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Your next email campaign needs these six copywriting tips

Transform passive subscribers into click-happy customers with these copywriting tips.

In the flurry to get an email campaign out the door, it can be all too easy to forget the one thing that ultimately determines your prospects’ decision to click: your copy. Not only is it a direct conversation with your subscribers, it is also a fast track towards convincing them to willingly open their wallets. Ellen Martin explains.

Think back to the last email campaign you sent. What part of the process was given the most energy and attention? The images and hyperlinks? Deciding on the best send time? Or perhaps most of your focus went to identifying which elements to A/B test.

Answer me this: how much energy and attention did you devote to the copy? Not as much as you would have liked, huh?

To craft captivating copy capable of transforming passive subscribers into click-happy customers, integrate the following copywriting tips into your next email campaign – we guarantee you’ll see a positive change in your click-throughs.

Follow these six copywriting tips and watch your clicks go through the roof

1. Tilt the viewer’s perspective

Five thousand: that was the average number of ads you and I were exposed to in 2006. Nine years later, and with the ever-increasing dominance of multi-screen media consumption, that number has ballooned.

People’s defenses naturally rise in the presence of marketing and advertising material, making our jobs all the more difficult. To force subscribers to let down their guard and actively consume your message, approach your copy from a different perspective, leaving behind the usual cliches.

After all, it’s not what you say that ultimately resonates with subscribers, it’s how you say it…

To show you how it’s done, here’s India’s Cancer Patients Aid Association. We’ve been told time and again that smoking causes cancer, so much so that we’ve stopped listening. But with one deft arrangement of words, the organisation manages to drive home the point in an entirely new fashion:

Cancer cures smoking_copywriting tips

2. Avoid jargon. Nobody likes it except for people who don’t know what they’re talking about

Marketing-speak may resonate in your office and boardroom but it won’t with your subscribers. Create copy using words that actually mean something. In the words of journalist, copywriter and content marketing expert Jonathan Crossfield:

“Despite working in the persuasion industry, we have a terrifying knack of believing our own bullshit as it bounces around the echo chamber. In the constant search for a silver bullet, we sell each other new fads and develop new theories, dressed up in impressive sounding but ultimately empty terminology.”

3. Make an emotional connection

Your subscribers don’t care about you or your products and services. They’re busy and they have problems to solve. When writing, ask yourself two things. Firstly: why should my subscribers bother with this information? Secondly: is this copy relevant enough to garner a click? To entice subscribers to bestow those hard-earned clicks, you must first identify how your product or service helps them to reach a specific end goal. Then, using this information, craft a message that speaks to the challenges they experience in pursuit of said goals, highlighting how your business can help alleviate such burdens.

In this print ad from Nike, the focus is not on the shoes, it’s on what the shoes allow the wearer to do. The result: universally relevant and powerfully poignant copywriting perfection.

run_Nike_copywriting tips

4. Get to the point. Cut unnecessary words

You get the idea, but here’s The Economist breaking the rules for a reason:

Economist_copywriting tips

5. Feed their curiosity with a cracking headline

Long before The Battle for Clicks began, David Ogilvy was fighting a different war: The Battle for Attention. “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.”

Ogilvy was right. To get more out of your headline, it has to be attention-grabbing. But it also has to evoke within your subscribers a feeling of curiosity – so much so that they’re compelled to click through to the body copy.

This doesn’t mean you should resign yourself to the click-baiting tactics of the Buzzfeeds and Upworthys of the world – there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

Take American farming magazine Modern Farmer’s enewsletter headlines as an example. They’re irresistibly clickable, partly because they’re absurd, mostly because they leave you with a feeling that, if you don’t click, you’ll regret it for the rest of the day.

Refreshingly, Modern Farmer’s content creators don’t resort to frustratingly overused tactics like, ‘You’ll never guess what happens next’ or ‘10 things every pig breeder needs to know about Berkshires. Number 7 will leave you speechless.’ Instead, they identify the most fascinating and compelling elements of a story and craft their headlines accordingly. Our personal favourites:

Modern Farmer_cowboy monkey rodeo Modern Farmer_chicken gyms

6. But most of all, listen first, speak afterwards

Each of the above copywriting elements undoubtedly affect your email click-through rates. But at the first – before perspective, jargonese, emotion, brevity and curiosity are even considered – great copy speaks in the language of its target audience. This is fundamental to your success as an email marketer. Only when you have an intimate understanding of the challenges and pain points of your target audience can you speak to them in a way that is at once compelling and helpful.

While email campaign data presents an intricate quantitative snapshot of your subscribers’ behaviour over time, the old-fashioned act of one-to-one conversation garners seriously valuable qualitative insights. Strike up a dialogue with your subscribers and be sure to do most of the listening. Listen to the language they use, the tone of their voice and the sentiment cloaked behind their words. You’ll be able to use this information to create email copy that’s immensely relevant and resonant.

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