Everyone is praising emails and their marketing potential. But most overlook the fact that it is the way you construct your email copy that does all the magic! Hence, this blog will detail 7 email writing techniques that are bound to boost your CTR and conversions.
According to our findings, a whopping 91% of B2B marketers believe that emails are extremely important and don’t plan to give up on email marketing because it has an average CTR of 4.8% and 22.86% open rate.
These are great results, but they don’t guarantee you everything.
The true power of email marketing in terms of CTR and conversion rates lies behind the powerful and correctly written copy that prompts a consumer to open and read the message.
So, let’s take a look at the components of a clickable and converting email copy along with some examples to illustrate our points.
Direct Response is a marketing strategy that uses different methods to get an immediate reaction from consumers.
To put it simply, you send a sales message or a sales pitch, in which you directly explain the benefits and the value of your product/service.
You may have seen many companies avoiding this strategy, fearing that they might come off too pushy and invasive. This presupposition comes from the alleged hatred consumers have towards such emails.
However, the 2018 study by Keypoint Intelligence has shown that this presupposition is wrong.
Evidently, 71% of Millennials go through all their direct mail, and 36% of them believe that companies, which send these sales emails, are more serious and credible.
Among the young generations, direct mail is becoming popular again, which means there is hardly any point to reject this strategy if you want to boost CTR and conversion rate.
Which Direct Response Marketing Techniques Can You Borrow?
If you want to boost your CTR and conversion rate using email writing techniques, you need to play by the rules.
First, it is important to observe the format of such emails, namely:
Identify the problem. Start by researching the emotions of your audience, and try to find a solution to the problem using these emotions.
Give the solution. After addressing a problem using a certain emotion, you can proceed with the description of your product/service as a solution to it.
Show value. Describe the details, how your product solves this problem. To facilitate your point, you can use any evidence (research, statistics) you have.
Wrap up with a CTA. Contact information, a CTA button, a link — everything that can push the consumer down the sales funnel should be included in your email.
Let’s take a look at the following example:
This email appeals to one of the emotions that its target audience (professionals working with data) may experience. Because they can relate to what this email is about, these people will be more interested in clicking on it and getting converted into your customers.
You can see that all four components of the sales format are present in this email and it provides all the necessary information for the consumer to move forward to purchase the product.
Sales Email Techniques You Can Incorporate while Writing Emails
Write subject lines like a real person. Using pronouns like ‘I’ and ‘you’ add a touch of personalization to your subject lines, giving consumers a feeling they are communicating with a real person, and prompting them to click on the message:
Don’t capitalize every word in your subject line. This sales email technique is based on the study that using lower-case letters in email subject lines can help increase CTR and conversion rate. And you can see why people would rather click on emails with lowercase subject lines. Capitalizing every word looks like you’re yelling at them:
Ask a question and Give an answer. It’s a great sales pitch technique you can use to boost CTR and conversion rates. Treat your subject line as a space to ask a question, and then, to entice a consumer to click on your email, give an answer to this question in the body of your main message:
Give details about yourself. Consumers receive hundreds of sales emails a day, so, naturally, they might forget who you are if there is not enough information about your brand and they don’t feel like googling you. So, provide a few details about your company and products to help them convert:
Highlight the one-of-a-kind benefits. Of course, one of the jewels of sales emails is creating a sense of urgency or offering one-of-a-kind benefits. These email writing techniques work well for boosting CTR and conversion rate, as they give consumers a sense of belonging to a club with exclusive offers:
All these email writing techniques can help you create a ‘hook’ that attracts the consumer’s attention to your email and prompts them to open and read it, contributing greatly to your CTR and conversion rate.
You may choose to do them from scratch, or use ready-to-use templates, like those from Stripo. Speaking of Stripo, you may also utilize pre-made modules to create fully custom emails quickly and painlessly.
When someone calls your name, don’t you turn your head to pay attention?
The same with emails — if you address someone by name, there is a higher chance they will open your email. Here’s a basic example of how it looks like:
However, mentioning the consumer’s name in an email is not the only personalization technique that is effective for better CTR and conversion rates.
