9 Essential Tips for Writing Marketing Emails

The average person gets about 121 emails every day. Some of them are work related, barely any are going to be personal. The rest are from companies, volunteer agencies and other corporations who are trying to reach their target audience.

Jessica F. is a Five-Star writer at WriterAccess

Jessica F. is a Five-Star writer at WriterAccess

Emails make a lot of sense as a marketing tool. They are inexpensive to generate and simple to manage. When effective, they also offer one of the highest returns on investment in all online marketing practices, averaging $44.25 for every $1 marketing dollar spent. Numbers like that might make you think that 121 emails a day seems pretty low, but the truth is that not all of those 121 emails are going to get the reader’s attention.

If you aren’t putting your marketing strategies into play the right way, then sending out emails could be like sending information into a vacuum.

Ginna Hall, marketing director at WriterAccess and lecturer in Advertising and PR at Boston University, has strategies for making the most out of every email opportunity. She outlines her best-use strategies in our webinar 9 Essential Tips for Writing Marketing Emails.

The trick, according to Ginna Hall, for developing the most effective marketing emails is to think about the key elements of your email campaign. Email campaigns have the unique advantage of reaching people wherever they are, whenever they are ready. Unlike social media which relies on timeliness and sharing for the broadest reach, emails go directly to the inbox. This is why email marketing campaigns are actually about 40 times more effective than Facebook or Twitter.

But writing an email and pressing send isn’t a strategy; and to maximize your email marketing potential you need to think about the best strategy for your exact needs. You can reach your audience where they are and when they are ready for it, but you have to know who your audience is, what they are going to respond to best, and precisely what you want out of them.

During the webinar Ginna Hall lays out exactly what you need to do to make the most out of your email marketing campaign with tips and tricks that will work for campaigns of any size, from major corporations to up-and-coming non-profits. I kept a running list of her best “must do’s” for you here.

1. Ask yourself three Questions: What is my goal? Who is my audience? What do I want them to do?

The key to success is to start out with a strategy in mind. This means knowing exactly what you want to accomplish before you even begin drafting your first email or compiling a send-to list. The average company has several different prospective audiences. The way that you want to address your loyal customers is probably different than how you want to address prospects or people who haven’t heard of you before. Emails require attention to tone and ethos matters. Decide what you want out of the email campaign, target exactly who you want to contact, and then make it clear what you want them to do. Once you have this strategy laid out you can start building a strong email marketing campaign.

2. Be concise in making your case.

Once you figure out who you are talking to and what you want to do, you need to simplify it. Remember, most of your target audience will be getting this email on their smartphone —which is a blessing and a curse to you. To your advantage, the phone is constantly in hand. This means you are going to be able to get your message to their pocket when you want, wherever they are. To your disadvantage is that the email will be scrolled through quickly. You don’t have a lot of space or a lot of time to make your point.

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3. Focus on the benefits that you are offering.

If you don’t have a lot of time, that means that you need to make sure the reader gets exactly what they need to know as quickly as possible. This may mean trusting in your audience’s background knowledge on products, and focusing instead on the precise benefits that you can offer. Remember, benefits translate to how you can save them money, time, or effort.

4. State the offer clearly.

There is a time and place for witty puns and lengthy metaphors. An email campaign is not that platform. Be quick and to the point with what you want to accomplish. The offer should be easy to understand in a fraction of a second, because that is all the time you’ll get on a fast scroll.

5. Structure the email appropriately: Opening, Body and Conclusion.

No, it isn’t an essay, but the basic laws of writing structure apply here too. The opening should offer at a quick glance the answer to exactly what you are sending the email; what are you offering? The body should hold the sales pitch—something irresistible. A strong conclusion is a must, and the core is the call to action. Get them to contact you. Make them follow that link. [Tweet it]

6. Make it urgent.

Don’t give them too much time to think about your deal. Make it clear they need to take action now. The reality is that you only have the length of time that the email is open the first time to make an impact. They aren’t going to come back. Give them a reason to take the time to act now.

7. Be lively!

Word choice, tone, sentence structure—these things matter in emails just as much as they matter anywhere else. You need your email to be active and inviting. Don’t drown your message in weak language. But don’t overdo it. Writing in ALL CAPS or using plenty of exclamation marks!!! Isn’t going to help you.

8. Clear call to action.

Your audience needs to know exactly what you want out of them, and make it easy for them to follow through. If you want them to contact you then you need your contact information there immediately. The more thought the reader has to put into how they can find more information, the less likely they are going to follow through.

9. The subject line needs to pop.

If the reader isn’t interested in the subject line, then they aren’t going to open the email. Plain and simple. Strong subject lines are brief, 50 characters or less, and are front loaded with the most important information in the first two words. Know your audience and find the trigger words that will get the most action out of them. But don’t oversell. You want the subject line to be intriguing, but soft. Use hot brand names and clear offers to entice the reader into opening the email.

This is just a quick list of the strategies outlined in our webinar with Ginna Hall. Watch the webinar for examples and further guidelines for building the strongest email marketing campaign.

5-Star writer Jessica F’s writing background is quite comprehensive. Currently, she works full time as a content strategist and SEO copywriter for an internet publishing agency that specializes in medical content. She writes blog style articles as well as authoritative web pages on a variety of medical conditions and procedures including bariatric surgery, medical weight loss, acid reflux and vein conditions.

Want more content marketing wisdom? Check out our webinar series where world-class marketing experts share their insights.


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