When people think of email marketing, they often think of bombarding their readers with advertising messages or pitches for a product. While this approach has its merits and might even work for some brands, many companies and organizations are realizing that a more human approach can work just as well – if not better.
What is email copywriting? Simply put, it’s the art of creating compelling and engaging content for an email marketing campaign. The goal is to produce content that will encourage recipients to take some sort of action – be it to click a link, sign up for a service, or make a purchase.
As the name suggests, email copywriting is mostly composed of words in an email message. But, it can include the use of headlines, subheads, and text in a pitch, for example. Like other areas of marketing and digital marketing, the practice of email copywriting is constantly evolving. While traditional approaches to email marketing might include a mix of pitches and bland, auto-generated messages, email marketing is now more sophisticated than ever before.
Why should you care about email copywriting?
Email is a powerful and versatile communications tool. Thanks to the ubiquity of email on the web, every sector and industry is now accessible to marketers. This makes email the perfect place to reach potential customers and clients.
According to HubSpot Blogs research, 59% of people have bought something after reading an email pitch. Of those, 39% have bought a product or service directly from the email, and another 21% have clicked a link included in the email and bought something (a la carte).
While these figures might not seem overwhelming, when you remember that these individuals have been persuaded to take some sort of action in the first place, it’s clear that email copywriting is a critical part of any marketing plan.
What Makes for a Good Email Copy?
To succeed in the email copywriting world, you need to adopt certain skill sets and tactics. While the exact details will vary from project to project, the elements that make up a good email will remain the same.
Actionable and Valuable Content
Even if you’re sending out a marketing email with the sole purpose of garnering interest in your product or service, you still need to provide some sort of incentive for the recipient to take action. Simply put, no one wants to get an email full of useless information.
To ensure that your email is effective, you must integrate content that is both useful and actionable. This might mean creating an educational guide or a how-to document or it could involve asking for a person’s email address so that you can provide them with valuable and useful information (such as a guide to navigating the corporate world or a marketing e-book).
Whatever you include in your email marketing message, you should adopt the mindset that you are giving recipients some value, whether it’s immediate value or value that will accrue down the line.
Consistent and Continuous Improvement
To remain effective, email marketing must always be improving itself. This requires that you, the marketer, constantly analyze what is working and what needs to be changed. It also means that you should never stop researching and learning new things, identifying new gaps in your knowledge, and creating new opportunities for yourself.
To cite an example, let’s say that you’re an e-commerce store owner and you decide to experiment with email marketing. You create a campaign for your store with the sole purpose of driving traffic to your site and increasing revenue. So, you put together a simple email with a few links to products that you think might interest your readers. You also choose a free email marketing tool that lets you track the open rates and click-through rates of your campaigns.
As you’re checking the performance of this campaign, you discover that only 1 in 10 people who receive your email are making a purchase. While you might want to immediately ditch this experiment and go back to the drawing board, you should instead adopt a long-term view. Now that you have a handle on the initial performance of this campaign, you can work on making small changes to bring it more in line with what will work for your specific audience. This is the key to continual success in the email copywriting world – you must be able to adapt as you go.
Speaking of small changes, you should also evolve your approach, depending on the recipient. If you’re using a free email marketing service, you might want to tweak your emails to make them more personable – after all, you’re competing for attention with hundreds of other email messages each day, and a poorly written pitch, with a cold, autocorrected message will never attract the interest of prospective customers.
Depending on your skill set, you might want to examine whether you should be using your personal email address or a professional one for this particular project. The use of a personal email address, for example, can make your emails more accessible to the recipient – after all, you could always say, “Hey, here’s a note I thought you might find interesting…” Instead of a professional email address, you could say, “As the President of ___, I’d love to connect with you about ___.”
No matter what your email’s purpose is – whether you’re advertising, engaging with potential customers, or just trying to establish a friendly correspondence – the content must be both useful and engaging. Above all, you should strive to create an email that is as individualized and personable as possible.