Undoubtedly, you’ve written thousands of emails in your life. You probably regularly send and receive emails from your family, friends, coworkers, and even strangers on a regular basis. While writing an email to anyone person is a straightforward proposition, sending an email to a large group of people requires an entirely different set of skills.
You need to be able to craft a message that not only attracts the attention of a diverse audience, but also clearly communicates a single object and inspires the readers to take the desired action, and it all must be done without the use of audio, video, images, and other dynamic content. You also have to figure out how to deal with the technical peculiarities of email, avoid spam filters, and maintain compliance with anti-spam laws. Writing effective emails is both a science and an art.

Understanding Your Audience

You have to understand who your audience is if you want to write to them effectively. You need to know how old your typical subscribers are, what they do for a living, their gender if they are married, and a ton of other demographics. If you don’t know these things, then you should conduct a survey and ask people to share their information with you so that you have a better idea of who makes up your email list.

It is highly recommended that you create a fictional character that epitomizes your typical customer. This is known as an avatar. By creating an avatar, you will have a better idea of who you are marketing to, and it will allow you to get inside the minds of your subscribers. When you write an email to your mailing list, write as if you are sending a personal message to your avatar. Ask yourself what your avatar would like to hear in order to take action based on your email. When you write to your avatar and use a lot of “you” language, your subscribers will subconsciously think that your email was explicitly written to them and they will be more likely to engage with the message. You need to keep the focus on your subscribers as much as possible, making sure to make your emails about them, and not about you.

Parts of an Email

When you are getting ready to put together an email, it is easy to think that the only thing that you have to worry about is writing the message body. However, there are several different components of every message that you send to your list. If you want your email marketing campaign to be successful, then you need to put as much thought and effort into the other parts of your email as you do the main message body. Here are the components of an email that are key.

Subject Line

This is the subject of your message. It is the first thing that your subscribers will see, and it is what will determine whether or not they open your message.


The preheader is the preview text that is included after the subject line in some email services like Gmail. It can serve as a second subject line that should further encourage the reader to open your email. If you don’t intentionally add a preheader, most email services will use the first sentence or two of your email as a preheader.

“From” Name

This is the name of the person who is sending the email. You want to use your personal name rather than the name of your company because most email users are more likely to open an email from an actual person.

Message Body

This is the main text of your email. It will contain the message that you want to convey to your subscribers.


This will be a hyperlink situated at the bottom of your message body that will persuade readers to take a specific action, such as clicking on the hyperlink.


You want to keep your email signature simple. Long email signatures can be a distraction to the main content of your email. The best signature is your personal name on the first line and the name of your company on the following line.


You may want to consider periodically using a ”P.S.” below your email signature to serve as a secondary sales tool after your primary email.


The footer will typically contain an unsubscribe link and other information that you need to include to stay compliant with anti-spam laws. This might include your mailing address and the name of your company. The footer will likely be the same for every email that you send out.

Keeping Your Emails Balanced

While you will send your audience emails for a variety of reasons, you need to maintain a healthy balance between sending emails that provide value to your audience and emails that take value away. Emails that contain information that is helpful to your audience, at no cost to them, such as educational content, tips, resources, and training videos, provide value to your audience. Emails that ask your audience to purchase a product or take action that benefits you more than them will take value from your audience. You should consider sending at least two value-added emails to your audience, for every one email that takes it from them. Ideally, you will provide so much value to your audience that they respond to your sales and marketing emails out of sheer gratitude for the value you have already provided.

Writing Great Subject Lines

The most important words that you will write as part of your email marketing strategy is your subject lines. If you write a subject line that is uninspired and doesn’t grab the attention of your subscribers, they probably won’t open your message. According to a recent report, 64 percent of people say that they will choose to open an email because of the subject line. If you write a compelling subject line, you are guaranteed to receive higher open rates, which will lead to more click-throughs and more sales.

A well-written subject line can often receive double the open rates of a poorly-written one, which will, in turn, double your clickthrough rates and double the sales generated by the email. There are also a number of techniques that you can use to modify subject lines to emphasize words and to make unsaid promises about the content of your message. If you are going to use any of these various techniques, it is essential that you switch them up from email to email and don’t use any one of the methods more than twice each month. Subscribers will notice these patterns if you use them too often and will render them ineffective.

Best Practices to Follow with Your Email

When you are creating an email, there are several best practices that you should follow in order to obtain the best results.

Don’t Rely on Images

Approximately 10-30 percent of your readers will never click “enable images” on your emails. This means that you should never rely on images to convey critical points in your copy. If you do decide to use pictures, make sure that you use clear and descriptive ALT text. You can use CSS styling to make your ALT text larger and more visible to subscribers that don’t enable images.

Avoid Grammar and Spelling Errors

A huge turn-off for many email subscribers is poor grammar, capitalization, and spelling errors. If you want to speak with expert authority to your audience, then you need to do so with clear and proper writing. No one will believe you are an authority on anything if you can’t write a complete, grammar and spelling-free sentence. Make sure you double-check every email you write for errors or consider having someone else check your email before you send it out.

Include Multiple Hyperlinks

If you have a specific link that you want your readers to click on, then you need to add a total of three hyperlinks to every email. Be sure to hyperlink your main call-to-action at the bottom of your message, as well as just above your email signature. You also want to add hyperlinks to a few relevant words in the first paragraph of your email to direct readers to the page on your site that you want them to visit. Finally, you need to include a second call-to-action below your email signature and in any postscript that you add to the emails.

Avoid Design-Heavy Emails

Subscribers are more likely to read emails that come from a person rather than a faceless company. While companies frequently use templates in their email, people rarely do. You want to try to avoid using design-heavy templates so that your emails appear more personal.

Only Use One Call-to-Action Per Email

You don’t want to try to get your subscribers to do multiple things in any single email. Each email that you send out to your list should have a sole purpose and a single call-to-action that you want them to take. Readers will be less likely to respond if they have to consider which, if any, of your calls-to-action they wish to take.

Have a Clear Unsubscribe Link

Don’t try to high or obscure your unsubscribe link. Have a clear unsubscribe link in average font size. If you decide to obscure your unsubscribe link, your subscribers may report your message as spam, which puts you in jeopardy with your email service provider if your account receives too many spam complaints.

Copywriting is a skill that will take some time to master. For the first several months, the emails that you send won’t be perfect, and that’s okay. Over time your copywriting skills will improve, and you’ll eventually become a great copywriter whose emails get results.




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Chapter 5

Measuring Results and Optimizing Your Strategy