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10 min read

Rates up: how to write better email texts

We live in the XXI century, and the letters we send are pretty different from what our predecessors sent. They are bright and engaging, attracting attention with various images, GIFs, interactive elements, and many other things that were impossible back then.
But one thing stayed the same: texts. Sure, texts have become shorter and even turned into a science of sorts. We learn how to make them engaging and catchy and in what order words become as effective as possible. But apart from that, texts are still the same, and they are still scary to write.
And even more so when you know about all these new rules and nuisance. In attempts to create a perfect email, some people spend hours upon hours — and then this time goes to waste as the emails and the campaign fail.
We’ve put together this guide to help you avoid such an unpleasant experience — and its consequences. Let’s review each step of email text creation and highlight the most crucial parts.

Structure

What to do on each step of your email — we answer this question and share some tips.

START OF STRONG

The first thing your recipients see is the subject line, and this is where they decide to either open or ignore your email. Therefore, your subject line and preheader directly affect the fallback and open rate.
They won't bother clicking if the subject line is dull, spammy, or irrelevant. So, how do you ensure they make the right choice and dive into your email?

Keep it short

There are two reasons for you to keep your subject line short. Number one — many people read their emails on mobile devices, and long subject lines just won’t fit on a screen. Number two — we live in times of a short attention span, so you need to interest your subscribers fast. Usually, the optimal length is between six and ten words.

Motivate from the start

Your subscribers must feel the need to open your email. Create urgency, use the Fear of Missing Out effect (FOMO), or make it clear that they will benefit from it. Strong action verbs are your best friends here. Alternatively, you can appeal to your audience's natural curiosity by asking a loaded question.

Clarity before fun

A subject line must accurately reflect what’s inside the email. Even data privacy laws demand that, but this article is not about them. To open the email, people should at least know what to expect from it — and this ties together with the previous point beautifully. The urge to make a catchy subject line is irresistible, but remember: clarity before fun. When it’s already clear, then you make it scatchy.
Tommy Hilfiger: “Happy 4th of July — 40% off entire store”
Short and crystal clear — Tommy knows the deal and repeats it in the copy body, too.

ENGAGE WITH COPY BODY

One message can be communicated in thousands of ways. There’re no limitations: our language provides a plethora of synonyms and word combinations. But most of them won’t be catchy: in marketing, we need to grab the audience's attention and never let go of it.
A dull, blank text will fail to do it, and your click rate will be terrible. And, once again, finding a practical reference is much harder when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. A text that worked elsewhere can very well fail in the fashion industry. Closing an email takes less than a second — and they won’t open it again.

Brief and clean

After your subscribers open the email, their attention shifts towards the body of the email — the main text. Your task is to keep that attention, and there are a few tips we can offer you here. Let’s keep them engaged!
Remember we told you to keep the subject line short? Well, it also applies to the message itself. Most people don’t carefully read every email — they quickly scan it for any points of interest. So to help them with that, avoid lengthy introductions and heartbreaking stories. Summarize everything you want to tell them and everything you want them to do, and get straight to the point.

Make it about them

You don’t send an email to talk about your brand. You send it because you want the recipient to take action. So make it about them. Writing in the second person is excellent for this, and personalization will only add to the effect. Also, describe your product's benefits instead of its features. Benefits are what your customers get, while features are about the product, not the customer.

Relevance plus relevance

You don’t send an email to talk about your brand. You send it because you want the recipient to take action. So make it about them. Writing in the second person is excellent for this, and personalization will only add to the effect. Also, describe your product's benefits instead of its features. Benefits are what your customers get, while features are about the product, not the customer.
Three short sentences: one about the customers, one about the benefits they get,
and one to provide details. Nothing extra. Well played, Bonobos!

USE THE MOMENTUM

Let’s say you’ve handled the previous issues flawlessly. Your subscriber opened the email, read it, and stayed engaged. It’s great, but you need value out of them, and they need value out of you. This is what CTAs and offers are for: you translate your subscriber’s attention and energy into action. They go to your website and complete purchases. Everyone’s happy.
Well, this is the best scenario. But to make it happen, you need to hook them up. A catchy Call-to-Action or a great offer are your best friends here — and don’t forget to use UTM links to always know how effective your CTAs really are!
Now, let’s go over a few general tips for your Call-to-Action.

