email content

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Email Content That Stands Out with Shayla Price

Are you wondering how to create email content that your subscribers will enjoy and that you’ll love to create? If so, you’re in the right place! Our latest #ContentWritingChat was jam-packed with amazing advice you can use to take your email marketing strategy to the next level.

Ready to dive in? Keep reading for our recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: From Subject Lines to Preheaders: How to Create Email Content That Stands Out with Shayla Price

Our guest host this week was Shayla Price. Shayla is a B2B content and email marketer, so she knows a thing or two about creating amazing online content. She shared some great advice throughout our chat, so you’ll want to take some notes!

Q1: Why should brand put time and effort into building an email marketing strategy?

Are you wondering if email marketing is really going to be worth the extra work? We say yes! But if you need a little extra convincing, here are some responses from our chat:

Shayla knows that email marketing can help brands build relationships with their customers, while also growing their business in the process. It also produces some pretty great ROI!

As Bill mentioned, you can deliver value directly to the inbox of your audience through the power of email. It’s a great way to build an audience and establish trust over time.

If you want to send content that’s catered to your audience, email is the place to do it.

Julia also knows the value email marketing can provide because of its high ROI. Check out the link she shared from Entrepreneur!

Cheval made a great point about how your email list is your own real estate. When you build a following on social media, you’re doing so on rented land. Those platforms could disappear one day, but you’ll always have your email list.

Q2: How can your subject line increase open rates? Any tips you can share?

When you create email content, it’s pretty obvious that your subject line is very important. After all, it can make or break whether or not someone opens your email or sends it straight to the trash. Here’s some advice you can use to boost your open rate with your next campaign:

As Shayla said, your subject line is your one and only chance to catch the attention of your subscribers. Don’t blow it!

Her advice is to keep your subject lines short, unique, and non-spammy. You can also see results by using numbers, a deadline, asking a question, and keeping it personal. These are all great strategies to test out.

If you want subscribers to open your emails, you have to hook them.

Use your subject line as a way to inform people what’s inside your emails. Elizabeth said to make it both interesting and informative.

For Jason, a great subject line needs to spark curiosity. He also feels it should be short and relevant to the content inside the email.

Haley can’t resist a subject line with an emoji. Try adding them to your next email campaign!

Megan admits that she can’t resist intrigue and she knows others can’t either. Keep that in mind when writing email content.

As Kyle said, offers provide an incentive to open up your emails. Sales and discounts are definitely a good push.

Remember that your subject line is your first impression. Take advantage of that and leave people wanting to open your emails.

Q3: What kind of content is inside your emails? How do you ensure you’re providing value?

Once you have an email list in place, you need to figure out what you’re going to send your subscribers. Sometimes that’s a more stressful task than you might realize! Check out this advice to make sure you always provide value:

Shayla said email content needs to match the interests of your subscribers. You should always keep them in mind when writing your campaigns so you can be sure you’re delivering what they want to see. If you aren’t sure what they want, take time to do the research. Analytics will provide plenty of information.

Exclusive content in your email campaigns give people something to look forward to. If it’s something they can’t get anywhere else, they’ll be more likely to check it out.

Emails that are timely, thoughtful, and engaging can definitely provide value to your audience.

When you give your audience something they can take away, they’re sure to appreciate it. Adding value is always key with any kind of content you produce.

Make sure you remember to add a CTA as well. This tells people what they next step is after they’ve finished reading your email.

Q4: How can you design an email that looks great, but is still easy to read across devices?

With people accessing emails on their desktops, as well as their smartphones, it’s important to make sure they’re easy to read everywhere. How can you do this when you create email content? Keep these tips in mind:

Shayla encourages you to stick to a design that reflects your brand. Use specific colors, images, fonts, and layouts. When you can create a look and stick with it, it become recognizable as being unique to you.

Don’t go overboard with links, otherwise you risk having your emails wind up in the spam folder. Julia’s advice is to keep it short and sweet.

To make your email content easy to consume, use short paragraphs and simple dividers. A gigantic block of text will only put readers off.

The Netvantage team uses a layout template in MailChimp, which Lexie says they customize with their brand colors and logo.

Don’t forget to test your emails before you send them out. It’s worth doing a final check before it gets delivered to tons of inboxes.

Q5: What’s your best advice for keeping email list subscribers engaged?

