Writing email copy is a pain… I’m not going to lie.
Not only do you have to know exactly what you want your prospects to do ahead of time, but you also need to chain together enough emails that you can effectively promote your product or offer days in advance!
Sure you can sit down at your desk every single day and write one email, but stuff pops up. You’ll be interrupted and fires will need to be put out… Emails are one of easiest things to push off!
Now, if you don’t know what ‘copy’ is (I didn’t 10 years ago when I started…), it’s the words on the page that you use to get your prospect to take action.
Email copy is just that – the words that are used in your emails!
When you hear the terms ‘sales copy’ or ‘email copy,’ it’s just the way that you write sales messages or email messages that incite some type of action from your prospect :0)
That action can be a click, a sale or watching a video. That’s how you sell stuff! If no one clicks, buys or watches, then your copy is the first place you have to start troubleshooting!
There is an art to writing emails that people open, read and ultimately click through, and that’s what this article is about.
Before we get to writing email though, we need to take a step back and figure out what exactly we’re trying to get our list to do – in micro-steps…
Our Goal In Writing Email Copy
Email copy is an interesting animal, in and of itself.
You see, your emails don’t typically do the selling for you. Sure, you can link right to an order form and you’ll get a few sales, but the much more typical way of using email to get buyers is to link to a sales page, like this:
The flow looks simple enough…
Email your prospect a link to your sales page, they click through to the order form and buy!
Here’s the challenge though…
Not everyone you email will open your email, let alone click the link to the sales page…
Which means, there are a specific set of micro-actions associated with your email, which’ll make the whole thing work.
(Note: the sooner you understand this idea of ‘micro-actions,’ to quicker you’ll be able to turn your campaigns around! It took me a long time to figure this out…)
For every person who receives your email, they all must do 3 things before they hit your sales page:
- They have to open your email
- They must at least start to read your body copy
- They need to click a link in your email
All of that has to happen BEFORE they see your sales page!
So, when you’re breaking down the results you get from your email marketing campaign, take a step back and think about the metrics associated with those micro-actions!
How many people opened the email?
How many people clicked the link to the sales page?
Those are your defining metrics when it comes to email copy…
Here’s the thing though… The goal of your email isn’t to sell the product. The goal is to get the click. Let the sales page sell the product!
Now, let’s talk about what you can do to get the best results possible from your email, starting with the idea of ‘preframing.’
Preframing is an NLP technique used by copywriters to get a prospect or user to take action.
You don’t need to get crazy into NLP or anything to understand how to use it though!
Basically, successfully preframing someone is all about setting them up to take action on the next page, after they click the link in your email.
I’m actually running a paid traffic campaign in the photography niche right now where we’re collecting email addresses. Right after they sign up, they get an email from me with some email copy and a link to a sales page.
Rather than say, “Check out this photography course. It’s got lots of training on picking the right camera, using Photoshop, and taking expert pictures…”
My email copy says, “Imagine using X technique to sharpen your clients photos,” or “Y strategy really has served as inspiration for a lot of the landscape photos that I’ve been taking…”
The ‘conditions’ being: X technique, Y strategy
The ‘experience’ or ‘event’ being: their education after purchasing the product!
Preframing is the biggest difference between marketers who make HUGE money and marketers who don’t. You can use it everywhere, including:
- Email messages you send out in your autoresponder
- Landing pages that come before the actual product, like download pages, reviews and advertorials
- Sales copy you write, either as video sales letters or long form sales messages
- Webinars that you do with your audience, talking about the benefits of a product before the product is revealed.
Unfortunately, it’s not something that you just get. It takes practice (or using a tool like Scriptly).
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about your email copy!
Writing Solid Email Copy
Your entire email (and the whole autoresponder series that you’re writing to promote a product) needs to accomplish one thing…
To get at least one click the sales page.
You want as many people on your list as possible to click through, and sometimes that takes a few emails to do!
Step 1: Start With The End In Mind
What do you want your email list to do?
Do you want them to read a blog post? Or click through to a sales page? Or sign up for an brand new lead magnet? Or maybe, register for a free workshop that you have coming up.
It’s rare that you’ll be sending your list an email without some specific action in mind…
When you send an email, you’re:
- Trying to build a relationship with them
- Wanting to re-engage with them
- Selling them something
- Getting them to sign up for something
That’s why the Scriptly Autoresponder Templates are designed the way they are… To get some sort of action from your email list!
Once you figure out what specific action you want your email list to take, it’s time to create a campaign around that action…
Step 2: Write a Strong Subject Line
The subject line is the first thing that your prospect sees in their inbox, and is the biggest factor in whether or not they’ll read your email or not.
There are LOTS of different types of subject lines, including:
- The "Ask A Question" subject line
- The "How To" subject line
- The "Scarcity" subject line
- The "Brand New" subject line
- The "Numbers" subject line
- The "Curiosity Gap" subject line
- The "Shock And Awe"subject line
- The "Named" subject line
(We’ll have more on subject lines soon – for now make sure you download the 100 Most Opened Subject Lines PDF here)
At the end of the day, you need to appeal to the prospect and make them interested or curious enough to open the email.
The FTC says that you have to adequately describe what is in the email, although that’s pretty vague. Something as simple as ‘New Stuff’ does technically describe what’s in the email…
Elements of a great subject line include:
- Curiosity – Make them so curious that they have to open the email to find out the rest of the story. (ie. Bad News)
- Contradiction – Contradict something that is normally held to be true (ie. SEO is dead!)