Make it one

It would be great to kill two birds with one stone — achieve two goals with one email. But in most cases, this is not an option. If you include two and more CTAs in your email, they start to conflict and compete, and one is drawing attention from the other, decreasing the chances of either one working. Set the primary goal of your email — and use one CTA to achieve it.

Go big or go home

A CTA that doesn’t stand out will likely go unnoticed. This is the one part of your email to which most of your paints and size should go. CTA is usually a button, so make this button large and colorful, as it must be impossible to miss. It doesn’t mean it has to be just large and colorful, though. You can add the design to draw even more attention — little faces looking at the button, arrows, or else.

Be precise

There’s no point in painting your big button red if it’s a Submit button. The text matters just as much as the design. Your CTA should have some drive in it — use active verbs! To make it more native for the subscribers, write in the first person. And finally, it should be crystal-clear what they click it for. Ideally, your CTA should continue the phrase I want to… from the user's perspective.
You’re looking at loafers. There’s a big button that says SHOP LOAFERS.
Nothing extra: it can’t get more minimalistic and precise.

LEAVE A GOOD IMPRESSION

When you think about writing an email text, you likely picture the pieces of the puzzle we just discussed. It’s understandable: subject lines and preheaders affect the open rate, copy body and CTAs affect the click rate… But there’s something else, and it’s just as essential to a great email — a footer.
A footer is located at the very bottom of each email, and it doesn’t change. There are a few reasons for you to treat it seriously and put effort into creating your footer.

Legal requirements

All data privacy laws require that you put certain information into your email footer. To avoid future problems and massive fines, include your company’s physical address, a privacy policy link, and an unsubscribe/email preferences link. This allows you to stay out of trouble. You can also include a copyright notice, but it’s unnecessary.

Useful information

Most of the time, people instinctively scroll down to the footer to receive additional information, like social media links, links for downloading your app (if you have it), website links, etc. It can be frustrating for users if they don’t find what they are looking for, so include at least something helpful there. Because if they do immediately find what they need, it improves their perception of the brand.

Brand representation

A footer can do wonders for your brand. If you design it according to the brand book, it will appear recognizable and consistent. And on the text side, you can include social proof or the brand’s mission and values, add a little text about the company, help the subscribers reach out to the team, and so on. These and many other little things help strengthen and support the brand image.
You’re looking at loafers. There’s a big button that says SHOP LOAFERS.
Nothing extra: it can’t get more minimalistic and precise.

General advice

Some things don’t apply to any specific step, yet they are crucial — we’ll talk about them now.

Always proofread your texts

Nothing — and we mean it, nothing! — signals incompetence to a recipient more than mistakes and misspells in the text. There’s a good reason why editors exist: proofreading is not as simple as it may seem. And even if you have what it takes to concentrate and eliminate all the issues, these are just the ones you can find.
Considering you’re not a copywriter, you can make some sincere mistakes since you don’t know that they are, in fact, mistakes. To help yourself, try using online solutions like Grammarly and Hemingway. They proofread for you for the most part — just don’t trust them blindly. They can occasionally make mistakes, too.

Be consistent with your Tone of Voice

Not every brand has its Tone of Voice to communicate with its audience, but you should definitely choose one. Some brands prefer being quirky, others keep it formal, and some choose friendly business casual language. There’re many possible options here, and they don’t mean just the tone. ToV also implies certain ways of using various terms, designations, acronyms, and so much more.
It’s hard to be consistent with your Tone of Voice throughout every email and newsletter. However, its importance should not be underestimated. Your emails and your texts add to the brand image with every single word, and going against the brand ToV harms this image.

Remove anything extra

We always advise avoiding all things extra. While it’s mostly about keeping your texts and descriptions short, there’s one more meaning. It may seem strange after all we’ve just discussed here, but sometimes you don’t need texts. In some instances, images and visuals can do the job much better. And the text itself will be that extra you should get rid of.
Understanding when you need text and when you don’t comes with experience. It’s hard to cover this issue objectively, since every case is different, and it can be stressful to figure it out yourself.

One last thing

Like any other skill, your email writing improves as you go. No one will teach you better than your own good old experience. So don’t be afraid and start writing. This article contains the most important tips to prevent your email texts from failing — and now you know that won’t happen.
One last thing that will improve your texts massively over time. Do A/B testing to learn what works better, and send previews to your loyal customers to see if that works at all. The data you collect will help you focus on what’s efficient and then keep building on top of that with more data and more experience. Then, one day you’ll be creating guides of your own.

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