How to Write Email Copy That Sells and Wins New Customers

Jeanne San

9 March 2021

For many business owners and e-commerce brands, sending out email copy that sells is crucial in order to convert more customers.

If people are opening your emails but aren’t buying then you’re doing something wrong.

Randomly putting sentences in every email won’t cut it…

You have to know who your audience so you can craft effective email copy to get them to buy from you.

Whether you’re basing on competitor data or business trends in your field, making sure your message resonates with your ideal target market is essential.

And this is something you can achieve with email copywriting.

Get to know how to do this like an expert by reading all the tips below!

How to Write Email Copy That Sells: Speak to a Specific Audience

Now that we’ve established how to get an audience’s attention, it’s time to direct our attention on how to write email copy that sells and attracts the right audience.

A common beginner mistake when crafting email copy is spreading your message too wide.

The typical line of thinking is that if you make your copy appeal to a broad range of people, then you’ll have better chances of attracting more prospects…

However, this strategy backfires most often than not because casting the net too far means your message won’t resonate with the ones who are really interested and are capable of buying from you.

If your target audience consists of ladies in their 30s, further narrow that down. You should be able to craft a copy that addresses a particular pain or problem of theirs.

Are they new moms or high-flying career women looking to start a business on their own?

Sound Human

One of the most common mistakes that brands commit is when they send out emails filled with jargon or reads like business transaction instead of a conversation…

Make sure you don’t sound like a garbled robot trying to appear clever or “professional.”

Because even if you manage to get your emails opened, your readers will be put off by the content mess you’re shoving at them.

Just write your email like how most people talk.

There’s no other way to make your brand appear friendly, approachable, and natural-sounding.

Don’t ever think that you have to sound like you’re writing a thesis paper to sell.

Gone are the days of jargon-filled content and what works now is a message that effectively connects and engages with your target audience.

And the only way to do that is to write email copy that’s distinctly human—with all the emotions and stories you can muster.

Don’t be afraid to be conversational. Write your copy like how most people talk…”

Choose the Right Message for Your Target Audience

Let’s do a little exercise before we go any further. I want you to imagine right now who your ideal clients are.

What do they like and what are they like as a customer?

What’s the absolute thing that they value and prize in the businesses they patronize?

What would it take to earn their loyalty?

These are just starting questions to help you picture your ideal audience.

Once you have a clear image of the kind of client you want to attract, it’s much easier to draft a message that will resonate with them.

For this, you might want to create a customer avatar. Here’s an example I made:

Brad is a single, 27-year old outdoor enthusiast who works at a hip startup in a large city.

He regularly spends hundreds of dollars a week on different parts to custom build his bike. 

One of his job perks is the flexible working hours so he usually gets to bike at least once during weekdays when there are no big projects and then on weekends as well. 

He wishes to bike more during weekdays as preparation for an upcoming competition he plans on joining. 

His other hobbies include caring for his dog, watching rock concerts with friends as well as hiking and camping.

Aside from a specific description, you can also add a few psychographic details such as education level, fave blogs, personality type, and political affiliation, to name just a few.

All of the above will no doubt allow you to form a complete picture of who exactly is your ideal customer.

Once you have that, crafting a message that fits your target market will be much easier.

How to Write Copy with Amazingly Good Subject Lines

Learning how to write email copy with attention-grabbing subject lines is a must if you want your readers to click on your emails.

Every business owner’s dream is to have a brand that gets people attention—repeatedly and consistently. And this is something you can successfully do by making sure you have a compelling subject line that gets people 

If you want your products or services to have a fighting chance of being noticed, learning how to write good subject lines is a must.

Not only will it entice prospects to check out your business, but it increases your chances of closing a potential sale…

Because if readers aren’t opening your emails, then you have no chance at all to sell.

A catchy and captivating headline is vital because it INCREASES the chances of your message to get read.

Writing the best subject lines are all about making it short, intriguing or descriptive, in order to give the reader a reason to want to open your email.

It’s a powerful tactic to use because you’ll have your subscribers clicking in no time!

Winning Subject Line Formulas to Follow

You can always resort to subject line formulas!

Let’s start with the right subject line length. According to Mailchimp, use no more than 9 words or 60 characters.

Any longer than that and your subject line will appear cut off in mail apps preview.

Now onto the different types of subject line formulas!

How-To Subject Line Formulas

This subject line formula is by far one of the most popular types. All you have to do is add “How to…” to your current email message’s topic.

Use this subject line as a way to promote the desired result of your readers.

Some examples:

  • How to (insert promise here) In Less Than 3 Weeks!
  • How to Be Proficient in (insert promise here) Even With No Prior Experience!
  • How to (insert promise here) in 5 Easy-to-Learn Steps!

List Subject Lines

List subject lines take the cake when it comes to being the most used (and most popular).

Online mag, New Yorker, explained how exactly is it that people’s brains are attracted to lists.