When you’ve got people on your list, you want them to stay put. To do that, you need to keep them interested and engaged. Here’s some advice that will help you do just that:

Shayla’s advice is to ask questions and encourage your subscribers to reply. This is a great way to get the conversation going. She also said segmentation is great, as this allows you to really tailor your content to specific people on your list.

Don’t disappear on your email list. Keep your list “warm” by sending content on a regular basis so they don’t forget about you.

Don’t go too crazy with sending emails though! Jason said you should only send emails out when you have quality, relevant content to share.

When you have value to add, send it their way!

It’s all about providing value to your subscribers if you want to give them a reason to stay on your list.

Sarah said you should have an idea of what your subscribers would like to see from you. This will allow you to deliver exactly what they need.

Don’t be afraid to ask what your subscribers want and be sure to listen when they respond.

Haley suggests sending a survey to your email list. You can ask them what they’re interested in to create targeted content.

Don’t be afraid to change it up though! Brian’s advice is to surprise your audience once in a while. You have to keep things fresh.

Q6: Which metrics do you track to measure the success of your email campaigns?

After you create email content and send it out to your subscribers, you want to measure its success to see how it performed. Here are some go-to metrics you should keep an eye on:

Shayla knows that the metrics you pay the most attention to will depend on the current goals of your email marketing efforts. Typically, she tracks click-through rates, open-to-sale conversion rates, and unsubscribe rates.

Clicks are always great to measure, especially if your goal is to send people from your email to somewhere else (like your website).

Julia tracks clicks, but she also likes to see replies. When people are interested enough to send you a kind response, that’s always a great feeling.

Conversions are essential to measure, especially if you’re going through a launch phase for a product or service that your business is offering.

Repeat opens are another great metric to track. Shelly also said you should keep an eye on click-through rate.

As Alan said, it all depends on what your overall goal is. Make sure you set that in beginning before you start creating content. He knows that click-through rate can be a good indicator of how effective your content was as well.

Q7: What is your go-to platform for email marketing? Why do you like it more than others?

With so many email marketing platforms available, it can be hard to choose the right one. We asked our chat participants to share their favorites with you. Here’s what they said:

MailChimp and ActiveCampaign are two recommendations from Shayla.

Here at Express Writers, ConvertKit is currently our go-to!

ConvertKit is easy to use and their tagging systems makes it so easy to segment your subscribers based on interests.

Max is a big fan of MailChimp!

We have another MailChimp fan!

MailChimp is great for those just starting out and their integrations are definitely helpful.

Chelsea needs a more robust system to handle her email marketing, so she relies on Infusionsoft.

Q8: Which brands are doing an amazing job with their email content? Tag them!

There are plenty of brands who are creating great email content, which means there’s lots to learn from them. Which ones are standing out from the crowd? Check out these suggestions:

One of Shayla’s favorites is Contently.

Cheval loves to read email content from Rebekah Radice and Diane Gottsman.

The Skimm is certainly great source for news every week day.

Lexie enjoys checking out Canva’s email newsletters.

Shelly said Vidyard does a great job with the email content they create.

Jason’s favorites include Content Marketing Institute and Convince & Convert.

For Sabjan, he looks forward to emails from HubSpot, Content Marketing Institute, SEMrush, Search Engine Land, and Buffer.

Ready to join the next #ContentWritingChat? It happens every Tuesday at 10 AM Central! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to join in.

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How to Write Email Copy

How to Write Email Copy That Resonates, Wins Clicks & Loyal Followers

It’s a technology even older than dial-up internet.

Despite its age (it was invented almost half a century ago), email is still going strong.

It’s like that aunt of yours who has seemingly been old for decades, but she keeps on rolling, as energetic as ever. She’s a standby at family gatherings and never seems to wear out.

In much the same way, email marketing has been a cornerstone for all kinds of businesses for years.

The proof is probably within your inbox right now. Most likely, you get inundated with an avalanche of promotional emails daily from various companies.

However, there’s a problem, especially if you want to take advantage of email for your own business.

how to write email copy

What’s the Problem with Email Marketing?

Think about what you do with the emails you receive. Do you open every single one? Do you read all the messages you do open? Narrowing down the pool further, which ones make you want to click-through?

If the answers are “no,” “absolutely not,” and “not many,” in that order, you’re like most people.

With that, we’ve come to the problem.

Via, this survey shows that the most common complaint of mobile email subscribers is that they get way too many messages.

