardbrand email

Step 5: Focus on Personalization

Around 74% of marketers believe that targeted emails improve customer engagement. More engaged consumers are also more likely to buy your products and services.

All of the best email copywriting examples online today focus on putting personalization first. There’s no reason not to these days, particularly when there’s so much customer data available if you have the right tools on-hand.

Remember, you’re competing with hundreds of messages cluttering up your prospective customer’s inbox. A little personalization can be all it takes to convince a client that they should pay closer attention to your content. A few options include:

  • Including your recipient’s first name.
  • Including your name in the “from” line
  • Talking about a specific product or service your customer bought
  • Including location details relevant to your customer
  • Mentioning their job role or background

Chairish lets customers choose the kind of furniture they like most so that they can send more relevant emails customized to their sense of style in the future.

Chairish "Play Favorites" advertising email

Step 6: Get the Format Right

We’re living in a world where information overload is a serious problem.

When you’re figuring out how to write email marketing campaigns that speak to your target audience, you’ll need to remember that most of them will just be skimming your message. That means that your content needs to be easy to read and consume.

A great way to ensure that people don’t click into your email then bounce right back out is to format your content for skim-reading. Spread the text out across the page, and make sure that your main points are easy to see. A few easy tips to try include:

  • Keeping sentences short and value-focused
  • Avoiding long paragraphs
  • Bolding crucial points
  • Using bullet lists
  • Keeping graphics simple

For instance, check out this easy-to-read email from Zendesk Explore. It highlights the value of the message quickly and ensures that customers aren’t exhausted with information by the time they reach the call-to-action.

Zendesk Explore "Let us lead the way" email

Step 7: Use your CTA to Guide Subscribers

When it comes to email content best practices, there are few things more dangerous than underestimating your CTA. A high-converting email needs to convince customers to take the right action when they read your message.

Often, people in your email subscriber list simply won’t act until you tell them what they need to do. If you’re sending an email that highlights the latest features of your new product, you’ll also need to tell your customer to go and buy that product when you’re done.

As you’ll see in many email copywriting examples, call-to-action buttons are one of the easiest ways to encourage action. Make sure your buttons are large, designed in a contrasting color to the rest of the copy, and legible. They should also tell your customer exactly what to do.

For instance, don’t just use a button that says “Buy,” or “Next.” Try something like “Click here to buy now,” or “Discover your new product.” This example from Airtable simply tells users to “Browse the gallery,” after a brief paragraph telling them why the gallery should matter to them:

Airtable "Browse the gallery" button

Step 8: Keep Testing and Improving

There are a lot of components involved in excellent email copywriting.

To some extent, designing the best copy will depend on your abilities as a writer, and what you know about sentence structure, grammar, and engaging content. On the other hand, your copy will also improve as you learn more about your target audience and what they need from your company.

To ensure that you’re always getting better, take the time to test each of your campaigns with the right marketing tools. A/B test your email body content and see what leads to the most conversions. Track KPIs like click-through rates and sales conversions.

The more you learn about what works for your business and what doesn’t, the easier it will be to make sure that you’re not investing in campaigns that don’t provide a good return.

Regular testing will also help you to avoid email copywriting mistakes like:

  • Relying too heavily on FOMO: If you always tell your customers that you’re running out of a product, they’ll start to see that you’re using FOMO just for marketing purposes.
  • Using the customer’s first name too often: While personalization is great, your clients will begin to ignore it if you use their name too frequently.
  • Including “danger” words like “Submit” or “Spam” in your content: Some words will automatically reduce your conversion rate – create a list of the terms you need to avoid.

Crafting Brilliant Emails That Convert

Ultimately, writing amazing emails that convert isn’t brain surgery. However, it requires a lot of care and attention. You’ll need to research your audience, figure out which writing style they respond to best, and make sure you’re catering your messages to their needs.

If you tell yourself that you need to choose every word in your email copy carefully, then you’ll start to think more about how you construct sentences to drive the best results.

For most companies, improving their copy is just about taking the time to figure out what works, rather than just pushing one email out after another.

How do you make sure your copy shines? Get in touch to let us know your top tips for exceptional copywriting.


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