Now, take a closer look at the example above. There is one more personalization technique hidden in there.
Exactly, personalized selection of items is another technique that can help boost your CTR and conversion rate as it, like limited-time offers and exclusive sales, draws the attention of the consumers.
This technique is based on audience segmentation — subdividing people into groups based on certain criteria, use of the product, demographics, and other factors.
In its simplest form, it can be observed in emails with separate selections of clothing items for men and women:
Why does it work?
By segmenting your audience, you create tailored content for different groups of your consumers. Such techniques in email writing cater to the specific interests of the consumers, making them more interested in clicking on and purchasing your product via these emails.
Also known as event-triggered emails, these messages have a great value for CTR and conversion rates because they appear at the right time.
Let’s say, a consumer added one of your products to the cart and then abandoned it. This is identified as consumer behavior, and after a certain time, an email gets sent to them asking them to consider making the purchase:
There are two obvious benefits to such emails:
One, they improve your onboarding process.
Two, they help you re-engage dormant customers.
The problem with these emails is that they are usually automated and lack a personal approach.
However, you can write such emails addressing how a certain product a customer was interested in can help address their certain needs. This way, you also add enormous personalization value to these emails.
If the previous strategies don’t work for you, it’s time to roll out the big guns and bring interactive content to the stage.
Adding interactivity to your emails is not only a fun way to engage with consumers, but it’s also a highly effective strategy to boost CTR and conversion rates.
The stats report that interactive email content increases the click-to-open rate by 73% and adding videos to your emails, in particular, boosts CTR by up to 300%.
When writing your marketing emails, you can include a variety of interactive content types, from videos to shopping carts, maps, and games.
In your emails, you can either give a link to a quiz on your website:
Or, you can include the quiz right in the body of your email:
These are great techniques in email writing to boost CTR and conversion rate, as well as to nurture leads by incorporating personalization.
Let’s talk more about email headlines.
An email is the first ‘hook’ that prompts a consumer to open your message. However, it can be your enemy as much as it can be your friend.
According to the stats by InvespCRO, 69% of email recipients report emails as spam judging solely by their subject lines. Meanwhile, 47% of email recipients also open emails based solely on subject lines.
So, consumers have a love/hate relationship with subject lines, and there is a 50% chance that your email will fail if you write the wrong headline.
There is a whole science behind the choice of words for email subject lines. Let us guide you through several groups of words, which work effectively for email headlines.
Group #1: FOMO-Connected Words
This fear of missing out is rooted deeply in our psyche. The researchers from Carleton and McGill University have investigated this phenomenon and found that FOMO is a defense mechanism warning us that we might get deprived of something.
Although this is a negative phenomenon, for sure, it brings a lot of benefits to marketers, especially when it comes to email marketing.
So, words connected to FOMO, are frequently used in email subject lines because they create a sense of urgency. Among them you may find the following words and phrases:
“Don’t get left behind!”
“The offer disappears in two hours, HURRY!”
“Today only: get your discount before it expires!”
“Last chance to get our product at a discount price”
“The timer’s going off on your cart!”
“[URGENT!] You have only 1 HOUR to get your special discount”
Here are also a few real-life examples of such emails:
Besides being a good strategy to boost CTR and conversion rate, FOMO email subject lines also create a ‘private club’ experience, making consumers feel that they get special treatment by receiving urgent limited-time offers.
Group #2: Curiosity-Sparkling Words
Curiosity is one of our innate instincts. It’s with us from the day we are born, and it’s what inspires toddlers to investigate and learn about the world.
The same as the fear of missing out, curiosity works well in marketing. The 2015 neuroscience research has shown that we have a constant urge to make sense of all the information coming our way. That’s why, when we see a thought-provoking email subject line, we, most likely, will open it.
Thus, curiosity-sparkling words can be perfect for your email headlines if you want to attract a consumer’s attention with something less intrusive than FOMO.
