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Copywriting Tricks Every Email Marketer Should Know

Technology is growing so fast in our little email marketing world that it’s easy to forget what an email is really about. Beyond the segmentation, timing, deliverability and design, an email is simply a collection of words. A message from you or your company to other human beings who have put their hands up and say ‘hey, what you do might just matter to me. Tell me more about it.’

Words are the heart and soul of every email message that you send. It makes sense to spend the time to get them right. Here are some ‘tricks of the trade’ that will help you write emails that hit home and get people to take action.

Get To Know Who They Really Are

As an email marketing professional you probably know the demographics of your list. You know their age, where they’re from, heck maybe even what breakfast cereal they eat. But I’m not talking about data here. I’m talking about them as a 3 dimensional human. Spend some time in the real world to meet, network and connect withthe type of people who are on your list. Sure, you can’t meet with all 100,000, but even just a handful will be enough.

Once you have a real, human being in your mind who represents your list to you, you’ll be able to write to them with more authenticity. Marketers that want to appeal to multiple groups of real people to help them the best way they can, might even create what we would call buyer persona’s. But first start with some real world one-on-one.  You’ll be writing to a person, not just a number, and this difference will shine through in every single word you write.

Prove That You’re a Human Being Too

It’s OK to show personality when you write. People will love you for it and respond to it as one human being to another. Of course, your ‘persona’ should not only be authentic to you, it should also fit the tone of your brand and your target audience. Write to them in their language by highlighting  the side of your personality which fits with your brand message.

Remember that email marketing can be a strong branding tool. If you’re writing from your name, throw in some human details from your life. Sign off by saying ‘Ok, that’s all for today. I’m off to catch the Mets game, wish ‘em luck!’ Be genuine, human and real, and people will respond by trusting you more.

Write About Them, Not About You

You spend your whole life focused on your product, so when you sit down to write to your list telling them to go buy it, what are you going to talk about? Most people talk about their product. What you should be talking about is them. Enter into their world using the real human knowledge you’ve gained about them. Address the reader personally and directly, using ‘you’ instead of ‘we’ or ‘I.’

Tell Them Why They Should Care

So you’ve got the best product in the world. So what? People, fundamentally, at their simplest level, care about themselves. You already know this, of course, but it’s easy to forget. Constantly explain how your product benefits them, and you’ll find it easier to motivate your subscribers to buy. You’ll make more sales, have more money, and live forever. Ok, you can do it more subtly than that. But don’t be afraid to be obvious.

An old copywriting trick tells you to imagine that everyone you are writing to is constantly asking “So why do I care?” to every sentence you say. So answer it. Tell them exactly why your product makes their life better.


Instead of dwelling on the features or the product this email from Sephora immediately states the benefits that you get when you buy, clearly answering the ‘Why Do I Care” question:

”This bevy of hair bestsellers gives you instant, effortless style that lasts up to 2x longer.”

Focus on both Pleasure and Pain

As a marketer you should know both what your subscribers want more of in their life, and what they want less of. If your product genuinely solves a problem for your audience then to make sales you need to briefly remind them of that problem, before offering them relief. Why do you think there are so many marketing automation tools out there? Many of your prospective clients will not be at the stage of awareness or consideration just yet. These platforms help you with lead scoring, timing the message and tailoring it to the best segment, but it all starts with knowing which Pleasure and Pain buttons to push.

Make Them Take Action Now

People are horrendous procrastinators. If you don’t give them a compelling reason to take action now, then they ain’t gonna – ever. Use real scarcity in your marketing messages to make your calls to action irresistible. Run a special offer that ends in 3 days, not one month. Create a special edition of your product that has only 1000 copies available. Offer a high value bonus or discount for only the first hundred customers. Make it real, just be sure to do it (before it’s too late!).

A well written, authentic email will make your subscribers think “wow, this company understands me” and then rush to find their credit card. No matter how beautiful your design or how precise your segmentation, however, a carelessly written email will not generate the results you want because people will not be sufficiently motivated or inspired to take action. Follow these tips to get the words right, and remember that at the end of the day, the email replaced the letter, and every letter is about the words.

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