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15 ultimate content writing hacks for successful email marketing

Email marketing writing hacks

15 Email marketing writing hacks

What is email marketing?

Does it mean constantly nagging your subscribers and recipients (or leads) to buy from you?

Or does it mean becoming a useful part of their lives so that they begin to appreciate your presence and then, begin to trust you enough to do business with you?

This may not be true in your case, but most of the individuals wanting to use email marketing to promote themselves, assume that just because they have got someone’s email ID, it is fine to send out promotional emails.

Does someone care what a great product or service you have got?

Not really.

People want to hear from you only when you have got something useful to offer. Even when you are offering your product or service, there must be something special (a great discount or an offer or an insider information) that can bring your recipients a massive benefit.

Otherwise, your email message is going to be ignored.

Are people still using email marketing?

Yes they are. There is a reason for that.

3.8 billion people actively use email daily. Compared to this, Facebook has 1.5 million daily users. Everyone from the age of 15 to 64 uses email daily. 73% of millennials prefer email communication from businesses.

The best part is, 99% consumers check their emails every day. People are twice as likely to sign up for your email newsletter as liking your Facebook page.

Hence, you may feel that most of the people are moving towards social media and instant messaging, but when it comes to doing some serious work or getting business offers, email still rules the roost.

How you write content for your email marketing campaigns has a big impact on your success rate. You may have come across the content writing hacks for successful email marketing at many places, already, but just in case you haven’t, you can considerably improve the success rate of your email marketing by implementing at least a few of these content writing hacks.

1. Have a convincing subject line

Writer a convincing subject line

Writer a convincing subject line

The importance of the subject line can never be stressed enough. It is your subject line that prompts people to open your email.

What subject line should you have? It depends on people’s familiarity level with you. They are not familiar with you, or if they don’t come across your name in their inbox quite often, the subject line needs to be very specific.

Anyway, whether people are familiar with you or not, keep in mind the following:

  • Keep the character count around 50 because there isn’t enough space for very long subject lines.
  • Keep your subject line simple and straightforward. No ambiguity.
  • Don’t make false promises. People these days can make out false promises easily.
  • Be experimental. No harm in using humor as long as it doesn’t confuse or mislead.
  • Shock and awe. Again, the purpose of your subject line is to make people open your message, but at the same time, never mislead them into opening something that doesn’t deliver on the promise made in the subject line.
  • Subject lines with a sense of urgency, curiosity, timely relevance and recognition are more prone to be opened.
  • Personalize. Although personalization is more effective if people are familiar with you or your brand, given a choice between being personal and not being personal, always be personal. By the way, don’t take “being personal” in the wrong way.

Remember that the biggest challenge that your email message faces is people not opening it. Half the battle is won if your subject line manages to make people open your email.

2. Just focus on one, single person

Focus on a single person when writing content for your email marketing campaign

Focus on a single person when writing content for your email marketing campaign

Frankly, I apply this advice even when I’m writing webpages and blog posts. Don’t write as if you are writing to a big group of people. Write to a single individual.

For example, if you think your email is going to a person named Frank, then address the problems that Frank faces. Talk to him. He must feel that you are just writing to him and no one else.

As a writer, I know that when you write thinking that you are writing to a single person, the person reading the email can actually feel it.

3. Always provide something useful

Provide something useful in your email marketing campaign

Provide something useful in your email marketing campaign

Remember that the person opening your email message is using his or her precious time in doing so. Don’t waste his or her time. Always send an email marketing campaign when you have something useful to offer.

What can that offered be? Depends on your business. If you sell something, you can offer a discount. If you are introducing a new feature, you can send it as an update so that people who can really benefit from the feature can upgrade.

If the person has already bought from you, you can offer him or her a discount as a privileged segment of your customer base.

In the times of Covid-19, you can send tips to your customers about how they can do business with you without exposing themselves to the virus.

4. Talk about their interest

Talk about what interests them when you are writing

Talk about what interests them when you are writing

Nobody is bothered about growing your business just for the heck of it. Even people running charity organizations won’t pay attention to your email marketing campaigns unless you talk about their interest.

Always write your email messages from their point of view. Convey to them that you empathize with the problems and troubles you are having. Be their advocate through your writing.