There’s so much inbox competition, standing out is hard.

So, as a marketer, how do you not only make people want to open your emails, but also read them and click your CTAs?

In short, how do you write email copy that wins the day?

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The Solution: Learn How to Write Email Copy That’s Outstanding

You have to write exceptional email copy to get results.

What does this copy look like?

To figure it out, think about the emails you love to read. Think about the messages you look forward to opening.

What do they have in common? Probably one or more of these 12 factors, features, and qualities.

First off…

1. Start with a Surprising, Inspiring, Emotion-Tugging, or Eye-Catching Subject Line

In an email message, the subject line is your headline.

It’s how you initially grab a reader and hang on tight. Before any other component, the subject line has to snag their attention if you expect them to actually open it.

This means you need to cultivate intrigue or curiosity. You have to appeal to some emotion that makes your reader want to learn more.

It’s a tall order. To do it, you need to give your subject line the same care and attention you give your email body copy. To accomplish this feat, try these tips:

  • Only promise what you’re going to actually deliver – Don’t lure readers into opening your email with an enticing subject line, then completely fail to deliver. If you promise something or inspire action in your subject, make sure you follow up.
  • Be specific – Don’t be vague in the subject line if you want results. Want proof? Copyblogger tested out two subject lines for the same email. Guess which one was more successful and led to a higher click-through rate? That’s right – the specific one.
  • Use language that encourages action – Don’t hedge, and don’t be shy about your subject lines. Use actionable language that’s urgent and motivating. For instance, instead of saying “Tickets for X Events Are on Sale Now!” say “Grab Your Tickets for X Event Before They Sell Out!”

Here are a few great examples of effective subject lines that do it right. It’s not surprising that all of them use direct, active language that speaks straight to the reader:

Greetabl grabs the eye in a crowded email inbox because they make a bold proclamation: You’re in the squad.

World Market wrote an urgent subject line that cleverly makes you want to act.

Madewell crafted a subject line too tempting and curiosity-inducing to pass up.

2. Draw Them in with a Warm, Friendly, Engaging Tone

Some businesses think that making their emails personal means inserting the recipient’s name in the copy a few times. Nope.

In fact, if you use the above strategy, it’s overkill. You’ll sound like a robot.

Instead, make your tone personal. Talk to the reader as if they’re a friend. Unsurprisingly, this inspires friendliness reciprocated back toward your brand. This could inspire them to click your CTA, in turn.

This leads us to our next point…

3. Talk to Your Readers, Don’t Address Them

Sure, your email is going out to a faceless group of people. That doesn’t mean you should address them as such, though.

In fact, you shouldn’t address them at all.

Instead, talk to them. Don’t write as if you’re preparing a speech for an audience; write like you’re penning a missive to a good friend.

To this end, make sure you use second person voice. This means you talk to the reader directly through your writing, using the term “you.” Need an example? You’re reading it right now!

For a good example, check out this “thanks for signing up” email from Papa Murphy’s. They talk to the customer directly with brief but effective copy:

4. Err on the Short Side

Nobody has time to read a novel in your marketing emails. Respect the reader and keep it short, yet informative and useful. Edit your email copy rigorously and ruthlessly if you need to whittle it down.

More specifically:

  • Stick to the point – Don’t meander in your marketing emails. This is not the place to share deep thoughts, discussion, or something similar. Stay on topic.
  • Get to the point – For that matter, don’t take forever to get to the point of the email. Get there and give the reader satisfaction.
  • Stay relevant – Keep your email relevant to the reader. It’s about them, not you. Copywriting guru Ann Handley of Marketing Profs goes a step further with this – she says to make it “relentlessly” about the reader. Be empathetic and place yourself in their shoes.
  • Keep the email to one topic – You don’t have time to address multiple topics with multiple calls-to-action. You’ll lose your reader. One topic, max, is all you can reasonably address without boring anybody.

5. Be Yourself (Hint: This Is How to Write Unique Email Copy)

How do you add that human element to your email marketing?

Be you. You’re the human element.

Don’t sanitize your writing. Try to write the way you speak, with your idiosyncrasies, unique turns-of-phrase, and vocabulary.

Are you a sarcastic person? Do you make lame jokes? Are you a punster? Or, do you tell it like it is?

