How to Write Good Marketing Emails That Convert

According to research by Microsoft, smartphones have left humans with such a short attention span that even a goldfish can hold a thought for longer.

Researchers, who surveyed 2000 participants and studied the brain activity of 112 others, found that the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, around the time the mobile revolution began, to eight seconds today.

This growth in smartphone usage and the subsequent reduction in attention span has significantly increased the importance of great writing. If you can’t write a great subject line that captures people’s interest, then you’ll never get them to open your campaign. And, if you can’t explain your offer quickly and easily, you’ll never get them to click-through and purchase your product.

Email marketing can be an incredibly effective channel for engaging with your audience and driving conversions. But with crowded inboxes and short attention spans, writing emails that cut through the noise is certainly an art.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through the key elements that go into crafting compelling marketing emails that get opened, read, and drive results

Why Email Marketing Still Matters

Email is one of the highest converting channels available to marketers today. Studies show that email marketing generates $36 for every $1 spent. What’s more, email boasts a median ROI of 122% – significantly higher than social media, SEO, and paid search.

With email open rates around 20-25% on average, it provides a cost-effective way to reach your audience. Plus, subscribers who open your emails have already given you permission to be in their inbox, making them primed for your messaging.

While other channels like social media and mobilemarketing are on the rise, good old-fashioned email remains a crucial component of an effective omni-channel approach.

Step 1: Define Your Goals

Before you start writing, get clear on the purpose of your email. Do you want to:

  • Drive traffic to your site?
  • Promote a sale or promotion?
  • Collect leads?
  • Build brand awareness?
  • Drive app installs?
  • Gather feedback or opinions?

Understanding your goals will shape everything from your call-to-action to the offers you highlight.

With a clear objective in mind, it becomes much easier to craft compelling messaging tailored to that purpose.

Step 2: Know Your Audience

The most effective emails speak directly to the needs, interests, and motivations of your subscribers. That’s why taking the time to understand your audience is key.

Consider demographics like:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Job title/industry

Look at psychographics too:

  • Values
  • Interests
  • Pain points
  • Personality traits

And don’t forget to analyze your data:

  • Most opened emails
  • Highest click-through/conversion rates
  • Purchase history

Tools like HubSpot make it easy to segment your lists based on these insights so you can personalize your content accordingly.

Step 3: Write Magnetic Subject Lines

Your subject line is the first impression your email makes. With inboxes more crowded than ever, weak subject lines often get passed over.

To grab attention, use these proven tips:

  • Keep it short – Under 50 characters is best for mobile
  • Trigger urgency – Phrases like “limited time” or “ends soon”
  • Ask a question – Pique curiosity to get them to open
  • Use emojis – Inject personality and visualize your message
  • Include numbers – Stats and specifics perform well
  • Test different options – See which resonate best with your audience

Avoid spam trigger words, all caps, and misleading claims. Be clear and direct about what’s inside.

Step 4: Craft a Strong Preheader

Preheaders give readers a preview of your email before they open it. They appear under the subject line on most email providers.

An effective preheader convinces subscribers your email is worth opening. Try:

  • Summarizing the core offer – Ex: “20% off your purchase”
  • Using urgency triggers – Ex: “Today only – 50% off”
  • Posing a compelling question – Ex: “Want free shipping?”

Keep preheaders short and scannable – often max character amounts are limited.

Step 5: Structure Your Content

How you structure and format your email content has a big impact on engagement. Use these best practices:

  • Start with a strong opening – Quickly establish relevance and value
  • Use headings and bullets – Break up blocks of texts for scannability
  • Highlight key information – Bold, underline, or increase font size
  • Include images – Visuals grab attention and boost click-throughs
  • Limit paragraphs – 3-4 sentences max
  • Add whitespace – Don’t clutter the page
  • Make it scannable – Readers skim emails in seconds

Formatting for scannability allows busy readers to quickly grasp your key points and offers.

