How to Write High-Performing Copy for Email Marketing

We’ve all received an email that made us sit up in our seats, read on, and click to “Learn More.” And we’ve all opened an email that we’ve glanced at and instantly deleted. Email marketing is a tried and tested way to generate new customers and increase revenue, and studies show that email campaigns generate $42 for every $1 spent.

Successful emails have compelling copy from start to finish and make readers want to learn more about what your business offers. So what does successful copy for email marketing look like? Check out our content writers’ top tips for writing email copy that increases engagement and ROI.

How to Write Copy for Email Marketing that Succeeds

Write with a Goal in Mind

Experts agree that the most critical question you need to ask before writing an email is “What is the goal of this email?” If someone doesn’t understand why you are sending them an email, you likely won’t get the results you want. Successful email copy drives contacts toward a specific action. For example, if the goal of your email is to sell tickets to a concert, the step you will want readers to take is to buy tickets. You can encourage this action in your email by providing a “Buy Now” button that links to a page for readers to purchase tickets to the concert. Ask and answer the following questions to help you understand the goal of your email:

1. Why have you decided to send this email?

You need to answer for yourself why you are sending out an email to understand what your desired outcome is, who benefits from that outcome, and what value your readers will receive.

2. Who is receiving the email?

It’s essential to write content that fits the reader. If you know who is receiving your email, you can tailor your language to appeal to what they might find valuable.

3. What do you want people to do with the email?

Do you want those receiving your email to buy tickets to an event? Subscribe to your channel? Preorder a limited edition product you offer? Knowing what end action people should take when they receive your email is crucial to getting desirable results.

4. When in the buyer’s journey are you sending this content?

Understanding what stage of the buyer’s journey your recipient is in can help you target your language to the right audience. For example, suppose your audience is still in the research stage. You can provide more information about your product/services to increase their curiosity, fill them with confidence, and lead them to purchase.

5. Where are people going to be opening this email?

Technology has made email accessible on a wide range of platforms, whether that be mobile, desktop, or tablet devices. Depending on what platform your target audience uses, you’ll need to account for differences in screen sizes and reading habits when creating your email messaging and design.

Optimize Every Section

The two sections of your email are the “open” and the “click,” so you need to refine these to get the result you want.

The “Open”

The “open” is the friendly welcome mat that greets your audience and includes the factors that get someone to open an email. These factors include the following:

Subject Line

The subject line gets readers to “walk through the door” and read your email. Keep the subject line short and sweet with no more than 50 characters. You can get creative with your subject line to draw more attention to your email, but stay away from spam-triggering words like “free” or “percent off.”

Sender Name / Email Address

Successful emails build trust, so you want to make sure the email comes from someone the sender recognizes. Send your emails under your company or brand’s name, and send the email from an address (or person) that builds trust and is easy to reach you at.

Preview Text

The preview text is a short snippet of the copy that’s pulled from your email’s body content. This text gives readers a small taste of what to expect in your email. Use the preview text to draw people into your email’s story and show the value of the email upfront.

The “Click”

If the “open” is the welcome mat, the “click” is the cozy interior of your business welcoming your audience inside. The “click” section includes the factors that provide value to your reader and lead them to click and complete the desired action from your email. This consists of the following:

Email Body Copy

When you write your body copy for email marketing, you should have already answered the “who, what, when, where, and why” of your email. Writing your copy with a goal in mind helps you write with clarity and purpose, knowing you have an end goal you need to meet. When you write, fit the language of your email to your brand’s tone. This keeps your emails consistent with your company’s overall messaging. Some other email marketing copy best practices we recommend are to write for scannability, personalize the copy when appropriate, and proofread the copy before you click “send.”

Call to Action

The call to action is the message, button, or link that gets readers to the desired action. E.g. “Buy Here” Stick with one call to action per email to promote your primary goal and keep your audience focused on that.

Use a Clean, Straightforward Design

The copy for email marketing isn’t the only factor that impacts an email’s success. Email design can either distract from or lead to a reader completing the desired action. Email design should be simple, clean, and on-brand. Over-the-top templates and excessive photos can distract readers from your message or not load correctly on different device types. Sticking with a sleek design that’s on-brand for your company will keep your message in the forefront and build trust with your audience.

Ready to Make Your Email Marketing Pop?

If you’d like a hand refining your copy for email marketing or setting up an email marketing campaign, Big Storm’s got you covered. Our Content Specialists can refine your brand’s voice to help you reach your target audience, start a conversation, and bolster your ROI. To consult with our experts, drop us a line.


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