Here are some words and phrases you may consider:
“Hey! Haven’t heard from you for a while…”
“Everything you want to know about our product and more…”
“It’s worth it, we promise”
“We want to share with you…”
“Did this happen to you too?
“Don’t open this email!”
Here are a few examples you might enjoy:
As you can see, these email headlines are more diverse and you can approach them in any way you like. But the main point is to make them provoke thoughts and curiosity to find out, what happens if a consumer opens this email.
Group #3: Greed-Provoking Words
The third group we will touch upon is based on the feeling that we’re all guilty of, but it doesn’t mean you can’t use it in your email subject lines to boost CTR and conversion rates.
The connection between greed and marketing has been a subject of interest since forever. A research posted by the University of Washington back in 1996 already suggested that individual greed is good because it increases our competitiveness.
Indeed, it’s not just about the greed itself, it’s about feeling as good or better than others do, it’s in our nature.
Here are a few headline suggestions based on greed-provoking words and phrases:
“New must-haves for you”
“This product will change your life!”
“Still need to boost sales?”
“A new product you MUST NOT MISS!”
“Get priority access…”
You can also take a look at the examples below for some inspiration:
You may have noticed that some of the examples above resemble the ones from the FOMO word group. You’re right, as both feelings provide the same motivation to be as food or better than others. But there is no doubt that both work well to boost CTR and conversion rate.
We already touched upon email CTAs, but let’s explore this topic a bit deeper.
CTAs have a very strong impact on your email CTR and conversion rates. Email campaigns that include one CTA already increase CTR by 42%. But in order to make it work for you, you need to follow several rules backed by the research:
Rule #1: Include No More Than 1 CTA per Email
In a study conducted back in 2000, researchers investigated the phenomenon called the paradox of choice. The study has shown that consumers were more likely to buy when offered 6 different jars of jam instead of 24 jars.
The narrower their choices were, the more satisfied they were with their purchase decision.
If an email includes more than 1 CTA, it creates a paradox of choice. And too much choice leads to indecision, and lower conversion rates, as a result.
Two and more CTA buttons in an email will only create unnecessary confusion, so, make sure you avoid that in your emails.
Rule #2: Use a CTA Button
There are different types of CTA, but buttons work best for emails. In fact, creating a CTA button and placing it in your email gives your CTR a 45% boost.
Including clickable, relevant, and engaging CTA buttons also impacts purchase decisions if they are placed under recommended products and personalized offers, like here:
However, keep in mind that your message may look different on mobile devices. Sometimes people also disable images in their email to make it load faster. So, make sure you include alt text so readers still can recognize and click on the CTA button.
Rule #3: Place Your CTA Button Correctly
Once you’ve written your CTA and turned it into a button, it’s time to place it in your email.
But the question is, where should you put it to make it more visible?
To make the CTA button visible, Hubspot advises to place it in the upper-left or the corner of your email. This is connected to the fact that many devices, including Android-powered gadgets, only show the upper left-hand corner of your email.
So, to make your CTA button visible on both mobile devices and desktops, try to follow this rule.
You can also put it right in the center of your email before the text so that your message starts with a CTA button right away.
Here’s how it looks both on mobile and desktop:
If you have several CTAs in your mail, rank them according to their priority and put them in your email accordingly. Here’s an example, how a brand managed this strategy by putting the CTA with the most attractive offer first:
Rule #4: Use Proper Colors
Using the right colors for your CTA button can increase the impact you’re trying to create with the words.
Different colors provoke different emotions. For instance, cold colors (green, blue, purple) have a calming and soothing effect, while warm colors (red, orange, yellow) evoke the feeling of optimism and energy. That is why red has proven to increase conversion rates by 21%.
Indeed, warm colors tend to stand out in the body of the email:
However, what has worked for other brands may not work for you. When choosing the color for your CTA button, consider the design of the email as well as your brand’s esthetic.
Many brands don’t take into account the importance of the pre-header text that appears right after the email subject line.
Take a look at the example below:
This is an example of a bad pre-header. You can gather some information from it, but from the first look, it seems like a messy mishmash of words.