The main reason?

Lists provide the right balance of information and intrigue. But more than that, it also makes information easy to grasp.

Some examples:

  • 5 Easy Ways to Get (insert the desired result) in 1 Month
  • 7 Little Known ____ Techniques That Pros Don’t Want You to Know
  • 10 Astonishing Tips That Will Change the Way You ____

Subject Lines That Use Colon

Headlines that use colon are great for explaining a topic further. A general quality of colon headlines is that the topic is stated first and a fact or supporting idea follows it.

Some examples:

  • Make Six-Figures in Less Than a Year: The Ultimate Guide
  • Do a 15-Minute Social Media Audit: A Comprehensive Checklist
  • From Rat Race to Your Own Pace: Here’s How to Successfully Shift to Freelance!

Subject Lines That Use Uncommon Words

Don’t underestimate the power of using uncommon words. They can generate curiosity and prompt your readers to click your email. Below are a few examples you can use for your post:

  • 8 Peculiar Ways to Build Your (insert your topic)
  • Why These Grim-Looking Pets Will Change The Way You See Animals
  • The Top Most Spectacular Solutions to (add your topic)

Subject Lines That Start With “What” or “Why”

The excellent thing about subject lines that begin with “what” or “why” is that it provides an easy-to-grasp explanation from the onset. It offers simple, straightforward information that your readers would readily understand.

Some examples:

  • Why It Only Takes 5 Minutes To Organize Your Day
  • What These Productive Hacks Will Teach You About Saving Money
  • Why This Tactic is the Best Way to Tripling Your Site’s Conversion Rate

Subject Lines That Announce Something

This type of subject line is effective when it comes to grabbing attention. It’s also often used in the news as well for this same reason. What it does is to promise to reveal something exclusive, new or just exciting.

Below are some examples:

  • Introducing a Revolutionary Way of Healing Insomnia
  • The Long Awaited Update to Your Mac OS Has Just Been Released!
  • This New Type of Liner Will Change The Way You Do Your Brows!

Transformational Subject Lines

Transformation subject lines are great for topics that showcase an exciting story. You can also use it when you want to take a reader from point A to B.

Some good examples are:

  • How I Went From Being More Than 100 lbs. Overweight to Healthy and Fit in A Year
  • Go From an Internet Nobody to a Famous Digital Nomad Using This System
  • You Too Can Earn Six-Figures Using Our Tried and Tested Strategy

Subject Lines That Ask a Question

Your subject line shouldn’t convey the entirety of your email’s message. You can use questions in your subject lines to give a sneak peek of what your email’s likely about.

Some examples:

  • Are You Ready to Take Your Income to New Heights?
  • How Often Do You Need to Update Your Social Profile?
  • When Should You Cut Off a Toxic Relationship?

Subject Lines That Use Analogy

When used right, analogy in subject lines promise a light, easy read that can be surprisingly delightful for your subscribers. Here are some ideas you can follow:

  • 10 Things Gardening Can Teach You About Life
  • How to Solve Your Financial Problems Like Warren Buffett
  • Why Achieving a 59% Click-through Rate is Like Winning the Lotto

Subject Lines That Intrigue

Using intrigue in your subject lines is a powerful tactic because people CAN’T resist it. Why? Because people are curious beings and readers would want to know what the subject line was pertaining to.

Here are some amazing examples of this:

  • You’re gonna love this…
  • Here’s a surprise gift for you…
  • The one factor that contributed to my success…

Subject Lines That Combine Different Elements

The best thing about all the different types of subject lines I mentioned above is that you can combine them to make the most compelling headline for your copy

Go for unexpected combinations with the goal of having an interesting and attention-grabbing headline in mind.

Below are some combinations you might want to try:

  • Exclusive! A Free Manifesto About Leaving the Rat Race
  • How to Put Up Your First Business: 9 Must-Know Beginner Tips
  • Why These 3 Irresistible Marketing Tips Will Get Your Site on the Right Track

A Few More Tips for Your Subject Lines

Now that you’re armed with different types of subject lines you can choose from, the next best thing is to test, test, and test!

It might take you a while to get the hang of it in the beginning but keep at it until you get an idea of what kinds of headlines work for your brand.

It’s also important to use the kind of words that your readers already use

It makes it easy for them to relate to your topic which means more emails opened for you!

Make Your Email Copy Easy to Skim

People get more than a hundred emails on their work inbox everyday.

And since the rise of the tech era, people have become more and more picky on what to give their attention to.

Viewing something online is immensely different than reading, like say, a book or a magazine. There are just a lot of things at our disposal.

You could be reading about South African nature parks and next thing you know, you’ve stumbled on a video of an ASMR video of cutting sand!

Sigh. That’s what you call the internet rabbit hole.

It’s what leads to most people resorting to skimming and scanning on the web.