5. Use powerful words

Use powerful words when writing

Use powerful words when writing

What are powerful words? First of all, they shouldn’t be deceptive. They should invoke a strong emotion. Some of the powerful words that you can use are

  • Free
  • Urgent
  • Limited
  • Breaking News
  • Dazzling
  • Stunning
  • Guaranteed
  • Powerful
  • Amazing
  • Easy
  • Strong
  • Exclusive
  • Lifetime
  • Unlimited
  • Affordable
  • Valuable
  • Discounted
  • New

Frankly, the list can go on and on. What sort of powerful words you use depends on the context and what sort of emotion you’re trying to convey. Again, just make sure that you really mean those words.

For example, if you are offering something stunning, then you should actually believe that you are offering something stunning. If you believe that something is easy to use, then it must be easy to use. If something is affordable, make sure that it is affordable to your target audience. If you are offering a discount, make sure that there isn’t a catch.

6. Use the “preview text” optimally

Writing email preview text

Writing email preview text.

In the above graphic, the text that is not hidden is email preview.

These days most of the email clients display you the preview text. If you have maximized your browser window, provided that you have used a small subject line, the remaining row is filled with the preview text. It gives your recipient a preview of your message. If you use the preview text convincingly, it can increase the chances of your recipients opening your message.

7. Write for the audience who reads on the mobile phone

Write for audience who reads on mobile.

Write for audience who reads on mobile.

I keep this in mind even when I’m writing blog posts. There is a great chance that the person on the other side is reading your content on a mobile device. The same is going to be the case with your email marketing messages.

How do you write for mobile readers?

Write shorter sentences. Don’t use big paragraphs. Use bullet points to organize different ideas. Use headlines and subheadings judiciously. Stay to the point. Make sure that you don’t use extra sentences because anything can distract them. Keep them as much focused as possible.

Although, personalization can make your email messages effective, make sure that you don’t get too conversational. This can also distract people.

8. Use segmentation features of your email marketing service

Email segmentation when writing content

Email segmentation when writing content.

MailChimp has it. Others must also have this feature. Segmentation allows you to customize your messages and this in turn improves your conversion rate.

What does segmentation mean?

Suppose you have 5000 subscribers in your mailing list. The first message that you send out goes to all these 5000 subscribers (if you are not using A/B testing for the time being).

Then, for the next email marketing campaign, create different segments such as

  • Those who didn’t open your message.
  • Those who opened your message.
  • Those who opened and clicked your link.
  • Those who bought from you.

… And so on.

This way you will be targeting people according to the way they have reacted to your previous campaign.

Why send the same message to all when you can increase your conversion rate by writing content based on how they react to your previous message?

9. Ask them to act when writing content

Tell them what you want them to do in the email

Tell them what you want them to do in the email.

This actually works. If you ask people to do something, many do it. For example, if you want people to buy something from you, ask them to buy it from you. This is hard to believe, but it really works.

It’s called call-to-action, CTA. Every email message must have a call-to-action.

Sometimes, you want to inform people of the good offer that you have but you don’t tell them to buy. You either tell them to get in touch with you or you ask them to click a link for more information. This is often not very convincing.

When you ask people to buy this renders a sense of authority and confidence. You have provided the information, and now you’re asking people to buy your product or service.

10. Use a convincing headline

Use a convincing headline

Use a convincing headline.

After your subject line, the most important component of your email message is your headline: the first highlighted line of text that appears in your email message.

The sole purpose of your headline is to make people read your email message.

Write it very strategically. Again, don’t mislead people. Don’t promise something you cannot deliver. You can be creative. You can be humorous. You can even be cynical.

Just make sure that your headline makes people read your remaining message. Your headline is so powerful that sometimes people immediately leave your message, without reading it, simply because they are put off by your headline.

11. Maintain a consistent flow in the body text

Maintain a consistent flow in the body text of your email

Maintain a consistent flow in the body text of your email

The crux of your entire email campaign rests in the body text.

As mentioned above, keep your sentences short and to the point. Write as if you’re talking to a single person. Show concerns for his or her requirements and worries. Offer solutions succinctly. Since most of the people will be accessing your message from their mobile phones, keep it short and simple.