Meanwhile, a pre-header is an important part of your email because it gives a sneak peek of what it is about. You don’t want to overlook the potential of the pre-header text to boost your CTR.
How to Write Engaging Pre-Header Text?
Here are a few rules you can follow:
Don’t write a long pre-header text. Generally, professional writers suggest making the pre-header text up to 45 characters. It might seem too little, but this is enough to explain what the message is about:
Expand your subject line text. Since the pre-header text serves as a sneak peek to the message, you can use it to complement your subject line, explaining it a bit more but not giving away too many details:
Include a CTA. To increase your CTR, add a short CTA that encourages a consumer to open your email and read more about your offer:
Add personalization. The pre-header text is a perfect place to add the name of the addressee for more personalization:
Don’t clutter your pre-header with symbols. If these symbols don’t have any semantic charge, exclude them, and use this space for something that serves the meaning of your message:
You can see that many examples above use words like ‘get’, ‘need’, ‘click’, etc. These words are often used in a pre-header text because they provoke action.
So, when writing your pre-header text, make sure you include action words and words that facilitate the consumer’s need to improve your CTR and conversion rates.
A bit earlier, we already mentioned the word ‘hook’, which is a way to make the consumers keep reading.
Like the pre-header of your email, a hook is another way you can boost CTR and conversion rates.
Here’s how you can make it work.
Tip #1: Hook Them with a Question
When we talked about email subject lines a bit earlier, we mentioned curiosity as one of the instincts that can prompt a consumer to open the email.
The same is with the hooks. If you start the copy of your email with a question, it will automatically prompt people to keep reading it to find out the answer:
Questions, like in the example above, are known as ‘open hooks’ because they are strategically placed to keep a consumer engaged.
Tip #2: Apply Reverse Psychology
It’s curious when a copy of an email starts with a question, but it’s even more curious when it looks confusing like in the example we’ve shown you a bit earlier:
Or, if you see an email with a “DON’T CLICK!” message, you instinctively want to click on it.
Such hooks work according to the principles of reverse psychology. Like hooks with questions, they also evoke our curiosity and prompt us to open the message, thus, helping increase your CTR.
Tip #3: Express Gratitude
Another way to create an engaging hook is to start your message with a ‘thank you’ to your customers:
Such hooks work because they provoke the feeling of belonging to a community and underline your appreciation of the role that your customers play in the growth of your brand. So, when appropriate, you can use such techniques for email writing.
Naturally, consumers won’t convert if they cannot open and read your email properly. That’s why, when the copy of your email is finished, test the plain text version of it to see if everything shows correctly.
Emails are usually sent in the HTML format, and many consumers can open them without any problems.
However, there are still some devices and platforms that can’t display HTML properly. Some people also choose to block HTML emails, so sending a plain text version with an HTML version of your email helps ensure that your message gets delivered.
Testing the plain text version of an email doesn’t look the same on every platform.
On Yahoo, for instance, you need to first forward your message and then click on the ‘Switch to plain text mode” button:
On Google, the process looks similar to Yahoo:
As a result, you should get the original message with all the symbols and spacing:
If the email is not shown correctly, testing the plain text version can help you rewrite the copy to make sure that all media (images, graphs, etc.) are included, tidy up the copy’s formatting, and restructure the text to make it look more engaging.
So, what does a clickable and converting email copy look like?
It sells without pushing too hard. Don’t be afraid to borrow email writing techniques from direct marketing that can help you set the right tone.
Such a copy always uses personalization. So, try segmenting your audience, target their behaviors, and include interactive content for more engagement.
It also uses proper wording and format of the headline and the pre-header text that appeal to the wants and needs of the consumers, prompting them to open the message as fast as possible.
Lastly, a clickable and converting email makes it easy to convert with a properly written and placed CTA and a hook that grabs a consumer’s attention.
All these are simple yet effective techniques for writing a good email copy. But to make sure that it delivers good CTR and conversion rate results, do some plain text testing to see if all the recipients can read the message properly.