Email copywriting best practices for better conversion rate

Email copywriting best practices to improve conversion rate

Email copywriting best practices to improve conversion rate

Copywriters prefer different frameworks or sets of copywriting best practices when they are writing email campaigns or web pages.

Similarly, before you think of a better conversion rate, you need to define what conversion rate means to you.

You may like to read: 10 copywriting tips to boost your website conversion rate

Different email campaigns may have different conversion rate criteria.

You can put hours of effort crafting the perfect email marketing campaign.

You can learn by trial and error and improve your conversion rate – nothing wrong in that.

Self-taught are the most experienced and learned people, especially in the world of copywriting.

You can use the best practices or frameworks to minimize the chances of committing a mistake.

What makes your email copywriting successful? What gives you a better conversion rate?

How do you define better conversion rate

How do you define better conversion rate

Here are a few things:

  • Better open rate.
  • More people reading the complete message.
  • More people clicking the CTA.
  • Ultimately, more people buying from you.

Selling isn’t always the goal of every email marketing campaign.

There are different ways your email may convert better.

Buying is a culmination of many factors and whether someone buys from you depends on where they are in their buyer journey.

Your conversion rate depends a lot on where a person is in your sales funnel.

A typical buyer journey may involve anywhere between 6-12 (or more) stages, and for multiple stages, different types of content are needed, and conversion rate manifests in different ways.

Even different types of email are needed.

Hence, your email marketing campaign needs to target the precise engagement factor.

This could be

  • Downloading your white paper or case study.
  • Downloading your brochure.
  • Agreeing for a phone call.
  • Checking out the latest offerings.
  • Clicking a blog post link.
  • Making an appointment.
  • Participating in a seminar.
  • Watching your video presentation.
  • Participating in a survey.
  • Indulging in any other engagement activity promoted by the email campaign.

Every non-“buy from us” email campaign is a lead generation campaign, and such campaigns are as important as asking people to buy from you.

What is the difference between email copywriting and website copywriting?

Difference between email and website copywriting

Difference between email and website copywriting

Surprisingly, there isn’t much information available on the topic of difference between email copywriting and website copywriting.

One of the most prominent attributes of copywriting is conversion.

Whereas content writing for websites is all about educating and engaging visitors, when you write copy for websites, you need to convert people and turn them into your paying customers and clients.

Just like in email copywriting, website copywriting also has different purposes.

It isn’t always about making sales.

You want to improve engagement rate.

You may want people to subscribe to your email updates.

There may be a landing page that asks people to download a white paper or a case study.

So, whether you are writing copy for an email campaign or a website, a big part of copywriting is conversion.

That is common between email and website copywriting.

One of the biggest differences is that in email copywriting, you can personalize your messages.

Whereas traffic on the website is inbound, your email traffic is outbound.

You cannot be selective about who comes to your website.

But you can be selective about who receives your email updates.

Being selective means, you choose the email ids to which you send your email marketing campaigns.

You have more information about your email recipients than you have about your website visitors.

In email copywriting you may solely depend on your text, but in website copywriting, you can liberally use visuals in the form of images and videos.

Another big difference between both is that communication through emails is an ongoing process whereas your website provides a single touch point.

Of course, in the case of your website you regularly update your blog, and this draws people on regular basis, but the frequency of sending out emails is often greater than the frequency of updating your blog or updating your website.

Although most of the content on blogs is written by content writers, many people prefer to call themselves copywriters even when they are writing blog posts.

Other highlights of email copywriting:

  • People receive your email copywriting messages in their inboxes.
  • Most likely they have given you permission to email them.
  • Distractions are less in the inbox and hence your copywriting may perform better compared to website copywriting.
  • The success of your email messages depends on how well you have crafted your subject line.
  • You can use segmentation to make your writing more focused.

Email copywriting best practices to improve your conversion rate

Better conversion rate – email copywriting best practices

Better conversion rate – email copywriting best practices

There is a difference between “email best practices” and “email copywriting best practices” and when you search on Google, you will find that both bits of information are often interchanged.

For example, including a well-defined signature may be a part of email best practices but not, at least directly, a part of email copywriting best practices.

So, when it got email copywriting best practices, I strictly speak in terms of writing your emails, and not about their aesthetic appeal.

Write a convincing subject line

Your subject line makes people open your email message, or stops them from doing so.

There are two things you see first when you check your inbox: the sender’s name and the subject line.

These two factors can convince you into opening the email.

Even if the sender is familiar (I’m not talking about family members or friends or people whose email you will never ignore), unless the subject line motivates you, you are not going to open the email.

Everywhere on the Internet when you read about email copywriting best practices, this is the first most topic people broach – an effective subject line.

Most of the techniques that work with your web page headlines and title also work on your email subject line.

It goes without saying that your subject line must be hard-hitting and forceful.

47% marketers say that they test different email subject lines to increase the performance of their email marketing campaigns (source).