Should you use HTML messages or text messages? Depends on your audience. Here we are simply talking about content writing for your email marketing campaigns. Be personal without being creepy.

Follow the simple copywriting rule: the purpose of your current sentence is to make the reader read the next sentence, and so is the purpose of the next sentence.

12. Have a singular goal when writing content for your email marketing campaign

Focus on a single goal when writing copy for your email campaign

Focus on a single goal when writing copy for your email campaign.

This is something I have observed with many clients. They want to pack multiple business offers in a single email message. They want to save money. Separate messages mean they will have to pay for them separately.

Just like your landing page, your email message too must be focused. You can offer multiple products if they fall under the same category (accessories, for example, or earplugs). But too many products or too many offers will end up confusing people and even if initially they wanted to buy something, they will end up buying nothing.

13. Avoid industry jargon if possible

Avoid using industry jargon when writing emails

Avoid using industry jargon when writing emails.

I’m not particularly against using jargon. Every industry has its own set of words and people like to use them, sometimes even without understanding them.

Use jargon when it solves purpose. I have seen many people using terms like “leveraging, metrics, synergy, cutting-edge, derivatives, acquisition” and so on. Being someone who constantly uses words, I’m not put off by these words, but many people are.

Personally, I follow this rule of thumb: use jargon if you really feel that you should be using it. If you are using it just to sound smart and intimidate the reader, don’t use it – it is counter-productive.

14. More of “you” and less of “we” and “I”

Focus more on the recipients and less on yourself

Focus more on the recipients and less on yourself.

This is such an important point that despite having discussed it above, I’m discussing it in another manner. Use lots of “you” in your writing.

Use expressions like “you are going to gain this”, “you are never going to regret buying this” or “this is something you have been looking for, for quite some time”.

A person opens your email message because he or she is expecting to receive something.

This expectation can be some sort of gratification, an emotion (something funny or mysterious), some great offer in the form of a discount, or the latest news that is very important to him or her.

The complete purpose of your message must be representing the interest of the recipient.

15. Condense everything in the conclusion

Sum up everything in the conclusion

Sum up everything in the conclusion.

The concluding part of your email message is as important as the beginning, if not more. In fact, after reading the conclusion, the person must be left with a strong desire to click your link and buy from you.

In the concluding part, you can sum up everything. You can invoke a sense of urgency. You can get creative and paint a gloomy picture if a person fails to carry out the call-to-action. Short of misleading someone, you can use all your persuasive power in the concluding part.


In the end, it is all about trial and error. Even seasoned content writers and copywriters perform A/B testing. For example, no matter how great a subject line is, it may not work with certain audience. No matter how awesome the headline is, it may fail to inspire certain readers.

No matter how big or small your mailing list is, you can perform A/B testing. Even if you have got 50 subscribers, you can send one message to 25 subscribers and an alternative to the other 25 subscribers. Then you observe the response and make tweaks in your writing accordingly.

Content writing for effective email marketing

Content writing and effective email marketing

Content writing and effective email marketing

What is the relationship between quality content writing and effective email marketing?

You might as well ask what is the relationship between air and breathing?

Or, what is the relationship between speaking and words.

To understand the importance of content writing vis-à-vis email marketing, you need to understand your email strategy.

There is a good way of doing email marketing, and there is a bad way.

The bad way is, simply blasting an email message to “thousands of” email addresses and then hoping that since you have sent out a message to so many people, even if 1% of them respond, you have hit the jackpot.

Doesn’t work that way.

It’s a misconception.

Even if you send out a message to thousands of people, unless you send them something that really matters to them, they’re not going to respond.

Even 1% don’t respond.

It’s because people don’t really care about you.

The same way you don’t really care about them.

You just want them to spend money on you and then be done with that.

You don’t even want to spend much time, effort and money on creating a convincing email message for them.

If the message matters, if you want your communication to make an impact, you understand the importance of content writing.

Of course, you can fill up your email message with high-resolution images and for many businesses, words don’t matter, especially when your brand already enjoys a significant degree of recognition.

Amazon, for example. They can simply send out a catalogue with prices and small descriptions and people are going to buy if they want to buy.

