5 Facts About Email Copywriting—and Why It Matters

Email marketers & business owners usually assume email copywriting is easy. Or they assume it’s like writing any other kind of marketing copy. But they’re wrong.

If you want to succeed with email marketing in 2022 and beyond, it’s time to start learning how to write killer emails. To really learn email copywriting, it takes a lot of experience, testing, trial, and error, etc. You might be wondering what makes email copywriting different?

Here are five reasons email copywriting is different, and also learn how to write like an expert copywriter.

Reason 1: Your email copywriting is showing up in someone’s email inbox.

Showing up in your email subscribers’ inbox or on their phone is much more personal and direct than other types of marketing, including paid search, social media, direct mail, print advertising or TV commercials. And it, therefore, puts the burden on you to make the most of this direct connection—through amazing content.

Most marketers don’t take advantage of all they can do here! Your subject line alone has an extremely high impact. You can write something that’s super-relevant, yet still compelling enough to get opened, read, and acted upon.

Most emails are opened because people think this might be something I want. It’s about adding value first! That’s where truly great subject lines come into play: They start with a question that immediately piques interest because it speaks directly to what people are looking for or experiencing.

Make them laugh or cry or say yes! But stop being so generic! Write unique words tailored specifically for each person who might open your email…and use action verbs to drive immediate response.

Reason 2: They’ve given you permission to email them.

They’ve raised their hand to say “yes, email me.” That means they’ve expressed some kind of interest in what you’re selling. That’s how they got on your email list in the first place, right? They subscribed or signed up.

Again, that is not like other forms of marketing, and again, you must make the most of their willingness to be on your email list.

You got the permission to email them. Now you must prove you’re trustworthy by sending excellent content to their inboxes. You owe them that. Make sure every piece of mail they get from you makes it clear why they should care about receiving your emails.

Reason 3: There is so much competition in a person’s email inbox.

Consider the crowded and cluttered inbox: You’re not only competing for attention against your competitors but against all those other emails going to that one person.

Emails from their co-workers, newsletters they’ve signed up for, emails from their favorite brands, social media notifications, spam, transactional emails for purchases, etc. It’s a crowded inbox and your emails can be easily ignored.

That’s why your email copywriting has to stand out! Making it easy to read isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about getting someone to even open an email, let alone take action because of what you say in it.

Reason 4: People decide in a split second whether or not it’s a good email.

Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Modern-day consumers are walking around looking at their smartphones swiping emails into the Trash folder without really thinking.

We call it triaging the inbox for a reason.

When your email copywriting engages, you have a stronger chance of staying in the inbox long enough to get noticed, not swiped left.

Make sure your email isn’t one that gets tossed out with little thought or care because it failed to engage me quickly and immediately—even if only for a split second.

Make your emails easy-to-understand so I can quickly scan them and find out whether they’re worth spending more time with later on my smartphone or desktop computer. First impressions matter, so make sure yours doesn’t end up being ignored entirely.

Reason 5: You can’t measure the impression made from the email—if any.

You’ll know if someone opened your email or clicked on a link in it, but what if they didn’t do anything other than see your email in their inbox and then delete it? Did you still make some kind of positive or negative impression with your subject line or preheader text?

You don’t know, but you must assume that you did and write your emails accordingly, especially your subject lines and preheader text.

There is a big difference between writing for blogs and writing for emails. If you think good headlines matter when writing for blogs, it’s immensely more valuable when you’re copywriting for effective emails.

A strong headline will determine whether someone reads further into an email or deletes it immediately. That’s why we put so much time into perfecting our headline formula.

This factor may make each email unique based on your audience… at least until there are enough data points to develop a strong average response rate to certain types of subject lines over others. It can be very challenging!

Email Marketing Is Hard. Not Just the Email Copywriting Part.

It’s not just the email copywriting part that’s harder than writing other types of blogs, or marketing content. Everything about email marketing is hard if you’re doing it right. Before you get to copywriting, you have to build a quality list of subscribers and customers who want to hear from you. You have to overcome hurdles and get your emails delivered. Then you have to get them opened.

Once you’ve overcome all of those challenges, you need to get your emails read and acted upon. And that’s where the email copywriting comes in. Because you work really, really hard to get people to that point, and you want them to do something once you get them that far, to make your hard work worthwhile. This comes when you improve your email copywriting.

Only a Fraction of Subscribers Open Your Email. 

Make the Most of Your Email Copywriting.

Think about it: No one has a 100% open rate. No one has a 100% click-through rate. We are all working with fractions of these numbers instead. Despite the work it takes to build a quality email list, we will still interest only a fraction of our subscribers in any given email.

Email open rates average around 21%, according to Hubspot (although I’ve seen lower numbers elsewhere). That means all that work you’re doing is just so you can get about one-fifth of the people on your list to open your email. And that’s just the open rate!

Getting people to click on a link is yet another challenge for you. Let’s go with Hubspot’s numbers again and say the average click-through rate is 6.82%. Keep in mind that’s 6.82% of the 21% open rate. If you had a list of 10,000 email addresses and a 96% deliverability rate and you got the average open and click-through rates, your results would look like this:

10,000 email addresses average open and click-through rates results:

Sent 10,000
Delivered 9,600
Opens 2,016
Click-throughs 137.5

Assuming your rates are average, you’d get around 137 of the 10,000 people on your email list to click through. And even then, that’s not a guaranteed sale or conversion, only a click.

That’s why your email copywriting has to be amazing, so you can increase the likelihood of generating results from that handful of people who actually open your emails!

Key Takeaways

There is big benefit to excellent email copywriting: People will like getting your emails and will watch for them and be more likely to continue opening them. Create truly engaging emails that are shareworthy and people will forward your emails too.

The fact is, the quality of your email copywriting matters as much as it does because you have to maximize the results you get from your list.

So, how’s your email copywriting? Are you treating it like any other kind of marketing content? Or taking into account the five reasons why it’s so different? Are you making every effort to maximize the revenue possible from the handful of people who will open your email by striving for engaging copy?

If not, why not?

Because it could be that taking your email copywriting & marketing strategies to the next level will raise your email ROI to the next level too.

Our friends over at Better Writer Faster teach a course on Intermediate Email Copywriting. This can help you write great emails.