You can write effective subject lines using the following emotional and psychological triggers

  • A feeling of urgency
  • A sense of curiosity
  • An irresistible offer
  • Personalization
  • Relevance
  • Fear of missing out
  • Breaking News

Something like:

Surprise sale today – up to 50% off!

Keep your subject line brief. Don’t go beyond 30-50 characters.

A MailChimp study has revealed that email campaigns with the subject lines less than 50 characters have 12% higher open rate and 75% higher click-through-rates than email campaigns with subject lines of more than 50 characters.

Write an equally compelling preview text

The preview text of your email is a small portion of your email message that is visible to the recipient without opening your email.

Email preview text screenshot

Email preview text screenshot

It either appears next to the subject line or below the subject line.

If you don’t manually enter a preview text, email readers like Gmail randomly pick portions of your email and display them as your preview text.

There is no ability to enter preview text in standard email clients like Gmail and Outlook.

But if you manage your email marketing campaigns using services like MailChimp or Aweber, you can separately add an email preview text.

In the preview text, write something that will further make the recipient want to open your email message.

Start with the name of the person

Avoid starting your email with “Dear friend,” or “Hello there!”

Preferably, use the first name of the person.

Start with, “Dear Sarah,” or “Hello Abdul”.

Hook the reader with a headline

Depending on whether you send out an HTML email campaign or a text-based email, you will have a headline with a bigger font or the first sentence as “headline”.

Your headline or the first sentence is very important.

Although, once a person opens your email message the likelihood of reading the message increases manifold, whether a person reads the rest of the message depends a lot on your headline or the first sentence.

Your headline must be a continuation of your subject line.

For example, if your subject line was, “30% off”, your first sentence of the email can be

Congratulations on getting a 30% discount on your next purchase.

Just make sure you place orders through this email.

You will repeatedly come across the advice that the job of your headline is to make people read your first sentence, and the job of your first sentence is to make people read your second sentence, and so on.

So, write your first sentence or your headline in such a manner that it makes people read the rest of your email body text.

Have a clear goal for email copywriting

What do you want people to do once they have read your email?

Do you want them to book an appointment?

Do you want them to download your e-book or case study?

Do you want them to read your blog post?

Once you have a clear goal, your entire narrative revolves around that.

Every sentence must lead to your CTA (the goal of your email copywriting).

Use a conversational style for email copywriting

Conversational style comes with many dimensions.

Write in first person using “you” and “I”.

Write short sentences.

Avoid difficult words.

Write the way you talk.

When you write your email campaigns in a conversational style your readers feel like they’re being talked to personally.

Formal writing can create a barrier.

Pay attention to how your recipients speak in their day-to-day conversations.

Just like in the midst of the conversation you ask,

“Isn’t it right?” or “Don’t you think?”

Find out words and expressions that they use when they talk about your business.

Instead of writing “Our team can help you with complete auditing of your website”, write, “We can completely audit your website.”

Write in a way you talk to them.

In conversational style, instead of neutral, you sound emotional.

You use lots of contractions instead of using full words.

Sometimes you break grammar and spelling rules but be sure of what you’re doing.

You write in active voice.

You use simple words.

You use lots of personal pronouns.

You can also use transitional phrases to keep people reading.

Some examples of transitional phrases are

This is how it is done:

Want to know more?

You know what? Something else was about to happen.

Long story short.

Still not convinced?

For effective email copywriting, the key is knowing your target audience.

What are their needs, desires, aims and fears?

When they have doubts, what influences them to change their minds?

What motivates them?

What type of conversations do they have when they talk about your product or service.

For effective email copywriting it is important that you forget about what you think, and then think in terms of what your target audience things.

Other things to keep in mind when copywriting for email marketing campaigns:

  • Avoid badmouthing about your competitors (comparison is fine).
  • Praise your readers whenever you can (but be genuine).
  • Be sincere when you express emotions.
  • Address the concerns of your readers.
  • Write how you talk.
  • Anticipate questions in advance and provide answers.
  • Keep your copy easier to read.
  • Don’t overstretch your message.
  • Use action words and power words – “Save 30% now” and “Don’t miss the last chance”.
  • Don’t use words with negative connotations – “premium” instead of “expensive”, or “other options” instead of “not available”.
  • Hold the reader’s attention by using phrases such as “imagine”, “have a look”, and “just think what would happen” (just to name a few).
  • Use double numbers: 15 ways to increase your conversion 5X
  • Mention the key benefits of using your product or service three times throughout the copy – in the beginning, in the middle, and then at the end.
  • Use logic to make a point but cater to emotions.

In this blog post you have learnt a few email copywriting best practices that you can use to improve your conversion rate.

Of course, as I always say, nothing is written in stone.


Find different ways.

Be adventurous.

How you improve your conversion rate depends on your specific industry and you should apply copywriting best practices accordingly.

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