There’s just so much information to consume on the internet that people think it’s a waste to spend more than 15 seconds on an article.

I know it’s hard to believe at first (I thought it would be at least a minute) but that’s the truth we now face.

If they don’t get what they want from you at the onset, they’re sure to get it from somebody else.

That’s why you have to give them the option to skim your copy. You can quickly do this by incorporating subheads into your content or sales materials.

Dealing With Short Attention Span? Seduce With Your Words!

Writing seductively will grab the attention of your readers.

There are different ways to do this—some of which includes:

  • Not scrimping on the details. Make sure to describe your benefit in a way your readers can imagine!
  • Get clear on what problems you solve for your customers.
  • Make your value proposition appealing.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Preview Texts Keep the Momentum Going

Aside from writing seductively, write compelling preview texts to keep your customers reading.

It will keep your audience absorbed with the next interesting thing!

To write effective preview texts that successfully pull your readers in, you have to give them a reason to read the section that will follow.

Have a Meaty Email Copy

I’ve seen a lot of instances where the subject lines and preview texts were promising but fell short when it came to their email copy.

That’s like having a sumptuous icing without the cake underneath. It’s also sugar but won’t fill you up.

Remember, the core of running a successful business is able to deliver. And this is something you should always do with your emails.

Your email copy is what people read after your subject line and preview text.

Just like your subject lines, you have to make your copy easy to read, interesting, and instantly understandable.

One surefire way to do that is to incorporate stories. But before you go ahead and include any story that you think is remotely interesting, it has to be able to support your premise.

A great story can successfully engage your readers and to open their hearts (or minds) to the message you want to convey.

A story could either involve you or your customers. If you have stories of your own that you know you can share, don’t hesitate to use them!

Each section of your email should feel like a stepping stone until the final destination is reached.

Formatting Tips for Your Email Copy

When it comes to your email copy, always make sure to format!

One way to do this by writing in short sentences as much as possible. This means most of your sentences should be 20 words or less.

You don’t always have to fit everything in a mile-high sentence. Long sentences aren’t just clunky and hard to understand for your readers…

It can also drown out the message you want to communicate!

It’s the same for your paragraphs as well. Nothing puts off readers like walls of text blocks staring back at them on their online screen.

Better yet, use bulleted points if you can! More often than not, content with a lot of commas or colons can often be rewritten as bullet points.

Last but not the least, aim for visual organization.

Use call-outs or block quotes for sentences that you want to emphasize so your readers know where to focus. 

Tell Them What to Do Next

One of email’s main goal is to convert by getting your audience to act on you message.

And you can do this with a call-to-action (CTA).

Most types of emails have a purpose.

Whether it’s to inform, build trust, sell a product, or any other objective, you’ll need a CTA for it.

Effective calls-to-action are not only compelling because they get you results, but they can also motivate new prospects into engaging with you in some way.

There are two aspects of a remarkable call-to-action:

(a) the words that you use and

(b) how you present it visually to grab attention.

When it comes to the verbal part of your CTA, every word counts since it needs to be short enough to stick to people’s minds.

Support your CTA by highlighting the benefits of your products instead of just presenting the features.

An example of a benefit-focused statement is as follows:

Have more energy and improve your productivity with these delicious stamina-boosting green smoothies! 

While a feature-focused headline goes something like:

Get this Green Smoothie Book and get 19 recipes using superfood ingredients like kale!

Sometimes, it could be tough to identify the exact benefits of a product. Whenever this happens to you, all you have to do is ask “why.”

Start with a specific feature. Why drink a green smoothie? Because it’s good for you. Why is it good for you? Because it helps boost energy. And so on.

Getting Deeper Into People’s Motivation

Another tip that can help you is to tie a benefit with any of the five life aspects that people usually value:

  • Wealth
  • Health
  • Success
  • Relationships
  • Emotional Stability/Happiness

Just think that at the core of your every offer, what you’re primarily selling to people is a better version of themselves.

Whether it’s having more money or being healthier, be clear on how you can help them achieve a particular desire or need of theirs.

For your button copy, don’t just use standard wordings that everybody else uses (like “Share” or “Buy”). 

A more effective way is to phrase your button copy from the perspective of your readers. An excellent example is “I want the Green Smoothie Recipe Book.”

When it comes to showcasing your button copy, use a different color from your page and use a larger or bolder font.

Have enough space all-around the button, and you’re all set!

Lastly, if you’re writing a long-form copy, you might want to repeat your CTA at different points to make sure people don’t miss it.

Wrapping Up

In a nutshell, that’s how you write email copy that attracts an audience who are willing to buy from your brand.

All it takes is to take the time out to get to know your ideal audience and write compelling subject lines that make them click your emails.

Make your copy easy to scan with preview texts that your email copy can follow through.

More importantly, don’t forget to include a call-to-action! You stand to gain more visibility so your brand can grow to reach more of your ideal audience!