Don’t be afraid to insert your unique personality in your writing. Don’t keep yourself out your email copy. People will respond more positively if they can find you, a human voice, present in the message.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Wondering how to write email copy that wins? BE YOURSELF! (via @ExpWriters)” quote=”Wondering how to write email copy that wins? BE YOURSELF! (via @ExpWriters)”]

6. Focus on Value (Benefits vs. Features)

Along with your human voice, you also need to focus on the value factor in your email marketing.

This goes along with staying reader-focused. What are the benefits you’re offering that help them in their daily lives?

Don’t just list features – instead, think about what positive outcomes the features bring to the table.

For a good example, look at this promotional email from Sephora. They’re promoting “Flash,” their two-day shipping service, but they stay benefits-focused:

They tell you what you get with this service, but it also says exactly how you’ll benefit. Staying value-focused like this is how you appeal to your readers.

Once you’ve outlined the benefits, it’s time for your CTA.

7. Include a Call-to-Action, But…

Keep it crystal-clear. Your call-to-action at the end of your promotional email should give the reader an exact idea of what they need to do next.

The key word, here, is “need.” Your reader should feel a sense of need or urgency from your call-to-action: They’ve got to do X because they’ll get X as a result.

Make sure they understand the benefit of taking action – the “why” along with the “what.”

8. Get a Second (or Third) Opinion

After you self-edit your copy, but before you hit “send,” you need to pass it along to another set of eyes.

This person should have sharp attention to detail and a sense of what good email copy looks like. They’ll catch silly mistakes you might have missed, including tiny punctuation errors and the like. They’ll also see where you’re too wordy, where your tone is off, or where you’re not clear enough.

9. Test Your Copy’s Effectiveness

It’s often hard to know what will work for your particular audience unless you test it out. The same goes for your promotional emails.

For instance, write two versions of the same email and send them out to different, distinct groups. Then measure the response to each. A slightly different tone of voice or a reworded call-to-action might be the key to more email conversions. You’ll never know unless you test it out.

10. Don’t Keep Using a Formula That Doesn’t Work

If one road map for how to write your email copy isn’t working, you can’t expect to see any difference in results if you keep going in that direction.

To use a cliché, don’t beat a dead horse.

To find success with email campaigns, you can’t be afraid to reinvent, revise, and experiment with your approach. That has to include the way you’re writing to your audience.

11. Focus on Copy First, Design Second

The writing is the foundation of your email marketing. It’s your message. The other stuff, including the layout and design, is just the vehicle.

If your emails don’t work without the fancy graphics and pretty visuals, you need to take a step back.

Your email copy, the content and structure of your message, comes first. If you can’t send it as plain-text and get good results, you’re focusing on the fluff, not the substance. It needs to be the other way around.

Take a look at this promotional email from Boden, a British clothing retailer:

It showcases a sleek, styled image of fashionable people. However, take away that image, and the copy still works by itself. These are classic, beautiful, durable clothes for everyone in your family. The brand got that across, without sounding salesy, in one sentence.

12. Find Ways to Delight Your Readers

One of the purposes of your email marketing is to continue to cultivate trust with your audience.

You managed to give them enough reason to hand over their email addresses – now you need to build on that.

A great way to do it? Delight them.

The great part of this is, if you genuinely want to delight your audience, it will come through in your email copy naturally.

“Delight” can mean a lot of different things, too. It can mean positive surprise, joy, humor, glee, and pleasure. It can come from a simple moment of genuine warmth, a surprise special offer to say “thanks,” or some heart-to-heart talk.

In general, it means getting personal for a moment, stepping off your soapbox, and being real. The best part? It won’t just increase trust – it will also humanize your brand, making you seem more relatable.

For an example, look at this email from Poncho. HubSpot loves this company’s email marketing precisely because it’s so delightful:

From their happy, poncho-wearing cat logo to their humor in the copy, it’s an exercise in all-around delight. In a world of bad news, how refreshing! Now that’s good email.

Learn How to Write Email Copy and Start Resonating with Readers

If your email marketing isn’t resonating with your readers, maybe you need to get your copy in gear.

The words, after all, are the foundation of the whole shebang. Without exceptional email copy, you’re left with nothing but a bunch of fluff. And, let’s face it – fluff never convinced anyone to do anything.

When your emails are just one more needle in the haystack, you need more than fluff to stand out. You need more to convince people to open your messages, actually read them, and click on your CTAs.

Follow our tips for exceptional email copy, and see if they don’t make a difference. You might be pleasantly surprised at the results.


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