I’ve heard all of the horror stories…
“Email is DYING!” (Like your cactus because you overwatered it, Karen?)
“Stop sending emails — no one opens them!” (My list has a healthy 37% open rate, which is higher than my industry’s average.)
“Nobody reads emails!” (Correction: nobody reads sh*tty emails.)
Listen, to craft an email campaign that someone actually wants to devour in one sitting, you gotta know what drives your audience. It needs to be super persuasive, high-converting, and packed with personality.
Think about what’s in it for your audience. What would they like to hear about? Tune into their station.
People respond to my emails (based on the love notes hitting my inbox) for two reasons:
1. Because my stories are a little insane (like the time I got a ManyChat tattoo) and show my personality. Yes! I am a REAL person.
2. Because they offer insights or value that appeals to my audience.
There are two techniques that great writers — including Stephen King, Jackie Collins, and Jane Austen — use:
1. Write every day
2. Write about what you know and people you know
But that’s not enough…
When customers are reading your emails and considering buying something, all they want to know is “how does this benefit me? What do I get?” This means you have to understand the difference between features and benefits.
Features — what your product does.
Benefits — what people can do WITH your product.
Here’s how you can do it…
1. Start with a hook
A ‘hook’ is basically ‘what gets people excited about what I am writing?’ Journalists used this trick all the time.
I did this when I wrote for Rolling Stone: “Does Jack White ever sleep?” was the opening line of my article on the enigmatic bluesman. (And anyone who knows Jack knows about his prolific involvement in music.)
Include a “power” or “trigger” word like powerful, great, top, or best, and one of the persuasive techniques. And write it as if you’re explaining it to a 5-year-old and write for a 6th grade reading level.
2. Write your draft
Accept that your first draft will be terrible. It’s OK. We’ve all been there. Just write as much as you can, and get your ideas down.
The first sentence has to grab the reader’s attention, and compel them to read on.
The trick here is to use “you” and “your” so you pull your reader into the story.
4. Let it “marinate”
Now, you gotta step away from the keyboard and let it sit. It could be 2 minutes, 2 hours, or even 2 days.
There’s no timer, just let it rest.
Go away and enjoy life, doing something else.
Then revisit it with fresh eyes, and a time when you have some “headspace” to tackle, digest and rework the copy.
5. Edit real good and “kill your darlings”
My favourite saying is from Stephen King: “kill your darlings.”
Here’s where we turn your draft into pure open-rate gold. A good measurement is cut the first 25% and the last 25%.
You need to make sure every single word counts. If you can say it in 200, don’t use 300 words!
Stephen King also said, “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
So back back and make sure you also kill your adverbs (which are words that end in “ly”).
Check out this example: “I yelled at the dog” or “I angrily yelled at the dog” ﹘ which is stronger?
💥 BONUS TIP: Include a P.S. and a call to action (CTA)
Contrary to popular belief, in emails, people like people told what to do. And have you heard the old saying if you don’t ask you won’t receive? That’s true — so include an ask in your call to action (CTA).
It could be as simple as “hit reply and let me know what you think of XYZ,” or if you have a product to sell, pop in an eye-catching, click-worthy CTA, like “Buy This Now + Save $100”.
When you add a P.S., use it to give a final call to action to click your link, to make an offer unrelated to your email body.
So now, you have 5 things to turbocharge your email open rate every time you sit down to write. Now grab your pen and good luck! ✏️
Want More Copy Tips?
Click here to participate in my How to Give Good Copy Challenge (it will open in my Facebook Messenger chatbot), which will deliver three tips to set you on the path to copywriting greatness.
Want Click-Worthy Copywriting For Your Project?
Click here and complete a few simple questions (it won’t take more than 2 mins) to see if we’re a good fit to work together and get your copy working harder for you!