Step 6: Personalize Your Message

The most effective emails feel like they were written for just one person. There are a few easy ways to personalize your content:

  • Use first names – Connect on a human level
  • Reference past interactions – Ex: “You requested more info on X”
  • Recommend relevant products – Based on interests or purchase history
  • Segment your lists – Tailor content to specific audiences
  • Provide exclusive offers – Only for your VIP subscribers

Even small personalization touches make recipients feel valued. Just avoid anything that seems creepy by getting too familiar too soon.

Step 7: Adopt a Friendly, Conversational Tone

Your readers are people, so talk to them like one. Using conversational language makes your emails feel more human vs robotic.

Some tips:

  • Use contractions – “Don’t miss out!” rather than “Do not miss out!”
  • Ask questions – Engage them directly
  • Use active voice – “Learn 3 tips” not “3 tips are provided”
  • Avoid hype – Come off as helpful, not salesy

Match the tone to your brand personality. Casual startups can take a more informal approach than established corporations.

Step 8: Make Your CTA Obvious

Every email should have a strong call to action guiding readers to take your desired next step. To maximize clicks:

  • Place it prominently – Beginning or end of email
  • Use high contrast colors – Make it stand out
  • Keep it concise – “Shop Now” vs “Click here to go to our online store”
  • Use action language – “Claim Your Offer” not “View Offer”
  • Only include one CTA – Don’t distract with too many options

Test different phrases, placements, colors, and sizes to determine which converts best.

Step 9: Close With a Clear Next Step

Wrap up your email by telling subscribers exactly what you want them to do:

  • Visit a landing page
  • Schedule a call
  • Download content
  • Provide feedback

This reinforces the action you want them take. Sign off politely, and include links to your website, social channels, and contact info.

Step 10: Check Your Email Preview

Never hit send without checking how your email looks across different email clients and devices. Many include previews showing:

  • Gmail app
  • Outlook
  • Apple iPhone
  • Android

Adjust formatting if elements appear off. Confirm images and links are rendering properly everywhere.

Step 11: Optimize for Mobile

With over half of emails opened on mobile, optimizing for smaller screens is critical.

  • Use big fonts – Minimum of font size 14
  • Make buttons fingertip friendly – Larger size and spacing
  • Stick to 1 column – Avoid awkward horizontal scrolling
  • Link text strategically – Hidden links create broken experiences
  • ** compress images** – Large files slow load times

Test on actual mobile devices when possible.

Step 12: Avoid Email Taboos

There are a few big email faux pas to avoid if you want to keep your sender reputation strong:

  • Purchased lists – Leads to low engagement and high complaints
  • Misleading subject lines – Don’t exaggerate offers
  • Over-emailing – Keep frequency aligned with preferences
  • Hard sells – Provide value, don’t just pitch

Review email ISP and ESP policies so you don’t accidentally trigger spam filters.

Step 13: Analyze Performance

Dig into email analytics to optimize your efforts. Assess metrics like:

  • Open rates
  • Click-through rates
  • Bounce rates
  • Unsubscribe rates
  • Conversion rates

See which messages resonate best with your audience. Identify any problem areas dragging down deliverability or engagement.

Tools like HubSpot’s Email Performance Grader make this easy.

Email Marketing Examples and Templates

Let’s look at some stellar examples of effective marketing emails for inspiration:

Promotional Email Example

This M.M.LaFleur email promotes a sale while quickly highlighting key details like dates and discounts:

  • Clear subject line
  • Urgency trigger (“Last Chance”)
  • Bold graphics
  • Prominent CTA

![Promotional Email Example][]

Welcome Email Example

This welcome email from MoveWith makes new subscribers feel recognized while orienting them to key resources:

  • Warm greeting with name
  • Images showing product personality
  • Clear navigation and next steps
  • Links to social media![Welcome Email Example](https

how to write good marketing emails

Write compelling preheader text

The preheader is the short summary text that follows the subject line when an email is viewed in the inbox

Pre-header text is a critical component your subscribers use to decide whether or not they open your campaign and engage with your content. So how can you optimize your preheader text for mobile devices?