On the other hand, as a small business, or even a big business that doesn’t enjoy brand recognition, you need to hit a chord with your words. You need to convince people. You need to tell them that you have something to offer that they cannot resist, something highly useful.

You may like to read: Importance of email marketing for content marketing success.

How quality content writing helps you in effective email marketing

Content writing and email marketing

Building your own mailing list for personal branding

Email marketing works. People know it works but somehow, they don’t believe that it actually works. Since they don’t take their email seriously, they think that so does everyone else.

This might have got something to do with email being mostly free.

But they often come across blog posts and articles, and these days even videos, where people are shouting from their rooftops telling the non-believers that email marketing definitely works. It has worked for them.

In The Ultimate List of Email Marketing Stats for 2019 the Hubspot blog post refers to a study that says that email marketing generates $38 for every $1 spent on it. This is 3800% ROI. Which marketing tool or marketing method gives you this much ROI?

The problem is, although people drool over such an ROI, they neither want to work hard for such an ROI, nor want to spend money.

They just fantasize about replicating the success stories of other email marketers and then, since it is so easy to send out “thousands of” email messages, they go on doing the same thing without much success and then in the process, getting disillusioned.

Quality content writing is what makes your email marketing effective. It is content writing that earns you $38 for every $1 that you spend on getting your email campaign written, designed, and broadcast.

Some more stats about email marketing:

  • 83% B2B companies use email marketing as one of the primary content marketing tools.
  • 40% B2B marketers claim that email marketing is most critical for the success of their content marketing.
  • In 2019, just the US companies spent around $350 million on email marketing.
  • 99% consumers check their email everyday (I bet you have already checked your email multiple times today).
  • 80% respondents, according to this Marketing Land survey admitted that grammar and spelling mistakes were the biggest reasons why they abandoned going through an email message. Words matter.

Writing is important because going through email is a very personal activity and hence, when someone is reading your email, it is as if you’re talking to him or her directly. It mostly happens in the subconscious mind.

So, for effective email marketing, it is very important that you pay close attention to every word, every sentence, every paragraph, every heading and every bullet point that you use.

Even a small oversight may send your recipient to the next message in the inbox.

For email marketing success, the focus of your content writing must be establishing a relationship with your recipients, rather than stuffing a marketing message down their throats.

Therefore, an important key to email marketing success is running a long campaign rather than blasting off intermittent messages.

Take your own example. Do you remember any business, organization or company that sends you messages you look forward to receiving?

If you can recall a few names, these are probably the businesses, organizations and companies you want to do business with, want to spend your money on.

This is because they deliver something valuable. Something valuable to you. Something you enjoy reading.

Deliver something useful. Deliver something useful regularly. And use good language to deliver it. Then, when they need to purchase something that you offer, they will definitely purchase it from you unless you have made it impossible for them to purchase it from you (for example, exorbitantly costly).

When writing content for effective email marketing, keep the following in mind:

  • Use a compelling subject line that makes people open your message despite all the distractions. Make a promise in the subject line.
  • A precursor to writing a compelling subject line is knowing what your recipients really need. Only when they need something that you have mentioned in your subject line, they will open your message eagerly.
  • In the first headline or the first paragraph, talk about the promise that you have made in the subject line, otherwise there will be a disconnect and your recipients will immediately move onto the next email message.
  • Use smaller words and smaller sentences. Just one sentence per paragraph.
  • Use a conversational tone but don’t dumbify your writing. Respect the intelligence of your recipients.
  • Remember that it is a one-on-one conversation. Keep it that way.
  • Don’t shy away from working with a professional content writer.

Some people have a natural flair for writing expressively. Recently I advised a client to write a blog post on her own because I noticed that she was writing better than me.

This doesn’t make me a bad or and incapable content writer, it’s just that, I agree that when it comes to writing on certain subjects, people who are already working in the field, in the proverbial “trenches”, provided they know how to write, write with much greater passion and insight than someone who is just taking points and writing something.

So, using the guidelines mentioned above, if you feel that you can carry out an effective email marketing campaign on your own, nothing wrong in that. Go ahead.

But if you think that it would be better to work with a content writing service then don’t dillydally. It will one of the best business investments you will ever make.