Write email copy

Business Benefits

Make users convert faster with persuasion and better copy structure.


Set a baseline by looking at your current email metrics.

To get an idea of where you are starting out, note metrics like:

  • Open rates
  • Click rates
  • Unsubscribe rates
  • Conversion rates
  • Spam rate

Decide what exactly you want people to do after reading your emails, and therefore what sort of content you should include.

  • Want them to read an educational article? Let them know why the article will help them.
  • Want them to try your app? Show readers how easy it is to log in and what they can do inside the platform.
  • Want them to buy your product? Show users why the product is perfect for them.

Create customer segments in your email list to help you focus specific topics on groups of users.

  • Trial users of your SaaS product should receive different content than your paid subscribers. Likewise, customers who’ve never bought from you might need different content than repeat customers.
  • Automatically segment new subscribers when they opt in by including a multiple-choice question about what they want to learn. For example, you can ask your users if they are interested in self-development or business growth.

Run customer interviews and surveys and data mine forums to learn about your customers and what matters to them.

What led prospects to your product - what emotions were they feeling when they searched for a solution? Writing emails is much easier when you understand your potential customers’ wants, needs, and frustrations—insights you won’t uncover in user tests, heatmaps, or basic demographic personas.

To conduct similar research, ask your customers and prospects insightful questions:

  • Think back to when you first heard of [product]. What was going on in your life at the time that led you to buy it?
  • What stood out about [product] in particular that made you interested in buying it?
  • Did anything make you pause and think twice before buying?
  • When you first purchased [product], did anything surprise you about your experience?
  • What one thing do you love about [product]?
  • What benefits have you experienced since buying [product]?

If you have to get a ton of information quickly—and you have an existing base of customers or site visitors—surveys are the easiest way to do it. Exit polls (for very short surveys) or email surveys (for longer ones) invite prospects to tell you what matters to them. If you have a smaller budget, less time, or you’re selling a product that’s difficult to talk about (e.g. drug rehabilitation), forum and review mining will help you get in the head of prospective customers. Social media also offers a cache of market research data.

Transcribe interviews and create a spreadsheet with columns for Person, Memorable Phrases, What People Want, Frustrations, and Repeated Words.

Populate the spreadsheet with quotes from your transcripts and survey responses.The data will represent the voice of the customer.

Create an email copywriting strategy that includes onboarding, sales, and transactional emails at different stages of a customer relationship.

  • Onboarding emails should introduce the product and give enough information to get the recipient using it. For example, if you sell a pair of headphones, you could follow up with a link to a PDF of the user manual.
  • Sales emails need to sell the product, not nurture the relationship. For emails at the middle or end of a sequence, Wiebe tries to close prospects by showing them exactly how much better their lives will be.
  • Transactional emails are more likely to be opened and they’re often opened repeatedly. Obviously, that makes them a great place to cross-promote, upsell, and encourage sharing, reviews, or referrals.

Ask your current email list to self-segment when opting in by checking an option in the form submission to help you tailor your email topics.

Integrate a multiple-choice question that asks users what they want to learn. For example, you can ask your users if they are interested in self-development or business growth.

Write subject lines that speak directly to a segment of your audience, blending empathy, relevance, and - if appropriate - humor.

Ask yourself if you think your subject line will resonate with readers. If your answer is a shrug and “I don’t know,” go back to the drawing board. Follow email subject line best practices like testing and analyzing your subject lines; being descriptive rather than clever; and keeping your message succinct.

Start your email with a problem that directly affects your audience, detail how your product can help, and finish with a CTA that pushes readers to get closer to the solution.

Test your campaigns and apply what you learn to future strategy and copywriting.

  • Split test your subject lines.
  • Test plain-text emails vs. emails with rich media.
  • Test different CTAs.
  • Test the number of CTAs.
  • Test different days and times to send your emails.
  • Wait until you have a big sample size to ensure quality insights.
  • Look at the metrics such as on-site purchases when assessing how your copy performed.