Given that the preheader text appears next to the email subject line, the two need to work together to tell a cohesive story, rather than be thought about as two separate parts of your email campaign.

Derek Halpern does a great job of this in the announcement campaign for his latest webinar.

As you can see, the subject line talks to a very specific audience (people who don’t yet have 1,000 subscribers) and, while it makes the email super appealing to those people, it does limit its appeal to others.

So he counters this by using the preheader text “Got more than 1000? Open anyway…” to address the other recipients who have more than 1000 subscribers already.

By using the subject line and preheader text together, Halpern makes the email appealing to a wider number of recipients and increases the chance they’ll open the email and click-through.

How to leverage your writing to build brand loyalty

One thing that the five steps above all rely on is your writing ability, but not simply its lucidity and adherence to grammar.

The tone you take in your writing can truly transform your email campaign from a marketing ploy to feeling like an actual correspondence between two friends. Once you nail the tone you’re going for, your emails will be more immersive and readable than ever.

When it comes to nailing this tone, you’ll want to look at your brand and your target demographic. If you’re a medical brand, taking a lighter, joking tone may not quite fit with your . Nonetheless, there are ways to use writing to take serious subjects and make them compelling.

If you need help figuring out which tone works for your brand’s emails, email marketing software can provide helpful analytics and insights into your customers’ desires.

In the above email from Soylent, you immediately notice the wry tone in their writing, which beckons you to read more because you want to see just how wry it gets.

Once readers get a sense of your writing, they’re more likely to check out future emails. It’s up to you to break the stereotype of marketing emails merely being for shoving products in people’s faces.

Give them something they’ll want to read and they be more likely to tune in to the next email, and the good will from the writing will result in more sales. In addition to nailing the right tone, you might consider using A/B testing to figure out which writing style works and which doesn’t.

By putting an emphasis on writing, you’re also telling the customer that you care about every aspect of your product and marketing campaign. This is isn’t simply something you’re putting out to reach a certain percentage of click-through rates, but something of quality that a lot of thought went into.

The steady growth in smartphone usage and the subsequent reduction in human attention span has meant that great writing in your email campaigns is more important than ever.

If you can’t write a killer subject line that captures people’s interest, then you’ll never get them to open your campaign. And, if you can’t explain your offer quickly and easily, you’ll never get them to click-through and purchase your product.

So, next time you’re creating an email campaign to announce your latest product or feature, use the 5 best practices mentioned above to help you write high-performing email campaigns that get opened and clicked, and ultimately drives sales and revenue for your business.

Learning how to create an effective email campaign is only the first step to email marketing mastery. The next step is mobile email marketing. Here’s how it’s done.

From personalized subject lines to dynamic content to send time optimization, Campaign Monitor helps you build campaigns catered to every last subscriber.

4 Proven Email Marketing Templates

How can email marketing help your business?

Entice subscribers to provide their personal information in exchange for an asset that they’d find valuable. Market your products. Promote your products and services. Nurture leads. Delight your customers with content that can help them succeed in their goals. 87% of marketers say that email marketing is critical to business success.

What makes a good email marketing campaign?

The best email marketing campaigns have a clear focus, authentic tone, and information that’s helpful to the reader. Use these tips to write marketing emails that drive business: Infuse the personality of your business. Imagine you’re having a face-to-face conversation with a customer. What would that experience be like?

How do you write a marketing email?

Let’s take the guesswork out of writing the ideal marketing email and just address the components you need. I’ll walk you through each step. Let’s pretend I’m writing an email to announce SimpleTexting’s new contact card feature. Step #1: Include an eye-catching subject line that makes the email’s value clear and entices viewers to open it.

How to write a good email?

Including a name is the first place to start either in the subject line or in the first line of your email. Nobody wants to read ‘Dear sir’ anymore. You can also personalize based on past purchases. If they bought this type of product, they may be interested in a similar one if you tell them about it.

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