Writing great e-mail marketing copy is hard work. You can always outsource it to a professional copywriter, but you will discover that the good ones are already booked and that they are very expensive. If your budget dictates doing this writing in-house, here are a few ideas, in no particular order.

Great writing requires great proofreading which is extremely hard work (you can trust me on this one since it is very hard for me). One tip on proofreading your own writing is to read it aloud. This helps you catch dropped words and mistakes. Another method is to have someone else proof your copy.

Remember to run a “spell check”. Run it a second time since errors don’t always get caught in the first pass with spell check (believe it or not).

Timeliness is critical to effective e-mail marketing messages. Current events or news references can add timeliness to a campaign. For example, a reference to the rising cost of gasoline or the price of oil might add timeliness to an e-mail from an auto parts retailer.

Keep the e-mail short. While there is considerable debate in the e-mail community about short form versus long form, you must remember that the e-mail’s purpose is to get the reader to take the next step and click to the website or landing page. From the subject line to the postscript, the e-mail should offer the reader the most relevant information in as few words as possible. Customers are busy and many feel overwhelmed by too much e-mail. Messages that are short and to the point are more likely to be read. When writing e-mail text, try to state the ideas in as few words as possible.

The long form argument is that an engaged reader will want more information now rather than later; if you insist on making them click for more information, they might disengage. Generally speaking, short form is preferred over long form. When in doubt, test both and see what your readers think.

Customers will start reading an e-mail from the beginning and read the introduction to see if it’s worth spending more of their time. Readers tend to pay less and less attention to what is written as they scan more quickly through the rest of the e-mail.

To make sure customers read the most relevant information, put the most important information (often referred to as the hook) at the top, followed by the most important supporting information. Each successive paragraph will receive less and less of the reader’s attention and should contain less and less important information. Bullets and images will help the reader scan and focus on your key points.

John Bradley Jackson

Top Dog

The BirdDog Group


P. S. People always read the postscript—-use it to restate your offer or message.

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