- Specificity – Specifics help make the subject line more real (ie. THIS is 62% more optins!)
- Personal Touch – Make them feel like the email is from a friend… not from a business marketing to them. (ie. Hey!)
- Instant Usability – Make them feel there is something for them they can instantly use to get a desired result (ie. PDF Download Inside!)
I tend to be along the ‘Instant Usability’ spectrum, but that’s just me :0)
Did you think this was going to be complicated? It really isn’t!
Nothing really beats good split testing. In most email marketing platforms, you can split test subject lines so you can really nail down which ones get opened and which ones don’t.
The more people that open the email and read it, the more clicks you’ll get. The more clicks, the more income!
Step 3: The Email Body
Writing email copy is pretty easy, especially when you’ve got a great subject line.
The most obvious thing is to talk more about the subject of the email, explaining it and fulfilling on the promise of what will happen when someone opens to email up.
The next thing you want them to do is to take action…
You want them to click something in your email. That’s the whole reason for sending an email to them in the first place right?!
In almost every email, you want your prospect to take an action, which is usually clicking on a link.
Keep in mind, there’s a person reading this email. Too often, when an email marketer knows that there are 70,000 prospects reading their emails, they forget to write for one person. They think that if they blast out an image or a banner, they’ll get results.
The key to email copy is to be relatable. To tell stories. To treat their email like it’s written to their best friend. It shouldn’t be written any different than if it was an email to a good friend that you haven’t talked to in six months.
It’s totally your preference if you write long copy or want to write short copy. Short copy tends to get more clicks, but those clicks are less qualified. Long copy tends to get fewer clicks, but the clicks are highly qualified (they read your whole email!).
Step 4: Getting The Clickthrough
Now for the link you include in your email…
Your goal in writing an email is to get folks from your list back to your website for some reason. Sometimes, it’s just to place a retargeting pixel or watch a video. Other times, it’s because your selling something.
At the end of the day, the link text you use in your email has a LOT to do with how many people click through…
Here are a few of the strategies we use in our emails from time to time. We switch it up here and there, depending on what looks better in the email copy…
Getting The Click
The subject line is the reason that somebody opened up your email. It makes sense to use the same text as your link.
For example, if your subject line is ‘7 Fat Burning Foods,’ use it as the link in your email, taking prospects to watch the sales video!
Include A Clickable Image
Putting an image in your email content is a great way to encourage a clickthrough AND it helps your deliverability.
In order for someone to see the image, they have to enable images in some email platforms, which means they’ve taken another step in receiving your email…
That’s a good thing!
Here are some types of images that you can include:
- A graphical button that they can click
- A screenshot of the page that they’ll be going to after they click
- A banner that you plan on using for the page (think banner images like Facebook uses)
- A still image of the video that they’ll be watching
Most times, you can just take a screenshot or some graphical element of the page that you’re linking to to make this work!
The “Double Line Link Trick”
One of my favorites is the “Double Line Link.”
In your body copy, a double line link is awfully hard to ignore… So, rather than use something like:
You use something like this:
The big block of blue is hard not to notice, so you’ll get a bump in clicks!
“List-Style Link Trick”
Another thing I like to do from time to time is put a series of links in a list, all linking to the same place.
Oftentimes, I’ll tie this to a ‘rule‘ that saves the link that someone clicked so I can use it later for more specialized email copy.
For example, you can do something like this:
In the blog post, you’ll discover:
- How to write subject lines that get the open.
- Crafting email body copy that gets read and clicked!
- Effectively preframing your prospect into buying before they ever get to your sales page…
Then, every link links right to the same place!
Spell It Out
This option is definitely the easiest…
Just spell out exactly what you want your prospect to do! The most obvious example is:
You don’t have to be fancy… Just get the click!
… Some Additional Email Copywriting Tips
Here are some additional tips and tricks to writing email copy which’ll make it easier for you to get done…
These tips are all tried and true, and have helped me immensely in getting more done in less time!
Write Narrow Email Copy
One little trick is that you don’t ever have a line that is any more than 45 or 50 characters. Once the line gets to 45 or 50 characters you hold ‘shift’ and ‘enter’ and you just space the new line down.
It’s just a single space, but that keeps people reading down the screen, no different than why a newspaper has multiple columns. It’s really easy to just scan a newspaper and your email should be the same thing.
Batch Your Writing
Another tip is to batch copy when writing auto responders. It helps you consciously open and close loops, sometimes between three or four emails.
Basically you start telling a story or you raise some sort of an objection in the first email, and then leave it open for a while. You don’t answer that objection or finish that story until three or four emails later. This process opens a ‘hook’ in the readers brain and they have to close it by continuing your emails!
The important thing is that you’re writing all of them in one stream of consciousness, so you’re not getting up and moving around and constantly being interrupted. You write your emails while you’re in the same train of thought and you keep a consistent flow in your dialogue from email to email.
This ensures that you are very consistent in your speech patterns, the way you’re talking and in the stories you’re telling because you’re doing it all in one sitting.
Include Bonding Emails
Another important thing to realize is that not every email has to be about selling. We call them bonding emails inside Scriptly.
I personally like to do three or four bonding emails as soon as somebody signs up for my list. The bonding sequences contain little promotional stuff, just a little bit, but establish a good common ground between the reader and I.
Lately, they’ve all been about bonding because we haven’t sold anything inside the marketing niche, but other niches are a different story.
Now it’s your turn…
What are some of the challenges you’ve found with writing emails to your list? Let us know in the comments below!